Blog post by Gwen

Habit Rouge EDP - opulent and elegant and refined

Photo - Wikipedia - Hunt Master and Hounds, Powderham Castle, UK - Owain.davies, Feb. 18, 2005

 I’ve noticed that when people have a passion for something, they like to share it with their friends and families. So, you just know that over the years, my close friends, cousins, sibs, son and husband have been given, and wear, some of the finest fragrances I know. Thankfully, my offerings have been very much appreciated.

Since fragrances make such great gifts, I often check out my husband’s side of the medicine cabinet out for inspiration. A low level on a bottle might give me an idea for an anniversary, birthday or Father’s Day gift.

Rummaging around the shelves I find some real fragrance gems, like that bottle of Égoïste I bought my husband in Paris when it came out in 1990 cause he loved the ad so much and  a few other swooners that bring back great memories of good times together.

Then my hand finds the leather bound bottle of Habit Rouge EDP I bought him. I spritz some on my arm and take a long, deep breath. It smells of alchemy. I make a note to check out his fragrances more often; then I put the bottle back on the shelf in front of the others – my signal to him to wear this one next, please.

Flash back to 1965 when Jean Paul Guerlain created Habit Rouge. A fourth generation Guerlain, Jean-Paul was the last family master perfumer. When the demand for a masculine version of Shalimar surfaced, he cast back to his own past for inspiration.

As a young man, Guerlain was an avid equestrian and became an expert in dressage, so Habit Rouge – the name refers to the red jacket worn by fox hunters – was inspired by his olfactory memory of time spent with the fashionable, upper-class, horsy set. It quickly became a Guerlain classic and is considered a masterpiece.

Over the years, it has been reformulated, rejigged and remodelled, but we’re not going to talk about that here. No. We’re here to talk about the special edition EDP version that was launched in 2003. The one bought my husband that year. A man’s EDP? Yep, one of the very few.

It opens with a deep, rich citrus accord of bitter bergamot sweetened with lime and lightened with a floral note of orange blossom. As it moves to the heart the orange blossom fades, replaced with a fresh green note from aromatic neroli. I smell lavender here too, lovely and floral. Then, a surprise: oud - warm, woody balsamic and perfectly placed to transition the fragrance from citrus/floral to warm/woody. This is the alchemy I smell each time I sniff it.  Cinnamon is here and gives it a warm spiciness. It all rests on a base of patchouli, vanilla, and leather. The patchouli makes it musky and gives it a ‘dirtiness,’ while vanilla and amber sweeten it up just enough to soften the leather, making it supple and sensuous.

The drydown is rich, deep and opulent. And, like the well-mannered horsemen that inspired it, elegant, polite and refined. Habit Rouge EDP is the smell of a gentleman.  

Check out Habit Rouge EDP in our Shop.