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Le 3e Homme de Caron (The Third Man) - Insanely delicious! (Friday, June 10th, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Perfume urn in the Caron shop in Paris

Mattias Kristiansson Dec 9, 2009

If you read this Wednesday’s Nose-to-Nose post "Something smells delicious" and wanted to know, like Gwen did, the name of the “insanely delicious” scent that was one of the six I’d bought on-line, then here’s your answer – it’s  Le 3e Homme de Caron – The Third Man from Caron.

I first sniffed The Third Man in  the Caron store on Rue de la Montagne in Paris, but I’d tested so many scents that day that it got lost in the perfume cloud, and I was on a niche bender anyway. Classics could wait. A few months later I got a decant from a friend, but I tested it on a day I had a headache, which was a stupid thing to do since the nose/brain thing hit a short circuit. But I knew that I liked it. The third time for The Third Man was the clincher.

The Third Man was launched in 1985, and was Caron's third offering for men, and was created by perfumeur Akiko Kamei. The story goes that Le 3e Homme de Caron was named after the famous 1954 film noir of the same name by Orson Welles, which featured him as the shadowy character, Harry Lime. Harry is the mysterious “dead” guy who evades capture by the police for his dark crimes by keeping in the night shadows, and hiding out in the sewers of Vienna. It’s a good story, but it doesn’t really matter when it comes to knowing this perfume.

Technically, the fragrance is a Fougère, and it opens with a lavender and bergamot mix that’s like a big gulp of expensive champagne.  As the sparkles clear, I’m thinking that this is going to be a nice linear classic dry-down, when all of a sudden it veers off-course and a funky floral spice accord appears – dirty jasmine, anise, ginger, rose. It’s slightly sweet, but is saved from crossing into the feminine camp by earthy geranium and herbal lavender, which keep it dry and green, and keep the carnal heart in check.

And the lavender stays for good, but always quietly in the background (maybe this is Harry Lime in the shadows) as the base notes of amber, woods, moss and musk evolve The Third Man into a captivating, mysterious fragrance. The finishing notes of tonka, patchouli and vanilla add the final magic, making Le 3e Homme “insanely delicious”, a “second skin” kind of scent that I find incredibly sexy.

I’ve learned this about smelling perfumes – keep an open mind. Let time pass, keep sniffing whatever you can get your hands on, and then go back and try fragrances that you’ve put on your reject list, because you might be amazed when you give them that second, or third sniff test.

That’s what happened with me and Le 3e Homme. I think it’s one of the best Caron scents, and I also think it’s one of the best masculine scents ever, even though it’s perfectly at home on a woman’s skin. It’s refined but rugged, with a quiet sexiness. It has a magic that draws you in, like a lover pulling you in for a warm embrace.

Le 3e Homme is the love affair that sneaks up on you: first time you meet – meh. Second time – hey, there’s something happening here, a glance, a spark, but still hidden. Third time – the feelings move out of the shadows into heart-pounding infatuation, and the fireworks begin.

And then, it turns into real love. I love The Third Man.

Le 3e Homme de Caron (The Third Man) is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Revisiting the rejects

Kay, I couldn't agree with you more about revisiting perfumes you think "meh" about on first sniff. The first couple of times I smelled Guerlain's Nahema I just didn't get it--and then on a subsequent sniff, I fell hard! It took me a while to warm up to Mitsouko, and now it's one of my faves. Diptych's Ofresia was just a so-so on first sniff, but then on a perfect summer day, it just seemed magical.

This, of course, raises a whole new problem: now I'm faced with going back to sniff things I thought I could pass on the first time around ;)