A Chypre for the Gents: Chanel – Pour Monsieur Eau de Toilette Review

On picture: Chanel – Pour Monsieur – Eau de Toilette – 100ml – circa 2013

Few perfume genres garner such a fabulous amount of interest among fragrance enthusiasts like chypre. The style, first developed at the end of the XIX century and popular until some decades ago relies on the contrast between cold citrus notes at the top with bergamot being the common suspect, and earthy, dry oakmoss and labdanum at the base, with sometimes a dose of patchouli. The middle notes are usually responsible for giving each chypre composition a distinct character, whether is a bouquet of flowers, fruits, herbs, spices, leather, you name it.

The main impression that a good chypre makes from the first sprits until the fragrance dies out on skin is that of distance. It is an aloof group of scents that translate very well into elegant and serious situations. Terribly unfriendly but incredibly captivating yet comforting, it’s hard to picture an olfactive family as beautiful as that of chypre. It is, sadly, a group that has suffered a great amount due to restrictions over the use of oakmoss for being an allergene, irritant, carcinogenic, whatever.

Chanel released Pour Monsieur in 1955 as their first composition for men. Upon initial application, a burst of citrus notes tinges your nostrils. Lemon, bergamot and verbena blend together in a hesperidic swirl that gives off a sense of freshness. To further amplify this effect, after some minutes neroli shows up in company of herbs and a soft cardamom. Up until this point you would believe this is a classic cologne.

All of the sudden you will experience a moment of realization: Aha! There is the oakmoss!. That is when all your cologne dreams end and your chypre fantasies become real. The oakmoss is very recognizable, along with the powdery labdanum. There is also a discernible triumvirate of cedar, patchouli and vanilla. You will not be able to understand this scent right away. No. You will have to wait, let it unfold on your skin for the remaining four to five hour it will stay with you.

From the technical point of view this composition is clearly a green chypre, and a well blended one. Also, for anyone interested in understanding this genre, Pour Monsieur is a fantastic starting point because all of the extra notes that give character to it are executed in such a refined and transparent way that the chypre accord is undeniably identifiable from the first minute until the last. The structure is evident.

Pour Monsieur is, first and foremost, elegant. It doesn’t yell, never behaves obnoxiously and certainly has no propensity for losing its temper. To quote Igor from Scentertainer, “…being a gentleman is not a thing of knowledge buy[sic] feelings. Rules that are not written in mind but carved in sensibility.” This is what Pour Monsieur is all about: being considerate and not being aware of it. The Pour Monsieur man may not talk too much and may not steal the spotlight, but you will respect him and certainly, if time allows it, you will trust him.

Name: Pour Monsieur
House: Chanel
Concentration: Eau de toilette
Nose: Henri Robert
Release Year: 1955
Category: Green chypre

Reviewed Batch: circa 2013
From personal colletion.

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