Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle is a classic, a real blockbuster worthy of its own space in the Perfume Hall of Fame¹. This perfume, even 20 years after its release, can still be smelled on a friend, a stranger waiting at the crosswalk, maybe even you or a loved one…it’s still everywhere. After its successful release, It’s inspired many impostors (from designer to niche). And I even swear that I’ve sniffed spray starch and laundry detergent trying to be like Le Male. There is no doubt that this perfume has a legacy.
Sweet lavender musk and mint gelato; that’s the opening. Sweet, herbal and aromatic… The heart is metallic, sweeter and powdery like cinnamon sugar cookies with cool spices like coriander and cardamom. There’s a contrast of warm/cool. And a contrast of sweet/savory from vanilla and neroli with spices like cumin. This fragrance is incredibly long-wearing and on my skin it’s mostly a musky lavender and vanilla with “robo-woods” (like lab-made “perfect” woods).
I can’t explain Le Male’s success, other than it does smell good, almost like a 90’s take on classic lavenders like Caron Pour Un Homme de Caron. Francis Kurkdjian (in his mid-20’s at the time) was the perfect perfumer for Jean Paul Gaultier, talented, young and playful. Plus, the packaging doesn’t hurt. It’s homoerotic, yet, still appeals to straight men and women, like it’s some sort of macho action figure. Plus, it’s a nice accompaniment to Classique, the feminine fragrance launched in the early 1990’s. Could some of the success be a backlash to fragrances marketed as unisex such as Calvin Klein CK1? Did people pick up on the cheekiness of it all? Because really Le Male is rather unisex but the name and the packaging tells us otherwise…Now to the packaging. It’s so Jean Paul Gaultier from the tin can to the sailor stripe mannequin. By the 1990’s, Gaultier was a household name, even a fairly-sheltered hausfrau in mid-America had heard of him (thanks, Madonna). I supposed Le Male’s success was partially timing but it’s still worn today, so there’s more to it. It smells good; it works.
Notes listed include mint, lavender, bergamot, cinnamon, cumin, orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean, sandalwood and cedarwood. Launched in 1995. PERFUMER – Francis Kurkdjian
Give Le Male a try if you like sweet aromatics. Or if you like perfumes like Caron Pour Un Homme, Cuba Gold, Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Lavande and/or By Kilian A Taste of Heaven. Also, this stuff is unisex in my opinion, especially when dabbed and not over-sprayed.²
Projection and longevity are above average. I prefer this to be dabbed vs. sprayed. I can not emphasize that enough.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Sweet lavender musk. A classic fragrance in some of the best perfume packaging ever.
¹There isn’t one but if I had one, Le Male would be in it.
²Over-spraying is the death of these popular masculines. Thanks a lot, hormonal teenage boys. I think at this stage of my life that I can now identify Le Male by its taste instead of its smell…
Want more reviews? Try…
Basenotes – Member reviews
And Youtube is full of young men reviewing/debating the importance (or lack thereof) of Le Male.
*Product purchased by me. Product pic from Basenotes. Jeffrey Hunter pic from www.fanpix.net. Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!