Acteur’s sharp citrus and vehemently aromatic top notes are not the sort of thing you smell much any more. In fact, by the time of its launch in 1989, Acteur was part of a dying breed. With Tsar, Tiffany for Men, and Montana Parfum d’Homme, Acteur was among the last in a line of bold, craggy masculines that spanned the two decades after Yatagan, Aramis, and the original Azzaro pour Homme. The future already belonged to “fresh” fragrances like Cool Water, Eternity for Men, and New West, and to the saccharine-sweet orientals presaged by Joop! Homme. Too bad, if you ask me.
Like Ténéré before it, Acteur is a dry, green, aromatic take on rose and leather, spiked with the sort of animalic notes that fell rapidly from fashion in the early 1990s. Whereas Ténéré depended on a honey note so ripe as to smell urinous for its animal warmth, Acteur leans on musks and what smells suspiciously like sage. After its crackling opening, Acteur slips into a brisk, yet dry arrangement of pungent spices, woods and floral notes, with rose, carnation, cedar, clove, and mace vying for pride of place. Extended wear reveals a warm, yet never sweet foundation of leather and pleasantly bitter resins, with none of the powdery sweetness of commonplace amber compounds.
While no wallflower, Acteur does not have the overwhelming mass associated with the masculine “powerhouses” of the 1980s. Indeed, while bold, it’s far too poised to read as brash or crass. Projection and lasting power are admirable, with the drydown still detectable at up to six or eight hours’ wear. A fine scent, in my estimation, and well worth seeking out.
I actually liked this when I tried it on a few occassions...at least while it lasted. Manages to be both subtle and startlingly potent with spices and strong rose notes. Opens with an astringent, medicinal smell that dries down to a moist green apple heart (not listed in profile, but that's what my nose divines!). Rose and spice with a green tea and apple accord sort of dances back and forth while wearing. Unfortunately, ACTEUR breaks down quickly and messily. Most traces are gone from skin and clothes within 4 hours.
Cannot really pick up any individual notes in this.
It has a sharp synthetic smell that is married to a sweet synthetic one.
Was expecting more after reading reviews. Not sure it would even make a good air freshener.
Classic, well-behaved leather chypre.
I’m not too used to getting fruit notes in opening accords of men’s fragrances – usually the only fruit notes I appreciate are citrus. This unidentified fruit note is rather strong – almost overripe, but it is okay… I suppose its combination with the spices actually makes it quite masculine. In addition to the fruit and the obligatory bergamot, the opening is smooth and gently spiced – non-aggressive cardamom and a soft mace (which I always prefer to its rougher country cousin, nutmeg). It is quite an unusual opening from my experience, and it lasts longer than openings tend to. I enjoy the opening considerably in spite of the fact that it is primarily an accord of ripe fruit.
The floral / conifer middle enters quite quietly – the first hint I get from it is jasmine… a soft, in-the-background jasmine. Then I pick up a demure rose and a bit of the cedar… The jasmine, rose, and cedar form most of the middle accord and it is fairly generic, non-remarkable, but quite pleasant.
The base is another exercise in restraint – the leather stays mainly in the background, as does the amber. The oakmoss and musk are a little stronger to my nose, but they stay quite quiet, also. Again, a fairly generic accord, but subtle, pleasant, with adequate longevity.
Having never before been acquainted with Acteur, I wondered why it had been reintroduced. After testing it, I’d say that its subtly and restraint is the reason it is back on the sales counter. The softness and lack of aggression in Acteur lets it fit in quite well with the contemporary preference for softer fragrances. But it is not a modern fragrance… The very well blended accords are definitely of another age because of their construction and lack of synthetics: I respect this because it presents a genuine, worthy option for the customer. The cost of Acteur is very reasonable – I think that this is a very good fragrance and an excellent deal.
Pros: Excellent structure, good amelling accords, good longevity.
Cons: Could be more exciting."
Pleasant dark rose
I get some clean citrus, then a very rounded and smooth boozy note that turns into a rose and plum scent, very nice indeed. Later on the rose hangs around in a lovely deep dark fashion, making this a perfect autumnal scent for me. Apparently the vintage version has a whack of oakmoss in it that I can well imagine really adds to the depth. Considering when it was made this fragrance doesn't smell dated to me either - I shall definitely be buying a larger bottle of the vintage formulation when one turns up cheaply on ebay - there is something about this scent that makes it smell very expensive - the rose note reminds me of the rose note in amouage Jubilation XXV, it is very well done.
Pros: modern smelling, smooth, unusual, cheap
Cons: might be too dark for some
30th July, 2013 (last edited: 02nd October, 2014)
*This is a review of the vintage Acteur
Acteur (vintage) opens with a relatively dark rose, carnation and non-smoky vetiver trio, the rose by far the strongest of the three. The rose used is slightly spiced by cardamom, giving it a dirty vibe early-on. As the scent enters its heart phase, the rose led trio remains, now joined by a musk and oakmoss tandem rising from the base that acts as further musky dark support to the starring rose. As the scent enters its final phase during the late dry-down, the floral accord now fades considerably, as a very aggressive relatively dry amber base note takes over the dominant role through the end of the scent's life. Projection is average and so is longevity.
Acteur (vintage) has a lot of fans on the web and with the notes involved I expected to be one of them. Certainly there is much to love here for folks seeking a more "masculine" rose scent, as the rose when mixed with the relatively subdued vetiver definitely darkens its floral nature making it most likely an easier scent to wear from a male perspective. That said, the floral accord somehow just feels a bit off to me as it comes off as just *too* dark once it adds in the dirty cardamom spice along with the musky oakmoss. Adding to this is the amber that dominates the dry-down is a bit too strong and also comes off as overly simplistic. In short, Acteur (vintage) is a competent enough fragrance that should satisfy many and is certainly worthy of trial, but it comes up a bit short earning a weak "good" 3 star out of 5 rating. When masterpiece quality rose and carnation scents like vintage JHL by Aramis can still be readily acquired for similar sums on the market it is very hard to recommend Acteur (vintage). This one was a blind buy that I can't say I regret, but would not have made knowing what I do now.
12th January, 2013 (last edited: 05th March, 2013)