Perfume Directory

Acteur (1989)
by Azzaro

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Acteur information

Year of Launch1989
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityDiscontinued
Average Rating
(based on 119 votes)

People and companies

HouseAzzaro
Parent CompanyGroupe Clarins
Parent Company at launchMäurer & Wirtz

About Acteur

Acteur is a masculine fragrance by Azzaro. The scent was launched in 1989

Acteur fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Acteur

rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A review of the vintage version

The opening with its archetypal bergamot in combination with cardamom provides a classical fougére opening, which is given additional complexity by means of adding a greenish calamus with a nutmeg-like mace infusion - all these result in a herbal-fresh set of top notes.

Going into the drydown, I note the turn to the floral side, but not to sweet florals. The one of the main players amongst the heart notes is a herbal rose note. This is a discrete but nonetheless intense rose, whose volumes has been dialed down sufficiently to blend in seamlessly with the other components. The later are constituted by white carnation as well as a delicious traditional oakmoss. This oakmoss is of a restrained harshness, and it is subtly crisp. Whiffs of a dark patchouli of similar gentle harshness is are present at times too.

The base is characterised by the development and a moderately tannic leather impression. This leather is not very hard and of limited smokiness only. Towards the end dark and musky undertone together with a woodsy - mainly cedar - aroma in the background adds additional depth.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a very good eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This autumnal creation of considerable originality is a convincing example of a top-notch chypre fragrance. Less harsh than Gucci Nobile, smoother than Gianfranco Ferré for Man, and with a beautiful pre-IFRA-castration oakmoss that distinguishes it from the like of Monsieur Le Couturier for instance. The quality of the ingredients is superb and the performance is very good. 4/5.
03rd October, 2019
captures the smell of tiny rose buds after a summer shower...not a hot day, more on the cooler side...the after rain breeze blows a freshness bringing with it little clouds of the rose scent...refreshing and aromatic...a nice delicate rose...a crisp dry greenness and spiciness adds nice accents to the smell...to my nose , I don't really detect any leather ( well, maybe a veil hanging in the background ) or anything overly animal about this fragrance...i find that it opens with power and has nice projection throughout and a pretty decent life span...i think it's mild enough to get away with a lite spray for most occasions...again, all depends how comfortable you are wearing a rose scent that is masculine but does lean a lot to the yin side of the spectrum...
16th April, 2019
Georgeus scent ,like Van Cleef PH .
07th June, 2018
Azzaro Acteur is a very different and dare I say strange kind of masculine fragrance that to some may seem barely so, but that's part of it's allure. Perfumer Maurice Maurin is the nose that brought us Hermès Amazone in 1974, and like that feminine oddly focused on dark, juicy black currant, Acteur is a masculine leather scent focused on rose at a time when it was well far beyond fashionable to have either a leather chypre or a rose scent. It's uncertain if Maurin was strictly going for an anachronism when he designed Acteur due to the changing of the guard taking place, but 1989 was smack dab in the middle of a huge stylistic shift from dense, complex, and aromatic masculines to light, fresh, and simple ones, so maybe such a far-antiquated throwback seemed new again, and a good way to stand out in a crowded scene of dying powerhouses and their aquatic successors. Acteur was the first major follow-up to the original Azzaro Pour Homme (1978), a lovely sunny resinous fragrance that came to redefine the barbershop fougère away from the powdery vanillic tonka bombs people were long used to, and Loris Azzaro wore it himself to further the effect. Loris had said he wanted his debut masculine built like a perfume (because he wasn't even interested in male perfumery), and so evidently it was, but it seemed when Acteur was commissioned by the house, this was taken to heart even more, since the stuff literally could be a mid-century rose chypre for the Stepford wives of the Mad Men. Seems Paco Rabanne would have a similar idea with Ténéré (1988) the year before, so maybe this was competition meant to spur a revival of men's chypres but powered by rose instead of lemon. Who knows? Neither would really end up successful in the end, and both these days are of niche interest and the province of hobbyists alone.

Acteur opens up with an almost plum sweetness, before heading into bright bergamot, calamus, cardamom and the mace portion of nutmeg not typically used in perfume. The cardamom is the next most detectable facet of the opening besides that sweet plum and bergamot zest. Not long after, a rich damask rose comes strait at you; this is not the kind of rose typically found in a masculine perfume, as usually rose is dried almost to the point of being mistaken for rosewood and adulterated with sandawood if not, just to keep it from being round or sweet. Fragrances like Aramis 900 (1973) are among the few masculines that used a slightly sweeter take on rose but then used galbanum as a drying counterpoint note, and still gets considered too feminine for many (but not me); however, even that isn't the case with Acteur. Damask rose comes in nearly like Avon's Roses, Roses (1972) with a sweet, soft, and full of dewy bounce that really had no place in an 80's masculine, especially when you consider it's augmented further by jasmine, carnation, and cedar into almost a "rose jam" sort of tone. The heavy chypre base of moss and leather warms and dries Acteur just a tad near the end, and it's the only thing really letting you know this is supposed to be a leather chypre, as the rose is so dominant through most of this. Oakmoss and leather are joined by amber and musk, which actually keep themselves pretty low-key and just sweet enough to strike a compromise with that rose heart note and the leather here. This is most certainly a dandy dream come true and pretty much unisex in my opinion, and 180 degrees away from the "gentleman in a bottle" of the debut Azzaro men's scent. In the 21st century, this might find a whole new niche audience with people not so hard line about their gender associations, or just folks who like to explore themselves, but alas, it's been discontinued for a while now.

Men who are fans of rose really can't ask for much more representation from the flower than here, and guys who like leather chypres won't have much to complain about either if they can handle the rose. Acteur was more than likely just misunderstood and irrelevant upon release in 1989, since everything was fast becoming a shrill ozonic, barely-there aquatic, lavender-forward "fresh" fougère, or some bastard oriental hybrid that kept one foot in the fresh side and one in the richness of it's better half. Acteur didn't really belong in any of those soon-to-be staple 90's masculine categories; it was plum, rose, moss, and leather, the kind of thing dandies during the Victorian Age would have worn to impress a date, or at least in the early 70's when male aromatics flirted with rose. As it stands, this Acteur took stage without an audience, and only through word of mouth between the cult of converts it's picked up over the decades does it continue to live on, seemingly more fitting in the gender-relaxed times of the 2010's than it's ever been before. Maybe Azzaro should bring it back and pitch it as the unisex fragrance it really is, but sell it as a more limited exclusive, since I still don't think it would have an audience big enough to make a comeback in department stores. I'm a sucker for a good agreeable rose scent, so my opinion of this beauty is biased, but for those less inclined towards it's subject matter, maybe a drier and less-intense rose masculine is a better starting point. One thing is for sure: mixing "rose jam" with leather and amber is one sure-fire way to scream "dandy" loud and clear, so that about sums up my love for the stuff. Acteur is fairly romantic to me, so I'd avoid office or casual use, and keep it indoors or in spring/fall weather. Gorgeous, more than a little gay, doomed to failure, and misunderstood to the max! Sign me up!
10th March, 2018 (last edited: 04th February, 2019)
Bavard Show all reviews
United States
A woody rose fragrance. I'm not a big fan of the woods used by Azzaro. The rose is fine. This is an interesting fragrance, but not quite for me.
17th April, 2017
Acteur is one of the last romantic attempts to make the masculine floral take hold after the powerhouse era. Its body comprises the 'Arizona' dryness of Quorum silver, all dry-as-dirt cedar and sage, but the composition is dominated by a lush Damask rose the likes of which you'd expect to encounter in a Tom Ford fragrance. The overall experience is somewhat short-lived, but the drydown is a plummy-rose-wood which is deceptively strong.
I can't fathom why they made this a 10% concentrate when it could easily have been as radiant as any 80's name brand, but I can't help but wonder if it was intentional; a continuation of the past streamlined for the future?
It's probably one of those great ideas that got caught in the crossfires of the times and was scrapped in favor of the new.

Edit: I completely forgot to mention the calamus. I love both the taste and smell of calamus root, and as such appreciate the dry, almost dirty (as in actual soil) not-quite-ginseng vibe it lends to Acteur. It's an understated and lovely little touch one doesn't often come across in designer scent.
09th August, 2016 (last edited: 08th September, 2016)

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