Perfume Directory

Antaeus (1981)
by Chanel

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Antaeus information

Year of Launch1981
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1113 votes)

People and companies

HouseChanel
PerfumerJacques Polge
PackagingJacques Helleu
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About Antaeus

Antaeus was a handsome hero, son of Greek Goddess of the Earth, Gaeia and God of the Sea, Poseidon.
A warm, woody fragrance with notes of Sage, Patchouli and Labdanum.

Reviews of Antaeus

Antaeus might just be my favorite fragrance of all time, if I were forced to choose. Even though I've worn it hundreds of times, every time I wear it I'll find another reason to enjoy it. I've had numerous bottles in splash, spray, and decants - of all vintages. The oldest bottles are the best.

The only one thing about Antaeus I find challenging is trying to wear it in warmer weather. There are MUCH better fragrances for the summer heat. Another thing to keep in mind is that *less is more* with this one. I tend to use only ONE spray of Antaeus if I know I'll be leaving the house. I can see how some have said that this scent "flaunts itself" a bit. It's very rich, powerful and makes an impression - sometimes a negative impression to those who dislike bold masculine fragrances. For those who are only familiar with the modern mainstream releases, they probably won't easily find much appreciation for Antaeus - and one would expect the same would go for, say, Polo, Drakkar Noir, etc.

Antaeus has been reformulated several times and today's Antaeus has been stripped and "updated" to be less offensive - and much less expensive to produce, without a doubt. Some ingredients in the vintage like sandalwood, oakmoss and castoreum are simply not available or permitted to be used any longer. Fragrance-free zones seem to be increasing and, as such, marketing teams have ordered that scents like Antaeus will either need to be tamed or discontinued. It saddens me to think that we might never see another masterpiece like Antaeus produced again.
10th January, 2019
I've been trying out the recent formulation of Antaeus in the local Nordstrom. It's a beast mode, old-school men's fragrance that hearkens back to the 1980's rather than echoing today's favorite trends (by design, of course).

Antaeus is a mix of everything beast-mode that you'd have experienced at raves back in the day, loud and proud but not offensive by any means. Think Oscar de la Renta pour Lui, or Monogram by Ralph Lauren, or Anthracite by Jacomo, or Ted Lapidus pour Homme, or Ungaro I, Havana by Aramis, or Santos de Cartier, or Habit Rouge by Guerlain, or Fendi Uomo, or Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men, or Giorgio VIP Special Reserve for Men, or Halston Z-14, or Quorum by Puig, or...you get the idea!

Unabashed but calculated use of key notes of myrtle, clary sage, patchouli, myrrh + basil + thyme + coriander
spice attacks (unlisted above), and animalic castoreum, among others. Blind-buy only if you love all things vintage beast-mode men's cologne!
15th August, 2018
I never wore the original. That said, I have a passionate but distant love for this fragrance. And for me, there are other Chanel scents that are better blended. I love the leather and moss, but there's something else here (the myrtle?), that always cautions me, "be careful, very very careful." Make a trigger finger mistake with Quorum or Havana and you may clear a room. Too much Antaeus and you'll be running from yourself. As someone once remarked of Kouros, it's almost a scent to spray into the air and step through vs. applying directly. But swagger doesn't like to be told to go softly. I only really wear it with a suit. It's "Bonfire of the Vanities" in a cool black bottle. Go bold or go home. But carefully... :-)
18th June, 2018
This was the first cologne that really wowed me and got me started with all this $hit. The first bottle I got in the early 2000's (I think 2004) was great, I still like and buy the current reformulation but it's definitely diminished from the previous iterations of its former self. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a decent amt. of vintage and that was even better than that first bottle. The crazy part now with this newer version (black cap), is that eBayers are trying to pass off the silver capped one as vintage, lol!
14th April, 2018 (last edited: 23rd July, 2018)
We get it man, you're wearing cologne.

Sure its a high quality , but there's no way anyone under the age of 60 should be wearing this. Every frag has it's 'time' and place, but the small window this one fits just doesn't jive.
06th March, 2018
Antaeus is a legendary "hyper-masculine" scent that not only became a must-have in it's day, but remains thoroughly a must-have for fans of the 80's "powerhouse" style. It was part of a greater movement in 1981, a movement that also begat us several other undeniably male smells like Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui, Bijan for men, and Santos de Cartier. As a member of such a prodigious pack, Antaeus set a standard to be followed for the better part of the decade, and even in modern formulations is still a formidable, infamously stiff scent. This was Jacques Polge's first masculine for Chanel, and only the second masculine the house had made, a whopping 26 years after Chanel Pour Monsieur was released in 1955. Not only would this be a 180 degree turn from the legendary dapper civility of that classic Henri Robert-era creation, but is so far the only time Polge would create such an unabashedly powerful fragrance for men, since he would not compose in the "powerhouse" style again (although he got pretty close with the Francois Demachy collabs for Ungaro in the 90's). It honestly feels almost nothing like a typical Polge masculine, since he went down a creamy, bright or subtle woodsy path thereafter, which is anything but aggressive; just check out future Chanel constructs for men such as Bois Noir/Égoïste (1987/1990), Platinum Égoïste (1993) or Allure Homme (1999). Only recently with Bleu de Chanel (2010) did he step out of that pocket. Meanwhile, Antaeus is as dark as they come, if the bottle is any indication.

The opening of Antaeus is pretty scary for the uninitiated, with lemon, lime, myrtle, coriander, clary sage, and bergamot all screaming out of the sprayer for your attention. Little whiffs of the castoreum in the base rise early here, with the token lavender/sandalwood accord settling in the heart of thyme, basil, rose, and jasmine. The rest of the base catches up to the castoreum as it simmers down into the florals, with labadnum, patchouli, oakmoss, beeswax absolute, and a dry leather note bringing it to skin level. The bright bergamot top and fathomless darkness of the bottom really echoed the composition of the venerable Geo F Trumper's Eucris (1912), but this isn't quite centered around oakmoss like the former, even if oakmoss does play a big part. Antaeus imparts some of the crisp herbs and leather vibes of classic 70's aromatics, keeping one leg back in the darkest of that breed while stepping one foot forward into the brighter high-octane style presaged by scents like Bogart's One Man Show (1980), so in essence Antaeus isn't a straightforward powerhouse like the things that would follow it, but retained a bit of the "natural" density other 70's leather-heavy masculines like Bogart Eau de Toilette Pour Homme (1975), Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme (1978), Chaps Ralph Lauren (1978), or Dior Jules (1980) would feature. Granted, the 80's-standard jet fuel/bug spray top is still there, but once it burns off, the wearer is left not with a rich bed of mosses, musk, and/or tonka like some of it's peers from the same year, but rather a 50/50 blend of dark oakmoss and petrol leather, with the animalic castoreum adding the virile funk and the labadanum enriching everything with a chypre glow. The DNA of most typical 80's powerhouses can be found here, but this is not typical 80's.

I can see indiscriminate use making this a real monster, and guessing the guys back then probably didn't realize these base notes only grew louder with body heat, probably sprayed this on until it was obvious then realized how loud they were smelling only afterward. An easy trigger finger is the name of the game here, and keeping this limited to casual fall/winter use when it's dryness matches the weather is probably best when sporting Antaeus in the 21st century. This is sensual, but not in the romantic way, and more like in the "unbuttoned shirt" sense with chest hair hanging out unfettered. I'd say this could potentially make a decent work scent because of it's crisp dryness in the end, but ultimately that castoreum kind of throws a lewd wrench in it, so unless you have your own office with a door you can close, this is not for work. Honestly Antaeus in any vintage is a hard sell if discretion is the greater part of your valor, and the guy both then and now that wears this is almost certainly making a statement, for better or worse. It's for the bold, passionate and unafraid man, just like the Greek hero after which it's named, and a nearly chauvinistic display of the smells associated at the time with manliness. It's certainly a trendsetter that helped define the decade in which it was produced, and the only time Chanel house perfumer Jacques Polge would show such a lack of restraint in his compositions. Perhaps he just wanted to get it all out of his system before buttoning down and making the more gentlemanly proper men's fragrances he would really become known for in the following years. Who knows? Newer versions of this have the animalic and oakmoss turned down, one due to changes in taste and the other due to restrictions, with more beeswax filling in the gaps, so that may present itself as a little classier and safer to wear in public, but not by a ton as it stays pretty close in attitude to vintage juice. Any way you slice it, Antaeus is the guy "she told you not to worry about", and I love it.
05th March, 2018 (last edited: 16th September, 2018)

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