Chatting with a fellow fragrance fan the other day, we were discussing the, "stages of fragrance appreciation" inspired by an essay by Tania Sanchez. While I don't think I've quite achieved the final stage of "enlightenment" she describes in her trajectory, we agreed on at least three stages we've experienced in our variation as men (there are certainly more beyond this):
1). Paternal fougeres and aftershaves
2). The appreciation of composition and identification of notes
3). Transcendence from genre, gender & trends of imitation
My big breakthrough to #3 happened with Habit Rouge. Like many here, my first reaction to the sample I acquired in a "basenotes sampler" was, "this smells too much like my Grandmother's perfume." But as I compared it against the greatest hits of male fragrance in the sampler, the Creeds, the Diors etc, I kept coming back to it.
The depth and complexity is just stunning. Nothing smells quite like it.
Not only is the dandy orange & opopanax accord strikingly unique and far removed from the typical male fragrance of today, when it blends with the right natural phermones, I've noticed that my female friends react to it very positively. It's friendly, warm and inviting. A fragrance perfect for both personal enjoyment and socializing.
I did notice, however, that after a fresh spritz on a hot summer day, I walked into our local pub and the AC was out of order. Two young ungroomed (and unwashed) rocker/hipsters didn't know what to make of the silage! They made small talk for a moment and then went outside on the port to drink their IPA, air out their footwear and smoke a cigarette.
Not your average men's fragrance indeed.
Habit Rouge opened the door to my continuing journey through the genius of House Guerlain.
Imagine Guerlain's Vetiver with added basil, vanilla, cinnamon, leather and amber and you have Habit Rouge.
It's a complex and interesting blend of aromas to be sure. It's worth waiting after application because although it starts out very gourmand (going through phases of smelling like a communal dining hall and a Chinese take-away), it broadens out to fragrant, oriental spiced woods atop a deeply earthy base. In that base the vanilla, leather, amber and moss work very well together.
It's a mature scent and would not be chosen by the twenty-something man out on the pull, which is a pity because under the right circumstances it would have an effect beyond the cookie-cutter fragrances of the last 15-20 years. It's darker and more mysterious. Though I prefer cleaner, barbershop-style scents, I rate this over Guerlain's other 'classic' vetiver by a country mile.
Good sillage and decent longevity.
Richly confident.A warm and sensual woody blend that is also fresh and oriental and a truly opulent scent that portrays wealth and class.Created for men,but also enjoyed by women,HABIT ROUGE is a masculine, classic and elegant fragrance defined by an original and distinctive composition. Timeless,Captivating, Distinguishing,Sophisticated,Classy,Sensual, Unforgettable and Artistic.
The composition is created through four main fragrant lines, a striking citrusy freshness,the warm sharpness of cinnamon,the strength and elegance of wood and the warm sensuality of vanilla,leather and labdanum.these notes together create a harmonious whole that is a truly memorable and a wonderful signature fragrance for a rich tycoon as it has special scent that people remember and appreciate it.
This EDT is not for the young guy that is out on the prowl but a mature Gentleman that is out for a nice stretch of the unregular.HABIT ROUGE is not also for a unprofessional or a simulator person about fragrance,a real man wearing the fragrance shows that he knows what he wants in life,and knows exactly how to get it.do not wear if you don't want female attention.This is definitely a fragrance that can worn to formal parties and all formal occasions in the Autumn/Winter.Class in a Glass!
Longevity?Great on my skin.
EDP Version: Well, I finally got around to reviewing this one. This one has a close eye on the past--in true Guerlain style it's a respectful blend of past fragrances with a few changes here and there to make something new.
It starts off with pretty much the Shalimar opening. Bergamot and vanilla are the most prominent notes but it is slightly more masculine with a hint of spices. Sometimes the opening seems to fade before the middle kicks in on me which makes for a very interesting quiet phase, but once the middle kicks in strongly echoes the Mitsouko middle. Rose and moss are the main notes there.
The base gets powdery and a bit heavier on the vanilla but it retains the majority of the middle. The wood in the base adds an interesting peppery quality.
This does lean slightly feminine, but that shouldn't really mean much anyway. In my world, the fragrance you wear defines how you feel, not who you are.
People who try to corner fragrances into a particular age group, etc, are really doing them a disservice. The point is, do I want to smell this all day? Yes. Do I want to be in the mood in which this fragrance puts me? Yes. Am I wearing a fragrance that's twice as old as I am? Maybe, so what? It smells good to me! This is a great, well-blended fragrance that gives men the pleasure that comes with the classic Guerlains for women. Relax and enjoy it!
I do have to say though I like the EDP much more than the original. I never realized how big a difference there would be between the two.
One more note about the EDP: in cold weather the progression of notes is beautiful, in warm weather it turns into cherry Doctor Pepper. Definitely a cold weather fragrance!
EDT: This is the classic from the 60s. There should really be a separate entry for the EDT vs EDP as they're very different. The EDT was a scrubber the first time I tried it and I would still never wear it in public. The opening is a beautiful slightly creamy bright lemon but it quickly turns dusty, in a bad way. The best way I can describe it is like this...everyone knows the type of guy who likes to buy things he doesn't actually use. He has a boat that hasn't been on the water in a decade and he bought an RV in the 80s but hasn't really gone anywhere in it. Nobody's even been inside in at least fifteen years. For some reason you're spending the night in it. The sheets were washed a couple of decades ago with a strongly scented detergent but not since then. The sheets now smell like Habit Rouge.
12th April, 2015 (last edited: 19th August, 2015)
If you have not smelled Habit Rouge lately, do yourself a favor: smell before you buy.
The current Habit Rouge is a sad travesty of the wonderful scent it was.
Cheap citrus on top, a mere sketch of the original in the middle, and aggressive laundry musks at the bottom.
Cheaply done, horrible, and expensive to your pocket. Avoid. Guerlain is taking a nosedive.