Perfume Directory

Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man (1985)
by Caron


Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man information

Year of Launch1985
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 583 votes)

People and companies

PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanyAles Group
Parent Company at launchA.H. Robins

About Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man

Created in 1985 and inspired by the title of the film directed by Carol Reed, Le 3ème Homme by Caron is a tribute to the elegant man played by Orson Welles.

Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man fragrance notes

Reviews of Number 3 / Le 3ème Homme / The Third Man

What everyone writes us true. An absolutely gorgeous classic.
25th November, 2017

I recently started wearing this again as the rain & cold come in, and this has changed the way I think about it a little. Here are some revisions (+ some thoughts unchanged) adjusted for a fall-winter sensibility (sensibility matters a great deal in this case...)

The opening is a flurry of yellow-green notes with an underlying hint of pink: some sweet and tangy lemon (or so one reads, yuzu) supported by orange (both bergamot and mandarin are listed somewhere, but I’m not exactly sure, as the effect is a jangling citrus medley). There are some sharper edges too: geranium and anise, establishing a musty-spicy barbershop fern accord with mutedly sweet, natural lavender that you may recognize as coming from the legendary Caron Pour un Homme, with its raw edges softened into something more breezy.

So initially, yeah, a gangbusters barbershop citrus-lavender accord that leads to a spicier heart, reminding me of old-school fougeres like Pasha or Azzaro Pour Homme, albeit more elusively unisex. Being a regular wearer of Yatagan, I'd swear there's galbanum in this, adding to the strident green elements of coriander and vetiver that come to the fore after the initial top notes settle.

Dominating the heart thematically are flowers: a peppery carnation paired with a sticky jasmine note, the latter of which has a notable indolic facet (if you don't know about indoles, this means the hint of body-odour smells that lurk in ripe white flowers). This skank is well integrated into the composition, sensually suggestive of sex and skin (cooling sweat or saliva) rather than skat, and melding well with the not-quite-clean-smelling musk used by Caron in both Pour un Homme and Yatagan... a rind of candied lemon vestige still ringing in the skin scent over earthier tones.

There is one more unexpected turn: the sandalwood, tonka and moss base with a touch of patchouli adding a distinct, retro note. That base has an underlying smoothness, an amber-toned glow. Clove and cedar add a touch of camphor to the tart-sweet/cool-warm mix.

When all is said and done, the smell on the sleeve of my shirt produces a strange mix of soothing pleasure, bracing ‘it’-ness and…unease. The very persistent ghost of the yuzu opening seems like a stimulating freshness just out of reach, the heart like an almost too-femme tenderness of white blossoms opening in the midst of a summer evening, and the musky base some kind of intimate familiarity I can't directly address. Despite its heavy use of citrus, it’s not a ‘light’ fragrance, but somewhat aggressive in its density. It feels complex yet linear, and, with its solid projection and excellent longevity, can be a little relentless.

And yet I like it, a lot. Like others in the Caron 'Holy Trinity' the ingredients are of good quality and very well blended so as to continue giving gratification deep into the nicely-paced drydown. It is datable but not cliché, and, I would say, relevant for transcending the limits of its origin and genre. Sometimes this reminds me of something very vintage (Eau Sauvage, Chanel Pour Monsieur or even Pinaud Clubman), and other times it recalls the risky approach to masculinity that was emerging in the late 70's, both assertively personal and expressively transgressive. It makes me want to reach for good clothes and, if I'm honest, a cigarette.

To sum up: this is an addictive, and highly dependable hybrid of an aromatic citrus chypre and a spicy/soapy/green fougere with a heady dose of florals and an underhanded/deftly delivered hint of skank.

Like all the Caron masculines I've tried, it takes some getting used to… This one ('number three') maybe most of all. I find its social complexities (gender-bending or macho? Sexy or barbershop?) are best held together by good tailoring (choose a suit that fits you well enough that you can slouch in it), while its mix of dissonant notes makes the most sense to me in cool weather. Wear it in selfish reverie, and make like nothing’s happening at all.
13th November, 2017
A very cleaver masterpiece!!!!
Been meaning th try this for some time and I finally ordered a bottle after rereading the Luca Turin review, and as much as I agree with the outcome of the review it does not do it justice. 3rd man starts off with a sour lemon blast which is very smooth for an opening especially with it being an 80s fragrance, then it turns a touch spicy with the clove coming in, I also detect a bit of dirtiness at this stage but is kept far enough back to not peturb anyone, it's also has a deep creamy sharpness which stays with the evolution of the fragrance up until the sweet spicy Jasmine base comes in. The transition of this perfume is seamless and if you don't sniff yourself every minute you may miss it. At times I do get a whiff of the dry down of vintage Bijan and a mild whiff of pour Monsieur by Chanel it also has a manly coco Chanel vibe but this is only when looking for it. This is not a feminine fragrance imho but it is pretty but in a macho way. The clever bit about this fragrance is that the perfumer has taken an 80's rich decadent oriental and added a touch of masculine barbershop vibe then blitzed it to make it silky smooth, the perfumer has also made a fragrance that at times you want to save for special occasions then at times it feels like a jeans a T scent on a rugged man and for this I applaud the craft gone into this as you can sense when wearing it this fragrance wasn't a creation of putting lots of nice smells together and BAM!!!! this is a scent that has been thought about and designed long before creating it. make no mistake if this was labelled Chanel or Tom Ford it would be 3 times the price but for some reason Caron doesn't get the headlines that it deserves because the quality is right up there with the best.
26th August, 2017 (last edited: 27th August, 2017)
Two Versions

Akiko in France
I wear your smoky yuzu
And remember you.

12th June, 2017
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Excellent warm weather scent. I happened to love lavender, so this one excels. Just a well-done fougrere, not too hard, not too soft- just right. Bravo!
22nd April, 2017
Smooth, classic oriental fragrance from Caron!

What can I say that hasn't already been said: The Third Man is a wonderful old-school scent that is full of character; just look at the fragrance note triangle!

Sweet and floral elements meld into a potion that is classy from the very start. Star anise is prominent, as is the amber, vanilla, Tonka and musk in the base that is clearly the foundation for The Third Man.

Not for everyone, the Third Man is along the lines of other old-school classics like Laura Biagiotti's Roma Uomo, Chanel pour Monsieur, or Hugo Boss Baldessarini Concentree: Thick, moderately loud, and definitely sexy. Glad to have this in my collection.
28th February, 2017

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