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 624 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

If Eau Sauvage had adopted Caron's Third Man as a boy, he would be very proud to see how he'd turned out as a man.

The dry down is perfection.
27th November, 2019
One not to be ignored by fans of woody scents, Third Man really shines in many ways. Way ahead of its time (it was released in 1985), it is bright and bold, warm and comforting, reminiscent of cloves and carnation flowers and very long-lasting.

Whilst most scents these days contain enough sweetness to make the wearer wonder wether they need a health check, Third Man remains dry as a bone throughout the day and yet remains restrained and does not overpower.

The opening lemon notes can feel rather strange at first but once the opening calms down, the pleasant aroma of cloves and spicy carnation flower accord sinks through, the opening is a distant memory.

The scent may dry down further, however I find the clove accord stays right to the end. Patchouli may enter in the mix as well somewhere but it is hard to notice behind the other notes.

All in all, a wonderful masculine that is clearly a classic. Perhaps one of the best scents to wear to an interview or an office setting.
21st October, 2019
A clove bomb, with boring DNA. Too old fashioned for my tastes - I'm talking way, way back to the 40's. A very "Italian cologne". Cloves and lemon, with not much else happening. The middle is ok, but nothing to gloat about. The dry down is nice, but mostly a powdery vanilla and tonka, nothing special. This does remind me of a very stripped down version of D&G pour Homme, without any tobacco. Performance is good, but again, not my taste. I can see this appealing to a lot of men who are into shaving essentials.
13th October, 2019
The Third Man by Caron is what you get when you take Caron's Pour un Homme (1934) and combine it with Burt Reynolds' swagger and chest hair.

It opens up with a big jolt of lavender flavored with a spicy cinnamon (it's not in the note profile, but it sure smells like cinnamon to me) and clove/anise combination. The initial whiff screams "1980s" to me -- lots of patchouli in the base of this -- with its brute power. For the first few minutes, I'd dare to say that this almost borders on obnoxious as far as the strength and spiciness of it. After ten or twenty minutes, that spiciness recedes and leaves you with an angrier, more intense version of Pour un Homme. That lavender and vanilla DNA from Pour un Homme is still the framework around which The Third Man is built. The added herbs and spices unfortunately make this smell somewhat similar to those potpourri sachets that you find in "country style" houses or small shops that sell greeting cards. Once you get that image in your head when smelling this, it's pretty hard to shake. Well, for me, at least. The further it dries down, the more "domesticated" it gets, and the more domesticated it gets, the better it gets, in my opinion.

This is a very warm fragrance, much more so than Pour un Homme, and I think this would be best kept to cooler weather. It's a very distinguished scent, yet one that certainly smells dated; much more dated than its 1985 creation date, in fact. This is what I could picture some wealthy Frenchman wearing as he walks the gardens of his estate on a crisp September day in Calvados, circa 1930. This isn't something that I will be buying, but for the right person, this could be just the kind of classy, old-school, soft, yet "filled with gravitas" scent that they're looking for. It's a thumbs up for me.
09th August, 2019
I love the smell of cloves, and you should too, if you wish to appreciate this fragrance. Citrus blast, honestly doesn't smell great for the first 5 minutes to me. Kind of smells thin and generic. After 5 minutes it settles in to the skin and smells fantastic. Lavender, clove, citrus. Easily distinguishable. About 20 minutes in a beautiful coriander smell wafts up. This is the best part of this fragrance. It settles in to a touch smoky moss/vetiver. Quality.

I will say, that to me this smells cologney. You will smell like a cologne guy, maybe even a dated 80s cologne guy. One that has good taste, but one that smells a bit dated.
29th January, 2019
The legacy of Ernest Daltroff and his exactingly traditional perfume style was evident at Caron even years after his death, and having made only 2 very iconic masculine fragrances since their 1904 inception up to the point Number 3 (1985) was named and released, Caron had a tall order to serve. Pour Un Homme De Caron (1934) was Daltroff's own homage to the lavender-scented dandy of the late 19th century, giving guys an "official" masculine lavender they didn't have to sneak into the women's perfume counter to buy. Yatagan (1976) was a fierce green leather chypre from Vincent Marcello in the burly 70's convention that was very much against the genteel grain Daltroff set with Pour Un Homme, so it makes some sense that Caron would return to the style they helped set during Daltroff's lifetime with Number 3. Richard Fraysse, head nose at Caron at the time did most of the composing here, with the help of little-known perfumer Akiko Kamei, created a lush floral fougère of early 20th century design, bolstered with the bold spiciness of oriental tones to make it appropriately loud for the powerhouse age of the 1980's. Number 3 is a mature gentleman's scent with hints of romanticism, and although not a full oriental, was a slight presage to Calvin Klein Obsession for Men (1986), which would take a similar romantic but office-safe direction, just with sweeter and richer tones. What amazes me most about a fragrance like this is the fact that it sits squarely in feminine realms in regard to traditions surrounding the ingredients used in it's composition, but literally because it's a fougère "pour homme", all is seemingly forgiven even by the staunchest of manly men despite how actually gender-neutral it smells, much like the preceding Pour Un Homme de Caron.

Number 3, or Le Troisemme Homme/The Third Man de Caron (three names for the third scent), was partly named after the Orson Welles film and like Pour Un Homme De Caron, is meant to carry the same level of calm elegance. The opening therefore is the trademark rounded French lavender found in the debut Caron masculine, but rather than swaddled in just oakmoss, civet, tonka, and vanilla, it's dressed to the nines with anise, rosemary, and bergamot in the top, to make it a bit more resonant in a tenor pitch rather than the baritone hum of Pour Un Homme. This is just the start however, as we move quickly into cinnamon-sprinkled carnation, jasmine, rose, and geranium. It's that floral dandy heart touched with manly spice which keeps Number 3 straddling the 1980's and 1880's, with a "fern-like" green touch of nutty vetiver alongside the florals to keep Number 3 from feeling too flamboyant. The base is pure Caron richness just like Pour Un Homme, with coumarin, vanilla, and an oakmoss bite carrying over, augmented into an 80's hard rock power chord with ambrette-style musk, not the laundry stuff you'd usually expect. Patchouli and cedar make a show to maintain that fougère accord, but there are no animalic traces outside that musk note, making Number 3 remarkably tame in a decade ruled by castoreum, styrax, and civet overdoses in the men's fragrance segment. Sillage is throbbing but of medium radiance, while longevity is stellar, so you'll never need to worry about reapplication. This kind of fragrance also has amazing potential on a lady, much like alluded to above, since it's florals, musk, amber, and vanilla are very agreeable to the feminine sensibility. It's true that not many lavender-heavy fragrances make their way into the women's sphere these days outside some things from Chanel, but the lavender here is honestly lighter and much more mixed-down than usual, being more of an overture for the rest of the composition rather than the main body.

What I find most interesting about Number 3 is how it sits squarely between rich orange and lavender orientals like Aramis JHL (1982) or Jaïpur Homme (1998), and fruity floral fougères like Zino Davidoff (1986) or Lapidus Pour Homme (1987), yet also be so distinctly it's own animal because of that wonderfully-French top hat and cane aesthetic Caron seems able to do so well when they set their minds to it. Granted, their other more avant-garde male creations like Yatagan and L'Anarchiste (2000) have been met with mixed reactions and thus are about as infamous as their more-traditional fare is famous, but they're not a house which makes "just okay" fragrances like modern rivals Calvin Klein or Dolce & Gabbana, so it's expected. Number 3 is a timeless well-rounded and multifaceted floral fougère that was nearly a classic upon release, and we're lucky to still have it in the 21st century, as most of it's later rivals have met discontinuation, but here the Third Man sits, waiting to become the new signature of the next unsuspecting guy looking for something unique and mature. I'd say keep this one for fall through spring, as it's a bit too warm for summer use and could be cloying, much like it's older brother Pour Un Homme. Vintage version are warmer and richer with oakmoss, and heavier use of tonka too, while newer production is actually superior to my nose, since the florals are allowed to come through more, and the base is a tad sharper, with the tonka and vanilla toned down to be less-cloying, so don't drive yourself too crazy over a 1985 survivor bottle unless that kind of thing is your fetish. Very well done!
19th September, 2018 (last edited: 24th September, 2018)

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