First of all, respect to Caron, who sent me, on request, free samples of this alongside Pour un Homme (as well as, unlooked for, a sample of Pour un Homme Sport. Reviews of all three to come).
In terms of the scent: 3rd Man is potentially a direct rival to Chanel's Pour Monsieur in my collection. It is surely no accident that in Luca Turin's one-star review of Pour Monsieur parfum, he suggested "Get Caron's Troisieme Homme instead". 3rd Man, Pour un Homme de Caron and the Chanel are obvious candidates for comparison to each other. Given that I have a bottle of the Chanel parfum already and think quite highly of it, the comparison becomes very interesting.
I find that 3rd Man starts out in that dandyish fashion described by Tania Sanchez (also in The Guide). The familiar stages are there, starting with lavender, working through an attention-piquing but subtle note of anise, and thence to some strong florals. At the start I am left wondering if this is just too "Latin lover", too contiguous with the Anglo-American idea of the feminine, or just plain too assertive. But no: readers of the prior reviews or those familiar with the scent itself will know what comes next: a nicely melded moss accord that stiffens the whole thing up and brings it finally and decidly into masculine territory. This works for me, big time: at points, I was wondering what the terrific smell was, and tending to the jealous, before realising that this transition was taking place on my own skin.
The development is brilliant, the scent terrific, the longevity Biblical, and the sillage all you could want. So does it beat Pour Monsieur? That's a difficult question. Pour Monsieur parfum is my current go-to for work when I know I will be in senior company. 3rd Man has a slightly different vibe about it, despite being a very similar scent. Thankfully I don't need to decide now. Once I've worked through the Chanel, some difficult decisions might have to be made (or I could just buy them both!).
Great stuff. I look forward to sampling the other two Carons.
It is a classical composition - on paper. All the good old stuff mixed well. But I still do not like it.
I think it is the moss that makes it weird. The use is not conventional (which is why people love it). For me the moss+floral+tonka combination here is almost repulsive. I love that combination generally but not here. I think they have been combined together rather than traditional separation of phase
For the seventh installment of 'Where did my review from several years ago go?' I will be looking at The Third Man.
It sounded great on paper, so a few years back I purchased a small decant from the Perfumed Court. My immediate impression was wonder of sorts, concerning how a perfume could come off as so natural and suave while also being that strong. In most cases you might get one or two of the three, but this really has it all. We see here the vanilla and lavender of Pour un Homme matched with some bright-as-day bergamot, a licorice-y anise ( a mixture which would be often copied in the decade to come), a swoon-inducing floral heart starring carnation and rose, and a deep, rich bed of tonka and moss. I echo here what many have said before, in that I wish the opening lasted longer (if not forever), but the total experience is decadent and lavish, with a natural yet manicured build like an English country garden in a velvet evening suit. I can think of few parallels to this level of quality in terms of blending, progression, and overall scent. I have tried two vintages so far, both of which are almost frustratingly attractive, like I am insulting the brand by not having a perfect face to match. This is one of the greatest lavenders out there, a real fougere paradise. My only caveat about its use is that, if over-applied re-applied throughout the day, the base becomes thick and stagnant, so watch the trigger.
Now this is male perfumery. Usually in the perfume industry us men are treated inferiorly and arrogantly, but here this is reversed. Caron knows how to make men smell good and I am overwhelmed with the fact that they put great effort in this task. The vintage juice is slightly better but the new one is also very identical. If you can get both please do so, you will never regret it. This not only smells great but it also taught me many things about how a man should wear and use perfume. Not for gaining attention but for smelling great. On this account this the most fashionable fougere ever. It starts citrusy and then dries down in a musky, sweet, floral way reminiscent of pouring romantic florals on aftershave. Collector or not get it, wear it and learn from it. After that you will understand that 75% of fragrances aiming men consider you a blunt bloodless stereotype.
Out of the gate, it smells “old,” yet within seconds it begins to feel current. A borderline leathery citrus perched on top of an expected mossy/lavender accord, yet all the genre tropes of the ‘80s masculine are subdued to reveal gently powdered and complicated floral accord. There are so many competing aesthetics at work here that it’s amazing that the scent doesn’t just collapse, but what keeps it afloat is a tasteful camphorous-type accord that’s little more than a hint. The bitterness and the herbal overdoses (that tend to overrule this particular style) are scaled back to humane levels, and the whole thing comes off as effortlessly approachable while retaining some traditional edge. It’s not my style overall, and it nose dives into a fairly redundant minty moss after just an hour or so, but it strikes me as more versatile than many of its brethren. A powerful silhouette yet less boorishly “alpha”—impressive overall.
I gave 3rd Man a good college try, but it just doesn't work for me. I have a major problem with the carnation/clove note that never really subsides until about the 10 hour mark. Hey, but it's great after that! No, I can't do it. It's a shame, because I do like the floral aspects. The next-day drydown is lovely too. I own both Yatagan and Pour Un Homme and would recommend those over #3.