Perfume Directory

Le Mâle (1995)
by Jean Paul Gaultier

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Le Mâle information

Year of Launch1995
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1636 votes)

People and companies

HouseJean Paul Gaultier
PerfumerFrancis Kurkdjian
SupplierQuest International
Parent Company at launchShiseido > Beaute Prestige International

About Le Mâle

The first male fragrance by Jean Paul Gaultier. The bottle is in the shape of a male torso and packaged in what looks like a baked bean tin. The bath products are shaped liked paint tubes.
The prestige version of the fragrance features a 'bulb puffer spray'.

Le Mâle fragrance notes

Reviews of Le Mâle

Le Mâle is a very important fragrance, and indeed a very controversial fragrance, in the world of perfume. This was Jean-Paul Gaultier's debut masculine and it set the world alight with it's bizzare tin can packaging and risqué muscular male torso bottle with sailor shirt stripes to match the previous year's Classique (1993) and it's bare-chested feminine bust. Le Mâle did several things at once upon release: it established perfumer Francis Kurkdjian as his first creation (and arguably most successful one); it's loud and bombastic smell cut through the club scene like a hot knife through butter and was the de facto king of the club scene until Paco Rabanne 1 Million arrived in 2008; it unintentionally gave the gay community on the male/male side a champion scent due to it's bottle design, bright smell, and "sailor boy" aesthetic that was in line with gay ideals of male beauty. You simply couldn't get away from this stuff in the club scene, and even after scents like Curve for Men (1996), and Givenchy Pi (1999) started taking nibbles at Le Mâle's dominance in more mixed clubbing company, it continued to rule the gay scene for years to come, and is still a strong contender even in the face of the aforementioned 1 Million.

In fact, Le Mâle has perhaps become too successful for it's own good, which fuels the controversy around it's artistic merits because everyone was just overexposed to it back then like they were 1 Million, and more-recently Dior Sauvage (2015). The scent's famous artemisia and mint opening is much to blame for it's shrill piercing of hot nightclub air, but it isn't quite an ozonic as it doesn't have a huge grapefruit note, but just the usual bitter bergamot and a contrasting cardamom note. Le Mâle is all about contrasts, which is how it gets to be so freakishly loud without being cloying like Joop Homme (1989) at similar volume levels. Cinammon and dirty cumin is opposed by fresh lavender and orange blossom, showing Francis Kurkdjian borrowing a play from Edmond Roudnitska in the "dirty but clean, virile but pleasant" department, but the base ends up taming this beast at the end. Sandalwood, cedar, tonka, amber, and vanilla act as a forgiving security blanket that hides the diametrically-opposed notes in the top and middle. By the time Le Mâle is (finally) a skin scent, only wisps of the mint and lavender really remain to mix with the heavier, creamier, and powdery base, making this a very barbershop-like smell in it's final throes. I actually get a bit irritated by this finish, but wearing it on shirt helps keep the top around longer.

Le Mâle is finally starting to appear dated around it's 25-year mark, and like other notorious period scents from the 90's like Nautica (1992) and Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1995), is so inexorably linked to the decade of it's birth that even in the gay scene (where it had the longest clubbing lifespan), it's seen as "old-school", which hurts it's wearability. If loud mint, bergamot, lavender, spice and vanilla traffic jams sound like something you could dig, you can't go wrong with Le Mâle, but if you werd duly overexposed to it like I was, then you can appreciate it's importance but never bring yourself to wear it, or wear it again in some cases. Nuclear sillage and the longevity of canned Spam is the name of Le Mâle's game, so I need not go into that. Where you use it is up to you because it will make a scene wherever it's found (much like Joop as well), and has come in so many different packaging editions that it's also become a darling with collectors. The scent has always been something of a sneeze fit inducer to me, so I'm forced to give it a neutral, but in no way am I dismissing the entire Le Mâle line, as there have been many different and nice flankers in the years since, a good portion of which are also designed by Francis Kurkdjian. A famous fresh, jarring, semi-powdery scent that is instantly recognizable but sadly just not for me.
20th June, 2018
The legendary Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier... Introduced in 1995, it is one of the most successful - and most copied - perfumes of all time, that really influenced the way male perfumery advanced ever since.

Being the second perfume I ever got back in 2000 (5 years after its release and still being extremely popular back then), there are so many memories tied with its smell. I believe that Le Male is the kind of male perfume that every single perfume enthusiastic should smell as an introduction to what male perfumery was and still is all about. It is exceptional in its own way and - while it may smell a bit dated after so many copies of its smell being released, from male perfumes to... car deodorants, still stays relevant to JPG brand philosophy. You may love it, you may hate it but you have to give it a try.

Nice longevity, ideal projection - I feel that it is a bit watered down nowadays, compared to the original formula though, which is not a bad thing, considering the fact that the original formula could stay on skin for 24 hours and more. I remember going to the pool wearing the original formula years ago and having people around telling me that the whole pool water smells like Le Male.

Apart from all the flankers of Le Male that JPG released (which all have been kind of fail - except Ultra Male and the new Le Male Essence), in my opinion the only perfume that took Le Male base and developed it to something modern and powerful is Prada Luna Rosa Extreme.

In conclusion Le Male is a milestone in male perfumery, something that being in market for 21 years proves. While I am not sure if it is the way I want to smell in 2016, it has always been a steady presence in my perfume collection, something I love to visit from time to time.

*This review was written after several full wearings of the perfume and not just after smelling this on paper or on wrist.
04th June, 2018
Synthetic at its best. Powdery synthetic scent. I dont get anything in it, it's too lame to separate the notes. I only get some "artificial" lavender. Hmmm...

02nd June, 2018
Does nobody else get shaving foam, herbs and mustiness?

**/*
20th May, 2018
I've bought 125 ml for 40 €
I'm not an expert on reformulations.
The scent is classy and great. I've owned dupes of this fragrance.
Le male in its current state is not worth the money. Sillage is poor and the dry down is not that great.
Kindlooks for 5 dollars is better and the sillage is far better than JPG LE MALE.
18th December, 2017
I don't like to ramble on about reformulation's but this one is totally spoiled now ..it's dry and has lost all of its opulence and density..highly synthetic and basically its not been treasured or treated with any respect by the company that currently formulate it. I gave it away to my 14 year old nephew ..he likes it so at least it wasn't a complete waste of money.
19th November, 2017

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