If the opening of Monsieur Carven lasted longer I'd stockpile it like canned food in a fallout shelter. It comes on so rich, vibrant, and loud. Though the opening is a little deceptive in that the whole winds down much too quickly this is still an exemplary scent. What I get for most of its lifespan in the listed base notes above and the cinnamon. There's more to it, but mostly nuanced. Most of the wear is a superb cinnamon and leather scent laced and earthily sweetened with vanilla, civet (very nice use here - a bit lemony in the mix, like the later Ungaro II), and moss. Swap out the civet for some dark castoreum and Monsieur here would be a few bitter greens from being mistaken for Jovan's Gambler (this is only really important because once my supply of one is gone I may need to fall back on the other).
It is interesting to note that for a short while as the top noise departs there is a middle stage that smells like a man's take on popular women's scents of and around the 50's - the spicy-powdery prevalence of carnation and orris reminds me of creations like Anais Anais and Poivre/Coup de Fouet, just dirtier and less 'white' in this instance.
With a prolonged top phase this one would certainly be in my 'Pantheon' of fragrances but as it is Monsieur Carven is still a fun ride with its distinct and very enjoyable phases, and the drydown is as strong and assured as it is lasting. It is a very gentlemanly creation, but it is brighter and more outgoing than many of its boardroom peers. Just very enjoyable stuff.
The top notes are wonderful: an intense artemisia, neroli, lavender and bergamot - traditional and extraordinarily well executed. The drydown adds jasmin and a fairly mild patchouli, based upon a soapy barbershop-style moss note with a touch of civet harshness, whilst sandalwood is felt in the base. On my skin the opening part is the best, whilst later this is a good classic fougère-type scent that is well made but not particularly exciting. Adequate silage and projection and good longevity of six hours. Great in spring.
Monsieur Carven opens with a sharp aldehyde infused blast of citric bergamot, aromatic lavender and green wormwood before moving to its heart phase. During the early heart the bergamot remains in a subdued form, as the lavender and wormwood take the fore supported by sharp woody vetiver. As the heart progression continues hints of an animalic powdery oakmoss laced leather accord begin to permeate the herbal woody greens, combining with a dark rose and carnation floral tandem. By the end of the heart phase the powdery oakmoss laced animalic leather becomes much more prominent and dominates the early part of the dry-down before softening very late as subtle slightly sweet sandalwood cuts the aggressive mossy leather as the accord finally fades. Projection is average and longevity is good at 10-12 hours on skin.
Monsieur Carven is a classic well made scent that changes many times through its complex development. It starts off sharp, herbal, green and woody before turning powdery and leathery midway through and just slightly sweet late. In some respects the overall accord result is somewhat formal, but far from subtle. Even though the leather is rather hard-core (most likely birch tar and castoreum derived) it never becomes too much to take, as the powdery facets of the oakmoss utilized by the perfumer keep it just well enough in-check. If I have any gripe with Monsieur Carven it is the powdery oakmoss used is just a bit heavier than I would like ideally, but that really is a minor gripe in an otherwise outstanding composition. Monsieur Carven is quite the old-school fragrance that folks used to "flavor of the month" current modern releases might not take well to, but this reviewer loves the style and loves the scent, awarding it a strong 4 out of 5 star "excellent" rating. As Monsieur Carven has been off the market for quite some time finding a bottle is far from easy nor inexpensive, but this is one well worth the effort.
Great fragrance, no doubt! I have vintage version of this fragrance which I bought 1982. Still very strong, projective, pleasant smell, smell of a gentleman, real gentleman, smell of old times, better times...
I can proudly say, powerhouse of the 70's & 80's...
Longevity 8 hours in my skin..
Opens up with strong bergamot, aldehydes, midlle notes hard to describe( i can fell lot of jasmin,sandalwood, patchouli), dries down with vanilla, leather.Leather is perfect in this fragrance such as leather in the Antaeus by Chanel.If you have a chance to buy this perfume, grab it, you won't regret it.
In Paris, back in the early 80's, in many perfume stores I was told that the latest Carven fragrances were very synthetic. I really have no actual proof of that. However, Monsieur Carven is one of the most deceptive men fragrances I have ever bought. At first, the vanilla, carnation and cinnamon notes reminded me of the candies we used to eat around Christmas when I was a child. I bought a bottle on the spot! I was expecting a warm, sweet and spicy comfort fragrance I could wear on cold winter days. What a disappointment! I expected a powdery yet spicy dry-down. Unfortunately, Monsieur Carven was hard and dry on my skin. Two of my friends tried it with wonderful results. For that reason, I shall restrain from giving it a thumbs down.