Perfume Directory

Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme (1978)
by Van Cleef & Arpels


Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme information

Year of Launch1978
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 365 votes)

People and companies

HouseVan Cleef & Arpels
PerfumerLouis Monnet
Parent CompanyInter Parfums
Parent Company at launchElf Aquitaine > Sanofi Beauté

About Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme

Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme is a masculine fragrance by Van Cleef & Arpels. The scent was launched in 1978 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Louis Monnet

Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme fragrance notes

Reviews of Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme

Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme is a pre-powerhouse dense aromatic leather chypre that seeks to be the late 70's version of a generalist scent. We think of generalists now as being midway between an aquatic, a fresh fougère, and sometimes with oriental or gourmand notes tacked on if we're post-2000's, but almost none of those now-conventional genres existed back then, so if one was to make a "something for everyone" masculine, it would be shockingly different from what we might expect now; Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme is that scent. To be clear, this is lightyears away from any modern generalist in terms of distinction and quality, save maybe something blended to perfection like Dolce & Gabbana or Armani's 90's offerings, which get accolades even from fans of far older styles. The danger Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme faces is the same all generalists face: the "little bit of every contemporary style" can backfire and include something that some people just don't like, but overall, the complex orchestration of perfumer Louis Monnet does it's best to blend it all into a nice, dry hum. For the late 70's man that didn't know whether to reach for his Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973), Monsieur Musk by Houbigant (1973) or Bogart by Jacques Bogart (1975) he could simply reach for this one instead. Overall, this is for fans of heavily-mossed late 70's and early 80's masculines, be it a fougère or chypre as it is in the case of this. Fans of the aforementioned would do well with this in their collections, and likewise Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme slightly presages the similarly rich orris-powered heart and mossy bottom of Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui (1981), and staunch woods of Chanel Antaeus made the same year. Dare I say both draw some inspiration from this.

Granted, it doesn't really represent the oriental category much, but they typically stood apart from other masculine categories then because of their sweetness. Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme opens with a typical bergamot top, but is saddled with herbs and florals right from the get-go for a much leafier opening than most things in it's class, pulling this into a direction similar to a middle ground between the rosy demeanor of Monsieur Musk and the soapiness of Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. From there, a crisp smoky accord merges with more soap thanks to the vetiver and orris in the middle, striking up a similarity between Paco Rabanne once again, but with an arid quality all it's own. Before VC&A PH starts being too much of a Paco clone, cedar and jasmine start playing tug-of-war with the "incense and hotel soap" presentation into the rich leather chypre base, which is where this compares most favorably with Chaps Ralph Lauren of the following year (1979) and the earlier Bogart by Jacques Bogart. Leather, oakmoss, olibdanum, labdanum, musk, and amber are all here trying to share the same park bench, with small drop of raunchy castoreum sneaking into the photo shoot at the end. It's never quite enough to eliminate the soap of the middle, which is the scent's greatest weakness, since this soapiness is what ultimately dates Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme the most and then further makes it less wearable to the guy that can't stomach that decade-specific soap by adding the Pink-Dove-Bar vibe with the rose. I personally appreciate it, or else I wouldn't own so many things from this period of this design, but I do admit that one can quite quickly become burned out on the 70's version of "clean" quite quickly if this is worn back to back with many of it's peers, as they all start to run together.

All of this is also why I label VC&A PH a pre-powerhouse, since it keeps one foot firmly in the conventions of it's own decade with that herbal/soapy/barbershop vibe, but transitions through that dark aromatic leather chypre dry down into something dense enough to fight toe-to-toe with any of the mossy übermensch which appeared at the dawn of the 80's, particularly anything of the aromatic variety. Equally convenient is the fact that this does straddle late 70's and early 80's so perfectly that for the vintage masculine fragrance fan who can't decide on which decade he wants, VC&A PH presents a unique compromise between the two. I give this a thumbs up because I enjoy the green floral leather chypre vibe anyway (even feminine ones), and having it blended with crisp herbs, woods, and moss is an added plus because I like the darker and heavier fougères of the era too. Folks not really jiving with that combo are better off with Van Cleef & Arpels' later powerhouse offering Tsar (1989), which was more coniferous and mossy with a dedicated and uncompromising fougère base, having no toes dipped in anything other than once again straddling decades. Anyone digging this is apt to enjoy any of the fragrances I listed from which this combines aspects, or the late Quorum Antonio Puig (1982) as well, which seems to absorb some of this one's style. This "70's generalist" would sadly live in the shadow of Polo Ralph Lauren and Aramis Devin of the same year, but has it's fans and is still kicking around in perfume stores for that reason. Fall and winter seem best for this, and it feels most at home in an office. It's too stiff for romance and too dark for casual/recreational use. It's an interesting cross-section of 70's masculine styles, with 80's power, and very likeable leather that doesn't have the typical gasoline bite. Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme is not by any means essential, but a nice flanking option for fans of this era. Very well done first masculine effort.
05th March, 2018 (last edited: 20th May, 2018)
Stardate 20180305:

Too soapy. Cloyingly so. Good performance.
Now there is a Concentree version of this and despite the name it is more balanced and muted.
If you have an option,get the concentree version. Has all the notes and powerhouse-ness of the original and is wearable.

05th March, 2018
Another old-school classic that checks all the ultra-masculine marks for the overall scent. This one isn't as "stinky" though, has a certain cool, freshness to it. I also find it quite soapy.

Strong performance in projection and longevity.
16th February, 2018
My neutral rating is fairly generous, my leaving it being due to the bold statement the cologne makes and it's silage.

VC&A pour Homme is a definite specific taste, likely either being adored or disliked. To my nose, I smell like a 19th century harlot, sprucing myself up quickly between gentlemen callers. This, to me, is not so much an 80's powerhouse as it is a turn-of-the-century eye-opener.

I find this cologne to be pretty linear, with little change occurring on my skin. Upon initial application and through dry-down, I'm onslaughted with POWDER, florals and subtle musk. This may be the most "baby powder infused with sweet florals" scent I've ever smelled. It seems much better suited for a woman, not a man. Unless, that is, you lived in 1885 and still liked puffing a wig and attending debutante orgies.

This may come across as I detest the cologne; I do not. It certainly has staying power, harkens to a bygone time, and makes a grand statement. And I respect this scent for that. If you like these qualities, then you'll like the cologne. If, however, you are not keen on floraly powdered perfumes that march into a room way before you arrive (even with minimal application), then you may want to steer away.

A certain try before you buy, even though the full-bottle price is extremely affordable.
14th February, 2018
I just got a bottle of this one, current formulation, and I must say, I am blown away. It reminds me of Cartier Santos, but even better. All day, I have been compulsively smelling my wrist, taking deep drafts of this sublime fragrance. I'll need to do more testing for a final verdict, but for the cheap price I paid, this is a no brainer. It is very natural smelling, herbal and quite complex. I might have to hunt down a vintage bottle to get this one in all of it's late 70's/early 80's glory.
10th January, 2018 (last edited: 02nd February, 2018)
In your face masculinity at it's finest. A rich, bold, assertive powerhouse from a bygone era; where hairy chests, gold chains and designer velours ruled the nights at the disco.
Deep, dark and very mysterious!

Perfumer Louis Monnet created a stunning masterpiece of perfumery that has remained tried and true for nearly forty years. My vintage bottle from circa 1987 smells (and wears) exactly like my 2015 bottle. Outstanding for a any fragrance of this caliber, since nothing truly has remained the same from that era without major modifications!

A spicy resinous formula enriched with woods, leather and aromatic herbs. So perfect for cool Fall-Winter evenings, although with a very slight hand; as since the initial application developes into enormous projection in about fifteen minutes later. Absolutely unique and relatively unknown by the masses. Besides, it’s a real bargain for the money of a fragrance of this quality!
12th November, 2017 (last edited: 18th November, 2017)

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  • Vendor: Ebay United States
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