Somewhere halfway two other prominent Japanese brands making (sometimes) nice scents – Comme des Garçons and Kenzo, and a tad below – yet connected to – the majesty of Yohji Homme, there lies “mat; very male” by Masaki Matsuhima. The aesthetics are clearly closer to Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, and so is the inspiration of this scent for me – quite minimalistic, “urban”, dark and hypermodern; but some notes and the overall texture definitely remind me of a couple of Kenzo’s, notably Kenzoair for a similar use of “transparent woods” and a sort of light, grassy-watery breezy vibe. Finally I can’t not mention Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin for the top anise accord, here filtered through a contemporary Japanese sensitivity, and also actually smelling a bit more quality and less juvenile than in Lempicka’s rendition. Just add Comme des Garçons Black’s smoky licorice to the scents I just mentioned above, and you’ve quite a good picture of “mat; very male”. In fact it’s pretty much that: smoky licorice, breezy anise, “airy” woods, an almost unperceivable hint of birch-suede, with a touch of water and a Japanese sense of peaceful, ephemeral suspension. Be prepared to a massively light scent, but it lasts for a decent amount of time.
Shortly a very compelling modern take on a woody-anise-licorice theme, quite “synthetic” in spirit but actually fulfilling and “round” enough not to smell annoyingly artificial, or too harsh. Nothing top notch, but it’s very (very!) decent. Very easy to like, very versatile, not too derivative, quite unusual too due to its “aquatic black” sort of atmosphere – a transparent, breezy ambiance yet with a subtle, weightless black feel amazingly paired with the sweetness of anise. It can still be found for relatively cheap on eBay, if you like the names I mentioned in my review I’d definitely recommend it.
For anise and licorice fans this is the pure straight forward answer to what you crave. Nothing else...just tons of black gooey sticky licorice.
I LOVE IT
I forgot to rate this. I love love love this fragrance. It embodies woody masculine in its dry down in a way that is honest (no pretense). To avoid being boring, there is a sweet anise and licorice in the opening. This causes the jus to pale in comparison to one of my holy grail frags, Encre Noir. But where Encre Noir is strong and downright overpowering, Mat; Very Male is soothing. What does Encre Noir and Mat; Very Male have in common? just the vetiver bond really, but I find myself bouncing back and forth between the 2 sometimes, just depends on my anise/licorice tolerance at the point in time.
If you like Lolita Lempicka's Au Masculine, I don't see why you wouldn't love this. Same for Givenchy Play Intense.
A bit strong at first, with a clear, sweet anisette liqueur note. Then subtler bamboo and lotus flower notes chime in, along with other woody notes. Finally, patchouli. licorice, and cedar complete the scent. Overall, quite captivating; I would say almost addictive, because of the anise and licorice complemented by cedar and other woods. A stroke of perfumer genius made to flatter the male ego.
Fan of anise notes? This one's far more subtle in its use of anise than are Rive Gauche (star anise) and Lolita Lempicka for Men (traditional anise times ten).
Still, I would think twice about buying this one for a romantic frag or a "party" frag as it's got longevity, yes, but very little sillage. Nice office choice for colder climes.