Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

Total Reviews: 325
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
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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'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
Not something I would wear nowadays as it reminds me of being a very young man up to no good.

Still a great scent and remember when I sampled it for the first time. It smelt so damn good. Really different and unique. Girls went crazy fro the stuff!!

Oh...........Those were the days!
15th November, 2017
I tried this when I first started getting into fragrance. I almost bought it on a blind buy because I thought the bottle looked cool. Luckily I tried it at the mall before doing so. I didn't like it and went with Versace Eros instead. That was about a year and a half ago.

This past weekend, I saw 1.7 ounce bottles for about $25 and went for it. I'm glad I did. The scent grew on me.

I'm getting a combination of vanilla and lavender from this one, and maybe tonka bean. It's a pleasant scent for this time of year. I would recommend it whenever it's chilly out, but it probably won't do so well in warmer weather.

Unfortunately, it doesn't have adequate projection or longevity. It smells nice, but the performance is lacking. Maybe it would make a nice date fragrance since proximity matters, but that's about it.
04th October, 2017
Classic. But I think a bit played out so no longer in my rotation.
20th March, 2017
So I was out of my bottle which I got from my friends 11 years ago. So I purchased a 200 ML bottle for 60 euros. Bargain I thought for such an awesome smell, butt (yes, double T f....., thats how I felt)... WTF?!? Why the hell would you REFORMULATE YOUR BEST SELLING PERFUME JPG?!?! WHY?!?

Scent itself is a masterpiece, but this one smells less powdery than my previous bottle and more aqua...


Poor, ok projection for the first 90 minutes then it's bye bye kansas. My previous was a beast projection.


Poor, getting max 5 hours. Used to get 15 hours of longevity. Stays over 24 hours on clothes though.


Less suited for winter.


6.3 overall score

Neutral score cause of the scent and versatile score. I am so disappointed, not gonna buy this anymore. Well, atleast it was cheap, 100 ml for 30 euros. Poor projection and longevity and the whole world owns it now. There are better perfumes than this.

07th March, 2017
A legendary, polarizing and ever popular oriental scent that will always be my favorite. I've seen several attempts by different fragrance houses to recreate Le Mâle (sometimes convincingly, other times even improving on it); but THIS is the defining sensual experience that, after all these years, still delights (and annoys) many.

For me, the lavender, mint, vanilla, cumin, and sandalwood are well formulated. There is that Clubman Pinaud vibe here (that pleasant powder in the green bottle used in barbershops after a haircut). The bottle is always a shocker to behold, and the tin can is unique, too!

The flankers that have come (and gone) all take the Le Mâle mystique and enhance specific notes. In the case of the "La Cologne Tonique" set, the fragrance serves the role of a bracing, tastefully muted body spray. But for me, it's hard to dislike the retakes on this one (save for Ultra Male, a radical remake that is its own scent). A dependable, always pleasant experience...Le Mâle will remain in my top favorites of all time.
10th December, 2016
This is beyond a classis. Of all scents that I have owned, and still own, this is the only one that I have purchased and gone through numerous bottle, plus also the after shave balm.

From bottles that are over $1,000 to mid range to low end... This one has always stood out. The scent brings up good memories, good times in my life, and I have never not enjoyed this scent.

I do not wear it out often as it is not a unique scent, however I do use it before bed. Such a happy and calming scent for me.
16th September, 2016
The original JPG Le Male from the 90s was a masterpiece & had tremendous performance! Le Male has since been reformulated & most retailers are selling the reformulation. The reformulated version of Le Male does not smell or perform nearly as good as the original. It is not powdery, nor is it a powerhouse! I find it woodier in the dry-down. The vintage is a much darker juice/better formulation. A reformulated bottle will last 5 hours at most on my skin & project for the first hour. It is a shame that the house destroyed a beautiful fragrance. Not worth it - only buy if you can find the vintage juice!
29th February, 2016 (last edited: 01st March, 2016)
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BoxPred Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Not much more, if anything can be said about this one. This was the first designer fragrance that I was really exposed to and absolutely loved the smell of. It will get hate due to its popularity as much as people who genuinely dislike it's scent. I had a friend who picked out ginger in this one which was probably the cinnamon/orange/cumin I guess. Can't say I get ginger... or lavender for that matter which seems to be a very dominant note quoted by the majority. All I know is I get a very pleasant smell that for me is the same now as it was in the late 90s. Above average sillage and longevity and a real classic for any wardrobe.
21st February, 2016
Review and Ratings based on the original formulation.

Years ago I watched the commercial, where guys are changing from their stripes shirts to formal suits. As soon as i watched that commercial (I believe was aired from the year 1995), I knew I had to get it. I had to wait some more time, and after possessing 2 fragrances (In which were given to be as gifts), I had to buy my very fragrance ever. It had to be Le Male.

All I can say is, that this fragrance is a memory. Yeah, Memory in a Bottle. Enough Said.

31st October, 2015
Lavender. Lavender. Lavender. But in a good way :)
24th September, 2015
Powdery,sweet,gives me a nausea's feeling ,,,,really synthetic probably nice at a distance..Think i prefer it on others as opposed to myself...
If you like this frag and wished it was on another level then go for Amouage Reflection man....Stunning,upperclass,totally well blended scent similar to le male but on another level totally and goes a different direction at points...but yes similar.
26th July, 2015
Judging from the positive reviews and love this fragrance gets, I made a blind buy ( actually 90% of my scents are)..

It smells pretty nice as it projects. Smelt directly from the skin I gets a rough, synthetic after-smell.. Lots of vanilla in this one.

Maybe it's because it was re formulated, I don't get the beast mode longevity and projection everybody talks about.. I even wore 4-5 sprays on a hot day, barely got notices..

Still happy it's in my small collection.. Barely escaped a neutral..

17th July, 2015
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
I happened to be living in London when this was launched and was running into Harrod's on an errand when, right inside the door, a woman with a spritzer grabbed my arm and asked if I wanted to try this new scent. Before I could answer, I was given a dose and I quickly moved on. Before I was twenty steps into the store I knew that something was wrong. Very wrong. What she sprayed on me was so vile, so gross, that I went straight to the men's room to wash it off. It was on me ten minutes or so and I sniffed at it the whole time, wondering what was so "off" about this scent. I was probably wearing Bel Ami at the time, so strong scents were no problem. I also love Caron PuH and Ungaro II, and the vanilla lavender combo is a favorite, so what was so wrong? To me it smelled overly strong, overly sweet and oddly bestial--and not in a good way (and as I mentioned, I like the civet in Ungaro II!). Very similar to my reaction to Kouros, even though they are very different fragrances. Even after a scrub in the gent's I emanated its evil odor for the rest of the day and felt like I needed to apologize to strangers who drifted into my wake. Oddly enough, I have smelled it on other men since where it smelled just fine--actually tame and minty-fresh barbershop-like. I might even like it now that it has been reformulated but I can never forget the visceral reaction that I had on first trying it.
03rd June, 2015 (last edited: 06th November, 2017)

Yes LE MALE!This one is really great.elegant is the perfect way to describe.strong and definitely FRENCH style.masculine,beautiful,like a dream.

In my opinion Le MALE is clearly not for either love or hate spray is enough for long hours.well balanced and the base it very lovely for me.

One of the best fragrances in winter nights for me.perfect for smart stylish man.and one of the word is magical.

Thank You JPG.

23rd April, 2015
My nickname for this fragrance is "man in a can" because well, that's what the packaging is.

This is a good fragrance. The combination of mint, lavender, and vanilla has been duplicated many times, but this is still the original and best. However, at least where I live, men overspray this one quite frequently. One of my friends started wearing Le Male once, and he used so much that he could choke a small room.

So go ahead and wear Le Male - but please, don't overspray.
27th March, 2015
Le Male is one of my few blind buys, and I regret it. It is constructed around a minty lavender opening and heart, and a sweet base of vanilla, musk and amber. I get some faint spices and woods throughout its lifespan on skin, but the trinity of mint, lavender and vanilla dominates everything else. While it scores for being quite original in scope and execution, I don't personally find the overall scent to be very agreeable. Moreover it seems to diffuse this sophomoric vibe and I cannot take it seriously at all. After hearing about all the wonders, I find its performance on my skin to be pretty average.

For some reason I feel this would smell better on a woman. But I'm not recommending it to anyone.
10th March, 2015
sweet,fresh,sometimes annoying i'd say.Average longevity and projection for me
06th December, 2014
Noraed Show all reviews
United Kingdom
It is a fresh, cool and modern perfume.
The scent is soapy and lavendery.
It is an oriental-fougere type of perfume.

It is a very popular perfume.
I liked it so much, I bought it even though it is a man's perfume. So defiantly thumbs up for it.
17th October, 2014
Thats a monster!!! but a good monster so good that it has became so common that I could not wear it any more.
Vanilla mixed with candy sweetness cinnamon and pepper with monster longevity and projection.
the bottle is just....bad!
04th October, 2014
I really enjoy this scent especially the dry down. I would say it's quite unique to other colognes on the market. all the notes fit together perfectly. I would only wear this scent in the winter as its quite gourmand like. In my opinion le male is one of the best gourmand fragrance out there. I would defiantly recommend this but I would say test before you buy because it might not be for everyone.
05th August, 2014
Genre: Woody Oriental

This dull, aging, straight-laced, (if socially progressive,) straight guy grants kudos to the house of Jean Paul Gaultier for openly courting the gay male market well before it was politically correct to do so – back in those benighted times when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” actually looked like a step forward. Insofar as the packaging and winking sailor boy from The Village People ad campaign were unambiguously and unashamedly targeted – not to mention decades in advance of Etat Libre d’Orange – I say good for Gaultier. I only wish they’d given the guys a better scent.

I have no idea what perfume critic Tania Sanchez was sniffing when she described Le Mâle as a “light, soapy lavender scent,” but to me the contents of the bottle with the bulging crotch rank among the loudest, crudest entries in the sugared 1990s tidal wave that included A*Men, Pi, Rochas Man, Lolita Lempicka au Masaculin and Joop! Homme. I find this especially remarkable given that it’s purported to be the work of Francis Kurkdjian , him of Enlévement au Sérail, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile, L’Eau Noire, and Ma Dame. The composition smells very simple, and all I get out of it besides Ms. Sanchez’s lavender is powdery vanilla, amber, and a monstrously amplified note of ethylmaltol. This last is the same diabolically shrill, sweet aromachemical that lends the original Angel its syrupy consistency.

The development, if I may deign to call it that, is strictly linear, and the cloying sweet central accord persists at the olfactory equivalent of deafening volume for hour upon hour – which I count as no good thing, given how unpleasant I find Le Mâle. Contrary to some others, I actually find Kurkjian’s recent floral variation, Fleur du Mâle, far more wearable and interesting.
19th June, 2014
I am surprised I have never smelled this on anyone where I live besides myself. I love this notes in this one. One would think that mint, lavender, and vanilla would not work well together but they combine so well together to form a truly unforgettable scent. I always receive compliments in this scent and my wife is madly in love with this scent. A great fall and winter time fragrance.
24th February, 2014 (last edited: 01st October, 2015)
Cuba Gold has bad, tacky packaging. JPG took Cuba Gold, found even worse packaging, and raised the price from $3.99 to $64. Le Mâle is God's way of telling you have too much money.
18th February, 2014
rafa04 Show all reviews
United States
an excellent fragrance overall excellent projection and longevity. i use this one for fall and winter. for school or office wear only wear one spray but for dates or going out 2-3. no more than 3 sprays. its just that mine came with a defective pump :(. but i will exchange it.
28th January, 2014