This is for me one of those cases where I am really happy and thankful that sites like Basenotes exist. If it wasn’t for the positive raving reviews here, I would have never cared for this scent – an obscure name evoking some generic seedy nightclub (sorry, I didn’t think of “that” Maxim’s at first), a rather unappealing box, very little information except for the fact that this was made by Pierre Cardin (meh...) in collaboration with a Parisian restaurant – an anecdote which wouldn’t really be enough to make me intrigued about this fragrance. If any, it would have instead almost an off-putting effect on me. Well anyway, once I read the reviews I thought it was maybe worthy a blind buy instead. I found a really cheap “no barcode” bottle of this and – bingo! I can’t say better what other reviewers already wrote. Just believe them, and believe the (still quite limited) hype.
Maxim’s homme is an amazing hell of a keeper, a fantastic and sophisticated leather chypre which should sit if not next, then just a short step below some of the finest leather chypres of all times, from vintage Or Black to vintage Bel Ami or Moschino pour Homme. The structure is pretty traditional, and others have already analyzed it, so there’s no point in telling how it smells again in detail... it’s just an impeccable, rich, elegant and truly high-quality balsamic woody-leather scent with a really enjoyable whiff of smoky, and almost honeyed-candied floral notes, a bit like in Bel Ami – that kind of dark, austere and distinguished “manly” leather with a hint of balsamic-powdery smooth softness. At first it smells more about pine needless and dry woods, but once it warms a bit, the magic happens and Maxim’s unravels a truly delightful, crisp and brilliant harmony of leather, tobacco, “masculine” flowers, balsamic woods, a subtle musky base of mossy dirt.
I think the balance between the darker side with leather, tobacco and austere woods, and the balsamic-floral side with a really peculiar sort of dusty-sweet resinous texture and a nondescript, yet charming musty aftertaste, is truly remarkable and one of a kind. It’s simple, but so finely tuned it smells more unique than it may seem. Plus the quality is overall ridiculously good, there is an amazing feel of clarity and sultry depth which one would never imagine coming out from something so inexpensive and, say, visually cheap. Another obscure, totally good and totally neglected vintage cheapo which smells a bit similar to this came to my mind - Bally Masculin, but Maxim’s seems showing clearly a higher quality. This could have really easily been some Hermès, Givenchy or Guerlain. Same richness, same elegance halfway formal and effortless, same vibrancy and same uniqueness of most of their finest vintage offerings for men. I’ve read on the Internet that this was an early work by Jean Claude Ellena, and well, I can really believe that. Simply great.
Maxims pour Homme is one of those elusive, discontinued 1980s fragrances most often spoken of among connoisseurs in tones of awe and reverence. In other words, the kind of scent of which I’m instinctively suspicious. Maxims goes on in a cacophonous explosion that recalls the opening of the equally revered Havana: bergamot, aromatics, larger-than-life lavender, and clouds of tobacco smoke. It’s enough to make noses accustomed to Jean-Claude Ellena and Olivia Giacobetti scents recoil in horror.
Maxims takes its time getting sorted out, and remains harsh and disorganized long enough, I sure, to try some wearers’ patience. Once it settles down, Maxims reveals itself as a big, savory leather-tobacco scent with a distinctive smoky-salty accent. It’s still not worlds away from Havana in its overall structure, though its obviously more “savory,” more animalic, and more of an outright leather scent than the Aramis. Over the course of hours Maxims goes its own way, ending in a plush, smoky, animalic leather drydown of great dignity and distinction. I’m happy to report that my suspicions are allayed: Maxims pour Homme is a marvelous fragrance, and it’s a shame that it’s no longer made.
There's a mixture of the leather, woods, fruit, and musk that has a bit of funk to it in the opening. This lasts about 15 minutes and then the leather, patchouli, and woods take command. There's also a bit of sweetness which I think is the leftover fruit note. This is primarily a wood and leather fragrance so if that's something you like then don't hesitate to pick up a bottle.
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Bergamot, lavender and jasmine command a beautiful classic opening blast, which is soon complimented by a floral not of carnation - beautifully old school. Cedarwood in the drydown leads to the darker phases, with patchouli and gentle moss aromas with barbershop characteristic dominating the base. There is a somber richness permeating this composition, like a veil of shadow over the autumn sun. Good silage and projection with over four hours of longevity. Very nice - 4.5/5
Maxim's pour Homme opens with a lavender and carnation floral duo with an underlying relatively sweet mélange of citrus fruit. The florals remain into the heart of the scent, as a smooth clove spiced leather accord joins the florals with an initially mild cedar and sandalwood backbone revealing itself as does a moderate amount of clean musk from the base. During the dry-down the florals finally recede and the now starring leather dries and sheds the scent's remaining sweetness without losing its smoothness, now coupling with dirty patchouli, the remnants of the cedar and slightly powdery oakmoss to finish off the scent's development. Projection is average and longevity is excellent.
Maxim's pour Homme is really quite captivating. It really is a leather scent with a cedar spine when all is said and done, but the initial florals and clove spice play key roles in setting up the slowly growing smooth leather and cedar wood accord as the scent progresses. Maxim's pour Homme is plenty strong, but it's never overpowering and quite easy to wear. While Maxim's does not smell altogether different during its dry-down than many of its top-notch contemporaries, it certainly succeeds in its execution and is very well made. If you like powerhouse scents like Giorgio VIP for Men but want less bite and projection Maxim's may be just what you are looking for. As for me, I love the stuff and award it a very strong 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5.
A slightly floral, slightly powdery, somewhat sweet blend (with a hint of spice) that dances around a pile of wood. That's mostly what I get (leaving aside top notes, which I try to avoid). I'm not getting any appreciable leather, patchouli, or oakmoss. Those who seek the kind of sandalwood note you get in a lot of "men's" fragrances from the 1970s and 80s might like this one, but I'm not a huge fan of it. If I didn't have others like it, I'd go ahead and try to grab a bottle cheaply. However, since I do, I will just keep my mini bottle of this one and be content. Longevity is very good and projection/"sillage" is just right. I'll rate it positive because I think it will satisfy those who seek this kind of fragrance.
I'm wondering if there was more than one formulation, because unlike some of the other reviews, I don't understand how this can be compared to Grey Flannel or Havana (there's not even a hint of tobacco). Nor is there an animalic element, leathery or otherwise. Vintage Woodhue Cologne for Men has a similar woody drydown, but I like its first couple hours better. I found a list of notes for it over at fragrantica.com, which is not identical to the one above: "...bergamot, lavender, lemon, clary sage and carnation. The heart features jasmine, rose, cedar, sandalwood, clove, and amber, while the base consists of oak moss, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, musk and leather."
Maxims is a compelling woody fougere, with three very distinct phases.
A largely superfluous opening is excessively sweet, but mercifully brief. Beyond the forgettable top notes, it changes direction quite radically, becoming darker, arid and powdery. This deeply aromatic and woody phase only begins to soften with the emergence of the very rich moss in the base. It is lightly underscored by a very subtle sweetness, ensuring that the latter stages are as impressive as the heart notes.
Overall, and despite the flawed opening, this is a delightful fragrance. It is very obvious just why it has so many devotees
While this scent is not quite to my taste, I certainly can find many things to appreciate here.
It starts with a *very* sweet opening – the “fruit note” is powerful, sugary, and almost toothache-inducing. Candy and powder are in abundance. As this opening blast settles down, good florals and some light but interesting woods emerge. Gradually the sweetness subsides, and a very genteel, old-school chord of mossy patchouli steps forward. I’m not a bit fan of patchouli, but this is not too heavy, and it has minty and herbal aspects. The patchouli works with the leather to give a soft dry-down.
It’s been 8 hours and counting… MAXIMS POUR HOMME does not seem to be in any real hurry to go off, even if what is left on my skin is mostly musk, amber and rather surprisingly, patchouli.
But hours earlier, after a somewhat nose-wrinkling opening, I was treated to a smoky blend of floral leather and mossy woods which is neither smooth nor suave, but radiates authority. Think Grey Flannel on a power trip
And as masculine as this aromatic fougere is, it requires a great deal of maturity - I’d need to add another 10 years to my age before I can swing it with any real credibility. Even then I had my doubts for it’s just the kind of power scent you’d expect on a no-nonsense cigar-chomping son-of-a-gun. J. Jonah Jameson from The Daily Bugle would fit the bill perfectly.
While Maxims pour Homme does not quite match my style nor personality, I can appreciate how it could be a solid option, particularly if you fit the mould.
While I don’t find the leather in Maxims pour Homme dislikeable (in fact, I enjoy it… just as I often enjoy mild leather notes in the older fragrances), the leather dominates my sense of smell over many of the other notes and accords of the fragrance. I can tell four minutes into the opening that this is about all this I am going to get from this fragrance: leather and the indoles from the heart jasmine. To me this is an extremely animalic fragrance. I don’t at all get any fruit note of any sort in the opening: I get a smooth, deep leather and a rather strong indole note from the jasmine… And “sweet”?… in no way does anything smell sweet. The leather and indoles override everything to my nose. No other florals than jasmine from the heart either. Occasionally throughout the long run of Maxims, I think that I can smell a bit of patchouli, then cedar, then amber… but they are gone so fast, I’m not sure I smelled them. I get no moss or musk. This is a linear leather fragrance with a strong jasmine indole note. I like it and I don’t say that often about a leather fragrance. Although I do enjoy it, eventually its linearity becomes more uninteresting than anything else. The age of my sample might also have something to do with the reduction of top and middle notes… Hard to tell…
Maxims Pour homme: have you ever heard an SA say "this scent has a BURST of fresh notes"..all the time eh..but never convinced with what you sniffed..? ok, now smell this :) Powdery sweet accords of intense green notes with an equally intense accord of "fresh" florals, which by the way is not really able to shake that color green out of my head...all with a cool breeze sandalwood..the powderiness, needless to repeat, stays throughout the entire progression of this scent...one aspect, which really grabbed my attention was this persistent accord of steel to this whole equation..like smelling this accord thru a sterilized, perforated tube of space age steel tube... this feel gives this scent a somewhat unique, fresh in a very shiny, sophisticated kinda feel. The basenotes is lush, mossy, powdery with hints of patchouli and mostly mossy with hints of leather.
13th August, 2009 (last edited: 18th August, 2009)
I am not a 'connoisseur', but I know what I like.
What's with the positive reviews? and probably written people who have a better, more trained nose than I have.
I thought this was a clear one
I looked up Maxims (the last time I checked there weren't any reviews written), just to confirm I wasn't the only poor soul who ever had the misfortune to smells this ghastly EDT.
Yes I was in for a laugh, I love to read bad reviews.
I owned a 30 ml bottle of it , it was sold cheap for 10 guilders (which is about 5 US Dollar) at the time and while everyone liked it, mostly girls and women ("what a sweet scent!") I loathed it and gave it to my mother.
She still had the botle and only recently I took it back, just curious if my taste had changed over the years?
Maxims is probably the most aggressively sweet and sharp scent I ever smelled.
I don't smell any notes, just a splash of sweets and 'fresh'
What kind of "fresh" is it?
Honestly, I cannot come up with anything.
It is discontinued (obviously for a good reason) but anyone who is curious about this scent should try out Boss' Baldessarini, which is almost as nauseating sweet and a true migraine trigger as Maxims is/was.
Maxim's pour Homme
When it comes to discontinued colognes there seem to be cults that spring up, the Patouists, the Montanaites, and the Maximistas. There is always the curiousity about whether it is just misplaced emotion or is the juice really that good. Maxim's pour Homme seems to be the victim of a grand plan gone bust. Dimitri in his Sorcery of Scent blog relates that Maxim's was created by Pierre Cardin in 1988 after acquiring the French restaurant Maxim's with dreams of taking it worldwide. The fact that there is no Maxim's in your local area should indicate the success of this venture. What I find interesting is the thought that a scent would be the first step to creating a brand. Nevertheless that was the path taken in 1988 and Maxim's pour Homme was created. The top of this is a solid lavender which leads striaght to a heart of jasmine and spicy carnation. According to the notes bergamot and a "fruit note" are supposed to be present but right from the beginning I get a strong floral character. It takes a while but the sandalwood and cedar appear and move this into a different stage as they eventually push the floral notes to the background. The base is a delicately balanced patchouli and musk on me which is really nice. I like that this scent has three distinct stages from floral to woody to musky. It doesn't feel like the longevity is going to be very good as two hours in I'm already feeling it is starting to fade away. This is a good scent and if you see a bottle floating around your local flea market or at a discounter I'd say go for it. If this ever becomes one of those scents that commands a premium because it is discontinued that's when I'd say buyer beware. For me, I don't think I'm joining the ranks of the Maximistas just yet but over time they may get me yet.
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Maxim's PH reminds me a lot of the experience I get when I wear Patou PH. Not as spicy, but many similarities. It is absolutely lovely. I don't really smell the 80's in this one at all. It smells extremely classic, elegant and French. From the lavender/citrus opening through the masculine florals into the delicious woods and resins in its base, this is a real winner. Maxim's is one of my very favorite masculine scents.
A bold, chypre masculine. Nice mix of lavender and carnation and a dominant oakmoss and musk base with a typical leather note thrown in. I usually dislike these chypres but this is pretty good.
A big thumbs up to this masterpeice !
It was love at first sniff .
I disagree completely with TV's absurd comparison to it being a combo of F Smalto & Montana ,, this is nothing of the sort .
Incredible opening & rich throughout the drydown , with a musk that just really must be worn to be appreciated
***** This is in my top five *****
Think Francesco Smalto pour Homme married to Montana Parfum d'Homme and you pretty much have all the olfactory info you need to peg this one.
One of my top 5 favorites. It very much reminds me of the men in my life (my father and grandfather) Maxims pH opens a little loudly and with a touch of sweetness, but quickly tones down into what is the most pleasent scents I know. Because it reminds me of my grandfather, it is comforting, warm, safe and secure. Buy it while you still can, if you don't like it...I'll buy it from you.
Both previous reviewer's make good points. Maxim's, produced by Pierre Cardin, is unquestionably a typical supercharged 80s fagrance. It is, however, one of the best of its kind and unjustly forgotten. It does begin with an overwhelmingly heady confusion of bergamot, clary sage, lavender nto which the rich middle notes of jasmine, carnation and cedar already interfere, enfolding its wearer in an almost headache-inducing cloud of sweet-spicyness. But once the dust settles, there remains a beautifully crafted composition perfectly blending floral, wood and spice, shifting accents beautifully through the drydown into the ambery base. This deserves to be up there with the dearly sought Havanna and every lover of complex scents should seek it ought.
This one is lovely, starts off strong, but then calms down to a wonderfull musky woody smell. Very warm like I would assume a mature gentelman to wear
Truly a representative fragrance of the Chypre-laden eighties-style scents. Not bad on occasion, but incredibly heavy with very little development overall.