Total Reviews: 140
A classic barbershop but with extra soap.
Unfortunately, this has been rendered useless by reformulations.
Buy the vintage.
When you want the soapy greenery of a classic giant like Nobile but without the smoky decadence and finely tailored formality, you need Paco! This is singing praise of rosemary and moss, and it's cool, clean, semi-sweet, and fairly airy. Before this 'casual wear' herbal donned the three-piece suit and heralded the 80's it was a carefree, uncluttered affair. Unfortunately it hasn't aged well after reformulations, and it is now just a pleasant echo on the wind in its current form.
This is a soapy wonder. I have a decant of the original version, and I'm savoring it. It's soapy, leathery, and mossy.
Advertisement — Reviews continue below
Airless green fouge-ypre.
Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, released in 1973, was grandfather to the then new men's fragrance type, the so-called "aromatic fougere." Top Notes of rosemary, sage, rosewood and laurel; middle notes of lavender and geranium; base notes of moss, honey, tonka bean, musk and amber.
It is very like so many of its imitators throughout the 70s and 80s, the latter decade pouring on the densities of the notes to create the almost over-whelming "powerhouse" effect. Paco Rabanne PH is a much lighter original, very well balanced and confidently crisp, warm and herbal. To my nose, the lavender, rosemary and moss are primal, blending together seamlessly and defining the scent.
An excellent example of this genre and a good place to start in exploring this historical period of the then emerging masculine scent market.
Burned through a bottle of this in three months 1978. It was so unique in scent at the time, clean, green and Oakmoss heavy. Distinct and identifiable.
It suggested, clean, clean,clean. The girls loved it.
Don't know why I didn't purchase again. Wish I had, as everyone says it's a shadow now.
Of warriors and poets...
I assume that by now, it has become more than obvious through my reviews that I'm a total vintage freak, and since I've never come upon a reformulation that was better than the original fragrance, I think that my reasons for being such a freak are on solid ground. Thus, all my reviews and comments are about the original formulations of the fragrances they're about.
So, Paco Rabanne pour Homme. This is one of the "Holy Trinity" of rather expensive fragrances that I remember from when I was a kid, and were hugely popular in Greece during the '70s and '80s. The other two were Azzaro pour Homme and Aramis. An uncle of mine was using all three of them regularly, so I grew quite accustomed with each one of them. If we consider Aramis as a "battle scent" and Azzaro as a "macho overdose", Paco Rabanne was a much more refined tough guy, with a sweet undercurrent lurking under his skin. I'd daresay it was the metrosexual of its era. I'm not even sure after all these years if it would qualify as a "powerhouse", compared of course with fragrances like Quorum and Drakkar Noir. I don't mean that it lacked in sillage and longevity, cause it didn't, and there's absolutely no doubt that it would singlehandedly beat to a pulp 99% of today's masculine fragrances, but compared to the rest of the beasts that roamed the Earth during its heyday, it somehow lacked in "powerhouse" quality, which is a quite abstract and difficult thing to explain. For example, Le Male and 1 Million have nuclear sillage and longevity, but not a chance to be rendered as powerhouses, cause they lack the sense of seriousness and/or meaning business that old powerhouses had. Maybe this was the reason that its bottle had smooth curves and was a joy to hold, while Aramis and Azzaro pour Homme bottles' edges could be used as a knife in an emergency. And that unique, elegant and peaceful shade of green it held, was like saying "Come on gentlemen! We don't need that much of testosterone to prove us men!" in a melifluous and cultivated, yet commanding voice.
Since I'm not a rich guy, my only chance of laying my hands on vintage bottles is to discover them in some backstreet shop. And I haven't stumbled on any Paco Rabanne yet. So my comments are mainly based on my memory and the feelings that this fragrance evoked to me back in the day. A couple of years ago I visited a Sephora shop to browse through body lotions, and there I saw an almost full tester of Paco Rabanne pour Homme, next to almost empty 1 Million, Invictus and Black XS ones. This seemed quite reasonable, because what Sephora visitor would mind to test in 2013 a fragrance launched in 1973? I thought "Why not?" and reached for it, but its sprayer appeared to be jammed. It seems that the universe was sending me some kind of message. But being a stubborn explorer, I ignored it and insisted on pushing the sprayer and my luck, and what I finally got was a good deal of the fragrance spilt on my hand. Its dinstinctive soapy quality was still there, but that was about the only thing that was left from the scent I remembered. It didn't smell natural at all, and to be honest I found it a little cloying and off putting. I informed the sales assistants about the malfunction and told them that the fragrance might have gone bad. They were helpful enough to bring a new tester, but it sprayed the same disappointment on me. I stood brooding for a few seconds, mentally waving yet another reminder of my youth goodbye. It bode me farewell in about 3 hours...
To conclude, Paco Rabanne pour Homme was one of the cleanest smelling fragrances of its time, with a sweetness (honey?) that was rather unusual back then, and much more sophisticated and courtly than most of the brutes of its era which were knocking you of your feet right upon first spray. But alas, as I've already mentioned, the appropriate tense when talking about its present self is simple past for me, and as such it shall remain...
Fresh, green, herby, clean. Very strong oakmoss. An old-fashioned soapy smell. Like walking through a wood on a bright, cool morning after a night of rain. Damp moss, ferns, rain-soaked greenery all around. Sweet earth faintly detectable underneath. It makes me feel really clean and fresh. Love it.
Sillage good only for an hour, then a fresh mossy skin scent that continues for a couple more hours. I'd keep this for weekends or days where it's convenient to refresh every now and again. Then it's perfect.
Recently acquired the 3rd edition ( from the period 1991-1995) basis my readings blindly and what a fragrance it has turned out to be ...utterly powerful and strong, opens with a great sweet rosemary / rosewood note which is alluring and then slowly the other flowery notes like lavender & geranium kicks in ..the sweet --slightly amberish / Tonka notes at the base make it very creamy delightful fragrance to smell and it stays like that through-out i.e a slightly ambrish / creamy sweet ( not cloying not synthetic not chemicals heavy but endearing / gourmand kind of sweet ) .
The vintage last for close to 6 to 7 hrs on my skin which is an above average performance.
Since acquiring this vintage , I am intrigued to smell the current edition which by all accounts is a notch below ( sad ! ) the earlier versions through restrictive reformulations so will see when that happens ..but if you are planning to acquire the vintage version ,just go right ahead - I highly recommend it.
Simply a classic. A classic which is rewritten to modern style and tries to reconnect the new age to old style.
The new version is how a perfume starts Italian and transfers to French mood! Pour Homme starts green intense and herbal like a green meadow in sunny day somewhere in south of Italia. But the final stage is a french soap on marble bath tub. The core is apparently watered down. I wonder if it satisfy a classic fan.
Scent not enough, not enough
It used to be my favorite fragrance in my teenage and until 23 years old. What a fragrance at that time! (eighties and beginning of nineties)
A bergamot/fougere scent that makes you happy-go-luky, full of confidence and unforgettable to women.
But why a so disaster with the last new formulations! Tell me why!
I don't think production costs can be a sufficient reason to destroy such a masterpiece.
Old version -> 9,8/10 almost perfection
new -> 6/10
this is for me, an utterly fantastic scent, such a nostalgic and well refined male fragrance, which i think embodies everything about a strong male.
i find it refreshing, both in the feel of the scent when i apply it, (i have the splash) and also as a refreshing change from the deep dark ambers and woods and ouds I tend to wear more often.
this doesnt give me any fruity notes, and honestly, im at a loss for words on how to describe it properly. i dont get soapy in the way some are Lye sickly soap, more CLEAN fresh smell. theres ferns in there, which bold up the scent, and an icy top note.
all in all, its my cheapest, but very much loved fragrance, just wish they would do this in a decent Parfum to give it a little more projection.
I have the current formulation. This remains a benchmark fougere, unspoiled by the anise note that makes so many other fougeres a challenge. It has a stunning, fresh opening followed by a classic and beautiful lavender and geranium combination that has a smouldering backbone for the first half hour and then eases into a stunning honeyed dry down. Transluscent, dry and undoubtedly masculine. Your girlfriend or wife will love this fragrance but they will not borrow it for themselves. This is a fragrance for rugged men who like to smell effortlessly good. They have broad shoulders and dark features, 35+, in good shape for their age. They don't collect fragrances. They probably have 2 or 3 fragrances in their collection and this one was gifted to them by a knowing relative who has perfectly matched the fragrance to the man.
Advertisement — Reviews continue below
My older brothers favorite scent when I was kid was Paco Rabanne and as a 10 yr old I used to steal sprays from his dresser top whenever I had the chance. Recently I took a sniff of it again from a fragrance discount store and think this stuff was really pretty good. I know it has a benchmark in fragrance history for many.
I like the scent, just not right for me and couldn't see a place for it in my "classics" collection as it has the 70's - 80's strong masculine vibe that I don't want to project. However, Paco Rabanne you have my respect!
Ah...Paco Rabanne. Actually a great, well put-together fragrance, but not my cup of tea...why? When Paco was in it's heyday (mid to late 70's) so was I! 'Disco' every Saturday night in the hopes of impressing the girls! You were NOT allowed entry to any local club (not called clubs then, but rather Disco..did I mention that?) unless you bathed in Paco Rabanne. At least half a bottle was standard fare. This left such an annoying and nauseating impression on me that this juice makes me run in the opposite direction when I smell it! It's akin to being run over by a Rolls Royce...does it make RR a bad car? No...simply bad memories! Now where are my platform shoes......????
Large and soapy, yet fairly smoothed over, this smells clean without veering too sharp. The usual suspects of the masculine trope are all present (lavender, moss, coumarin), but this one comes off more soft and less aromatically jagged in that the bitter greens are dialed back. There’s a fair amount going on beneath the surface (I detect a peppery carnation in there, something mahogany-esque), but it’s all swaddled in a dryer-fresh towel of mossy lavender. Extremely anachronistic, obviously, but not as annoying as other ‘70s / ‘80s Disco Stu-type scents.
I have the vintage aftershave from the early Eighties and a edt spray from 1993.
A very honeyed green mossy and slightly soapy scent that gives you that fresh out of the shower feeling. The quality is very good with a deep clean smell. The projection is soft and just below average with three or so hours with the aftershave and several with the edt.
Unfortunately after the year 2000 this scent was severely reformulated. The oakmoss that made this scent the classic it is became restricted in the amount they could use. With this scent it's best to find a older bottle to enjoy the clean sexy smell.
A big thumbs up on a scent that imo is as contemporary now as it was in 1973 when it was released. I mean when has smelling clean and fresh ever been dated.
In its relative simplicity Paco Rabanne’s structure is the progenitor and common denominator of the modern aromatic fougère. You can smell it peeking out from under the skin of its descendants from Azzaro pour Homme, through Tuscany Uomo, Lauder for Men, Jules, Drakkar Noir, and Tsar, right up to last year’s Sartorial. What strikes me especially upon reacquaintance though, is how closely its blend of brisk aromatics, citrus, honey, and boldly animalic musk presages Kouros.
Paco Rabanne’s bergamot top note is still terrific, and its aromatic bouquet still signals “barbershop” as clearly as a red-and-white spiral pole. It remains as loud and tenacious as ever, too. My neutral rating reflects the ambivalence I’ve always felt toward Paco Rabanne pour Homme. Though I acknowledge its classic status and its historical importance in the evolution of perfumery, I’m never tempted to wear it. Like Drakkar Noir and Macassar, it feels coarse and crass on me, and I always prefer either the comparative reserve and refinement of successors such as Tuscany, Lauder for Men, and Sartorial, or the more blatant iconoclasm of Kouros and Jules.
a rather mild fragrance with a hint of lavender with moderate lasting strength. i was expecting a more powerful scent but this bottle is more sublte.
An green fougere for the ages!
Overall rating: * * * * * (masterpiece)
NOTA BENE: This review is for the VINTAGE formulation
If you ever wonder why veteran Basenoters lament the new restrictions on classical perfume ingredients, find a sample of vintage Paco Rabanne.
Why? Oakmoss. Paco Rabanne was all about oakmoss, and oakmoss is on the IFRA's list of restricted substances. Oakmoss was used as a fixative, but also to provide "gravitas" or depth to aromatic fougeres like Paco Rabanne or Azzaro. New perfumes use substitutes like Treemoss or synthetics to mimic the effect, but NOTHING compares to the real thing.
What a tragedy! Vintage Paco Rabanne is a triumph of the olfactary arts. It is clean, fresh, and green but absolutely refined at the same time. Think of classic Polo turned down about 4 notches. Paco Rabanne was a fragrance that was equally appropriate in the office and at the club--it was almost as popular as cocaine at the famous Studio 54 in New York.
I can't really comment on the new version since I've only sampled it a few times. It struck me a kind of weak green-citric wine cooler.
Needless to say, the heavy dose of oakmoss made vintage Paco Rabanne a sillage and longevity monster. another major difference from the reformulation.
Pros: crisp green notes on a bed of oakmoss
A Classic Masculine For Another Age...
*This is a review of vintage Paco Rabanne pour Homme.
Paco Rabanne pour Homme (vintage) opens with a blast of aromatic lavender before a fern-like green accord takes over as the star in the early heart. Joining the relatively sharp greens is an underlying dirty spice that most likely is cumin (though not listed in the official fragrance notes). The dirty green accord continues through the earlier stages of the dry-down, as a relatively dry supporting honey note permeates the dirty greens. During the late dry-down the composition softens as the dirty greens all but disappear, leaving slightly powdery oakmoss from the base to couple with the remnants of the honey. Projection is above average and longevity is outstanding at 12+ hours on skin.
Paco Rabanne pour Homme (vintage) is a fragrance that I really want to like but there is something in it that holds me back. The aromatic lavender open smells really great and I wish it hung around longer, but my guess is the culprit behind my lack of enthusiasm must be the cumin-like dirty spice undertone in the early heart. Also a contributing factor of note is the very old-fashioned green fern-like vibe exhibited by the composition (somewhat reminiscent of the primary heart accord in Clive Christian's 1872 for Men) that just seems a bit out of place nowadays. As I tend to seek out and love classic compositions from Paco Rabanne pour Homme's time period generally, my guess is that if it is striking *me* as old-fashioned it must be viewed as truly ancient by many others. The bottom line is the still relatively inexpensive Paco Rabanne pour Homme (vintage) does smell good and is certainly a classic masculine for sure, but I am not quite a fan of its dirty green presentation and can only award it a "good" 3 star out of 5 rating with a tepid recommendation.
Pros: Longevity is outstanding and the aromatic lavender open is quite impressive.
Cons: There is a dirty spice underneath the green heart accord that is offputting and the composition smells dated.
16th June, 2013 (last edited: 13th December, 2013)
Classic shaving foam cologne
Due to an interesting question posed to me by a colleague, I have been going through my collection to identify the fragrances that best match the aroma and vibe of a classic barber shop. Ultimately I settled on two: Rive Gauche and Paco Rabane PH. Out of these two the main difference is the opening approach, namely the use of sweet accords in Rive Gauche which is in contrast to the herbal top notes of PR. While I prefer Rive Gauche, that is not to say that I dislike PR. In truth, this smooth green classic is one of my favorite fragrances for casual use. It is neither overwhelming nor is it subtle, the longevity is just right and the mellow drydown soothes with moss and geranium while still sweetening the whole deal with just a tad of honey. As with many fragrances from the 70s, there is the question of vintage versus new formulation, and while I can't claim to know which of these I own (I bought my bottle circa 1998) if you are looking for a fragrance to harken back to days gone bye of straight razors and hot towels, look no further.
Pros: smooth green
Cons: minimal projection and average longevity
Ok Props for this old school masculine for coming out in the 70's sadly it should of stayed there. To be fair I am referring to the current formula and not vintage. I have never smelt the vintage but this new formula to me is flat, weak, and no character. Seems the longevity is ok but that's about it. This doesn't show me anything new or anything I haven't come across before. In fact the dry down to this reminds of Charlie for women cause my mema wears that and when it settled on my skin that's what it reminded me of. I will pass on this.
A true classic. I just love the dry down. It's very unique and sophisticated. Green of-course but a bit dark and smoky. Reminds me of Aramis classic (also a favourite) but there's no similarity with AzPH.
(AzPH and PRPH are both distinct, sophisticated fragrances with a hell of character and substance and that's where the similarities end.)
I am an outdoors person and this perfume reminds me of dense pine forests and the heady smell of herbs while on a mountain trail. The notes are fresh and completely natural... and the whiff of those smoky undercurrents is pure bliss.
This legend will be my signature for at least the rest of this year.
The above review for the Vintage version. Just bought another bottle (manufactured by Puig) and the smoky undercurrents in the basenotes are missing. Quite a few people have been complaining about the present formulation being a rather "low voltage" version of the original and in lacking punch. True, but in it's present formulation I still don't see reason to rate it down. This juice has toned down from an EDT to an EDC in its' present avataar but still the alchemy remains.
06th September, 2012 (last edited: 27th June, 2014)
It's not a shaving foam, but the beginning will smell a lot like that, with mint and rosemary. It's clean and unsophisticated, and green, green, green.
In the end, it will still be green and aromatic, but sweet rather than stinging, thanks to light honey notes.
Very good, but also very old. I'm not sure how guys under 50 could pull this one off.
Paco Rabanne pour homme brings me back to the 70's. After Eau sauvage, Signor Ricci (original) and Vetiver (Carven), this is one of the very first fragrances I bought for myself as a young man. Back then, I was into fresh and clean fragrances. I can very well understand that some fellow reviewers find this EDT rather soapy because it really is. But in my book, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Captain (Molyneux), the fragrance I bought next, was also a little soapy. There were quite a few fragrances launched in that era that shared this characteristic. Conversely, soap bars that were popular in the 70's (in North America) such as Irish Spring and Coast tried to emulate fresh masculine EDTs. At the time, I suppose people loved a little soapiness in their perfumes and a little designer fragrance in their toiletries !
When first applied, PRPH is quite hard, dry and woody and perhaps a little intense. I remember the first time I tried it, I was afraid it would never tone down and I was ready to wash my wrist. However, as soon as the dry down began, the sweeter notes emerged and the entire composition became rounder and richer. Fortunately, some of the green, peppery and zesty characteristics remained until the end preventing the fragrance to become too "bubble-gummy". Now, about 35 years later, I still love Paco Rabanne pour homme and I think this fragrance suits a man my age even better. Unfortunately, it's longevity (which was outstanding when I was young) is now a little less impressive. Maybe my skin changed over the years or maybe they lowered the concentration of the juice. No big deal! I still make heads turn with this fragrance anyhow!
I'm editing this after getting hold of a vintage bottle which is a different scent.
The word that comes to mind on experiencing this again after a 30 year gap is "rich". Rosewood, geranium, lavender, moss and honey are all apparent in a remarkable balance of complex but harmonious herbal sweetness (just a touch of sweetness from the honey and perhaps the rosewood)
A terrible shame it isn't still available along with vintage Kouros which were the two scents I was familiar with back in the 80's and frankly I haven't found anything I like any better.
The current version is a neutral for me, harsh and with most of the complexity and sweetness removed.
07th November, 2011 (last edited: 26th January, 2016)
This thing is potent, I had to scrub it off twice with rubbing alcohol. Smells like public washroom air freshener. Definitely not a good association there.
I like to respect classics, but this one smells like a 1$ bar soap, really.
in the dry down it is slightly more complex but alas it sits way too close to the skin by then.
Paco Rabanne PH shares many similarities with Azzaro PH. It's just that, IMO, Azzaro is so much better. I would basically describe Paco Rabanne as Azzaro with a greaner opening, while exihibiting a "soapiness" throughout its lifespan, a soapiness that I just don't get from Azzaro. I don't find it to be dated, any more than I find Azzaro to be dated. Paco Rabanne is a good fragrance...Definitely a "thumbs up". However, Azzaro PH is a GREAT fragrance, certainly in my top 5. As a result, I find myself reaching for Azzaro much more often.