Neutral Reviews of Géranium pour Monsieur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Let’s get one thing out of the way. Geranium is not, I repeat, IS NOT, in the strictest sense a floral note. To the best of my considerable horticultural/botanical knowledge, geranium flowers are utterly without scent. (By the way, the “geraniums” that grandma grew in her window boxes, and the scented “geraniums” from which geranium oil is extracted are not even geraniums at all, but members of the allied genus Pelargonium.) Natural geranium oil is derived from the leaves of the rose-scented Pelargonium. While geranium shares aromachemical content – particularly geraniol – with rose, and is used in many rose reconstructions, it does not smell exactly like rose. It has a peculiar bittersweet, astringent, herbaceous-aromatic character about it, one that occupies a territory bounded roughly by mint, sage, and lavender. Those who complain that they can’t smell the geranium in Geranium pour Monsieur are probably sniffing for a rosy floral note, and they’re not going to find one in this decidedly dry, aromatic composition.

    Now as for Geranium pour Monsieur, it has been a hard fragrance for me to come to grips with. I own a bottle of it, not because I necessarily like it (though I may decide I do), but because I’ve been wearing it often just to figure it out. As others have pointed out, it’s not actually geranium, but mint that headlines this scent, and mint is notoriously one of the hardest notes to use effectively in perfumes. Not only is it conspicuous and resistant to blending; it is also instantly recognizable, and hence distracting. On top of that come the seemingly inescapable associations with toothpaste, mouthwash, and chewing gum.

    How does a perfumer employ mint without suggesting an oral hygiene product? Dominique Ropion does it in Geranium pour Monsieur by harnessing mint to a team of bitter aromatics, including geranium, that are so patently inedible that the resulting accord could never be mistaken for anything you’d willingly put into your mouth. The astringent, mildly camphoraceous aspect of geranium oil is the structural link that binds the mint to the rest of this scent’s aromatic elements, and its use in this respect it tremendously clever and original. In fact, clever and original apply to Geranium pour Monsieur’s entire structure. I can say in all honesty that I have never smelled anything quite like it.

    The first phase is bracing mint and bitter, dry, savory aromatics that deliver a sharp slap on the face. The accord is cool, clean, and medicinal. It’s also unusual in that it makes no pretense of naturalism. It smells not of any recognizable collection of herbs plucked from the ground, but rather smells proudly of aromachemicals (natural or otherwise) , selected and arranged with clear intent and objectives. In this respect it resembles certain scents from Comme des Garçons or Etat Libre de Orange’s notorious Sécrétions Magnifiques, and while it’s equally provocative, it does not employ any notes that are inherently harsh or discordant. What it does do is take olfactory abstraction to a whole new level. Sure, there’s a freshly scrubbed and shaved aspect to Geranium pour Monsieur, but this shave took place in a barbershop on Mars. Geranium pour Monsieur’s crisp, cool phase persists for an hour or two at most – not all that long, but too long for me to think of it as top notes. While it persists it is moderately potent and projects a comfortable distance from the skin: detectable at arm’s length, but never distracting.

    The phase that follows is such a complete contrast that it could almost be a whole new scent. In the blink of an eye, Geranium pour Monsieur goes from icy aromatics to a dry, woody skin scent that’s built on soapy musks and sandalwood. As different from the first phase as it is in content, the second phase is still resolutely clean, and sustains the rigorously abstract style. The musks are not trying to smell “natural” in any way. They instead suggest an amplified trace of soap on just-washed skin. A true skin scent, the second phase of Geranium pour Monsieur wears very close and is not easy to detect at any distance.

    Beyond its unusual bimodal olfactory progression, Geranium pour Monsieur represents several achievements for Dominique Ropion: he has succeeded in composing a mint fragrance that does not smell like toothpaste; he has created an aromatic fragrance for men that smells nothing like a traditional fougère; and he has built a “clean,” refreshing, modern fragrance without a trace of the stereotypical calone, ozone, fruit, or aquatic scent components. What I can’t decide is whether I like the way it smells.

    09 June, 2014 (Last Edited: 14 June, 2014)

    rogalal's avatar

    United States United States

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    The first few times I tried Geranium Pour Monsieur, I just didn't like the mint. Coming back to it a couple of years later, the mint doesn't bother me - what once seemed like a tremendous mistake now feels integrated and thought-out.

    To my nose, Geranium Pour Monsieur basically takes all the facets of natural rose geranium and exaggerates them, so it's got more minty brightness, more flowery nuances, more licorice undertones, and more leafy greens. It's kind of like someone colored in a picture in a coloring book using the right colors, but much brighter versions of the right colors, so the whole thing has a weird sort of exaggerated vibration to it that makes it surreal.

    In the end, I sort of like Geranium Pour Monsieur now, yet somehow, hours in, I just stop caring, and this is something that seems to happen with all the geranium scents I've tried. I love geranium as a supporting actor (I love the dark heft it give to Encre Noir or the deep green it lends to Guerlain's Vetiver), but I tend to tire of it in a starring role.

    10th May, 2014

    ION-ONE's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Mint is normally a non-starter for me in a fragrance so I knew I was in for a challenge when the first sniff literally resembled a peppermint mouthwash. The opening is an intense saccharine sweet icy mint - It really does smell like you've spilt some mouthwash. The overall feel from the mint is cool - fresh and invigorating. For me, the mint never disappears but becomes less intense. As the mint becomes more muted the other notes become discernible. There is a pleasing modern green fresh floral that emerges. Quite linear and predictable. An overall translucent Ellena-esque feel adds an air of lightness.

    When actively concentrating on the scent all I could find was mint. It was only when I 'took my eye off the ball', forgot what I was wearing that the other pleasing notes emerged - and then it felt like I was really wearing a balanced fragrance not like I had an accident with my bathroom cupboard! The overall journey reminds me of how it might smell when Davidoff get round the developing: Cool Water Mint Blast.

    Overall a perfectly pleasant modern masculine fragrance. This is a very socially acceptable scent - almost focusing upon what general society takes to be agreeably fresh and non-offensive. No one could complain about this one on public transport or in the office. Ironically this is where my problem starts. I am more that happy to smell this on others, and would be happy to smell like this fresh out of the shower - but as a fragrance its just not my cup of tea. Perhaps its just got too much mass-appeal, its a slightly compromising composition that seems eager not to offend. Definitely an anti-powerhouse. Recommended for those who object to that "old man smell".

    To be fair I was predisposed against this, and just couldn't get over the mint - so would have to give a neutral. Its a cruel irony that our least favorite notes are always the strongest most long-lasting! I would, however, not hesitate to recommend this to someone looking for a mint dominated niche fragrance or someone looking for a fresh modern masculine on the proviso that they don't mind mint.

    28 January, 2014

    MysteryBuff40's avatar

    United States United States

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    Geranium pour Monsieur opens with a refreshing blast of geranium and mint, along with an immediate flashback to another fragrance that is so close it could be its brother: Theorema Uomo for Men by Fendi, discontinued but still available at $55 for 1.7 oz.

    Given less expensive alternatives in the fresh soapy range, Geranium pour Monsieur seems extravagantly over-priced at $170 (50 ml) and $250 (100 ml), but I suppose somebody has to pay to keep Frederic Malle in neatly tailored suits.

    Based on overall value, I would give this a negative rating. Based on scent alone, I give it a positive. Hence the overall neutral.

    06 April, 2013 (Last Edited: 10th May, 2013)

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    The opening to Geranium is a bit off-putting. A bracing mint smells similar to a medicinal minty mouthwash like Listerine. The geranium then enters and mingles with the odd clinical mint to create an even more odd smell. In this case I would not say that "odd" means "bad," but it really is not something I would personally want to smell like. About an hour or so into the scent's development things get much more pleasant... The mint recedes and the geranium mixes with some very nice spices of clove and cinnamon, finishing with a base of musk and incense that has a glancing resemblance to Ropion's later (and superior) release "Portrait of a Lady". The whole thing is a relatively brief affair, with longevity only lasting around 5-6 hours on my skin (with my average being 8 or more). Projection is average on the scent, and is primarily focused on the opening notes (which are the worst part of Geranium, IMO). In the end, Geranium pour Monsieur is definitely an innovative creation, but it is not one I want to wear and cannot recommend. I suggest trying Ropion's aforementioned Portrait of a Lady, where he perfected the Geranium pour Monsieur base and is his true masterpiece. 2.5 to 3 stars.

    10th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 21st December, 2012)

    dollars&scents's avatar

    United States United States

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    Geranium pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle - One is initially treated to a bracing wave of camphorated mint and menthol, quite akin to a Tiger Balm odor, coupled with the lemony green smell of geranium leaf. Synthetic additives, such as anethol, with its anise character, floralozone, with its freshness, and rhodinol, with its citrusy floral dimension, all sophisticate the blend. This fresh opening spends a considerable amount of time wafting. A muted dusting of the concoction by warm cinnamon and earthy clove is feebly and fleetingly sensed, which strangely signals the beginning and end of the middle, if one exists. Thence, the incongruous base takes charge. White musk, with its soapiness, and sandalwood, with its soft and balsamic aspects, as well as sweet and faintly vanillic styrax and a touch of exotic incense forge an alluring base, while ambroxan imparts its velvety, skin-like, ambergris illusion. An inviting drydown ensures. One may choose to say this composition is unique, I prefer to say it is discordant. The projection and longevity for this/these scent(s) are average.

    10th January, 2012

    leto's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    OMG toothpaste for that price?! An interesting fragrance that may annoy some people, really needs approx an hour to settle down and enjoy, but the top notes did irritate me.

    01st December, 2011

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    It's easy to get fixated on the mint note. Yes, it is THAT distracting. But get past the minty tops and you'll find GERANIUM POUR MONSIEUR to be a smooth, bright yet confidently masculine scent that is unlike any I have tried before. The underlying tinge of bitterness, and a touch of incense make this one a winner but its overall synthetic vibe brings it down a notch for me.

    Likely to be one of those fragrances that gets selected much less frequently from your wardrobe but when worn, makes you wonder why you don't wear it more often.

    09 November, 2011

    Sunsetspawn's avatar

    United States United States

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    There is a wonderful geranium note somewhere under the toothpaste smell, but it took me four hours to really notice it and be able to enjoy it. The astringent nature of everything that isn't mint simply gives the impression that maybe you've used witchhazel or something for aftershave after brushing your teeth. I simply cannot recommend this because the overall effect is off-putting for me, but at the same time the drydown is great and makes you wish it came like that up front.

    18 August, 2010

    NillaGoon's avatar

    United States United States

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    Meh. This is definitely a mint- rather than floral-oriented scent, but it's the menthol/camphor fake "mint" that seems to be typical of mint notes in perfumery. Here, the effect is typically medicinal and reminiscent of grandma's house. It does have an interesting progression, and I respect the construction. Nevertheless, it's not for me. I don't find this to be a pleasant scent.

    03 December, 2009

    adowds's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    For the most part I feel it's menthol not mint that governs 'Geranium'. Now in thruth I can pick out a faint trace mint, but only occasionally. I do like this, it's fresh and simple but it's just not striking enough or long enough lasting to justify the price.

    26 October, 2009

    Apicius's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    According to an article from wikipedia, geranium oil is being distilled from a species of the pelargonium plant, and the scent can resemble different others, but rose should be the most widely used type. And so is Geranium pour Monsieur

    The opening comes with a rose and mint note. The mint note is very dominant and definately not what you should expect from a floral perfume. I think, minty notes have their right to exist in perfumery, but the combination with rose is quite strange.

    After half an hour the mint notes fades away, and the geranium or rose note comes out stronger. This is when the perfume becomes likeable. The rose/geranium note resembles the rose in perfumes like Touaregh (Il Profumo), Rose for Men (NeilMorris) or Black Tie (Washington Tremlett). It is not as peppery as the first, not as mellow as the second and not as dark as the latter. I have to admit it seems to be well balanced, does not go to any extremes and really stays in the middle.

    One pro, one con makes a neutral rating.

    06 September, 2009

    ComDiva's avatar

    United States United States

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    I can tell that this would be a stunning some skin types, but on me it's primarily harsh mint with chemically overtones. The geranium leaf is beautifully done... Wish my skin could make it sing. Try before buying, but revel in it if it works on you!

    05 September, 2009

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