Perfume Directory

Ma Liberté (1987)
by Jean Patou


Ma Liberté information

Year of Launch1987
Average Rating
(based on 48 votes)

People and companies

HouseJean Patou
PerfumerJean Kerleo
Parent CompanyShaneel Enterprises Ltd > Designer Parfums
Parent Company at launchJean Patou

About Ma Liberté

Ma Liberté is a feminine perfume by Jean Patou. The scent was launched in 1987 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean Kerleo

Ma Liberté fragrance notes

Reviews of Ma Liberté

The amazing thing about the majority of old Patou fragrances during the years Jean Kerleo was house perfumer, is that he basically ran the operation like a modern day indie/artisanal perfumer would, by pretty much doing whatever the Hell he wanted with the brief he was given, tantamount to really just having carte blanche with the fragrances that got released. This seemingly ended towards the final years of his tenure, when he was forced to make "modern" fragrances for then-owner Shaneel Enterprises, resulting in less-loved creations like Voyageur (1994) and Sublime (1992), but even those were more or less obstinantly made on his terms. Kerleo is a lover of chypres, showcased by the fact that nearly all of his perfumes are chypres, and more specifically a lover of both Mysore sandalwood and oakmoss, with his compositions having what modern IFRA regulations would consider a frighteningly large quantity of the latter, which is why any attempt to reformulate his creations for relaunch ends in rejection by fans of the originals. Ma Liberté (1987) is a scent among this pantheon that has for the most part fallen through the cracks of time, since it wasn't popular in its time and remained cheaper (because more plentiful) for longer than the rest after discontinuation, but this sadly is no longer the case since fans of many ultra-unicorn status masculines from the house have discovered how adjacent Ma Liberté is to them and have began to gobble it up. This is turn, has had once-affordable survivor stock shoot up in price, even if it will be a while yet before a bottle of Ma Liberté ever cracks four digits like some vintage masculine Patou fragrances have done.

I can imagine Ma Liberté remained more of a hidden Patou gem compared to much of the rest, for the key reason that it was a fragrance out of time and gender conventions when originally released. The bulk of what is here was retooled into a floral fougère for the most part as Patou pour Homme Privé (1994), where it would be lauded by tastemakers and vintage connoisseurs for years after discontinuation, yielding even higher prices in the aftermarket than the already-insane prices the original Patou pour Homme (1980) commands. This fragrance is basically the mother of Patou pour Homme Privé and smells every bit of it, also having similar unisex vibes thanks to a mixture of lavender barbershop tones and floral chypre construction. The opening of Ma Liberté comes out powdery, sweet, and floral, with big notes of heliotrope and lemon over a clean hedione. The heart is classic soft French lavender buttressed by centifolia rose and a light jasmine (likely the source of the hedione feeling), coming across clean, bright, pillowy, and fresh in a natural way rarely seen in anything labelled "fresh" by perfume houses. The base is equally soft and genteel, with a white musk interwoven with nutmeg and vanilla on that sandalwood and oakmoss chypre base. Pecks of labdanum seeded with cinnamon spice and vetiver further enhance the soft green clean rounded glow of a composition that'll last all day on skin, but this is no screamer. If you're a fan of Eau de Patou (1976), this is a slightly rounder bigger-boned take on the idea, and wears wonderfully in most climates as a casual clean second skin kind of olfactive ambiance. The bottom line here is Ma Liberté is a unisex clean and groomed comfort food kind of scent, perhaps not in marketing, but in execution.

I can totally see why Ma Liberté flopped for Patou, as it was a whisper-quiet fragrance in an era of massive shoulder pads and when Ogilvie perms ruled, when women drenched themselves in "the hug me accord" from Sophia Grojsman in loud "terrible tuberose" perfumes or powerhouse orientals like Dior Poison (1985) stank up restaurants. If only a decade later this had surfaced, it could have caught the unisex wave kindled by Calvin Klein cK One (1994) and been marketed as such, but by then Patou pour Homme Privé was already out servicing men who didn't want the rich chypre interpretation of the aquatic Kerleo was forced to drum up in Voyageur. With Ma Liberté separating itself mostly from the former as a chypre exercise futilely aimed at women, with a few extra floral sweet tones and no tonka, it may actually appeal more to the open-minded collectors that try to avoid gender stereotypes in fragrance anyway. This is especially true because lavender-focused fragrances for women are exceedingly rare and never usually come across "feminine" in the traditional sense, and lavender paired with a chypre structure is also quite rare outside the early 20th century when it was played with in perfumes like Chevalier d'Orsay (1911) or gender-flirting exercises like Yves Saint Laurent pour Homme (1971) and Balenciaga Ho Hang (1972), the latter of those being marketed as unisex at first then later for men. In short, this is a beautiful and sophisticated fragrance not easily defined except by its chosen genre, ahead of it's time but also paradoxically a bit stuck in the past, like most Kerleo output for the house. Ma Liberté is a real collector's piece for the fans of lost perfume. Thumbs up.
10th January, 2021
A lavender focused fragrance on an oriental base. Everything is effortlessly and expertly blended. The lavender is prominent in the beginning and fades after some time to a floral-oriental-musky-sandalwood base. Truly beautiful, wearable and unisex. With the focus on lavender and the oriental base, it comes across as more masculine than feminine to me. Long lasting.

07th July, 2019
Some have said that this is a substitute for Patou Pour Homme. I would say in part by structure. Both share a background of Sweetened buttery richness and build their bouquets and accord upon this. I find they diverge properly to their Female and Male corners. Ma Liberte becomes prettier, softer, quieter, fluid and dries to an Exquisite powder,reminiscent of the sillage of Tiffany for Men and Habit Rouge. Pour Homme, for me, seems peppery and stiff, with it's Geranium and Clary Sage.
Ma Liberte, in spite of it's Feminine marketing strikes me, with it's discreet powder, thoroughly Genderless in wear.
12th August, 2018 (last edited: 20th August, 2018)
I do think Ma Liberte smells similar to Patou Pour Homme Prive. They both strike me as unisex or even feminine-leaning. I'm finding them similar in the same way I find Egoiste similar to Egoiste Concentree, Dior Homme similar to Dior Homme Intense, and Antaeus similar to Antaeus Sport. I think I could usually tell them apart, but they're not so different that I necessarily have a strong preference.

Another fragrance I find similar to this is the first version of Parfum d'Habit (1988) by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, in the red bottle with argyle stripes.
20th July, 2018
I am chaging my neutral review to positive for this fragrance. I am getting more and more drawn towards its soft lavender charms.

Ma Liberte for it’s Patou house note and Heritage for it’s Guerlinade should not be missed by fragrance lovers. Both are a perfect mix of traditional and modern notes.
26th February, 2018 (last edited: 08th February, 2020)
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Beautiful, just beautiful. Citrus lavender rose opening with a great dry down to the basenotes which are perfectly blended to reflect more than the individual notes. Too bad, so sad it's not produced today.
17th March, 2017

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