Saturday, December 8, 2012

Coriandre

Don't worry, I'm not turning this into a blog about women's fragrances.  Pour Monsieur is, and always will be, a blog about fragrances for men.  If I ever get the desire to write about women's perfumes, I'll just start up a new blog.  The fact is, there are a lot of perfumes out there labeled "Pour Femme" that could just as easily be marketed for men.

Coriandre by Jean Couturier is a masculine chypre mis-characterized as a women's perfume.  All the perfume retailers and fan sites online call it a feminine scent, but I'm not sure if Jean Couturier even agrees with that anymore.  Look at the box and bottle, with the faux malachite design - it looks like Balenciaga Pour Homme or Lapidus Pour Homme!  I've heard that Jean Couturier reformulated this, and although I've never smelled the original, I wonder if they deliberately made this smell masculine.  The smell, packaging, and the fact that neither the box nor bottle gender-labels it makes me suspect this is now being pitched to both women and men.

Coriandre is a bright, dry, bitter, and very green floral chypre in the old school French style.  It smells like a cross between Monsieur de Givenchy and the current version of Magie Noire.  Its name is totally appropriate, with a blasting coriander spice note that is both lemony and astringent in the opening.  As the coriander mellows out, the floral notes come out of the woodwork, and they are very green - I smell a lot of geranium and a green tea rose-like smell.  It's wonderful.

It's hard to figure out all the notes that make Coriandre particularly masculine, other than the vetiver, which comes on strong in the drydown.  What does it for me is a subtle smokiness that underlies all the muted floral notes.  It's actually quite enchanting, and it adds darkness to what otherwise would be a pearly white and green chypre.  Adding to the mystery is civet, which is not strong, but it adds a subtle meaty smell in the base notes, as well as having the effect of blunting the harshness of the floral notes (which civet often does in perfumes).  Coriandre is an expertly crafted fragrance.

None of this is to say that women can't pull of wearing Coriandre - of course it would smell good on a woman.  But it's a fragrance that no guy who loves bitter chypres should pass up.  This is a $20 perfume that smells like a $200 one.

MY RATING:  8.5/10

Fragrance House:  Jean Couturier

2 comments:

  1. I got this one for my wife and she doesn't wear it much. I agree this is definitely able to be worn by men. Another one I think able to be comfortably worn by a man is Fendi Fendi (for women), to me it is perhaps even superior to Fendi Uomo (I might have to de a side by side comparison.

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    1. I love Fendi Donna too. I think it's the best powerhouse for women from the 80's. However, I'd never wear it because my wife wears it on occasion, and I love the way it smells on her.

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