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
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