Mainstream men’s colognes — a wearying bunch of scents that more often than not smell of “cold” citrus (harsh, metallic, faux citrus) floating on a sea of “marine” notes or buffeted by ozonic winds. This type of fragrance (apparently beloved by market research guinea pigs) rules the mainstream male perfume world and no matter how many interesting ingredients are mentioned in ad copy — May rose, myrrh, olive wood, hay, nasturtium, etc. — chances are, when you sniff a new men’s fragrance, you will detect only citrus, ozone or marine notes, a touch of wood, and a squirt of tepid musk. Boring, boring, boring.
When Gucci released Pour Homme in 2003, I was relieved to read its list of notes: white pepper, pink bay, ginger, papyrus wood, orris rhizome, vetiver, amber, white olibanum and leather — no citrus, no evocations of the shore or high altitudes!
Gucci Pour Homme opens with a spicy, and short-lived, burst of pepper and ginger. This spiciness merges immediately with a dry, woody-cedar aroma. (If you do not like the smell of cedar wood, I doubt you’ll appreciate Pour Homme.) The wood accord (“papyrus wood”) continues thru the development of the scent and is joined by sweet vanilla-amber and hints of leather and frankincense.
Pour Homme is so well blended that there is little variation in the scent over the course of a day, and individual notes are not readily apparent. The scent of Pour Homme reminds me of several Japanese traditional incense blends I use: simple combinations of woods and subtle spices. Pour Homme is a tranquil, “dignified”, woody and wintry scent and, though not ground breaking, does not fit neatly into the mainstream men’s cologne mold.
Gucci Pour Homme is a good “mixer” — it layers well with leather, black tea, incense and even fruit (especially peach/apricot) scents. Pour Homme has good lasting power and its fragrance stays close to the body. It comes in a handsome and heavy glass bottle with a snap-on metal top and a base of textured glass that resembles wire mesh. Pour Homme was developed by perfumer Michel Almairac, and if you shop carefully, you can find the 50 ml Eau de Toilette online for around $25.
Tomorrow: a review of the new Gucci Pour Homme II.