Dear Gentlemen Readers: How many of you employ a mouchoir* during the course of a customary day? Are your mouchoirs made of fine Egyptian cotton? Linen? Silk? If you espy a lady, or gentleman, on the verge of collapse, overheated or overwhelmed, about to cry…do you rush to proffer your mouchoir? Is said mouchoir scented? Please advise your query-full Reviewer posthaste!
Okay, that’s enough stilted prose for now. The name ‘Mouchoir de Monsieur’ (Gentleman’s Handkerchief) sounds dated too, doesn’t it? While reading reviews and opinions on Guerlain's Mouchoir de Monsieur Eau de Toilette, the words “dandy” “of another era” and “old fashioned” are used repeatedly. (For the record — maybe I’m old fashioned myself — I always have a fresh linen handkerchief either in my bag or on my person and I use it exclusively to wipe my damp brow. I’ve never been in a position to offer a hankie to someone in need, and my mouchoir is unscented.)
Mouchoir de Monsieur, a Jacques Guerlain creation, was released in 1904; it contains lavender, bergamot, verbena, rose, jasmine, neroli, fern harmony, civet, patchouli, vanilla and iris. Mouchoir de Monsieur is a close relation of the older (1889) Guerlain Jicky, but I don’t find either scent dandyish or old-time-y. Mouchoir de Monsieur smells more “poetic” than foppish. We all have personal opinions of what makes a scent “old-fashioned”; for me, the scents of carnation, heliotrope, dusty violet and (overabundant) aldehydes do the trick (but that’s not to say I don’t wear and enjoy scents that contain those notes).
Mouchoir de Monsieur opens with a strong bergamot-lavender-verbena accord; then a creamy civet aroma develops and quickly becomes chalky. This drying, or toasting, of the civet note is pleasant (and smells almost food-y when it mingles with Mouchoir’s vanilla note). The heart of Mouchoir de Monsieur is sweet and floral on my skin, with faint rose and neroli combining with velvety citrus and residual civet. Overall, Mouchoir de Monsieur is sleeker and richer than astringent Jicky (Eau de Toilette) – it’s as if the fragrance has been “ironed” to smoothness. The base of Mouchoir de Monsieur (to quote from my own Jicky review) “becomes muted and smells a bit like…faded soaps and powders”.
Jicky Eau de Toilette is more herbal-forest-y than Mouchoir de Monsieur, and due to a strong civet note, Mouchoir de Monsieur more closely resembles Jicky Eau de Parfum than it does Jicky Eau de Toilette. If you dislike Jicky (or civet), I doubt you’ll be a fan of Mouchoir de Monsieur. The lasting power of Mouchoir de Monsieur is good. Personally, I don’t go near Mouchoir de Monsieur when the outdoor temperature rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (civet and warm weather do not mix).
If you’ve never smelled Jicky or Mouchoir de Monsieur, do give them a try. There are certainly old-fashioned fragrances and perfumes “of another era,” but Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur go beyond being simply “old” — they are survivors. How many fragrances will be “celebrating” (respectively) their 120th and 105th years in production in 2009?
Mouchoir de Monsieur Eau de Toilette (available only in 100 ml) is sold in the Guerlain spray “bee” bottle. For buying information, see the listing for Guerlain under Perfume Houses.