The last few months have not been easy. I’ve had unexpected news from the doctor; scary appraisals from the plumber and house painter; and my spirit-reviving winter vacation will be delayed. Oh, and a new operating system at work is making my hair stand on end for eight hours a day. If I ever needed a comfort scent, it’s now.
Many of my perfume-loving friends turn to “food-y” perfumes in times of woe, but I usually don’t enjoy gourmand fragrances. I’d rather eat cake and caramels, and drink hot chocolate for comfort than smell them on my skin. I opt for perfume simplicity in turbulent times — fragrances that play with, and display, just a few notes. A comfort scent shouldn’t be too powerful either; it must not “intrude” on calamity but buffer it.
For my current tempestuous cycle, I’ve opted for an oldie perfume: Caron Pour un Homme, a fragrance that debuted in the 1930s when lots of people around the world needed comforting.
Pour un Homme was developed by perfumer Ernest Daltroff and its original list of notes included bergamot, lemon, rosemary, lavender, sage, rose, rosewood, cedar, tonka bean, vanilla, oak moss, and musk. Though it must have been reformulated many times over the last 77 years (Caron only lists vanilla and lavender in today’s version) Pour un Homme still smells good.
Pour un Homme opens with crisp lavender leaf and cold, almost “medicinal” vanilla; Pour un Homme’s vanilla notes are bracing, like a soda fountain concoction, but more elixir than “treat” (nothing cloying here). The combo of lavender and vanilla produces, in mid-development, an aroma that smells a lot like immortelle with its malt-y/burnt-sugar scent. Pour un Homme’s strawflower aroma makes me think of clearing the garden in autumn and bringing dried, but bright, flowers inside. Pour un Homme’s base smells of pleasant, light, slightly powdery amber-musk and retains a hint of lavender in the background.
For me, there’s not one jarring moment in Pour un Homme; its old-fashioned aspect (cottage-garden lavender meets baby’s bath time) makes me feel safe, secure, coddled…and nostalgic. I bought a big bottle of Pour un Homme, and I hope my troubles disappear long before it does!
Caron Pour un Homme is available in Eau de Toilette, in a variety of sizes up to 750 ml. In the US, it can be easily found for less than $45 at the online discounters.