Carven Pour Homme1 is instantly recognizable as a contemporary men's fragrance, but it's much nicer than your average masculine mainstream perfume. Imagine a friend who always dresses like a slob. One day, you see a figure approaching who looks familiar but...different. It's your friend! But in beautifully tailored clothes, and he's sporting a great new haircut to boot. Such is the Carven Pour Homme effect.
Carven Pour Homme is a violet leaf scent. We often smell violet leaf in perfumes in loutish guise: loud-mouthed, obnoxious, ordinaire. Carven Pour Homme presents violet leaf made chic — soft-spoken and interesting.
Carven Pour Homme opens with, you guessed it, violet leaf, but violet leaf that is squeaky green, almost floral, and bubbling like champagne: lively and glittering. Grapefruit, not too clean, quickly joins the violet leaf and provides an astringent, "moist" citrus-peel aroma. In mid-development you'll still smell violet leaf but you'll also detect sheer/pale notes of almost-smoky cedar and warm sage leaf. Sometimes colors come to mind as one sniffs a perfume; Carven Pour Homme's colors, to me, would be jade green, pigeon-feather grays and charcoal (and these shades almost mimic Carven Pour Homme's progression...its violet leaf becomes stronger/darker as it travels from top notes to base notes).
The base of Carven Pour Homme adds some vanilla fuzz to the violet leaf, and introduces a chilly/clean vetiver note (and at this stage "fancy barbershop" came to mind). At the end of its development, Carven Pour Homme returns to violet leaf, but richer than the percolating violet leaf of the opening.
Carven Pour Homme has close-to-the-body sillage and good lasting power; if you're a perfumista who is forced by management to wear barely-there perfumes to work, Carven Pour Homme would be a great choice — your office mates won't be "scared" by it and you'll enjoy its interesting facets.
Carven Pour Homme Eau de Toilette is available in 30 ml (not in the US, sorry), 50 ml ($75) and 100 ml ($95); grooming products include natural spray deodorant, aftershave balm, bath/shower gel. In the US, it can currently be found at Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.
1. Perfumers Patricia Choux and Francis Kurkdjian; listed notes of grapefruit, violet leaf, sage, nutmeg, cedar, vetiver and sandalwood.