Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The presence of orange blossom in Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle is no more unexpected for a masculine perfume than the presence of Pelé in a list of world’s greatest footballers. After all, the classical eau de cologne relied on the bright sparkle of neroli (steam distilled oil of bitter orange flowers) in order to provide a fresh accent. However, while masculine blends like Yves Saint Laurent Kouros Fraîcheur and Creed Néroli Sauvage rely upon bracing citrusy and woody notes to frame the sweetness of orange blossom, Fleur du Mâle takes this radiant and bright note into a completely different realm—ornate, sensual and languorous. …
Fleur du Mâle was created by Francis Kurkdjian, the creator of Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1995 debut Le Mâle. With its name playing upon Charles Baudelaire’s collection of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), Fleur du Mâle targets the same urbane and sophisticated male as Burberry London for Men and Paul Smith Story. If the first two take a somewhat more expected route—woody oriental in the case of the former and fresh woods in case of the latter, Fleur du Mâle has more flair.
Building upon its successful predecessor, Fleur du Mâle stakes out its masculine character with a crisp and transparent top accord. It further overdoses the orange blossom present in Le Mâle, while significantly lightening its sweet oriental base. After the woody-citrusy effervescence of the top notes subsides, the composition unfolds into smooth and velvety layers of flowers and woods. The indolic sweetness of orange blossom is supported by the decadently rich base, where a hay-like note of coumarin produces a delicious, powdery macaroon accent. Sensual without falling into the rugged macho bravura of classical fougère*, Fleur du Mâle is refreshingly different from typical masculine offerings.
Traditionally, feminine perfumery has been more open to experimentation and innovation. The new dramatic accords and unexpected twists like those created by some of the most famous fragrances in perfume history were marketed towards women. The advances in masculine perfumery were comparatively much slower, given the more conservative stance of the perceived target audience. Yet, whenever I tally up the innovative and distinctive compositions of the past couple of years in the prestige market, I immediately turn to the ones created for the masculine market–Dior Homme and Terre d’Hermès.
Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle possesses great tenacity and sillage. It includes notes of petitgrain, lavender, orange blossom, coumarin. It is currently exclusive to Bloomingdales.