Thirdman Eau Moderne Cologne : Perfume Review

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Those of you who enjoy eaux de cologne know how refreshing and uplifting these citrus accented fragrances can be. The effervescence of bergamot peel and orange blossom gives a jolt that I find comparable to a cup of coffee. Even if the buzz wears off quickly—citrus perfumes are quite volatile—the initial effect is rejuvenating. But what took me longer to understand–and what I discovered via the iris inflected Thirdman Eau Moderne—is how elegant and versatile citrus colognes can be.

Thirdman is a newcomer to the modern cologne arena, and its three colognes, Eau Monumentale, Eau Profonde and Eau Moderne, feature different takes on the classical citrus idea.  Eau Monumentale has a soft mimosa note, Eau Profonde layers citrus and amber, and my current favorite, Eau Moderne, intertwines bergamot with salty iris. Like a crisp white shirt or a little black dress, it feels appropriate for any occasion, and on days when I cannot make up my mind on what I want to wear, my black shift dress and Eau Moderne end up working as a foolproof ensemble.

The cool iris note appears even before Eau Moderne absorbs into my skin. It smells of frozen roots and green leaves, austere at first and more languid and warm as the perfume develops. The zesty bergamot note that suggests Earl Grey tea adds a tart accent to the dove grey iris, while the peppery bite present in this bitter citrus fruit makes Eau Moderne sparkle.

This “iris tea” illusion is the reason I kept revisiting Eau Moderne, but what hooked me in the end was its polished character. The accents are on the salty notes, rather than the sweet ones, which make Eau Moderne classical, but the seamless manner in which the citrus brightness melts with the soft woods in the drydown is quite modern.  Compared to my other salty iris favorites, Chanel 28 La Pausa and Divine L’Homme de Coeur, Eau Moderne is more streamlined, but it also feels more relaxed and comfortable.

Like all colognes, Eau Moderne can be used as an instant refreshment, but it also lasts well enough to be worn as a perfume.  The musks and woods anchor the iris and citrus notes, and even the late drydown has a pleasant tangy quality. Eau Moderne doesn’t fizzle out; it maintains its uplifting sensation. Of course, don’t expect it to be a sillage bomb, but for a citrus perfume, it has great presence and tenacity.

Thirdman Eau Moderne is available from Aedes, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.  8.5oz bottle ($150); 1.7oz spray bottle ($75).

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Sample: my own acquisition

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17 Comments

  • erin: I requested samples of all three colognes with my recent Aedes order. Eau Profonde made me curious because I love light ambers. How does it compare to Atelier Cologn Ambre Nue? April 23, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

    • erin: I meant Atelier Cologne! Sorry! April 23, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Ambre Nue is a light oriental to me, rather than a citrus cologne. So, it is very different from Eau Profonde, which is fresh, effervescent, with a warm amber used as an accent. Atelier Cologne in general has a different take on colognes (apart from Neroli Grand, which is very classical), so these two lines are complementary to me. April 23, 2012 at 10:52am Reply

    • marsi: I like Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, which smells like juicy Sicilian oranges to me. April 23, 2012 at 10:58am Reply

      • Victoria: Orange Sanguine used to be my favorite from Atelier Cologne. I also like its zesty sweet orange notes. April 23, 2012 at 11:05am Reply

  • marsi: I haven’t even heard of Thirdman, but I will be sure to check it out. What caught my eye was your comment about cologne being elegant and versatile. People often think that they are just for refreshment, or in Spain where I come from, to use as a part of our morning toilette. For me, colognes are also more than just utilitarian. So, I love your take on colognes as your elegant black dress. My all-time favorites are Eau de Guerlain and O de Lancome. Would I like Eau Moderne? What else should I try? April 23, 2012 at 10:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that anybody has likes classical colognes will enjoy Eau Moderne. It is easy to like, easy to wear, but it has enough complexity to be interesting. And if you like iris, you will like it.

      If you like colognes, then I would also recommend Parfums d’Empire Azemour, Hermes cologne trio (any cologne from that collection) and Chanel Eau de Cologne. I linked to an article on colognes in my post, so there are a few others listed there. April 23, 2012 at 11:09am Reply

      • marsi: Thank you! I don’t know those. Now I have my list updated with several new colognes to try. April 23, 2012 at 2:13pm Reply

    • Martyn: @marsi: How would you use a cologne as part of your morning toilette? Would you use it, say, as a body splash after your shower? Or maybe in your hair? I love colognes, but find that normal application (throat, wrists, elbows) has little sillage and soon vanishes, so I’d love to try some other way, but something that was not overpowering. April 23, 2012 at 12:37pm Reply

      • marsi: My grandmother would bathe in the evening only, and in the morning she would rub herself with eau de cologne and also whenever she needed freshening up. I just use cologne after my shower, I use 6 sprays at least and in my hair too. My father used to say that he loved the smell of orange flowers in my mom’s hair, and I started putting cologne into my hair too. At home we also kept a large bottle of Agua de Colonia, one of the colognes from a famous Spanish company Myrurgia. We keep it in the fridge and all of us loved using it in the summer. April 23, 2012 at 2:12pm Reply

        • Martyn: Thanks, Marsi. Agua de Colonia, yes, I had a big bottle the same, a big red top and smells gorgeous!

          Have you tried Dior’s Eau Fraiche? Lovely! April 23, 2012 at 2:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: I also use moisturizer to improve the tenacity. Most perfumes definitely last better on the well-moisturized skin. April 23, 2012 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Martyn: Victoria, is Eau Moderne available in the UK? I’ve searched online and can’t find it. It’s big money in the USA (for my slender pocket, anyway) and shipping plus tax would take it way out of reach. April 23, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t think that it is available in the UK yet. It only just came out in the US. In stores, I’ve only seen it at Aedes and Bergdorf Goodman so far. Both stores were very generous with samples, the way they tend to be with all of their new lines.

      Your discussion of cologne with Marsi made me wish I had some on hand today. It feels very stuffy and humid outside; a splash of cologne would feel so good.

      Plus, your mention of Dior’s Eau Fraiche reminded me how much I like that cologne. And to think that I used to dislike citrusy fragrances for so many years! April 23, 2012 at 3:23pm Reply

  • Rain Adkins: Okay, I admit It, I’m ignorant. Can you tell me what you mean here by “salty”? And when you refer to iris, where in the very wide range of iris fragrances are we–grapey, lightly musky, softly lemony, sort of vanillic/metallic, cotton-candyish? Or does this refer to orris, perhaps? April 24, 2012 at 1:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that’s right; I’m talking about the iris root. Iris in most perfumes comes from the root, so that note smells not floral or sweet, but green and rooty. Here it smells salty to me, like sea breeze or the pieces of wood you pick up on the beach. April 24, 2012 at 7:31am Reply

  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien and Vetiver Colognes : Fragrance Reviews: […] sexy (Thierry Mugler Cologne), exotic (Guerlain Eau de Cologne Impériale), or impeccably elegant (Thirdman Eau Moderne). But if you enjoy colognes only when the mercury levels rise and anything else seems too heavy, […] April 5, 2013 at 7:08am Reply

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