Jean Patou Eau de Patou : Fragrance Review (Vintage and New)


Cologne was never one of my favorite fragrance types. You see, when you start out exploring perfume, citrusy blends (eaux de cologne) are suggested on the grounds that they’re “fresh and easy to wear.” Except that I found most colognes to be neither. They smelled either too dry, too sharp or evoked an unfortunate association with furniture polish. I admired the ease with which some women could douse themselves in Hermès’s Eau d’Orange Verte and project an aura of casual elegance, but for quick refreshment, I reached for either light florals or green perfumes. What changed my mind about colognes was Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Jean Patou’s Eau de Patou.


Much has been written about Eau Sauvage, one of the most revolutionary fragrances in recent history, but Eau de Patou has kept a lower profile. Perfumer Jean Kerléo created it in 1976, and when you smell the original version, it’s remarkably modern and luminous with its generous dose of sheer floral notes wrapped around classical bitter citrus and moss. A touch of sweetness takes the sharp edge off the lemon and lavender, and the drydown of damp woods and powdery amber is comfortable and graceful.

By the end of the 1980s, the fashion business of Jean Patou had been closed, and the perfume division entered a period of stagnation in the first decade of the 21st century. Somewhere along the line, Eau de Patou had become difficult to find, especially in the US. It took an ownership change at Patou–the house was acquired in 2011 by Designer Parfums–for some of its classics to be revived.

The new in-house perfumer at Patou, Thomas Fontaine, respected Kerléo’s intentions with Eau de Patou, and this delightful cologne once again has its shimmer and radiance. The opening of green orange blossoms, spiced up with shaved lemon and orange peel is the smell of Provence captured in a drop of liquid. A dose of petals, which Fontaine, just like Kerléo, has kept white and sheer, gives a soft outline to the classical cologne, while the finish smells like skin warmed by the sun–sweet, creamy, with a hint of musk and toasted almond.

Eau de Patou is versatile, like most colognes, but it also lasts for hours and has a good presence. If you’re still tentative about citrus and find most colognes too brash, it’s a good choice. Other options are The Different Company Bergamote, L’Occitane Bergamot Tea, Guerlain Cologne du Parfumeur, NicolaÏ Cologne Sologne, and Clarins Eau Dynamisante.  (Gents, please don’t be put off by my mentions of flowers in Eau de Patou, which are common in the most hair-chested of fragrances).

You can still find the original Eau de Patou at various discounters, and its pyramid shaped bottle is immediately recognizable, in contrast to the rounded new packaging. The biggest difference between the two versions is the herbs and moss. The new Eau de Patou increased the proportion of orange blossom vis-a-vis lavender, and the moss has been sheered out and sweetened. I don’t advise overspending on the vintage, because colognes are fragile blends that don’t age well. There is nothing worse than the rancid, sour smell of gone-off citrus.

eau de patou vintage

Jean Patou Eau de Patou Collection Héritage, 100ml/180€. Available at Jean Patou boutiques and counters.



  • Maria: In my country colognes are very popular and you smell them everywhere. Its the smell of childhood and summer holidays. I especially like anything with orange blossom. Got Jo Malone Orange Blossom on your recommendation and liking it. May 19, 2014 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that Orange Blossom worked out well for you. It’s such an uplifting cologne. I also liked Annick Goutal Neroli for a pure, true orange blossom, but the lighter concentration that they released is just too fleeting. May 19, 2014 at 10:58am Reply

  • James: Thank you for this beautiful review. I especially appreciated you comparing two versions because I wore Eau de Patou for a long time. Do you know if all other vintages will be relaunched? May 19, 2014 at 8:47am Reply

    • Victoria: They relaunched Patou pour Homme and Chaldee, but I’m not sure if the rest are going to be available too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Vacances. May 19, 2014 at 10:58am Reply

  • Nicola: Thank you for this review. I shall go on a hunt for it! I have recently become aware of a renewed attraction for citrussy/woody/ambery scents and it started with the purchase of Lynn Harris for M&S set of EDT and perfume diffuser in Le Cologne (50% off!). The EDT is disappointing as after half an hour it disintegrates but the diffuser is fabulous. I have Hermes Eau de Narcisse Bleu on my to buy list but this sounds worthy of consideration too. I was just reading your lovely review of O de Lancome – how does this compare? I used to love O de L! May 19, 2014 at 8:47am Reply

    • James: I wore/still wear O de Lancome too. Eau de Patou was greener and sweeter than Lancome. Victoria or some other noses on this page can probably point out the notes that make it different, but to me they’re different animals. May 19, 2014 at 8:52am Reply

      • Nicola: Thanks James. BTW I just looked up the price of the reissued Eau de Patou – £150 in Harrods! Ouch. Think I might look for the older version. May 19, 2014 at 10:25am Reply

        • Victoria: Nicola, Eau de Patou in the pyramid shaped bottle is still easy to find, and I see it at discounters for something fair. Just be sure you don’t spend too much on it, because colognes don’t age that well, and if it was not stored properly, you might find it off.

          The price tag on the new Patou is what I call pricing into the luxury segment. Although the perfume itself is very good, the price is still too high. But at least, the older one is still available. May 19, 2014 at 11:10am Reply

          • Nicola: Thanks Victoria! May 19, 2014 at 11:36am Reply

      • Victoria: Like James, I find Eau de Patou softer (both the vintage and the new one) than O de Lancome. O de Lancome is like a gin cocktail, and it’s quite dry and mossy by comparison. Eau de Patou has more soft floral notes, and it has more lemon and orange than bergamot (which smells so peppery in O de Lancome). Both are worth trying. May 19, 2014 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Miller Harris’s cologne and many of her lighter blends were a disappointment to me. I smelled through the new Perfumer’s Library collection, and I found the hefty price tag the most impressive thing about it. But the candles were excellent, and I might consider them for gift, since I don’t burn that many candles myself.

      Eau de Narcisse Bleu is one of my current cologne favorites. It’s another great choice if you don’t like overly citrusy blends. May 19, 2014 at 11:01am Reply

  • Anne: Sounds like a cologne for me. I don’t like anything too lemonade like. May 19, 2014 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s lemony, but with so much orange blossom, you won’t smell like lemonade. 🙂 May 19, 2014 at 11:02am Reply

  • Nikki: I used to wear this when I was 16! I remember the boys thought it smelled like lemon…and yes, I also used O de Lancôme then and still do now.

    Eau Sauvage is a great ciitrus but a little brutal, while O de Lancôme and Eau de Rochas are softer. Of course, 4711 is one of the best citrus out there, and one splashes on 200 years of history as well… May 19, 2014 at 9:40am Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Rochas is terrific! Not sure if it’s available easily in the US, but in Europe, it’s a perfumery staple. Another cologne I’ve added to my wardrobe not long ago. May 19, 2014 at 11:03am Reply

    • Karen: 4711 I love that first fresh sparkle and then the softening but it disappears too quickly :« I wish it lasted longer. So many summers are tied up in it. Wish there was a longer lasting version. May 19, 2014 at 10:23pm Reply

  • Jessica: Victoria, have you smelled Chaldee? May 19, 2014 at 9:43am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried it once so far, but my first impression wasn’t positive. It didn’t really recall the glossy, sunny feel of the original, and at some point, it smelled unpleasant and musty. I’d be curious if others had a similar experience. May 19, 2014 at 11:04am Reply

  • sara: i love reading about older perfumes and good reformulations. 🙂 May 19, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m a bit put off by the high price of the new Eau de Patou, but on the whole, it’s a good relaunch! May 19, 2014 at 11:05am Reply

  • Snowyowl: I love reading about this also and will have to give it a try. I live in Portland, OR where I have The Perfume House and they stock this there. I have seen it but not smelled it. I do like the reformulated Chaldee and also wonder as Jessica above if you have tried that? I love your perspective, Victoria! May 19, 2014 at 10:44am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re lucky to have The Perfume House nearby. They have such great selection!
      As I replied to Jessica, Chaldee wasn’t a success upon the first try. It has a strange musty note, and I can’t shake off the association with wilted flowers. I like the vintage Chaldee, so maybe my expectations were too high. May 19, 2014 at 11:15am Reply

      • Snowyowl: thanks, yes, there was something about it that was standing in the way of purchasing it, although it wasn’t awful it wasn’t amazing either. I never smelled the vintage, so had no comparisons. Thanks for your response! May 19, 2014 at 1:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: Agree! And for that kind of money, it better be amazing. May 19, 2014 at 3:09pm Reply

  • yomi: Beautiful and short review. As far as colognes are concerned, one of the best ( apart from my blends of course!) From my point of view Is O de Lancome. Fresh and luminous as well as elegant . I love the bottle too! the woody, mossy ( chypre) backdrop which lends that elegant twist is so desirable. May 19, 2014 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Yomi! I don’t know about short, as I tried to condense, but discussing two different versions always makes the reviews longer than ideal. 🙂

      I agree on O de Lancome, which is one of the colognes I tried after I was introduced to this style by Eau Sauvage and Eau de Patou. And O de Lancome is still one of my most worn citrusy colognes. I like Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine for something not quite so dry and mossy. May 19, 2014 at 11:18am Reply

      • maja: That orange blast in Orange Sanguine is marvellous but the drydown for me is just … well, unfriendly. 🙂 May 19, 2014 at 11:26am Reply

        • Victoria: You aren’t the only one who doesn’t like that musky finish in Orange Sanguine. I must not be that sensitive to it. May 19, 2014 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Ann: This may sound weird, but I love O de Lancome in my hair ( I have thick, wavy to curly, shoulder-length hair). I apply it generously to my temples, at the nape of my neck and along my part… on a spring day it perfect (maybe too much for really hot weather). May 19, 2014 at 2:39pm Reply

  • maja: I like colognes! And while I tried and liked O (as well as some people I met after trying it out who complimented it) I never got a bottle because for me summer is all about Eau de Rochas 🙂
    I’d love to try TDC Bergamote, I am tempted to blind buy it as I can’t sample it anywhere near me. 😀 May 19, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Bergamote is excellent, and although I went through half a bottle of it, I never got tired of it. May 19, 2014 at 3:00pm Reply

    • Solanace: Divine Bergamote is very good. There are no testers where I live either, so I ordered decant from Surrender to Chance. May 20, 2014 at 5:39am Reply

  • Anita Monroe: There was a perfume shop in Key West that introduced me to this scent many years ago. When I tried to find it later, it had disappeared. It’s such a good thing that it’s back on the market, pricey or not. Patou is a wonderful house, and this fragrance is exactly as you so beautifully describe it. Enjoyed the review. May 19, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I remember being disappointed that I no longer could find Eau de Patou, so rediscovering it was a treat. And yes, it’s pricey, so I have only a little decant for now. May 19, 2014 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I adore colognes, but only started appreciating them as my perfume collection got larger. Used to wear Paco de Paco Rabanne, CKOne and Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert before I acquired my first colognes. Out of those I only wear the last one now on a regular basis. I’ve kept partial bottles of the other two, for old times’ sake.
    I definitely need to try the Patou. It sounds interesting. May 19, 2014 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Those wear really well. I smelled CkOne on someone the other day, and it was great. Tommy Girl is another one in that fresh tea style. May 19, 2014 at 3:03pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Did you ever smell the Rabanne? I used to love it, find it a tad too “fresh” these days. Great packaging though.

        I’ve tried Tommy Girl on numerous occasions but while I admire and respect it, it’s never been a real winner for me.

        I wear the TDC Bergamote a lot. It’s a surprising citrus somehow. May 19, 2014 at 4:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: If I have, I can’t place the scent, but I know that most of Rabannes were special. Sounds like I need to revisit it.

          Tommy Girl has too strong of an association with the suburban malls of my high school years for me to enjoy it, but I admire it and see why many perfumers consider it exceptional. May 20, 2014 at 9:41am Reply

  • Jillie: I have never smelt Eau de Patou, but of course you have now made me want to! I am another fan of O de Lancome and Eau Rochas – in fact it’s been quite hot here lately and I have been splashing the Rochas on a lot! The Rochas has good staying power and I love its mossiness. May 19, 2014 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m happy to see so many Eau de Rochas fans! It’s been on my to review list for a while, so I might just about get to it this summer. 🙂 May 19, 2014 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Alicia: I thank you very much for this. I am cologne challenge, always in search of some new cologne that might work, and rarely does. My beloved is Eau Sauvage, which I used to steal from my late husband. I wear happily O de Lancome, and lately Bulgary EP au Thé Vert, but I have always preferred light and/or green forals for the warmer seasons, in the spring my staples are Rive Gauche and Chamade, and in the summer often Vent Vert. In mid June I am planning to travel to the Iguazú Falls, in the border between Brazil and Argentina, a subtropical region, and I am going to take with me some of the above. But now perhaps I should add, if I find it, this Eau de Patou. May 19, 2014 at 12:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: If you like light florals as colognes, I must mention Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille. I don’t know if it’s still available, but if you stop by the counter, ask to smell it. Of course, you may know it already. It’s such a charming and refreshing blend. May 19, 2014 at 3:06pm Reply

      • Alicia: Victoria, I like very much what ihave tried by A. Goutal, so I will order Le Chevrefeuille. Thank you very much for this suggestion. May 20, 2014 at 11:09am Reply

        • Victoria: Worth just getting a sample first, if you can. It’s such a lovely perfume. May 20, 2014 at 12:50pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Speaking of furniture polish: Sandalo by Etro was to my nose like ”Pledge”, the polish my mother used.
    Eau de Patou sounds interesting. I am one of the many lovers of Eau de Rochas, and also Du Coq. Eau d’Orange Verte is to my nose like air refreshener, can’t help it. May 19, 2014 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: I forgot Pour Monsieur! a favourite, how could I forget that one. May 19, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sandalo doesn’t sound like my thing at all, but I don’t have much luck with Etros, apart from Vetiver and Messe de Minuit.

      Guerlain colognes are another topic, and there are so many excellent options there. May 19, 2014 at 3:07pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I like Dianthus, Shaal Nur, Palais Jamais, and Gomma, but Vetiver is like vegetable soup on my skin.
        Is it true that Messe de Minuit was reformulated? May 19, 2014 at 3:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: We can assume that pretty much all perfumes on the market that have existed for more than a couple of years have been reformulated. The only question is how well the tweaking was done. I don’t know about Messe de Minuit, since I haven’t compared it side by side, but I’ll try to get a sample. May 20, 2014 at 5:33am Reply

  • Annette Reynolds: This was a timely post for me, as I’m in search of the past again. Three of my favorite colognes over the last 40 years have disappeared: none were overwhelmingly lemon, and all had an elusive semi-sweet dry down that always drew compliments, and that I always loved smelling on myself.

    My first and always love was/is Sunshower by Prince Matchabelli. It came out in the early 1970’s and it was HEAVENLY. It only stuck around for a few years, but in those years it was all I wore. I came across a vintage bottle of it on eBay last year, but as you noted, Victoria, the smell had gone off and I was left with only the very faintest idea of what it used to be. I was devastated when it was discontinued, and still am. It’s the one cologne that I hold up all others to.

    My second big cologne love was a beautiful soft fragrance called “Natural” by Myurgia. It was around a lot longer than “Sunshower” but finally bit the dust some time in the 1990s (i think). I still have one of my original bottles (empty), and once in a while I take the lid off and take a sniff. And then I cry!

    And my third is a real travesty, because it’s called “Naturelle” by Berdoues and was being made up to a few years ago. It came in a huge glass bottle and what a gorgeous Eau de Cologne. I stocked up on it and still have a couple of bottles, but it will be gone soon enough. Considering the history of Berdoues, I was stunned when they stopped making it. They changed the formulation, making it into that sharp, harsh cologne fragrance that I can’t stand, put it into a small spray bottle, and charged double the price all the while calling it “Naturelle” as if it were anything like the original fragrance.

    Because I’m not sophisticated in my way of describing fragrances, I don’t seem to have any way of telling people what I’m looking for, and so I keep testing and testing and keep getting more and more discouraged.

    Whew. That was a long, long comment. But I’m now going to happily try the Jean Patou, and see where that leads me. So, thanks Victoria! May 19, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that’s so tough when you favorite perfumes just disappear. I really recommend you go to the Guerlain counter and smell all of their colognes. They have quite a few. The reason I mention Guerlain is because you seem to like more classical colognes, and the collection contains plenty of options.

      Also, have you tried Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien? I’m just curious what you think of it, if you have smelled it. May 19, 2014 at 3:11pm Reply

      • Steven Verstraete: Have you ever tried the original eau de cologne 1709 Farina (not the Roger&Gallet version!)
        This is a pure delight… What is so amazing is that it stays so long. It is actually a concentration eau de parfum. May 19, 2014 at 4:20pm Reply

        • Annette Reynolds: Hello Steven,
          No, I’ve never tried it (have tried many of the Roger & Gallet colognes with no luck), and so I thank you for the suggestion! May 19, 2014 at 4:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: I need to smell it again. You make it sound so wonderful. May 20, 2014 at 9:36am Reply

      • Annette Reynolds: Hi Victoria,
        Will do as you suggest. Also, just for the heck of it, I’ve ordered samples of Eau Savages and Eau de Rochas, along with Guerlain’s Cologne de Parfumeur.
        As for Eau d’Hadrian: it sounds so familiar that I’m thinking I have tried it. (It’s not on my NEVER TRY THIS AGAIN list, so it may be in my bag of I LIKE THIS BUT HAVEN’T MADE UP MY MIND.) I’ll have to dig around and see if it’s here somewhere!
        Have a lovely day… May 19, 2014 at 4:39pm Reply

        • Victoria: We’ll find something for you to replace some vanished favorites! 🙂 May 20, 2014 at 9:37am Reply

      • Annette Reynolds: I was right…it’s in my little baggie of fragrance samples I’ve tried and liked! Have just put it on again and it’s very nice. Much more lemony/citrusy than my beloved Sunshower, but has a nice sweetness to it that is SO reminiscent of lemon flowers mixed with lemon leaves. May 19, 2014 at 4:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: The reason I asked is because it’s considered one of the cologne classics, but it’s also very lemony, and I wasn’t sure if that’s too lemony for you or just right. It seems that it’s too lemony (for me, too), and I think that you might have more luck with perfumes that are more blended. Please let me know what you think of the samples you just ordered and how they work out. Of course, it’s hard to find something exactly like your old favorites, but you’ll have a lot of fun trying. May 20, 2014 at 9:39am Reply

          • Annette Reynolds: Yes, it’s always fun trying! I wish there was some way I could convey how truly beautiful Sunshower was. Just thinking about it takes me back to my teen years in sunny San Diego.
            Thanks for your help, Victoria. Enjoy your week! May 20, 2014 at 11:40am Reply

            • Victoria: Sounds so wonderful! That kind of association would be hard to replicate, which is why the searches for similar perfumes almost never come up with good matches. But you can discover a new favorite and a new marker on your perfume timeline. May 20, 2014 at 4:46pm Reply

  • Merlin: I definitely support the idea of an Eau de Rochas review. Out of all the cologne type scents this one has the very best sillage and longevity on me. It’s also a very particular lime that is used, which gives it a unique twist. Its one of the few perfumes I have bought on the spot!

    It also took me some time to enjoy citrus cologne type scents. I find Eau Sauvage far too dry, and quite off-putting. But, like so many others here I do like O de Lancolm. Its a lovely lemon-and-herbs and has just the right amount of bite. I found it somewhere at a good price but given what you say about longevity I probably won’t invest in a back-up!

    But, from a bottle point of view – Hermes has to be the winner! I adore their cologne bottles… May 19, 2014 at 5:19pm Reply

    • Merlin: Oh, and I meant to say – that this one sounds like an absolute must-try! May 19, 2014 at 9:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau Sauvage was changed so much over the years, and although I still love the current version, I miss the heft of bergamot in the original. For this reason, I love the way Jean-Claude Ellena has reinterpreted colognes in his Hermes collection. Many of them are citrusy and bright, but they don’t feel sharp. May 20, 2014 at 9:45am Reply

  • carole macleod: I discovered the original Eau de Patou this winter-it was really wonderful in the cold crisp winter air. I think there is nasturtiam in it-there is a creamy peppery sweetness in it, that I just love. It has definite presence too, and lasts all day on me. I could smell traces of it on my scarf the next day-it just smelled so good, and so fresh.

    I don’t know about the price point for the new product-I liked the fact that the average person could afford a bottle. I would like to buy more, but probably wouldn’t. I can see Patou’s point-when every bit of celebrity dreck costs about $80-$100 CDN surely a quality product should cost more. Of course, if I were able to limit myself to one or two purchases a year this could be one of the two. So maybe the answer for me is to find a signature scent.

    I loved the pictures you posted of your trip to the Ukraine, especially the cherry trees, the breakfasts, and the embroidery.

    And if you ever had time to review Eau de Rochas, that would be another treat!!! May 19, 2014 at 7:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Isn’t it surprising how well it lingers! I also love the way it smells on my scarf and sometimes I scent just my clothes with it. I can see what you mean about nasturtium, because I also notice lots of green and peppery notes in the perfume.

      I’m glad that you liked the photos! I took so many that it’s probably going to take me ages to sort them. On the other hand, it’s nice way to reflect on the time we’ve spent together at home. May 20, 2014 at 9:48am Reply

  • Mark: Hi Victoria et al, it looks as though Patou is going to continue rereleasing classic fragrances: this year, rumor has it that the firm will reissue Amour-Amour (under the new name Deux-Amours) and Que Sais-Je. May 19, 2014 at 9:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: I look forward to it, Mark! Amour-Amour was another excellent Patou. May 20, 2014 at 9:48am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Although I love subtle scents, I’m not a big fan of colognes. I have three of them in my collection, though – Eau de
    Narcisse Bleu, Eau de Gentiane Blanche and Thirdman Eau Moderne. And I’m considering buying The Different Company Sienne d’Orange for the summer (I’m looking for a nice orange scent that would work for me – the very popular Orange Sanguine was a disaster on my skin). May 20, 2014 at 5:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Sienne d’Orange is another very good cologne, and I’ve been meaning to review it too. Well, the summer might be long and hot, so we have plenty of time to experiment with colognes. 🙂 May 20, 2014 at 9:50am Reply

  • Solanace: I’ve been trying many colognes this year, and will have to add Eau de Patou and Eau de Rochas to the list.
    And I’d like to sign the Eau de Rochas review petition, too. 🙂 May 20, 2014 at 5:48am Reply

    • Victoria: No need to petition. Your wish is my command. 🙂 (I just need to get a sample of the new Eau de Rochas to make sure I write about the perfume sold at the stores, because my bottle is a bit older.) May 20, 2014 at 9:51am Reply

  • Alica: Ladies/ gents, hope you don´t find it inappropriate, if any of you wants vintage Eau de Patou, I have one full spare bottle and am willing to give it at really very low price. PM me if anybody interested. July 11, 2014 at 2:48am Reply

    • Alica: reply to:

      alicacleis61 at gmail dot com July 11, 2014 at 3:03am Reply

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