It has been a languorous yet eventful summer and I am out of practice with writing so I will come back with a brief post on three perfumes we picked up on one of our recycle shop hauls : the simple, but timeless, Pour Un Homme, a perfume I had always wanted in my collection for its soft ease but had never got round to buying, and a recent reiteration of the scent that I had never encountered before, the fantastic Pour Un Homme Sport, a welcome addition to the collection that has turned out a summer hit and D’s scent for most of August.
For those not familiar with Caron’s most famous masculine ( and probably the house’s bestselling scent) , this is essentially a potently subtle, fresh French lavender combined with a musky, civet-licked vanilla that will not suit everyone – this was one of the perfumes I used at my book launch as an example of a good lavender scent : a lot of nodding all round, initially, then later, slight consternation as it ‘turned’ on some people’s skins and went sour or rangey.
On me it works. An intimate, soothing sensuality; manly, if you like ( James Dean wore this, apparently – an idea I find very erotic ), but really, more androgynous, undefined; quietly self confident. Perfect for an afternoon tumble in the sheets.
Or not : depending what decade you find this classic being advertised in
We had picked these Carons up in a great cache of fumes spree-d on one fun, sweltering day in Yokohama. I wanted more, and could have spent twice as much, but was trying desperately hard to act frugal and show some very necessary restraint ( as we had unfortunately haemorrraged quite a lot of money – more on that in the next post in the series ) and I couldn’t afford it.
With me, though, things I want – records, perfumes – often linger in my mind like taunts of regret- sometimes things I only HALF want, but am materialistically intrigued by. Thus, when D said he had to go back the next day to the same area to buy a bizarre garment he had spotted that was perfect for a performance piece, but had hesitated over because of the price – I gathered some coins and said he could go by himself, as I would be preparing my toilette for that evening’s night out in Tokyo and couldn’t bear getting sweaty beforehand; but that if he was going back, there was something he should buy: Caron Sport ( a combination of words – that sounds like an oxymoron but in practice isn’t ) : the lingering after/effect of which had remained lodged in my mind. It was only ¥1500 ( about fifteen dollars), and, more importantly, something I could definitely imagine him wearing : on first impressions, a musky, minty, balsamic yet astringent smell, almost vaguely similar to Jean Paul Gaultier’s bestselling and cheaply shouldering Le Male, a scent we had both sometimes shared back in the day when we first met and still on occasion recall with affection.
That evening, we were very excited indeed to have stage-side tickets to see the singer Neneh Cherry, someone I have always loved, but never seen in concert, at Billboard Live Tokyo in Roppongi. I got ready alone at home, taking my time, dancing naked around the kitchen to her records, and we later hooked up on the train, me bathed and squeaky clean and happily sprayed head to toe for the occasion in another scent I had never heard of before but picked up for five dollars on the same day: Lohna by Harnn
– a crisp and refreshing, uncliched combination of lavender and lemongrass (funnily enough, a west-meets-east harmony I have sometimes chosen myself in homemade herbal tea blends: somehow they can synergize quite beautifully), with undertones of mid-laundered cotton shirts that felt ideal for the hot summer’s day, and a perfume which is now fixed forever in my memory as The Scent I Wore To Neneh Cherry.
The Scent That Duncan Wore To Neneh Cherry was, and now always will be ( I love this self conscious STAMPING of a perfume on your memory like this : a deliberate etching in your heart and brain stem) : Caron Pour Un Homme Sport, a new version of the original that was released by the company in 2015.
The base of this fragrance is truly great on D : a tonka/ benzoin/ white musk accord, a skin tattoo laced with a (slightly salty) real ambergris that leaves a silky, but tangible trail of sillage down Tokyo escalators, or on bike rides around Kamakura ( “ I am loving your bicycle sillage !” I shout into the wind ); the top notes strange but compelling : leaves and twigs of lavender flushed through an anti-intuitive, brash, even almost amusing – dose of grapefruit and mandarin and an unimagined twist of ‘Madagascar blue ginger’ , nutmeg and verbena tautened with a bodily essence of Virginia cedar.
The effect : revitalizing and clean, a tad cocky, yet warm and dirty: optimistic, uncomplicated, sexy – and absolutely ideal for dancing .
12 responses to “THE SUMMER DIARIES vol 1 :LOHNA by HARRN (2016) +POUR UN HOMME DE CARON (1934) + POUR UN HOMME DE CARON SPORT (2015)”
Looooove the vid! Duncan’s dancing is ace..
Watched it 5 times already, great waking up to this☺️❤️❤️
Sometimes you just have to fuck everything and dance to Neneh Cherry.
She was great.
We weren’t actually allowed to take any photos or videos at that place, and in fact both me and D had done dance offs with her ( D’s was AMAZING – I really wish I could have filmed it ). Anyway I whipped my phone out to just film a few seconds at the end as the begloved robots in skinny black suits came rushing for me
When we saw the Human League there in 2011 I rushed to the stage and TOUCHED them I was so overcome
Oh, I really love Pour un Homme! I have a nice and big splash bottle of the “Les plus belles lavandes” vintage edition—création spécial de Caron, no less! I find it sexy in a laid-back way. I envision a young burly blond man with lots of chest hair from the 70’ies, a labrador-kind of guy so to speak, sweet, cuddly & lazy. Oh my—
A perfect imagining.
I loved the little video too…such fun!
It is sometimes quite delightful finally seeing your idols in the flesh thirty years later – we had an amazing day
I love your “I am loving your bicycle sillage!”
Also, the power of a scent to fuse with a certain time and place. For better or worse.
Truly. The other day D hugged me and looked instantly touched, slightly upset. ‘The hospital’, he said – unusually for me I had been in an orange blossom mood but the Annick Goutal just plunged him back into the aftermath of that horrendous operation and me in my pale green hospital pyjamas
This was my favourite part too. 🙂 Wish my husband had bicycle sillage… unfortunately he doesn’t wear cologne while cycling.
Now I’m doomed to sit indoors on a very sulky autumn day in Western Canada dreaming of having (or being in the wind-shadow of) bicycle sillage… Thanks for this lovely piece. The other day in a moment of desperation (my cloth mask was just feeling old after too long a day with too many changes of venue), I took a cue from medieval plague doctors and shoved a sprig of fresh lavender into the slot in my mask reserved for filters and was reminded of Caron Pour un Homme.
I am curious to know if you’ve had a chance to form an impression of Le Troisième Homme… No pressure (unless you can use it to helpfully overcome purchasing guilt) but I thought that, given its being both a Caron and the invention of a Japanese perfumer (Akiko Kamei), you’d have hunted it down. Sanchez & Turin call it a ‘jasmine fougère’ (I’m still trying to persuade you, see?) but I’ve also noticed in the kitchen how prominent the smell of freshly toasted and ground coriander seeds resonates with its composition. I think the Fragrantica pyramid has it wrong as well, as there definitely appears to be some yuzu present. The first time I tried it in the (now vanished) Caron boutique in NYC it broke my heart a little. Now it’s good for heartbreaking days generally, as it is quite strong.
I smelled what I assume to be a reformulation recently (but in the classic Caron bottle), and D tried it on and it was quite sexy, in a very old school fougere way (yes with some jasmine in it, but that is not unusual). Worth trying if you like them a bit sweaty and manly.