Category Archives: Hairy Masculines




On Monday morning at Strawberry Fields in Kamakura I had a naughtyish splurge on a cache : for sixty pounds sterling, a vintage 30ml Opium parfum, a No 19, a Caron Fleurs De Rocaille extrait, but these were kind of thrown in, really, because the real purchase, and prize, was this vintage edition of Amouage Cristal for men ( or possibly Gold? Experts please weigh in ) that was roaring to me silently from the top of the glass shelf.









The bottom of the bottle says Cristal, apparently a rare perfume on eBay that sells for around 1,000 dollars  – the Japanese internet has one for half that









but the notes do seem to match those of Gold, an intense ( though this word doesn’t do it justice, not remotely ; I have never known anything like it ), aldehydically animalic, musky soapy floral that smells just like a pristine extract of Madame Rochas parfum on United Arab Emirates steroids and cristillated to spectacularly nuclear strength.









The second I sprayed this oily, golden slick of perfume on the back of my hand I experienced a delirium tremens of being enveloped, head to toe, in regal downiness and flowers; rose, jasmine, but most specifically a powdery sandalwood and overall smell that reminded me very specifically of Imperial Leather soap – which I have always loved, and can use up a whole bar of in one long sitting…………….despite the swirl of richness gradually coalescing into one skin smell, the overall feeling is definitely that familiar scent; I use the talc and the deodorant spray, and having this too as the main event after all that initial background pampering will be orgiastically pleasurable for me. I was practically WRITHING on the train back home in olfactory arousal: tending and loosening like a cat in heat ……  perhaps the sublimated civet, that I experience without consciously sensing it: some secret code of sensuality immersed in the blend that makes it just so horny yet so MAJESTIQUE.




















To me, anyway.





D was having none of it.






“it smells……. pissy, or something” he said when we met in Ofuna : “I don’t like it”.













And on Basenotes :





“Musky, soapy floral, like taking a bath in the clawfoot tub of my gtandmother’s house in the seventies “




says one reviewer.




“I got through the initial blast of granny’s partially soiled bloomers, tiptoeing around the house trying to avoid my wife”,





says another.





Most other reviewers spin variations on this ‘old lady’ incontinence theme ( WHICH I DON’T GET AT ALL ::: I JUST SMELL SWOONWORTHY ARAB PRINCES IN WHITE ROBES )




– an (ageist, sexist ?), scaredy-cat reaction to a man’s scent that veers from the usual, ‘masculine’ brutality? Or maybe Duncan is right after all and I am just blind : though he does like the beginning, which is glorious: derailingly erotic for me personally, there is something in the base he can’t abide. A grimacing recoil.  It almost makes me fearful, like some dreaded halitosis I am unaware of, that my olfactory apparatus has gone awry. Why does it smell like that to him ??????





As another reviewer of the perfume says,    (as I mentioned I think this perfume must be Gold, (though please correct me if I am wrong) / could the ‘cristal’ on the glass be just referring to the material of which the bottle is made? It does feel ludicrously expensive]]










Yes. That was what I was wanting to say.





Wow is precisely the word I would use to describe this extravagant creation.




Which obviously I am only going to be able to wear indulgently alone, doors locked and bolted ,at home.














Filed under amber floral musks, Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Civet, Classics, Floral Aldehydes, FUCK EVERYTHING, Hairy Masculines, LUXURIANCE, Masculines, Musk, New Beginnings, occasionally sickening scents, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE, pigs, postcards from the edge, Powder, Psychodrama, Urine














I NEVER wear scents like this. Never. But stinking, pre-shower, on a hot sultry afternoon here just before taking a bike ride to exercise the old legs,I decided to spritz myself with something, anything, so as not to offend any passersby I might encounter on the street with my stench. Something strong. And somehow, there was a quarter full bottle of vintage Gucci Nobile there by the bathroom sink, an unwanted throwaway that D had picked up for nothing at some recycle shop or other, and before I had even finished sniffing it I had sprayed it on my sweating T-shirt and was quite impressed by the pong. Real manly stuff.  Full of tight herbs and lavender; granite hard. And off we went.





Returning after my masculine bike ride and after my shower, strangely, I felt like wearing this again. God knows why. So I have sprayed it all over and it is suiting my mood. I feel kind of



















Quite sexy in a way. Nostalgically macho. But clearly well made.









This might not be the last time that I wear




















Do you ever go off on odd, irrational and unexpected scent tangents like this?


Filed under Fougère, Hairy Masculines, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE
























I woke up yesterday feeling macho. And so I went into Kamakura for my twice monthly Japanese lesson wearing Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, a nice, classic, soapy, barber-shop fougère that I use on such occasions, walking along the road feeling broad-shouldered, manly, and hunked (in the nicest possible way).






As luck should have it, after the lesson, in the antique shop I often frequent, down one of the back streets, a place that always stocks a selection of unwanted vintage perfumes, they had just had a new influx of curiosities for me to peruse at my unhurried leisure. While mainly overpriced (yet ultimately, pretty reasonable considering), the proprietors usually give me a discount anyway, and, my eyes immediately startled, I pounced, straight away, upon a full bottle of unused Creed Royal English Leather: a discontinued, unusual beauty that I couldn’t quite resist at the bargain price of 2500 yen with its sense-flushing, powdered rush-plush eiderdown softness of floral, mandarin amber and cuir: a richness, and, indeed royal flounciness, that could almost put one in mind of vintage L’Heure Bleue. It is sitting now, proudly, by my bed. I know its time will come.


















What else? Among the haphazardly placed bottles there yesterday was a torridly bitter, straight leather eighties scent I had read about before but never smelled – Morito Or Black (1982) in its original, very decade-specific plastic flacon. I surreptiously sprayed some on the back of my hand as the lady was busying herself doing something in the corner, realizing quite quickly that this was a fine, dark, scent in the taut, no-nonsense, Yatagan mode, and one that might suit Duncan. I might have to go back and get it. Then, also, another bottle that I couldn’t help but tilt onto my wrist ( out of view of the bonneted lady who was sitting among her rose-covered English tea cups, lace, and general daintinesses):  Macassar, a scent I have never seen anywhere in the fleamarkets before: a beautifully complex, spiced and ambered men’s scent of rich, classical contours that was co-authored by Nicholas Mamounas, the intricate genius who created the divine Mystère that I was raving about the other day and which I wore to delicious effect all weekend; and Roger Pellegrino, the man who came up with Armani Pour Homme (1984 – my first perfume love). Like all these scents, Macassar feels very much of its time (this is so eighties, taking me vividly back to a Lynx -now Axe – deodorant that I once had called Africa, or something, as a seventeen year old), but as its scent progressed on my wrist, as I took the train the short stop home, I realized that I was rather liking it. Macassar, of course, was the the hair oil worn by Victorian gents, smeared over more parted, formal hair styles to keep the hair stylishly in place and the reason that the ‘antimacassar’ (a piece of cloth put over the back of upholstery to prevent it from getting stained by grease) was invented. This ubiquitous product was composed of coconut and palm oil infused with ylang ylang flowers, spice, bay rum and various other ingredients, and some of this sweet, colonial exotica has made its way into the now largely defunct perfume by Rochas. While the expected fougère ingredients are all in place : cedar, geranium, oakmoss, pine tree needles, artemisia, carnation, patchouli and bergamot, as well as the usual woods, musk and amber in the base, there is also a rather curious dolcezza here that takes the form of coconut, jasmine flowers and a piquant ‘rare fruit’ top accord steering things in a different direction from the usual grunting, gorilla-breasted brutes of that decade. While sensual, and very compelling, in its loveable ‘all-roundedness’, Macassar – like Mystère I think- also manages the feat, which I truly love in all the finest perfumery, of capturing something beyond: an aspect of intrigue you can’t quite put your finger on or pin down: that sense of a person being far more than the sum of their parts, or at least those sides that they have allowed you to view. A simple idea, well-executed, is a great thing in perfume, but for me, far too many perfumes come across as simplistic, even dumb, and an elaborate masculine is a pleasing idea that is not that often successfully achieved. Come to think of it, I might have to go back and investigate further, to see if this is something I need or could wear (would it be too dating? middle-ageing? Would my shoulders, on impact, become even broader; would more wiry, manly hair start growing on my chest and stomach?) For collector’s purposes alone, though, it might be worth the purchase as it is, by all accounts, quite a rare perfume, now, especially in its original, vintage incarnation, and I have been thinking that in any case, I should probably get it merely for a simple sense of completism, to have all three Rochas classic masculines at my occasional disposal.


















Even though I had never worn, nor even smelled them properly until last night when I retrieved the bottles from the back of one of my perfume cabinets to spray on and sleep with, also in my dusty old collection I realized that I do have the original incarnations of Moustache and Monsieur Rochas, both picked up at fleamarkets – obviously – and both also virile and elegant creations by this house, very different in execution but equally effective and seductive in their delicately constructed auras.





Of the three, the one I am probably most naturally drawn to is Monsieur Rochas, a sharp, nutmeg-laden, citric fougère that smells very similar to the gorgeous Equipage by Hermès (a complex, deeply aromatic and benevolent autumnal scent that I save for October afternoons to be worn in thick arran jumpers after going for a walk in the woods, or just for sitting at home reading the newspapers in the leisure of my dotage…..)





Equipage is a classic, quintessential Sunday perfume if ever there were one,  but the similarities between the essential framework of these two scents are not co-incidental, as both were created by Guy Robert, the brilliantly skilled perfumer behind such timeless and seminal creations as Calèche, Doblis, Dioressence and Madame Rochas, both these masculine creations containing similar levels of refinement as well as intelligence. Equipage, the more famous of the two, was released one year after Monsieur Rochas, and it is perhaps more mellow and rounded in its floral, mace-touched tobacco and carnation/jasmine top notes, in some ways an advancement over its Rochas counterpart, but there is also a lemon freshness in the Monsieur that renders it more vibrant and fast-paced, quick-thinking, brow-knitted, pensive: a citric, matinal briskness that is combined with lavender, clary sage, bergamot and cardamom over the usual geranium/carnation, vetiver, patchouli, oakmoss masculine tropes of tobacco-stained, artfully rough hands. I find it to be expertly composed, and sexy in a self-knowing, understated way.


















Yet another scent in the classic Rochas male stable (all either discontinued or reformulated, incidentally, but easily found for good prices at online discounters) is Moustache, which was also composed by a well-celebrated olfactory genius, Edmond Roudnitska, a man who needs no introduction for perfume aficionados as the ardent inspirator behind such well-loved classics as Diorissimo, Diorella, Eau Sauvage, Eau d’Hermès, and Rochas Femme, each an epitome of the French style of citric or floral freshness in the top notes, and a carnal, almost decaying animality lying underneath in the base notes, achieved, mischievously, with the use of civet, musks, honey and other ingredients that hint at overt sexuality from the moment they are sprayed on the skin, even as the exquisitely orchestrated bouquets scintillating in the droplets above speak of elegance, flowers, and an exclusively Parisian, demure, chic.






Moustache is no different to this deliberately calibrated French technique, and with a name like that, how could it be? From the very first moment that you smell it, this scent is frank and upfront in its intentions: the clipped and well-tended facial hair in question may not be confined to brushing your mouth but is surely destined to reach down further: a citrus/animalic contradiction explored in a similar emphatic, pulsating vein in Guerlain’s Jicky and Mouchoir De Monsieur, Yves Saint Laurent’s YSL Pour Homme, and Monsieur De Givenchy, all lemon scents that explore the tensions between filth and fraîcheur, polite, witty and flirtatious conversation and the wordless, sweating physicality of what is quite likely to follow. In Moustache, we can sense the template of what was to come later in Roudnitska’s work in Eau Sauvage (the bergamot, lemon, lavender, basil, carnation and jasmine over more sensual woody and amber notes), but Moustache is, ironically, much more savage: while the addition of verbena and petitgrain make the beginning of this scent more immediately citrus-focused, aided flirtatiously by the urinous lick of basil and lavender, its civet and honey-musk finality make it, ultimately, more rude, in the best, Frenchest, most possible way.







I was thinking last night: how interesting it would be to be at a lively and enjoyable party talking to three attractive, captivating but very idiosyncratically different people that you were meeting for the first time, each of them fully realized as people, totally themselves, dressed-up instinctively in one of these unfaded Rochas scents, allowing the scent to speak for them as much as the words they were letting escape from their mouths: a double approach, if you like, as their eyes met yours ; an invisible touch. And I was wondering which one I would be likely to find more seductive………… Moustache, with its poetic, forthright heart; its impassioned soul (there is something of the starving artist in the garret about this perfume: a desperation, a purity); Monsieur, with its sharp, muscled, keen-eyed, but softly-dressed suavity; or Macassar, and its full-bodied, hot-blooded, man-of-the-world knowingness.






The answer?



I honestly don’t know.







Filed under Hairy Masculines