If there is a genre of perfume accords that most men are reticent to try, florals would be at the top of the list. Much maligned, many guys tend to think of floral fragrances as too feminine, something they would be unable to pull off. Instead, they gravitate towards “freshies”, aquatic compositions, blue fragrances in the vein of Bleu de Chanel, those with dominant wood accords, and so on. Fougere compositions can also be added to this list with their barbershop-like aromatic qualities, eliciting associations to a clean shave, usually through lavender or some herbal facets.
One of the most popular, more modern Fougere fragrances is undoubtably Le Mâle from the designer house of Jean Paul Gaultier, with the nose behind this perfume being Francis Kurkdjian.
This is a fougere with more emphasis on an ambery, sensual base. Following the highly acclaimed success of this creation, many flankers to Le Mâle came in succession which retained the iconic male torso bottle yet featured varying design elements. One of the flankers is Fleur du Mâle, which debuted in 2007 and was also nosed by Francis Kurkdjian.
Here the male torso was showcased in porcelain white as an allusion to what’s inside, almost like a classic regal Greek sculpture. At the time, I believe Fleur was quite daring, even risqué for many men with that emphasis on white florals. It was certainly a fragrance that Kurkdjian used to push the envelope as to what a Fougere could be.
Fleur du Mâle is a vibrant, radiant composition opening with sweet. luscious orange blossom kept in check by a more reserved, verdant neroli, with the overall accord sparkling with zesty petitgrain.
The white florals gradually become more voluminous and redolent, with a more apparent sweetness, but they never become cloying. Herbal tones peeking through from the base keep the overall composition well grounded. As the fragrance enters the dry down, these herbal aspects become more distinguished, with somewhat spicy chamomile, aromatic basil, and warm, shimmering coumarin providing a beautiful contrast and finish to the rich neroli and orange blossom.
The coumarin is almost hay-like, reminiscent of warm fields during a dusky, romantic summer evening out in the country.
This is quite a powerful, long-lasting fragrance that easily lasts all day into the night. Fleur du Male is a scent for a confident man filled to overflowing with joie de vivre. It is a statement declaring, that yes, men can wear white florals! Truly a masterpiece by Francis Kurkdjian and unfortunately discontinued.
I think a perfect time to wear this would be on those cooler spring days or summer nights. Although rather boisterous in the beginning, overall, the fragrance has more of a casual, yet sophisticated metropolitan vibe, but I can also see it being the perfect accessory for a relaxed date night.
If you are feeling adventurous or are tired of the usual men’s fragrance offerings, Fleur du Mâle will definitely be a welcome departure from the norm. Yes, flowers can be for men!