Sampling masculine fragrances can be a royal pain in the bum because for the most part they are dreadful calone-fuelled citrus things that feel thin, bland and made for the lowest common denominator. Of course that’s not to say they are all bad, far from it, there is a whole heap of good masculine scents on the market, it just seems that in terms of new launches, the good ones are becoming harder to find.
Luckily for us boys there are some good, not mind-blowing, but good masculine fragrances on the market that don’t break the bank. Two such fragrances are Roger & Gallet’s duo of masculines ‘L’Homme’ and ‘L’Homme Sport’. Between these two masculines Roger & Gallet have catered for both the stylish older man (L’Homme) and the easygoing younger man (L’Homme Sport) at an affordable price.
L’Homme was introduced in 1979 and is described by Roger & Gallet as “an Eau de Toilette…with an authentic, distinctive chypre character” whilst its 2009 counterpart “plays a second oflactive score and reveals another contemporary facet”. Two fragrances, worlds apart, and both representing the duality of the modern man.
Top: Lemon and Spearmint
Heart: Ylang Ylang and Spices
Base: Vetyver, Patchouli and Amber
How Does it Smell?
If you didn’t know that L’Homme, Roger & Gallet’s staple masculine, was released in 1979 you would the moment that you smelled it. L’Homme is a big, ballsy and über-masculine woody chypre in the true 70/80s style. I can’t smell it and not think of a hairy chested man schlapping it on his cheeks in front of the bathroom mirror.
This style of fragrance could not be further away from my tastes if it tried but I do have to admit that L’Homme is very nicely done, and whilst I may not wear it myself I wouldn’t mind smelling it on the right man. It reminds me of the style of fragrance my father wore when we were kids, I distinctly remember splashing on his Giorgio Armani/Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme thinking I was as cool as he was. I wasn’t.
L’Homme starts with a big blast of citrus, mint and spices. It is rich and aromatic without being overpowering or acrid, the balance is spot on. With time it progresses to a base of woods (namely cedar), a big ole stinker of a patchouli note and amber. I find it to be perhaps a little bit on the dry side, occasionally shifting towards harsh, but the amber brings in a softness before things go too far.
I find L’Homme to be a relatively linear fragrance, the development is short but it lasts a long time and the finished product is a nicely-done masculine chypre There are of course many fragrances that ‘do’ this style of fragrance better than L’Homme, Aramis for one springs to mind, but for £33.50 this one definitely is an attractive option.
Top: Grapefruit and Tea
Heart: Pink Peppercorn and Cardamom
Base: Vetyver, Cedar and Amber
How Does it Smell?
There is no stronger deterrent for a die-hard fumeophile than the word ‘Sport’ in a fragrance name. The majority of these athletic masculines (and they do tend to be exclusively for the male market) are nothing more than dreadful synthetic-smelling citrus mutants that remind one of the smell of Lynx-drenched school changing rooms.
Now, my experiences of P.E (or Gym Class to my American friends) were less than enjoyable and I would like it if my fragrance didn’t remind me of those torturous times thank you very much. Luckily for me, in the case of L’Homme Sport we have a decent, albeit rather ephemeral ‘sport’ fragrance for once.
L’Homme Sport opens with juicy, mouthwatering grapefruit and a touch of green tea. The opening is quite subdued and rather than being effervescent or sparkling, as grapefruit can tend to be, it is soft and sweet. There is also a touch of mint lurking somewhere in the background which gives L’Homme Sport a slight similarity to Guerlain Homme, however the latter is definitely much more interesting and higher quality than the former.
This rather pleasant sport fragrance, which shouldn’t be called as such because it is better than that, settles on a very easy-to-love suede-like amber. It feels a million miles away from the hairy-chested spice bomb that is L’Homme and represents the quieter, more modern side of the Roger & Gallet man.
L’Homme Sport is so very different from L’Homme. There is something relaxing and simple about it, it’s unfussy, unpretentious and easy-going. It may not be a masterpiece, in fact it’s nothing of the sort – it’s too quiet for a start and I can’t see it holding interest for a long period of time, but you could do a heck of a lot worse with your gym-bag fragrance.
L’Homme and L’Homme Sport are both available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £33.50. A series of toiletries, including; Shaving Foam, After Shave Balm, Shaving Cream, Shower Gel and Hair Fixative gel are also available.
PR sample. All quotes and notes via press releases. Image 1 via helpmystyle.ie Images 2 & 3 via altwoodpharmacy.com