Gone, But Not Forgotten Series Part 3: Only the Good Die Young – Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle Perfume Review

Fleur du Male

Fleur du Mâle had some big boots to fill, released in 2007 it came a whole 12 years after the tour de force that was Le Mâle. Le Mâle is one of the greatest ‘Marmite’ fragrances, it has its lovers and its detractors, but very rarely does it provoke a feeling of indifference and despite whichever camp you find yourself falling into you cannot deny that it is a well made and interesting fragrance.

Gaultier isn’t one to shy away from controversy and Fleur du Mâle, with it’s name that is a play on Baudelaire’s collection of poems ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (The Flowers of Evil) and overdose of orange blossom doesn’t either. Sure, a masculine floral is nothing new, us boys have been wearing florals for yonks, but the idea is rarer in the mainstream and one so overtly floral (and advertised as such) as Fleur du Mâle was a breath of fresh air.

As you can see from the above advertising image (which I have included for informative purposes only, not because it’s a picture of a VERY attractive man in a bath, honest *cough*) Fleur du Mâle aims to strike a softer chord than the ultra-sexed, ultra-metrosexual image of Le Mâle.

The Notes

Top: Petitgrain
Heart: Orange Blossom and Fern Accord
Base: Coumarin [1]

How Does it Smell?

Fleur du Mâle is essentially a modern twist on the most masculine of fragrance genres – the fougère. But it’s not as refined or safe as most fougères, this is Jean Paul Gaultier and, after all he is the ‘Enfant Terrible’ of fashion. Every part of Fleur du Mâle has been pushed up to its upmost level of extreme. The top notes are chock full of green, woody petitgrain and a massive overdose of orange blossom. The effect of these two notes combined is like fresh pollen rubbed in between the fingers, it’s loud and diffusive but at the same time it is clean and pleasant.

Orange blossom is a note that is used a lot in mainstream and niche fragrances, and its use here is interesting. In most fragrances the note is allowed to shine & shimmer, and its indolic (dirty/skanky) facets are usually focused on. However, in Fleur du Mâle, the orange blossom smells green and bitter, it’s also quite powdery thanks to a mega-ton of sweet, powdery and hay-like coumarin.

The top notes do feel quite bitter and if you’re not a fan then unfortunately you do have to stick with them for quite a while as the first part of the fragrance is relatively linear, that is until the base sneaks up on you.

It is worth mentioning that whilst Fleur du Mâle isn’t a flanker to Le Mâle it does share the latter’s famed barbershop fougère accord and as Fleur du Mâle approaches the dry down the two fragrances become more and more aligned, in fact if it weren’t for the persistence of the orange blossom you could be fooled into thinking they were almost the same.

Personally I was always a fan of Le Mâle but since its release I would always pick Fleur du Mâle over the original, partly because it wasn’t as prevalent (what else is?) but also because it always felt unique, interesting and far less dated than the original. Where Le Mâle feels as if it has something to prove with it’s hyper-gay, faux machismo (which is more to do with the advertising than the scent, sailors and all that), Fleur du Mâle is relaxed, easy going and more likely to make you smile than piss you off because he is to busy preening himself in the mirror. Also, despite being a ‘big scary floral’ Fleur du Mâle smells a great deal more masculine than Le Mâle.

Why Was it Discontinued?

Perhaps the men of the mainstream weren’t ready for this huge, hairy orange blossom or perhaps they would rather have stuck with the ‘pulling power’ of the original?

Whatever the reason, shame on them for not buying it, because now, yet another good fragrance ends up in the graveyard before its time. I shall visit Fleur Fleur du Mâle’s headstone and lay a few orange blossoms as a tribute. He will be missed!

Availability *

The word on the street is that Fleur du Mâle is still available in some stores and online, but I imagine, as stocks run out they will not be replaced.

Disclaimer

This review is based on a bottle of Fleur du Mâle from my own personal collection.

[1] osmoz.com

Image 1 basenotes.net

* Added on 12 October 2011

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38 thoughts on “Gone, But Not Forgotten Series Part 3: Only the Good Die Young – Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle Perfume Review

  1. I truly fear the worst for our Evil scent twin thing now – I love Fleur du Male, and luckily I snatched up a bottle on eBay for a song a few years back.
    Lovely review, I totally agree with all you said.
    And thank you for putting up this image for informative purposes, how considerate of you! 🙂

  2. I’m sorry, were you saying something? I was… staring.
    I remember when this came out a few years back. Never saw a single man try it. Not sure if the problem was the orange blossom or the bottle. It would take a man who was very confident in his sexuality to own such a bottle, and we don’t have many of those in the U.S.

  3. I actually found a tester of this baby in John Lewis last week! Unfortunately the spritzer was broken so it just shot out a single, hard stream of juice (ahem). Couldn’t give it a fair assessment because of that but I think I best leave this one for you floral addicts!

  4. Very fetching picture and comprehensive coverage of this scent and its relation to its predecssor, which I haven’t smelt. Thanks to Olfactoria I have tried Fleur du Male lately, but it wasn’t for me, sadly, though I thought it very well made. I think the list of notes my nose amplifies (not in a good way) just got longer and now includes coumarin, because I got a cool fougere vibe and no orange blossom whatsoever. Hence why I was puzzled by Persolaise’s comparison of this to Elie Saab. My coumarin aversion prompted me to sell a bottle of Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambree once that I had only just bought!

    • That is very interesting. I think Xerjoff Oesel and Fleur du Male are quite close, yet you love one and hate the other.
      Oesel is made of much higher quality materials, but in essence they are the same idea… are they entirely different to you, V?

      • Rushes to try Oesel and FdM side-by-side…currently wearing Ibitira and gs01 (both hits), but sure I can find space somewhere…

      • Ye gods! They are surprisingly similar going on, and I don’t care for either! Oesel must get less herby in a bit or that migraine I had at the time of testing it must have been even more severe and mind-altering than I remember.

      • Jury is still out – they are remarkably close still for sure, but I am testing in temperatures some 15-20C below my earlier (separate) trials of each, and the possibility of nose tip transfer/contamination cannot be excluded, so have applied more Oesel higher up and will try not to touch any of the sites.

        Re the masive temperature difference, could it be that in the FdM “hay comes out while the sun shines”? ; – ) ; – )

    • I have to admit that I was also puzzled by the Elie Saab comparison, I really don’t see the similarity at all.

      The coumarin is definitely strong in Fleur du Mâle. Does this mean you are now VM I Hate Coumarin or is Civet still the big enemy? 😛

      Also, I received your package today, thank you very much 😀

      • Coumarin is quite possibly the one in the chair – and the rubric! – right now, haha, because I am finding myself bizarrely drawn to vintage Ysatis at the moment, which is against the laws of nature really. I am betting that it contains a hundredweight of civet. Ditto Roja Dove Scandal, now I think of it, and I have just gone and bought another bottle of that… :- )

        Flittersniffer for a reason, as I always say.

  5. I tested this today after reading your review, I found that the perfume stores in my small hometown all still have bottles left. I sprayed it on my hand and then went to my Pilates class- my instructor asked me what perfume I was wearing, she thought it smelled lovely! Sorely temted to buy myself a FB before they are all gone. And when I wear it thinking about that most instructive picture is bound to cheer me up!

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  8. I love your reviews on here but this fragrance is thankfully not discontinued, at least not in the uk, here is the reply I got from JPG website: Dear Mr. GLANVILLE,

    First, we would like to thank you for your email.

    We are please to confirm that Le Fleur du Mal is available. If you have difficulty to find it in your local store, you can purchase it on our website http://www.jeanpaulgaultier.com.

    We thank you for your interest in the Parfums Jean Paul Gaultier.

    Sincerely,

    Massimiliano MORETTI,
    Consumer Service
    Jean Paul Gaultier Parfums

  9. Damn it! Almost all male fragrances that break any paradigm is doomed to discontinuation. Men will still have to take a look at female’s fragrances to get some daring occasionally.

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  12. I used to sell Fleur du Male in a previous life and managed to sell some to my brother. He and i both wore it.
    Also, i was just in Marrakech and rediscovered it at Duty Free there.

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