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.
Heart: Orange Blossom and Fern Accord
Base: Coumarin 
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!
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.
This review is based on a bottle of Fleur du Mâle from my own personal collection.
Image 1 basenotes.net
* Added on 12 October 2011