It would be hard to argue that Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Mâle released in 1995, isn’t one of the most popular modern masculines on the market today. As far as scents go it’s a pretty hard metrosexual beast to escape and perhaps suffers from a bad case of over exposure (I love it but don’t often wear it due to it’s popularity – stupid I know), you literally cannot move for it in gay bars, straight clubs and on the streets.
Due to its success Le Mâle, with it’s barbershop accord of lavender, mint and vanilla, has seen many incarnations over the years, with many summer editions, a huge floral version (the fantastic Fleur du Mâle) and a more mature grapefruit and vetiver rich ‘Terrible’ fragrance. In continuation of the fragrance’s evolving nature 2013 sees the release of a brand new Mâle, ‘Le Beau Mâle and this particular dude is as cool as a cucumber.
Created by Francis Kurkdjian, the perfumer responsible for penning the original Le Mâle and all of it’s subsequent editions, Le Beau Mâle is simply described as “the freshness that makes men hot” (if the scent doesn’t make you hot the above ad image certainly will – my oh my) and is an ice cool rendition of the sweet fougère made popular by Le Mâle: “the sensual sailor with a soft heart.”
This time the soft heart of that handsome sailor has turned cold, nay glacial and bitter. Yes he’s a ‘beau mâle’ but his beauty lies within his sharp, angular lines that say you can look but don’t you dare think to touch…
“I really wanted to reclaim ownership of the formula. With hindsight, some things were obvious. Preserving the original structure and unfolding of accords while stretching the note to the maximum. The redefinition of lavender that characterises ‘Le Mâle’ remains, but the oriental facet has been toned down in Le Beau Mâle to make room for skin-caressing sensuality. As if the skin were exuding the fragrance.”
Mint, Mugwort, Lavender, Orange Blossom, Clary Sage and Musks
How Does it Smell?
The first impression of Le Beau Mâle is of a fresh and intensely bracing mint. The mint note is intensely herbal and whatever sweetness there may have been to it is tempered by the harsh bitterness of absinthe, which also adds a dark, moody effect to the top notes. Underneath both the mint and absinthe lies a subtle hint of something acerbic, perhaps grapefruit, that somewhat softness the harsh quality of Le Beau Mâle’s opening.
As much as the general vibe of Le Beau Mâle is of icy cool freshness there is also an offbeat aquatic quality to it that when mixed with the herbal nature of the mint and lavender is ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed (it does have an early 90s retro feel to it). The lavender itself is much more subdued and softer than in the original Le Mâle, allowing for Le Beau Mâle to take on a life and identity of its own.
Le Beau Mâle’s interest stems from the discord between energising, icy aqautic notes and the bitterness of herbs. As things head in to the dry down musk takes over and the interest wanes slightly. The musks ensure that these dark, bitter facets carry through to the far dry down but surprisingly it all feels a tad too thin in the latter stages and doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the opening.
It would be accurate to sum Le Beau Mâle up as an aquatic and icy-fresh interpretation of the original. It would also be spot on to say that is the most far-removed from the original out of all of the Le Mâle incarnations. The opening couple of hours are great fun and I can see Le Beau Mâle working in the intense heat of summer, I just can’t help but wish it delivered more in the dry down. Still, without being entirely bowled over I would recommend it as a good fresh masculine, or feminine for that matter.
Le Beau Mâle is available in 75ml (£39.50) and 125ml (£56) Eau de Toilette. Matching Shower Gel (200ml – £21) and Deodorant (75g – £19) are also available.
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Love is in the Air…
If you are gearing up for Valentine’s Day and are looking for a nice fragrant gift for that special someone please do check out my Valentine’s Day Fragrance Gift Guide for Escentual.com*
Images, notes and quotes via press release. *Affiliation.