Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male: fragrance review of a best-seller

Back in 1995 when this Francis Kurkdjian composed fragrance launched Le Male didn't look like it would become that huge in popularity. Jean Paul Gaultier's first masculine fragrance (programmatically named Le Male) was honestly too sweet for the times. No man would capitulate to such a sweet scent surely? And I'm saying this in full knowledge that the archAngel of sweetness came out 3 years before. Angel by Mugler was still too sweet by any mass market standards in 1995 and a very slow commercial success in the market; it took confidence and patience to make it the monument that it is. Le Male followed an analogous path though a bit more speedy thanks to its intended audience.


Le Male was evidently camp with its rippled torso and sailor paraphernalia. It was made by a French brand, for Pete's sake, fronted by a "crazy" looking guy always dressed in a matelot top! But it caught on spectacularly because of a very specific reason. It caught on first with the fashion congnoscenti and the tasteful homosexuals who were drawn to its campy imagery and gender bender advertising aesthetics. Truth be told gay men with fashion savvy often have an uncanny ability to focus on just what is right and works in the style stakes and predict trends. Evidently all strides of life favoured it commercially in the end. The advertisements and the scent were so tongue-in-cheek that you couldn't ridicule it no matter what one's orientation were; it had a healthy portion of self-sarcasm to carry it through.

Composition-wise the sweet lavender over coumarin-vanilla recalls a hint of classic fougère specimens, but the execution is nothing but. To better view this one can do a side by side experiment with a classic sweet lavender built on coumarin notes; Caron's Pour Un Homme. Whereas the Caron is a fist in a velvet glove Le Male is rubber band or nitrile gloves that slap shapely buttocks in jest.You can detect the modern musks which make this powerful. Or at least which used to make this powerful and very long lasting. I hear it doesn't last as long nowadays though my last personal testing is a couple of years old to be honest.

Now that fragrances for men have become increasingly sweet, Le Male continues to be popular with all ages of men (fathers and sons alike), but especially young ones who have rediscovered it. Quite a feat for something older than the age of its wearers!


  1. The latest incarnation smells to me peculiarly like a cross between L'Oreal's Humectant Hair Conditioner and Baby Wipes. Not sure I find generic candy-sweet and talcumed diapers sexy anymore...

  2. Now you can buy perfumes online with a wide variety of collection of fragrances that you could choose from and have them delivered to you.


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