I was looking through a picture book on birds when I wore Le Troisième Homme de Caron for the first time. A work of Albrecht Dürer’s — an illustration of a wing of Coracias garrulus — caught my attention. The disembodied wing, with its glossy blue, green, yellow and black feathers, possesses a sad beauty; it’s impossible to forget all that’s missing from that wing: a body, a beating heart, a song. Like the beautiful wing that’s “lost” its bird, Le Troisième Homme is a lovely aroma fragment that seems to have become separated from its perfume.
Listing the notes for Le Troisième Homme seems pointless*; it’s one well-blended fragrance. (I’ve been wearing Le Troisième Homme for weeks, hoping it would “fragment” on my skin or clothes and reveal an individual note or two; this has not happened. Le Troisième Homme is a linear fragrance.) Le Troisième Homme begins, and ends, with a sweet, floral-fruit aroma (almost like the scent of gardenia buds and lemon peel submerged in ice wine). The scent is liqueur-y, dense, and has a creamy floral character.
Le Troisième Homme has great lasting power, but if you don’t absolutely love its one-facet aroma, it may start boring you over the course of a day’s wear; I usually put on Le Troisième Homme when I go out in the evening. (I can shower it off before bed.)
I certainly like my fair share of ‘one-dimensional’ (simple) fragrances, but those types of scents I enjoy are either pungent, citrus-y Eaux de Cologne or fragrances built around wood/incense notes. I rarely like soliflores (or “near”-soliflore scents like Le Troisième Homme) — a single type of flower in isolation is great in a vase, but not on my person.
Le Troisième Homme is pretty…but inert; like Dürer’s bird’s wing, it has shimmer, but it doesn’t quite fly — at least for me.
Le Troisième Homme de Caron is readily available at online discounters; my 100 ml bottle was less than $30.
Top image: Flügel einer Blaurake (Wing of a Blue Roller) by Albrecht Dürer via Wikimedia Commons.
* The original 1985 list of notes includes bergamot, rosemary, lavender, anise, geranium, rose, jasmine, carnation, amber, musk, oak moss, patchouli, cedar, tonka and vanilla; a 10-year-old ingredients list mentions lemon, bitter orange, bergamot, coriander, lavender, vetiver, oak moss and galbanum; currently, Caron lists only lemon, coriander and vanilla.