Le Troisieme Homme de Caron ~ fragrance review

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.

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58 Comments

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  1. relleric says:

    I remember wearing this in the 80′s and loving it then, but I honestly can’t remember exactly what it smells like. Just ordered samples of Pour un Homme and Yatagan, as I have seen many good reviews for both.

    • Kevin says:

      Relleric: I can understand not remembering it…it’s a hard scent to pin down! I really enjoy Yatagan and Pour un Homme

  2. Haunani says:

    Kevin, I enjoy this fragrance but it doesn’t sing for me the way Pour Une Homme (for example) does. I feel like a don’t understand it, and your review has convinced me that I never will. Love the bird wing picture!

    • Kevin says:

      Haunani: Pour un Homme has been in heavy use since I got a bottle.

  3. Olfacto the Magnificent says:

    I love Caron; Pour Un Homme is a gentle and sophisticated delight, and Yatagan is one of the all-time sexiest and most masculine things I’ve ever worn. I can’t imagine how this could be any less than those, and I can’t wait to try it and see. To each their own….(to each their own Caron….)

    • relleric says:

      I ordered Pour Un Homme after sampling A Taste of Heaven (By Kilian), hopefully it will be as good or better (and a fraction of the price). I told the BK rep at Saks that I detested lavendar-focused scents, but she gave me a sample vial anyway. The next day I tried it and I could not stop sniffing my wrists! The blend of vanilla with this and the Absinthe accord really agrees with me, and it literally lasts and lasts with a minimal application.

      • Kevin says:

        relleric: I really like the way Caron uses lavender (and vanilla) in the men’s line.

    • Kevin says:

      Olfacto: well, Caron has some duds like all the other houses out there, but Le Troisieme Homme is NOT a dud by any means…certainly worth sniffing.

  4. Angela says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous review, Kevin. The comparison to Durer’s illustration is perfect.

    • tjoppie says:

      Yes, thank you Kevin for writing such a wonderful piece.

      • Kevin says:

        Tjoppie: thanks…it was an interesting fragrance to tackle.

    • Kevin says:

      Angie: thanks!

  5. Bear says:

    This is a lovely fragrance but I find that it is too well-blended, some of the notes should have been left jagged. It is like someone whose hair is perfect – I just want to go up to them and rough it all up.

    • Kevin says:

      Bear: TRUE…the “part in the hair” is razor blade precise.

  6. mikeperez23 says:

    For me this one is jasmine, jasmine, jasmine.

    I like jasmine (I am one of those guys that wears A La Nuit by Serge Lutens with pride) but this one just felt annoyingly pretty and like you described, simple.

    I’ll stick with Caron Pour Un Homme and Yatagan.

    • Liza says:

      Sounds like my take on these three Carons is similar to yours.

      I love Yatagan (for myself) and Pour un Homme (on my husband) but found Le Troisième Homme pretty but uninteresting (and I typically like jasmine quite a bit).

      • Kevin says:

        Liza: I WISH I got “jasmine” in this one…if it’s there it has been “rinsed” and somewhat altered. It smells a bit “unripe” if you know what I mean.

    • Kevin says:

      Mike: Pour un Homme and Yatagan are winning the popularity contest for sure.

  7. Rictor07 says:

    Sounds interesting. I think the only Caron ive ever tried is Royal Bain de Caron, and i hated it. Pure bug spray to me. I might like this tho.

    • Kevin says:

      Rictor: yes, give this one a try….

  8. donnie says:

    Thank you for your another well done review. I’m another one-just got samples of Yatagan and Pour un Homme 2 days ago, haven’t tried either yet. Your own review of Yatagan encouraged me, while something Erin wrote-sorry, can’t find it now- discouraged me equally about Troisieme Homme. I’ll let you know.

    • Kevin says:

      Donnie: many people adore this one too

  9. Erin says:

    Lovely, sad illustration. Love the metaphor, too – if only I agreed it applied to Third Man! We must be Evil Fragrance Twins, Kevin. I think No. 3 / Le Troisième Homme is one of the most beautiful masculines ever, and just as perfect as its brothers (Yatagan and Pour Un Homme). I wonder if my bottle is very old? While the jasmine is forceful, there is definitely an aromatic quality to me – rosemary and anise, particularly – and the spiciness of carnation and a plummy rose in the heart. Not linear at all. Hmmm. Nervous to check if its been heavily reformulated lately.

    • donnie says:

      Sorry, Erin. Obviously I got your feeling wrong about Troisieme Homme.

      • Erin says:

        Well, I might have called it a “monster” – and I wouldn’t expect you to know I have a fondness for monsters. :) The version I have is very strong and diffusive, and with its big florals I would think its more polarizing with men than Pour Un Homme or even Yatagan.

    • Kevin says:

      Erin: hmmmm. It would be interesting for you to smell a brand new bottle of this!

    • egabbert says:

      I too was surprised by this review — my bottle of Third Man is deeply complex and definitely not linear. Sad to think they’ve ruined it — I love this on my personal homme. I think it’s a huge lavender fougere with a spicy, soapy heart (carnation/jasmine) — manly, old-fashioned, and SEXY.

  10. Wow, Kevin. I’m with Erin on this one. It sounds like a serious reformulation has taken place. My (very) old bottles are most notable for the serious turn they take about an hour into wear, from the lovely lavendar-citrus-jasmine to an even better deep-woods-and-jasmine. I think its totally gorgeous. Alas.

    • Kevin says:

      Sweetlife: nope…don’t get any of those notes!

  11. guerlainguy says:

    thanks for a great review Kevin. Je le love Le Troisieme Homme and I’ve just sprayed a bit on me now to inspire a comment. It may be a linear fragrance, but for me, or on me, it is a very very wide line. It’s a summer and summer into fall fragrance for me that garners plenty of approving comments. I feel less devoted to Pour un Homme, even though I have the entire trio.

    • Kevin says:

      guerlainguy: for some reason I think I like this one worn in chilly temps…but I’ve not had the chance to wear it in warm weather yet.

  12. alotofscents says:

    Great writing Kevin :) If it’s Jasmine, would it be befitting for a women? I smelled my first Caron the other day-Fleur De Rocaille, and was surprised that it didn’t smell dated and was very pretty.
    Have you smelled Fluer Du Bonheur? If it isn’t heady or cloying, I might just buy it unsniffed. What do you think? And what does Le Troisieme mean in French?

    • Kevin says:

      alotofscents: “The Third Man” can certainly be worn by women with NO problem!

  13. alotofscents says:

    Sorry for the misspelling but my puter is acting out.:(

  14. Jill says:

    Great review, Kevin, thank you! And I have to say, that picture of the wing makes me so sad … and fits perfectly.

    • Kevin says:

      Jill: Thanks…the whole bird is gorgeous.

  15. Merlin says:

    What a phenomenal image and you really bring out its poignancy with the metaphor!

  16. ScentScelf says:

    I had to smile when I got the opening to this review in my feed; “Ah,” I thought, “a review from Kevin.” And so it was, with the anticipated reward.

    I’m going to have go wear Third Man tonight. I’m kind of like the third bowl of porridge on this one…neither as ultimately disappointed as you, or in the “ultimate masculine” zone Erin is. I don’t think. I just remember liking it, without being knocked out. Wouldn’t it be something if mine were neither old nor new…the 2• iteration, as it were? :)

    Thanks for a lovely piece.

    • Kevin says:

      ScentScelf: you’re welcome…!

  17. RuthW says:

    The bottle of Troisieme Homme that I picked up on ebay is so very different from your description that I must believe that the fragrance has been reformulated significantly.
    My old bottle is a 50 ml splash, grey glass, with raised square geometric design on the bottle as well as the dauber.
    It is lovely, citrus lavender becoming slightly spicy (carnation) and animalic as the jasmine blooms. While not going through a wild transformation, it definitely evolves.
    I bought it for myself and my husband – who usually prefers my perfumes to smell like identifiable baked goods – thinks it is great and couldn’t believe it was marketed towards men.

    • Kevin says:

      Ruth you DO have a vintage bottle…have not seen that bottle type for this in ages

  18. nozknoz says:

    Beautiful review, Kevin!

    It’s interesting how diverse the views are on the three classic Caron masculines. I greatly prefer this one, and, really, I’d prefer it over many other beautiful masculines on an actual guy. True, it IS linear; perhaps I find constancy reassuring in a man! ;-)

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: HA! I guess constancy is better than collapse!

  19. Joe says:

    Hi Kevin. I like Troisieme Homme a bit, but there is definitely something not quite right. It’s too much a “gentleman’s cologne” on me — and to compare to another, I’d much rather wear Penhaligon’s Sartorial, frankly (though I know that one doesn’t grab you).

    3e Homme is a chameleon though… I once had it on and got a bit on my pillow; I kept smelling that bit on the pillow now and then, thinking it smelled fantastic. Then at some point, it started making me feel it. It was only a drop at most, but it had some quality that just became too much. It might have been too much of an aromatic, spiky lavender note or something. In any case, I’m glad I have a bit of it to sniff from time to time.

    • Joe says:

      that should have read: “… at some point it started making me feel ILL.”

    • Kevin says:

      Joe: I certainly have to be in the right MOOD to wear this…a little goes a LONG way on some days.

  20. Tama says:

    Don’t know squat about this scent but that artwork is so poignant.

  21. hongkongmom says:

    Beautiful picture and beautiful comparison Kevin. I need to spend time on it, but my first reaction is that I don’t like it….I tried to see the feminine that LT described in the Guide, but alas it felt very “old school” masculine to me!…After ur review, I need to revisit

    • mals86 says:

      I got straight-up fougere, with a jasmine bud or two, and fougeres always read uber-manly to me. You’re not crazy. :)

      Although revisiting to try to see another viewpoint is always helpful, I think.

      • hongkongmom says:

        Phew!!! Nice to have someone share my thoughts! :-)

  22. damianclark says:

    This is a strange one for me. I own a bottle (who wouldn’t for $30!) but still can’t make up my mind if i like it or not. Some days I get overpowering fly spray, and then other days I get beautiful wafts of carnation or rose….. if nothing else it’s intriguing!

    • Kevin says:

      damianclark: keeps you on your toes (nose) if nothing else!

  23. ceelouise says:

    The price is right, so every man should own this, I think. It’s so much better than most fougeres out there. (I sniffed Loud yesterday, and it is a loud fougere! Awful!)

  24. mals86 says:

    I’m with HK Mom up there – it seemed super-masculine to me, a sort of jasmine shaving cream thingy. Urgh.

    That is, I’d be happy to smell it on The CEO, who would in contrast likely find it too “girly.”

    • Joe says:

      I’m glad you said shaving cream… that’s a bit of what it does in my head too.

      I got that recently from Jo Malone Amber & Lavender as well; that type of classic fougere with lavender formulation often says shaving cream — even if it’s very NICE shaving cream. It’s not always a bad connotation.

  25. katerina says:

    I have just received a sample. It is beautiful! It reminds me my body cream No 5. They have a very similar nuance 30 min. after the application.

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