Rochas Moustache ~ fragrance review

Rochas Moustache vintage adverts

Most of us at Now Smell This have ‘suffered’ a Perfume Chain Reaction. Here’s my most recent:

1. I was looking at a glossy book about perfume advertisements and came across some ads for Marcel Rochas Moustache (introduced in 1948-1949);

2. I read that Moustache was formulated by one of my favorite perfumers, Edmond Roudnitska, who worked on the fragrance with his wife, Thérèse;

3. I went to the Rochas website to read about the current formulation and discovered that Moustache has been removed from Rochas’ fragrance line-up; so

4. I researched the fragrance notes online, liked what I read; and

5. I went to eBay to look for a bottle of Moustache;

6. I purchased a 100 ml tester of Moustache without ever sniffing it.

Today, in part 8 of the chain reaction (part 7 was wearing the fragrance for a week) I’m reviewing Moustache.

As one might expect, Moustache has changed since 1948-49. Today’s list of ingredients (bergamot, lime, pine, moss, vetiver, rare fruits) pales beside the older list (lime, lavender, basil, lemon verbena, petit grain, bergamot, lemon, honey, carnation, jasmine, rose, geranium, tonka bean, amber, musk, oak moss, vanilla and cedar.) Yet, in the version of Moustache I purchased (I bought a vintage sample to compare it with…more on that later), I can smell notes from both these lists.

“Recent” Moustache (in the bottle pictured below, left) opens with a delightful, tart/dry lime aroma. As this note slowly evaporates (this is one long-lasting citrus note) it morphs into a grass-y note (think golden, dry grass, not “green” grass). At this stage, things become even more interesting: I smell a very original accord that veers between floral (maybe jasmine) and ‘fruit’ (certainly an engineered aroma with ripe citrus, candy citrus, talc-y citrus facets). I also detect some piquant honey mixing with sheer ‘leather’ in the background. Next up: the Kouros-lite stage — a combo of some smooth musk and sweet (animalic, yet somehow still “patrician”)  sweat.

In this version of Moustache, the fragrance I’ve described simply becomes fainter in the extreme dry-down (but lasts all day on my skin). Vintage Moustache (from the bottle pictured at the top of this post, right) still has the great lime note, but has much stronger leather and musk notes. (Of course, this accentuation of leather and musk may be a result of the “aging-in-the-bottle” syndrome where lighter notes fade or ‘disappear’ — leaving more stable base notes dominant.)

Rochas Moustache fragrance bottles

Moustache, old and new, has great lasting power and good sillage; on the days I wear it I can’t help reapplying it mid-day to re-experience the great opening and heart of the perfume. Don’t be shy when applying the fragrance; a generous dousing will bring out all the charms of Moustache. (I think women will enjoy this fragrance too.)

Rochas’ perfume division is now owned by Procter & Gamble and today’s Rochas fragrances have a “discount” vibe. I have not tried Moustache in its most recent bottle, shown above right. Thankfully, Moustache is still readily available online in the “column” bottle; try it before it disappears!  (If anyone has tried Moustache in the “newer,” square bottle, please comment.)

WARNING: If ever our eyes lock over a bottle of vintage Moustache at an estate sale or shop, I hope you’re wearing football shoulder pads and a protective helmet for I’ll surely do all I can to wrest that bottle from your grip.

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  1. lucasai says:

    Seems like the lime opening could be right up my alley, not so sure about the notes that follow up.

    • Kevin says:

      L: it’s really a great fragrance…the lime does last a LONG time

      • lucasai says:

        I could use a fragrance like this. I could use a bursting citrus like Eau d’Hadrien but with better lasting power. My skin likes Goutal fragrances, but this one disappears so quickly from my skin, only 2 hours of pleasure…
        BTW Nice gravatar, so Egyptian.

        • Kevin says:

          L: I went to the King Tut exhibit this past weekend; I was inspired (and was overdue for a gravatar change)

  2. Marjorie Rose says:

    I can completely relate to the perfume chain reaction! And why does it so often end with a search for some difficult-to-find vintage formulation for comparison?! Urgh. Ebay should give royalties to NST, I swear!

    • Kevin says:

      MR: ha! True!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      And while we’re on the subject of ebay, can I whine about the phrase “100% Authentic?” Seems rather redundant to me. How could a scent be anything but either authentic or not authentic? Not like there are degrees of authenticity! (I’m going to mix the original formulation with some bourbon–so it’s 50% authentic!) Am I just being cranky?

      • Kevin says:

        Well…maybe they threw some new juice of a reformulation in a vintage bottle? Ha! It’s a silly term

  3. Robin says:

    Oh, love the new gravatar — perfect!

    • Kevin says:

      Thank you!

    • Ida says:

      yes – what a wonderful gravatar, Kevin!

  4. mals86 says:

    Oh, yes, the Perfume Chain Reaction!

    Lovely review. Doesn’t sound at all like my kind of thing, but I’m enjoying it vicariously.

  5. platinum14 says:

    I’ve been debating for almost 2 years as to getting a bottle or not. Looks like I will get to it as soon as possible!

  6. AnnS says:

    Kevin: I agree! You perfectly described what has happened to me more and more the past 2 years on ebay. The train reaction: wanting something so bad, taking that unsniffed risk, and then trolling over hard to find bottles that I should have picked up when they were available, ignored, and mostly inexpensive. If I ever see a bottle of Moustache, I’ll make sure I grab it, and that you aren’t anywhere in sight!

    • Kevin says:

      Ann: beware…I’m sneaky

  7. RobWales says:

    I have been wearing Moustache since 1968. In the past 50 years the fragrance has become slowly weaker and more pathetic. The final version was but a pale copy of the original.

    • Kevin says:

      Robwales: I guess we can hope Rochas perfumes will be treated with respect again…but probably Moustache would not fit in with today’s mainstream tastes.

  8. helenviolette says:

    Hey Kevin- I was in Boulder City (the city that built the Hoover Dam) two months ago and there was a vintage bottle of Moustache in one of the little shops in the square. I thought about asking to get it out of the case to inspect/see if I could sniff when my attention landed on a beautiful full vintage bottle of Rochas Femme. It stole my attention away and then I grappled with whether I should buy the Femme, deciding to let it slip by, having already gotten two new perfumes on my trip. Soooo, that bottle might still be in that shop! The Femme too. Sorry, I can’t offer you a name to call and inquire, but if you are headed that way…

    • Kevin says:

      Helen: I DO like Boulder….

  9. littlecooling says:

    Thanks for the review, Kevin :) I am very delighted to read, that a fragrance like this, gets a really good review and the old (vintage) edt. Sounds like a fragrance of my syle. I am very picky when it comes to scents and I only have a few. (Bois des Iles, will always remain my fave). Sounds light but still has a great depth. And what a great bottle it is. It seems like back in the days, they did something out of the bottle and add :)

    • Kevin says:

      LittleCooling: you’re welcome…I hope to explore/review other older fragrances in the near future.

  10. SmokeyToes says:

    Thanks for the review Kevin-I love lime in a fragrance, I’ll have to scour fleabay for a vintage bottle ot the stuff. I love men’s scents in summer, especially with leather notes.

    • Kevin says:

      Smokey: this is a great summer scent.

  11. sinnerman says:

    I would buy this for the name alone ! I am fond of a generous handlebar moustache ! Lol ! Thanks for shedding light on this one , yes the original bottle is a beauty, great art direction . It seems in the ad to suggest a incognito , private detective vibe ! Would u slip by unnoticed with this one on ???

    • Kevin says:

      sinnerman: ha! Nope…you would NOT be “blending in” while wearing Moustache.

  12. nozknoz says:

    Kevin, your old gravatar was my absolute fav, but I have to admit your new one is super. It always makes me sad, though, when gravatars change, because when you go back to an old post, the old gravatar has been replaced by the new one there, too. It’s like having your memories altered! (Maybe I’ll post this on First World Problems….)

    Perfume Chain Reaction, or how I managed to spend every weekend on the internet in 2009-2010. I’m better now – really!

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: I know…but I’m the type who changes my screen saver once a week! It’s a miracle I kept my tiger for years!

  13. Moustaches are so “in” right now that you’d think Rochas could try to capitalize off the name.

    I swear, just do an Etsy search and you find so much moustache- themed stuff. I’ve even seen several moustache-themed weddings (I’ve been wedding planning and reading wedding blogs)!

    • Kevin says:

      Breathes: true…beards and moustaches are everywhere

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Some of my students were wearing them as fashion statements this spring–girls, mind you! Fake mustaches or necklaces with mustaches on them. Or they’d draw one on their hand and place their hand over their mouths to slip into disguise! Pretty funny stuff!

  14. Haunani says:

    Great article and review, Kevin. The fragrance sounds rather special!

    • Kevin says:

      Haunani: yes, quite interesting (a good discovery)

      • Haunani says:

        Another link for your chain, Kevin: Your review prompted me to get a mini travel bottle (looks like the left-hand one in your second picture). I think it’s wonderful, and it’s swoon-worthy on my husband!

        • Kevin says:

          Haunani: the chain reaction is complete! So glad it worked for you.

  15. toomawashi says:
    • Kevin says:

      toomawashi: Air Madagascar! Who would have guessed….

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