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Best Men’s Fragrances of 2011-2012-2013 (Better Late Than Never)

Self Portrait, Dick Ket

Did I really skip 2011 and 2012 when it came to writing my annual best-of-men’s-perfumes post? (Wow…and the world kept turning — imagine that!) I’m two years behind so today I’ll catch up by picking my favorite men’s fragrances from 2011, 2012 and 2013 (you can see my picks for 2009 and 2010 here). Some of these perfumes are unisex, but with a masculine edge (to my nose anyway). Though I missed my fair share of fragrance releases, I’ve still smelled tons of perfume product in the last three years. I don’t feel that a masterpiece escaped my attention.

Every year, I tend to write about men’s fragrances that I either “love” or “hate” (using those verbs with feather-weight intent since I don’t cry over favorite perfumes gone missing or reformulated, and I don’t gnaw on my fingers when I encounter awful perfumes). I’m still, I believe, a Perfumista, but I’ve put perfume in its proper place…

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Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Dore ~ fragrance review

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

Is Maître Parfumeur et Gantier depressed? Lazy? Complacent? Thinking about “retirement?” If not, why hasn’t the (badly designed) brand’s website been updated in years; Cuir Fétiche (2011) isn’t on the site, nor is Bois de Turquie, released in 2008! And what about the ugly bottles people have been making fun of for ages? Keep the bottles if you must, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, but at least nix the cheap plastic “jewels” (that often fall off) from the caps. Still…I always try new Maître Parfumeur et Gantier fragrances.

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s latest perfume, Ambre Doré, opens with the aromas of vibrant oud, saffron-scented leather and “green” (geranium?) styrax. Ambre Doré’s “character” is tougher than most amber perfumes, which is fine by me (I like my ambers rough and ‘scratchy’…if they’re too smooth and sleek I’m bored). As Ambre Doré’s opening burns off there’s a musky barnyard moment or two (we’re talking a dry-manure-in-the-distance aroma) followed by the scent of bananas steeped in turpentine…

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Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Cuir Fetiche ~ fragrance review

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Cuir Fetiche

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Cuir Fétiche, a new women’s perfume, just launched. According to house perfumer Jean-Paul Millet Lage, he was inspired to create Cuir Fétiche on a scouting trip to southern France where he was looking at (and apparently sniffing) leathers for a new line of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier gloves. (As Robin said last week; I’m pretty tired of “creation stories.”)

Cuir Fétiche tries to be “racy;” it’s advertised using a woman wearing nothing but leather gloves (that make her hands look a tad masculine!), and the Cuir Fétiche bottle comes wrapped in a red corset.* Though Cuir Fétiche’s ads may be “suggestive” for Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, the perfume is far from “sexy;” it’s “bound” by convention, not leather handcuffs. Cuir Fétiche is a classic leather fragrance: elegant, calm, well-dressed (not, well, “un-dressed” for sure).

Cuir Fétiche contains fragrance notes of red mandarin, lemon, bergamot, geranium, leather, ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, iris, vanilla, musk, ambergris, patchouli, cedar and sandalwood. Cuir Fétiche goes on bright with glints of citrus and aldehydes…

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