BrianBuchanan's Blog
3 months ago - 23.12.2022

What was the first bestseller for Men?

Rosemary-lavender. Vanilla-sandal.

Pour un Homme is barely more than that.

Two accords - carefully balanced - unfold in a stately dance that blends cool and warm, chewy and hard, beige and blue.

Pour un Homme is an old fashioned scent and could be misunderstood. But, to reject it - just because it doesn't grab you by the nose - would be a mistake. It takes time to get to know this one, and - in the end - it pays off.

When it was released in 1934, men were used to nothing more than a splash of aftershave – usually citrus and herbs that soon faded away; a type of odour completely different from women’s perfume. Caron's aim was to replace this splash of after-shave with their ‘toilet water for a man’. To make this new fangled product more acceptable it was housed in a rugged splash bottle.

Pour un Homme begins with tart lavender and metallic rosemary. 'Sour sweat and the sting of the razor' give it an edge that's neither soft nor effeminate - and nothing like the smell of a linen closet either. So far so good...
Then there's the vanilla base accord - backed up by sandalwood and amber. Sweet - yes, but who could feel emasculated by caramel and home baking?

Apart from the salubrious lavender, there are no flowers to scare off the wary male, just an evolution of harmonies and contrasts that he could enjoy - or ignore - as he chose.

Anything floral or sweet, must - you would have thought - be rejected by conservative males, and that's why this sweet lavender for men was so remarkable; it was a huge success - despite being a masculine that hugged the feminine codes so closely.

Or perhaps - at a time when most men would sooner visit the dentist than go to a perfume counter - Pour un Homme was a winner because it also appealed to the wives, mothers and girlfriends who actually bought the stuff.

Back then, Caron couldn't have been sure that men would take to wearing perfume - of any kind, so they had to tread carefully. This meant they had to offer something that was not too complex, or too difficult, something based on familiar notes, something masculine - but pleasing to women, something easy to wear but still refined. Something like Pour un Homme de Caron.

Even though it may feel tame by todays standards, launching this "special creation" for a man was a bold move. Caron took a chance and the gamble paid off. Pour un Homme was a triumph, a best seller, their biggest success.

And it was also important to mainstream perfumery, founding a whole new genre (or should that be gender?) which has grown into the masculine side of the aisle that we know today.

Pour un Homme de Caron - two chords that changed the face of perfume; two chords and a visionary nose.

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