5/28/12

Pour Monsieur Concentrée (Chanel)

The concentrée version of Chanel Pour Monsieur is not to be confused with the standard Pour Monsieur, which is a different animal altogether. I would review the Henri Robert creation, but fear it's an exercise in futility these days, as the only findable version of this classic fresh chypre is Jacques Polge's reboot, unless you happen to frequent the Chanel boutique in Paris. I don't know why Chanel has chosen to replace its signature masculine, but then explaining anything Chanel does is virtually impossible.

Pour Monsieur Concentrée is the only masculine from this brand that I truly do not like, even more so than Platinum Égoïste. Polge has frequently been charged with re-creating antiquated scents using modern materials, and in this case the fragrance winds up smelling like a chemical bath. The lemon and lavender opening is so harsh and stringent that connotations with Lemon Pledge are unavoidable. Even more disturbing is that this accord retains its strength for an ungodly period of time - no less than an hour. In this phase, PMC is borderline unbearable, and skirts the domain of being a "scrubber." It takes patience and virtue to see it through.

Once the heaviness lifts, things do improve a bit. A touch of spicy sweetness enters the fray, possibly cardamom, and the greenness of vetiver and oakmoss darkens everything considerably. Within three hours, PMC has become a muted green skin scent, mossy, creamy, and altogether very staid and unexciting. The pendulum has swung to the opposite side of the cutting table, and now the fragrance has gone from being sharp and blaring, to stodgy and trite. Sniffing it from my arm, I wonder how anything this laconic in gait could make such a wide lope. I also wonder who in 2012 would actually wear PMC without harboring a constant sense of bitter irony. These are times when buttoned-up men's fragrances are the domain of the dead, or the eccentric. Yet they spring from classical tradition, with a legacy of vibrant life. If their updated selves are rendered correctly, they can guide current generations of young bucks into profusely successful lives. Nothing speaks better to personal class and good taste than a beautifully tailored masculine chypre, especially one from a world-class fashion house. It's the sort of thing that attracts pretty women, like so many flies to a flame.

Sadly, Pour Monsieur Concentrée is a clumsy welding of old ideals to new ideas, and so its time will never come to pass at all. There are certainly bigger humdingers out there, things that make PMC smell gorgeous in comparison. But given the slew of better masculines within the brand's own range, I can't see why anyone wouldn't choose to wear Antaeus, Égoïste, or Allure Homme instead.









4 comments:

  1. It's intresting that for some reason the concentrée version of Pour monsieur isn't available in Europe. I don't believe it has been ever introduced to this market. The orginal one on the other hand is available in every country and one of the greatest scents still available. Maybe the concentrée is created for american taste?

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    1. Probably, although I wouldn't know. The ways of Chanel are a murky mystery. All I know is, the concentrée sucks, and like Luca Turin said, you're much better off getting Le Troisieme Homme instead. Interesting that you can't find this is Europe, though. We can't find regular Pour Monsieur in the States, it simply is not distributed here.

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  2. I know I'm late to the party but oddly enough, here in Montreal both versions are readily available. Pour Monsieur was my first perfume purchase ever a long time ago so holds a special place for me. I love it to bits though on me unfortunately I barely get five hours out of it. Won't stop me from wearing it every once in a while however. Great blog!

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    1. That's great to know, Chris, thanks for the info on Pour Monsieur's availability! I'm glad it's in Canada, that makes it a little easier to acquire from here in CT. A trip to Canada is easier than going to France. Thanks for reading!

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