5/1/16

Pheromone for Men (Marilyn Miglin)





This 1980 release by Miglin was a surprise for me. Based on my reading, I expected to smell an aggressive green-woody chypre. Instead I got a musky, feminine, chypre-esque composition that loosely resembles Mitsouko. It smells very smooth, velvety, mossy, and classically French. (Oddly enough, it's from Chicago.)

Before getting into my review, I should mention that this stuff elicited effusive praise from an attractive middle-aged Ukrainian nurse I met at work. (Oddly enough, she lives in Chicago.) She made me nervous because she was more focused on the scent than on the massive needle she was about to jab into my arm. If I had any doubts that Pheromone attracts the opposite sex, lovely Nina from Belarus quashed them.

It's not a particularly complicated fragrance, so I don't have much to add here. The top notes are the most dynamic part; Pheromone opens with a piercing salvo of sour citrus and coriander, moistened with a urinous splash of honey. It's an austere and borderline unpleasant effect that fortunately burns away after a minute or two. Things get much friendlier from there, with an enveloping heart accord of soft beige musks. Occasionally I get a whiff of natural labdanum oil amidst a dusting of oakmoss, but neither of these two elements dominates, and I certainly wouldn't declare Pheromone a "green" scent. It's not even a "chypre" in the truest sense. It's a musk scent with chypre notes, and maintains its muskiness throughout.

There's probably a hundred different musks here, but none of them smell outright raunchy. They veer away from animalism and into refined civility, the smell of stale Mitsouko bar soap. Given its American pedigree, I want to say it's something Rebecca De Mornay's Lana from Risky Business wore while coercing high school studs into pimping gigs, but somehow this sardonic scent is more Catherine Deneuve's Hélène in Hôtel des Amériques. Why did Ms. Miglin need the feminine Pheromone if she had this stuff in her range? Anyway, to the ladies and germs out there, try this one. It's very nice. The 1950s quasi-Egyptian Hollywood Boulevard bottle is a nice touch.



6 comments:

  1. Thanks, Bryan--

    I have been meaning to try this and your review makes me even more interested. I will, however, stay away from anyone with a hypodermic needle while wearing it.

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  2. This was a special offer on QVC Bangkok recently. Go figure.
    I thought the women's version of MM's Pheromone smelled like a more expensive version of Charlie. Not my cup of tea but I'm an obnoxious white florals kind of gal.

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    1. From everything I've read, your comment included, this is yet another case of a dual-gendered brand that had more artistic success with the masculine than the feminine. Charlie is a decent fragrance, mostly a citrus aldehyde with nondescript white florals and a massive slug of galbanum to both cool it and dry it out, but sadly it wasn't a very interesting composition in the scheme of seventies mid shelf feminines. To copy it in Pheremone (fem) seems pointless, even with a bigger budget, kind of like remaking Hitchcock's Psycho frame for frame. But Pheremone for Men is akin to something that hasn't been done: remaking Belle du Jour. Only this time the money's in the musks, not the chypre notes.

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  3. I'm a fan of this scent for its old school demeanor and, bottom line, I like how it smells. Not many guys are sporting this, for sure.

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    Replies
    1. The smell is what counts. This one smells great. Glad you like it.

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