I should start this review by saying that generally I am not a fan of either geranium or mint in perfume. Which begs the question why I would sample a perfume based predominantly on these two notes. I don't mind the smell of mint in itself - in the garden for example, or in a cup of tea, or even as an after-dinner sweet. I'm less of a fan of mint in shower gels or toothpaste, although I don't think I would use a toothpaste that doesn't have a peppermint feel and flavour, I think. And that's where the problem lies, because in every perfume I have tried that uses mint, I have immediately made that association with toothpaste and dental hygiene, both good things, but not a smell I wish to smell on myself or project to others, as if I am a dentist. I am even less of a fan of geranium. There's something about the intense herbal and almost weedy smell of geranium that just doesn't appeal to me. I know there are a lot of people who enjoy the smell of geranium, and there are many gardeners who collect scented geraniums for just this purpose. Ok, now that I've got that out the way, how do I approach Geranium pour Monsieur, developed by a great nose, Dominic Ropion? The fragrance opens with quite an intense, minty sweetness, with mentholated geranium. The geranium is strong and to the fore, but so is the mint. As the sweetness fades, there is a smell of something quite herbal, with a piquancy almost like basil leaf. I think my slightly jaundiced association with dental hygiene begins to rear its head because I then detect a note that is almost rubbery, like latex, just beneath the surface! I must be almost certainly wrong. This opening and early heart phase are quite disconcerting for me and at this stage I don't like Geranium pour Monsieur at all, to the extent that it is verging on being a scrubber.
Thankfully it is at this point that the fragrance turns quite dry, with a gradual intensifying of musk, a laundry musk to be precise. Although mint and geranium are by no means usurped, they don't dominate as much, and in fact, the mint probably fades away altogether, leaving a coolish and dry geranium, musk and gentle woods accord. I think once I reach this phase, I actually start to enjoy the fragrance, although I can't say it ever gets to the point where I feel I could go and out and purchase a full bottle. In keeping with the style of Frederic Malle, this is quite a cerebral take on geranium and mint, very innovative, and I'm sure people who like these two notes more than I do would appreciate this very much. Having said that, the Frederic Malle line can be a bit polarising, so this could divide opinion. I think I prefer this to another mint fragrance, Cartier Roadster, released at a similar time, but I'm still not convinced that I like geranium or mint in perfume much more than I did before. Although this is quite a masculine fragrance, I don't think a woman couldn't wear or appreciate this, although I suspect it would have more male fans overall.
Perfume notes: mint, peppermint, geranium, clove, white musk, ambroxan, sandalwood, incense and benzoin.
Image credit - http://scentedgeraniumsofne.com