Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rive Gauche Pour Homme

I am embarrassed by the fuss made over me at the men's fragrance counters. It has been suggested that many scent companies are noticing the unisex use of their carefully segregated products and are governing themselves accordingly, but you would never be able to tell from the workers in the trenches. Female sales assistants, in particular, seem almost offended that I might be purchasing a cologne for myself. Why, they seem to be asking, would I waste my time? The fact of the matter is that I often flee to Y-chromosomed offerings because I'm tired of non-descript fruity-florals and vanillic musks, and there are an unusual amount of bargins on the men's side of the store.

Take, for example, Rive Gauche Pour Homme. A classic, almost meancingly suave fougère in the 1970s style, this was released in 2003 under Tom Ford's direction of YSL and is pretty much the cheapest option at my local chichi department store. With the characteristic fougère balance between soap and lemon-pepper steak seasoning, it is a purely abstract scent that somehow manages to smell like the Platonic ideal of a heavy autumn mist. Despite the smokiness of the lavender, vetiver and gaiac wood, it smells airily clean. The packaging is a ready-to-go, black-and-silver striped metal canister, like a travel shaving foam. Stealth, campy-conservative, and insinuatingly virile, it is the perfect Christmas gift to give the no-nonsense, business-minded father who has worn Brut deodarant for his entire adult life and holds no truck with electric shavers (*ahem* that would be mine.) It is also the perfect gift to give yourself, because I am informed that it is - breathe deeply now - being discontinued in Canada to make way for the sweeter, trendier YSL L'Homme. Sob.

Check in tomorrow for my swooning review of another essential men's scent, Nicolai Pour Homme.

10 Comments:

At 7:26 p.m., Blogger marchlion said...

There's a fabulous perfumerie in the mall nearby that actually has testers of all this stuff, and is manned (womanned?) by an exceedingly patient SA who lets me play as much as I want to... even in the men's stuff, although she purses her lips because I am clearly Not A Man.

I like the Rive Gauche PH maybe even better than the ladies' (and I like the ladies' a lot). Another total winner is the Opium PH, which takes the weird, stanky butchness of Opium and makes it just *that much* more butch without really turning it into a men's scent. Heh heh. The cedar doesn't even bother me.

 
At 7:53 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

March: My fave is when they say wonderingly: "But that is very strong!" It's like your average female white floral or oriental is a mere whisper. What you have to hope for is a woman who will put up with you in silence(like your SA) or a very gay man.

Opium PH: I don't even remember ever trying that one. Weird. Well, that will be remedied soon.

 
At 10:47 p.m., Blogger Dusan said...

First off, March is right - Opium PH is the bomb, trust this H! Alas, I couldn't say the same for RG -- although undeniably it's got a certain appeal, I just can't seem to warm to it even after numerous trials. Lavender perhaps (?) or maybe the overall shaving paste feel. Dunno, but I'll tell you this - I'll take RG, M7 or Kouros over the new L'Homme *anytime*, it's beyond meh.

 
At 11:11 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

Dusan: Great to see you here! I can see how RG might not float your boat: it's kind of an idea taken to a tongue-in-cheek extreme. I think it might work best for the man who doesn't *know* how retro it is, like my Dad. Thanks for seconding the Opium recommendation and I completely agree with the L'Homme assessment. The SA kept spraying it on a cotton puff, saying: "It just doesn't come across properly on paper..." Or at all, I'd say.

 
At 12:11 a.m., Blogger Dusan said...

My pleasure, love your blog! :)
Re: retro - there's one I tried recently that was so not me I was flabbergasted at how much I liked it. Sure, I wouldn't buy it as I don't sport the chest-hair-flashing-out-of-unbuttoned-shirt look and have other fragrant priorites, but I wouldn't say no to Azzaro Silver Black (Onyx in the US) if it came wrapped in a shiny paper :)
As for L'Homme - who wouldn't want to look like O. Martinez? But if L'H is what he's wearing these days, I'd rather smell like Kylie! Ah, Kylie... :)

 
At 10:48 a.m., Anonymous AngelaS said...

I've been loving lavender lately, and besides a rare few feminine scents--Moment Supreme, for example--I have to look for men's scents to get my fix. I'll have to cozy up to the men's counter and see what I can find. Thanks for the review!

 
At 12:31 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

Angela: I like the lavender, too. (I feel like the Manolo saying that...) It seems we are in the minority, there, though, judging from comments on PP, NST, PST etc. I wish I had a sample of that Andy Tauer lavender mod, I'd send you some... Actually, I just plain wish, since I want to try it myself. Do you love Third Man? I love it, and there'll be more on that later today...

 
At 1:00 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

Dusan: Thanks for your kind words! The Onyx, I'll have to try it. They only had it in gift sets, oddly, at the store I was at today. I tried the Opium PH today , and it's great: I love the galanga, and I'm *sure* there's some freaky animal note in there, but I don't see it listed anywhere. I kind of missed the discordant mint note from the ladies version, but otherwise I like it better...

 
At 6:21 a.m., Blogger marchlion said...

E -- I just wrote him at his blog and asked him for some, and he sent it -- simple as that. You might try it too -- mention your blog, it's good! He's really very sweet and generous. I think he likes the feedback on the things he's fiddling with.

 
At 11:52 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

March: Good suggestion, I will try that. And Andy - yes, he seems like a really nice guy (with a wonderful talent). I have been following his attempts to tinker with the lavender for some time - it sounds like its going to be incredible, and I'm really looking forward to the sample... and bottle, of course. FBW, I'm sure.
Thanks for the blog boosting.

 

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