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CHAMADE POUR HOMME

Jean-Paul Guerlain 1999, reissue 2007
[ʃa'mad pu:r ɔm]
Family: chypre, floral, spicy
Notes: bergamot, black pepper, violet leaf, hyacinth, green accord, nutmeg, cedarwood, vetiver, leather accord
Powder and spicy wood
Period: The searching years
Chamade Pour Homme collection

Chamade Pour Homme was composed by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1999. The year before, Guerlain had just started a new practice of creating limited editions launched for special occasions. Chamade Pour Homme was meant as a masculine counterpart of Chamade (1969), sold in a bottle duo set called Les Cœurs de Chamade ("the Chamade hearts") for Valentine's Day. The idea of making both a feminine and masculine fragrance derived from the same name is not new in modern perfumery, but more often than not, the two fragrances are only loosely related. This also was the principle for Chamade and Chamade Pour Homme, although the latter retained the hyacinth theme of Chamade, highly unusual for a men's scent (the Guerlain catalogue already counts one rather floral men's scent, the elegant Mouchoir de Monsieur from 1904). Instead of laying it on an oriental background as with Chamade, for Chamade Pour Homme Jean-Paul Guerlain chose a dry, spicy-woody base of vetiver, nutmeg, black pepper, leather and cedarwood, together with violet leaf. Violet leaf, with its metallic-green scent, isn't uncommon in men's scents, but Chamade Pour Homme's violet also had a powdery, makeup-like facet reminiscent of the Jacques Guerlain era.

Overall, Chamade Pour Homme smelled much like Coriolan (1998) with flower notes on top (in fact, it may have been one of Jean-Paul Guerlain's Coriolan trials). As simple as this might sound, the floral addition made a huge difference: where Coriolan was outdoorsy, Chamade Pour Homme felt pronouncedly urban and chic. The result was striking and very unlike most of what is created for men in today's perfumery. Its flowers had a vintage and dandified vibe, however combined with the woody base, the overall impression was of a virile perfume, quite solemn and serious in the drydown's melancholy greyness, yet with a powdery, flamboyant twist. Chamade Pour Homme was not an everyday scent, it didn't have a modern, addictive trail, and it was not even obviously impressive. It was a sophisticated, elitist fragrance for men, reissued without fanfare in 2007 in the Parisienne line, at that time including both female and male scents. Chamade Pour Homme was wonderful to wear with a suit from time to time — if not for any other reason than just to be reminded that even when Guerlain does something quietly, it's done with style.

Bottle. "Les Cœurs de Chamade" consisted of two half-bottle versions of the original Chamade bottle, one for her (Chamade) and one for him (Chamade Pour Homme). A very original idea, the two fit together one over the other to form the whole heart-shaped bottle, and were presented in a special box, tied at one side with a ribbon. The two juices had almost the same straw-coloured hue, but for the Parisienne bee bottle reissue of Chamade Pour Homme, a darker orange was chosen. Chamade Pour Homme is now sold in the wood-framed Parisien bottle.

  We love: that Guerlain isn't shy to use flowers for men

  Peppered flowers that could work for a garden party

  If you envy Mitsouko but only wear something labelled Pour Homme


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