Caron – celebrating two monumental birthdays this year: 110 years as perfumers, and 80 years of Pour un Homme – was founded in 1904 by chemist Ernest Daltroff with the assistance of artistic advisor (and lover), Felicie Wanpouille, a former dressmaker. Together, they created some of the most beautiful and revolutionary perfumes of the early 20th Century – from a flower they created entirely as a fantasy (Narcisse Noir), an ode to women who dared to smoke in public (Tabac Blonde), and the first fragrance designed for and marketed towards men (by name, at least).
Caron are therefore responsible for setting the tone for the increasing number of fragrances aimed exclusively at men that have been launched ever since. Prior to Pour un Homme, men would simply wear whatever took their fancy.
The fragrance itself is deceptively simple: a burst of green, somewhat soapy lavender, a delicate base of amber underneath with vanilla and musk bridging the gap between the two. It is flawlessly executed and remains utterly timeless, and in a good state despite necessary reformulation.
Whilst Pour un Homme takes its inspiration from the first modern perfume, Daltroff clarified the effects in a way Guerlain did not, avoiding blatant allusions to Jicky – instead, he set a new bar in lavender fougeres. Its influence can be seen in perfumery to this day, referenced in scents from mainstream blockbusters to niche darlings.
Comparative fragrances: Jicky by Guerlain, Le Male by Jean-Paul Gaultier, A*Men by Thierry Mugler, Dior Homme by Dior, Eau Noire by Dior, Antiheros by Etat Libre d’Orange, Brin de Reglisse by Hermes, L’Homme by YSL, Reverie au Jardin by Tauer, Straight to Heaven by Kilian, Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle.