Persolaise Review: Monsieur from Huitième Art (Pierre Guillaume; 2013)
Monsieur makes me angry. Sure, it displays the high levels of technical competence that we've now come to expect from Pierre Guillaume - it's diffusive, long-lasting and generally cohesive - but it's intensely irksome. For one thing, it appears to ignore the central premise of the Huitième Art range. Unless I'm mistaken, Guillaume wanted the scents in this particular brand to showcase important aromachemicals in compositions that would adopt abstract approaches to the presentation of abstract concepts. But that's not my main problem with it; I can forgive PG if he feels he'd like to branch out from his initial manifesto. My real gripe is that Monsieur feels like a betrayal. Of all the perfumery genres Guillaume could have chosen to accompany this scent's name, he went for the most cliched. With its citrus, dense woods, vetivert, patchouli and musks, this stuff is a stereotype from start to finish, keeping to dull convention at every stage of its development, not least when it reaches the drydown that borrows heavily from YSL's Rive Gauche Pour Homme. From a mainstream brand, this would have been par for the course. But from someone in Guillaume's position, it just isn't good enough. At a time when even a brand as ubiquitous and high-street-friendly as Zara sees fit to stock its menswear department with an evening jacket entirely covered in black sequins, Guillaume should have had the courage to present his Monsieur as anything other than a cocktail of woodiness. A cause for polite outrage, if ever there was one.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Bloom in 2013. For another review of Monsieur, please visit Candy Perfume Boy.]