Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Geranium Pour Monsieur is available from the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle website and boutiques, as well as from Barneys.com, where it is currently priced at $140 for a 50-ml bottle or $210 for 100 ml.

Image of ice skater, top of page, is from JerchoValleyInn.com.


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March 8, 2010:

Geranium Pour Monsieur: Like a Spin on the Ice

“Look at her go! She looks like a little witch,” my grandmother said to me, laughing in delight. We were standing in one of the upstairs bedrooms of my family’s farmhouse, looking out across the fields to where my youngest sister had gone skating on a stretch of ice that had formed in a depression in the wetlands of our lower cow pasture, about a half-mile away. My sister was about eight-years old at the time and my grandmother, who was visiting us during the Christmas holidays, was initially worried when she trudged out alone in the snow and the bone-chilling cold. “Someone should go with her,” she had said to my parents earlier, while giving me and my other sister an imploring look, but as it had gone unheeded, she was now upstairs in the bedroom keeping watch over her. Then we both were, because I had gone up to tell her not to worry—and in her usual way, my grandmother was drawing me in to observe the small things you remember some thirty-five years later.

Powdery snow flew up from the ice as my sister swept it with a broom she had taken with her, and beneath her red coat fluttered the tail of her flannel night gown that she hadn’t bothered to change out of, wearing it like a long smock-top over her jeans. Around and around the small pond she went, skating and sweeping up snow as fast as she could go, a study in movement, which, now that I think about it, is what her life has always been about. It’s a different kind of motion now, its thrust and whirl directed towards moving her daughters through all the spheres of life that will make them more fit and capable, but she has never slowed down.

Like a spin on the ice!—those are the words and feelings that come to mind as I wear Geranium Pour Monsieur (created by Dominique Ropion for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle) in these days of late winter, no doubt spurred by recent evenings spent watching the Winter Olympics on television. With its opening whoosh of mouthwash-like cold peppermint and, on the heels of that, a cool and astringent herbalness, subtle but apparent as the scent begins its transition into rosier territory, Geranium Pour Monsieur possesses a wonderful sense of olfactory movement in its first ten to twenty minutes of wear. After completing its initial bold acrobatics, however, it settles into becoming a fresh-faced skin scent—nothing more, really, but nothing less. A serene glide of white musk, as cottony as a fresh dusting of snow, and as cool as the snow too, always accompanied by a whisper of mint or anise (I detect both).

There is an intimation (“imitation” would be too strong a word) of rose in the drydown that, along with the musk, softens the fragrance into something that can be worn just as easily by women as by the male audience it was intended for. This light rosiness is also accompanied by an equally deft touch of incense, adding a bit of sophistication. Often I wish that Geranium Pour Monsieur had a longer transition from top notes to dry down—or that its initial fierceness did not so easily succumb to quiet softness; it suffers an arrested development on account of the large dose of musk, in my opinion. That said, this is one of the few clean musk fragrances that I have ever liked. It is perhaps the only musk fragrance to ever capture sparkle—and not only to capture sparkle but to magically suspend it—thanks to perfumer Dominique Ropion’s clever employ of the peppermint note.

When the dog days of summer that seem so far away roll around again, I have a feeling I’ll be reaching for this refreshingly minty little number often. Until then, I am equally glad to have it accompany me through these last days of winter, and to remind me of that moment, years ago, when I observed my sister whirling with the ecstasy of a dervish on the glistening ice nestled between the pale reeds of the bottom pasture.