Frederic Malle Monsieur Review

Frederic Malle Monsieur is the newest release from the Malle line, created by Bruno Jovanovic.  Intended as a masculine answer to Portrait of  Lady (this is supposed to be just for girls?  Huh.)

Frederic Malle Monsieur

Notes of patchouli, mandarin, rum, vanilla and musk.

Definitely masculine and starts off as a big patchouli bomb.  I’m going to hang in here and sort this, but patchouli is not my thing.  It skews very masculine, and once you get past the patchouli, as it settles down, there is a lovely boozy vanilla that starts smoothing out my ruffled nonpatchoulilovin’ nose.  It’s an earthy patchouli, closer to Serge Lutens Borneo, but without the chocolate and fussy-hot librarian.

If you love patchouli that tends to the dry and earthy, run quickly to try Frederic Malle Monsieur, you should find much to love. If you are hoping for more rum and vanilla with more of a skosh of patchouli, you’ll be disappointed.  I would have liked a lot more rum and/or vanilla, even it came on later and stronger in the drydown.  It is there at points, but it does smell like a lot of patchouli up close.  At a distance, when I just wave my arm by my nose, it’s much more complicated, which keeps me from throwing it in the “Patty No” pile completely.

So … I don’t hate it, it has too much patchouli for me, but that’s a low bar anyway.  It’s much more interesting in the waft than it is in the nose to skin sniff, and I think I’d love this on someone else as it would be a little further away from my nose.

Winners of the Guerlain Ne m’Oubliez Pas samples – fluert4fleurs, Dina C, Sun Mi and Katharine (first commenter on the post).    Winners of the Paris treasures samples (new Iunx and the three Guerlains that are new) – Islandjavaguy and patsi33. Just click on Drop Us a Note at the top, send me an e-mail, remind me of what you won and get me your mailing address. I’ll send you a quick e-mail to let you know I got your e-mail and it didn’t land in a spam filter and then get it on the way to you!

We shall do a giveaway of Frederic Malle Monsieur samples.  If you hate patchouli, comment anyway, and if you win you can choose another Malle to sample instead. How’s that?  So comment away, I’ll draw four names at random next week as winners.  So patchouli, yes or no?  Too hippie’ish?  Earthy, lovely and amazing?


  1. Yes patchouli. I have a little left of an old Etro sample I love. I’m reluctant to wear it out of the house, though; it’s polarizing!

  2. Sounds delish. I love patchouli. Unless people go overboard with it. Lol.

  3. Patchouli is a kind of soul scent for me bringing me back to my NYC adolescence- peace buttons, head shops and long flowing everythings. Would love to try Monsieur even if I am a Madamw!

  4. I really can’t do patchouli. Portrait of a Lady was about my limit. But I do love boozy vanilla! I’ve always wanted to try the Geranium Pour Monsieur, though. When you get time, you’ll have to tell us more about your trip!

  5. I’m not sure how I feel about Patchouli. When I first got into this perfume world, I was NOT a fan. Not a fan in the least. That being said, I haven’t tried many patchouli heavy fragrances lately, but I feel that my nose has evolved a lot, especially recently, so it might be different. I’ll have to give it some more whirls!

  6. Heavily patchoulied scents aren’t my thing at all–I’m sure I’d hate this one, as I already can’t bear PoaL. Hate Angel, Coromandel, Aromatics Elixir and Le Labo Ylang 49, which was nothing but unrelenting, unscrubbable patchouli on me. But it doesn’t bother me in some scents, such as Alahine, 31 RC, AdP Profumo and something else I can’t remember. The other day while tidying my perfume cabinet, I spritzed some Ungaro Diva and was walloped by patchouli! I know it’s a big scent, but I’d not had that experience before. So I’ll say no to starring role and yes to supporting player.

  7. …Summer of ’67. A public park in San Francisco. A girl; her transfixing bright-eyed smile; patchouli. She said her apartment wasn’t far. She had flowers in her hair. …I’ll take some more of that, please.

  8. Ugh, I hate patchouli aka the stinky gift that keeps on giving. It has put me off many pefumes that I would have otherwised loved (Angel, I’m looking at you).

  9. Well, my name says it all! I love, love, love patchouli in all its iterations, from Reminiscence Patchouli to Borneo, Nobile, L’artisan Patchouli Patch, all the way to elegant Coromandel. My fav non-patch scents are from Malle, Une Rose and Un Fleur de Cassie, so this is really calling to me. Would love to sample.

  10. I bought this over the weekend. LOVE it! My “signature” is POAL, so no shrinking violet here, LOL.

  11. It’s okaaaaay. It’s just fine in normal or small doses. What turns me off about patchouli heavy scents is usually that the whole scent is heavy and clobbering, not just the patch itself. Angel is fine if dabbed once or twice at most. If there’s a light scent with patchouli, I’ll try it. Those don’t seem to be common though? Or maybe I’m generalizing too much.
    Scents that scream MAN are definitely not for me. Usually too scratchy or bitter or stark. So although I love the FM line in general, I’ll know to simply just smell the cap of this bottle next time I happen to be at Barney’s. Thanks for the review!

  12. I like patchouli, esp. the dry and earthy kind! I rarely notice it, I mostly like the texture it gives perfumes. Thank you!

  13. I like some patchouli but not others. I’m a big fan of PoaL. This sounds intriguing as I like masculine scents. Thanks for the opportunity to win a new sample.

  14. i seem to like patchouli, especially with cocoa, and i am a big malle fan so dying to give this one a go…thanks for the draw : )

  15. No fan of modern patchouli scents here, but when I think of the seventies and the pure patchouli oil that some friends used to dab on, well that was not bad and brings back some nice memories…

  16. This sounds….well…awful. I’ve been dying to get my hands on POAL, however, so if you had a sample of that to spare…now we’re talkin!

  17. Yes to patch, but not the dirty / headshop type. The super-limited Tauer Dark Passage is one of my favorite patchoulis. The Von Eusersdorff Classic Patchouli is alao very well done. And Chanel Coromandel — elegant patchouli.

  18. I must not have enough experience with patchouli, because it just seems pleasantly, sweetly earthy to me. Any recommendations of dirty patchoulis? I LOVED PoaL when I smelled it.

    Thanks for the drawing 🙂

  19. I love patchouli in all forms, but I don’t often want to smell like patchouli and nothing else. Rum and vanilla sound good too.

  20. I really like patchouli and I like masculine frags, so this sounds pretty good. Rum, yep.

  21. I like patchouli and love PoaL so it might be right up my alley. Although one of my favorite patchoulis is really low on patchouli and high on smoky birch tar….Le Labo Patchouli 24.

  22. It depends. No to headshops but ELO Nombril Immense is fairly serene.

  23. Perhaps you can help me determine whether I like patchouli. I hate all concentrations of Angel, but I like Lolita Lempicka, and I love Chanel Coromandel. In fact, Coromandel is the first time I understood the “chocolate patchouli” note supposedly in Angel. My patchouli essential oil smells lovely, I don’t register it as “hippy” (perhaps I haven’t been around enough hippies 😉 ). However, I’ve never tried a straight up patchouli fragrance on my skin. Though I do have one I have been meaning to try…

  24. Wow, I expected patchouli comments to be polarized–love or hate and no in-between. Reading the other comments so far, I’m surprised that so many folks have such an ambivalent relationship with it–as do I, but hey, please enter me in your draw! We’ll figure out which Malle sample to go for later. Thank you.

  25. No on the patchouli unfortunately so I’ll be skipping this one. I think I would have been much more intrigued if it had been heavier on the rum and vanilla. I do appreciate the opportunity to win a different Malle though. Thanks so much!

  26. I’m guessing Yes to patchouli because I love Coromandel and I like POL. I would be happy with any FM sample though, because I love them all.

  27. Patchouli is mostly a no, unless it’s blended very nicely and closer to the skin. Based on this and other reviews I’ve read for Monsieur, I am pretty sure this it not the kind of patchouli fragrance I would enjoy at all. I definitely get a hippie vibe from that ‘dirty’-ish patchouli, which irritates my inner 80s-teen-punk self to no end!

  28. I’m not a big fan of patchouli. I like smelling it, every once in a while, but not wearing it. In small amounts, or in certain blends, however, I have really liked it. E.g. Sublime Balkiss.

  29. Thanks for the draw! I do love patchouli, but it has to be really well-blended. I don’t necessarily want a patchouli bomb. However, I love catching a whiff of someone wearing just straight patchouli. It makes me smile.

  30. The only patchouli I own is Atelier Cologne’s Patchouli Mistral so very much a “low tar” patchouli. However I would love to try this one please

  31. I love Patchouli and wear all patchouli scents. Patchouli 24 by Le Labo, Coromandel, Psychedelique by Jovoy, Angel, Field Notes from Paris by Ineke. It does something on my skin. I get compliments. If I dare try to wear tuberose, everyone runs away from me like I am the skunk from the Looney Tunes show. I will have to try this.

  32. I think I like patchouli if it is well blended. I would like a sample of Portrait of a Woman.

  33. Love patchouli (esp. Boreno, L’Artisan Patchouli Patch, and the Cartier Chocolate Patchouli). Would love to sample Monsieur!

  34. I like patchouli, but my husband LOVES it. I just call him an old hippie!

  35. Love patchouli in just about all its variations–Borneo is the only Lutens that has ever worked for me and the Reminisce scents are a guilty pleasure–rich and heavy. Probably my all-time fave is Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli–uplifting and right for almost any occasion.

    That said, I have lots of patch-based perfumes. For FM, how ’bout Geranium Pour Monsieur?

  36. Yes to patch with an easy does it caveat. Earthy rather than cleaned up.

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