A Passel of PG: Parfumerie Generale Vetiver Matale, Mojito Chypre, Metal Hurlant, Le Musc et la Peau and Bouquet Massai

So the other day the discussion (somewhere, I don’t remember where. The comments? A post? My head?) turned to Parumerie Generale or PG, the house started by the visibly handsome and evidently talented perfumer Pierre Guillaume. I am kind of at a loss as to why he doesn’t get more love on these forums- perhaps because he isn’t just uptotheminute and the Brand New Thing, or that he isn’t showering people with free bottles (well, he isn’t showering me, but then, nobody is, and a shower of full bottles would probably hurt..) or making one that smells like Cheez Whizz served at the morgue and calling it “Clubbed Baby Seal” or “D*ck Cheez.” No, he’s just pumping out a line of brilliant little things the number of which can be a little overwhelming, and which for a long time were simply numbered: Aomassai, (one of my favorites, a combo of caramel, hazelnut, vetiver, and pure sex that shouldn’t work but ohbaby does it) is #10 and Cuir Venenum (one of the best orange blossoms out there with a gorgeous dry musky leather) is #10.

So I decided to hit Surrender to Chance and pop some new ones in the sample bag.

Vetiver Matale is described (on his site) as vetiver, green tea, and honey. I don’t want to argue tea here but I seem to get more black tea, smoky and slightly bitter. Precious little honey, and lashings of spikey vetiver. It does get more honey-sweet as it develops and that’s a good thing against the astringent, almost slashing vetiver. It’s so good I almost wanted to stop right there and just get a bottle.

Mojito Chypre The only thing I could think of upon first sniff of this is just “weird.” Not in a bad way, mind you, more in a “what am I smelling here?” kind of way. It does open like a Mojito: muddled mint and sugar and cracked ice, if cracked ice can have a smell. Not boozy though, more like a confection then it hit me: frozen strawberries and Rose’s Lime Juice. Now I know that pegs both my age and perhaps my class that I would remember making blender cocktails (or my mother doing it. Yeah, that’s it. Uhh, Mom did it for her bridge club) using frozen strawberries and bottled lime juice. But hey, it was the 70’s when fresh was only available seasonally. Now it would get you tossed out of the club, But I do like the retro mid-century vibe here. Just not enough to get more than a decant.

Metal Hurlant was supposed to be a tough, leather clad biker piloting his Harley into my fantasies. If that image hadn’t been mentioned I might have liked it better- if you think of it like the cool curves of a stainless-steel Rolex or the Disney Concert Hall, with it’s steel panels shaped by Frank Gehry into undulating sails, temporarily frozen in place atop Bunker Hill. SMN’s discontinued Nostalgia did the machine portion better (even Tubey Crim gets closer to gasoline) and Vetiver Matale delivers much more on the hot biker. What’s here is nice, but don’t tell me I’m getting a motorcycle cop and deliver me a moped.

Le Musc et la Peau then this one swooped in and saved the day. In the initial swirl of aldehydes I could swear I smelled roses and then milk, which should have been really freaking weird but just smelled immediately wonderful. The bright, fresh aldehydes, sandalwood, and skin musks droy down to a milky, slightly nutty goodness that is supposed to be somewhat akin to his Musc Maori without the chocolate. Never has a diet smelled so good..

Bouquet Massai is to Aomassai as, I suppose, Le Musc at la Peau is to Musc Maori: Aomassai is rich and dark and almost chewy while Bouquet is bright and joyful, smelling like a lower garden after a recent hard rain. Rosy,sweet peonies and syrupy peaches overlay the coffee and skin musk base. It reads like it would be a mess, and it could be if it were done by other hands: Guillaume reigns in the sweet stuff, adding just enough bitter coffee to ground but really lets those big, fat, delightful peonies take center stage. This one makes me grin from ear to ear.

So that’s three hits and two (one near) misses out of five. I am not going to buy these. I am not. Nope.

Well, not yet, anyway..Have you tried any of these?

Any PG faves you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments.

I got my samples of these from Surrender to Chance. A list of retailers are available at the PG website, and you can always purchase there. I suggest you do, since I assume that retailers such as ScentBar will not carry the entire line in store. Photos are mine, Wikimedia Commons and Pexels.

  • March says:

    Late to the party (jury duty, ugh) — I tried several of these back in the day and I know I loved one or two, and then like a lot of people I think they fell off my radar, thanks for the reminder!

    • Tom says:

      Are you having to serve? I didn’t have to (thank gawd- it was in the courthouse down past LAX- practically San Diego! I would have given anyone the chair just for making me go!)

      I think this one has fallen off a lot of people’s radar. Time to bring it back..

      • March says:

        No, they kicked me to the curb — it’s the Hannah Gutierrez-Reed trial (the armorer Rust, Alec Baldwin shooting) and it’s a bit of a circus. Not sorry to have been excused.

  • Maggiecat says:

    I know there was a PG I truly lived some years ago, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. The Music one sounds nice though…

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    This house is an overall ‘like’ for me but none have quite knocked my socks off yet. Not to say that I don’t appreciate his work, the fragrances are very wearable, it’s just that these days I only purchase loves. From your list, I’ve tried Le Musc (ok) and Bouquet (like). Others I like are Indochine, Jardin de Kerylos, Mad About You, Manguier Metisse, Sunsuality, Superlady, and Tonka BodyKon. Adding Aomassi to the try list.

    • Tom says:

      I can understand that- this house has a bunch of “likes” and several “really likes” and a few “loves”. I think it gets drowned out in all the new stuff and the sheer number of their own creations..

  • Portia says:

    Ahhhhh Tom,
    I love Pierre and his perfumes. So many of them fit my groove perfectly.
    One of my girlfriends fell for the decant of Le Musc et la Peau I had so hard that I bought her a bottle that she spritzes before bed every night and it rocks her off to sleep. True!
    Portia xx

  • cinnamon says:

    Love the story about your mom, bridge and cocktails. These sound interesting but alas I’ve yet to try a PG that sings on me.

  • alityke says:

    I’ve had a few PGs but all got sold on but the now d/ced Tonkamande. Tonkamande is what it says, an almond & Tonka confection with very little sugar. The almond is milky nuts not marzipan & the tonka adds just the right amount of musky vanillaishness.
    Another that in less skilled hands would have been a screaming hot mess.
    I need to revisit PG.

    • Tom says:

      He is the only person I can think of who does that milky note and has it stay this side of ick. Mostly that note makes me want to head for the hills, but he usually makes it shine.

  • Neva says:

    Well, I was pretty disappointed that I couldn’t find more likes among PG’s perfumes. There are 128 PG perfumes on Fragrantica! I haven’t tried them all, of course.
    The Collection Croisere is too cool, too aloof, too eclectic for me. Mojito Chypre smells to me more like a Lush bath bomb, sweet and synthetic and Metal Hurlant has this aquatic-plasticky-medicinal quality that I don’t like in perfume.
    My favourite is still the bitter citrusy Grand Siecle Intense. I can say that I prefer his earlier perfumes: Djhenne, Bois Blond, Myrrhiad, Bois Naufrage…

  • Tara C says:

    I love Aomassai, Cozé and Felanilla, as well as L’Oiseau de Nuit and Ombre Fauve. He puts out nice stuff that mostly flies under the radar.

    • Tom says:

      Yes to all five of those. I’d love to visit his flagship store (if he has one) but with 128 frags under his belt it would be a multi-day trip.

  • Dina C. says:

    I own PG 14 Iris Oriental, and PG 24 Papyrus de Ciane (a really intense galbanum-rich green). Both are potent and long lasting. I’ve had these for several years. You’re right that nobody seems to chat about this line recently. Bouquet Massai sounds tempting — I love peonies!

  • Maya says:

    I am a big fan of Pierre Guillaume and have tried many of his perfumes and own some, but none of the ones you just mentioned. I do have Le Musc et la Peau on my to sample list. I also want to try his 2 newest ones – Orchidivy 21.1 and Praline De Santal.
    I absolutely love Bois Naufrage 16.1! It surprised me. Notes are “Carob tree, also called ‘fig of Egypt’, sea salt and Ambregris”. Two others that recently made the bottle list are Tonka Bodykon and Dialogue With Venus.
    I could go on and on and on……….. 🙂