Musette and the Red Coat – Habit Rouge Extrait


Posse! Lately I’ve been on a ‘thunk’ type binge, courtesy of Portia’s ‘thunk’ journeys.  It involves me sticking my paw into the Messy Armoire, pulling out a vial/decant annnd…. regardless of what it is, wearing it.

Now.  This is done either at night or on a day when I do not have to subject my fellow humans to some weird fragrance – or some weird me because I’ve deemed a fragrance weird..  Because you know there are some real hooters in the Messy Armoire!

A few nights ago I stuck my paw in, rootled around (no peeking, Musette!) and came out with a decant of Habit Rouge extrait which, if I remember, I snagged from a display bottle at N-M (or maybe it was the Saks Men’s Store, back when it was extant on Boul Mich – who knows?) Guerlain is one of those Houses that has always epitomized elegance for me – and Habit Rouge is no exception.  In fact, the extrait of this scent is the personification of elegance (the EDT is a bit thin for my taste).  Created by Jean Paul Guerlain in 1965 as a men’s fragrance it is easily wearable by a confident woman (and I am nothing if not confident…I think.. 😉 .  I sprayed it (a lot!) and was immediately transported to a venue worthy of a photo shoot – minus the dead fox (though I’ve done battle with foxes, when I’ve kept chickens, I’m not a fan of hunting anything for sport).  From Fragrantica (and an unusually juicy prose for them)  The composition is based on the harmony of fresh and intense citruses in the top (lime, orange and bergamot) and warm oriental balsamic notes in the base. The smoky and leathery nuances in the final notes are contrasting with the juicy beginning. The sophisticated heart is composed of flowers, precious woods with a warm touch of cinnamon.

The first notes are not actually the first notes for me – I get the balsamic early on – and it runs the show for awhile until the  cinnamon-tanned leather rolls in and wraps itself around the balsamic .  I thought I’d missed the citrus entirely! until I realized it’s always been there (especially the bergamot) … just not shrieking  to scare the horses like, say, Polo does.  I loved the idea of Polo but it was a lotta. This is more like what Geoffrey Beene was aiming for – and got – in Grey Flannel.

What I really love about Habit Rouge extrait is how  richly warm, elegant and restrained it is – there’s not a shriek in the entire thing.  Living here at the back of beyond, with a decided dearth of retrained elegance (not dragging the place – restrained elegance has no place when you’re fixing the timing chain on a combine in the middle of a field, in the pouring rain), this takes me out of the physical place and into something a bit more elegant – and restrained.  I don’t need the red coat – and neither does any man or woman who wears it.  But it is a reminder that such elegance does still exist in this world.

I’m going to spray a squickton of it right this very afternoon and walk down to the gym, see how it does on heated skin.

Welp! The Shriek.  Remember when I said there wasn’t any?  During a (very) moderate workout (30 minutes on the elliptical at a resistance level of 3)… that bergamot, which was so quietly beguiling when I was preparing to drop into a snooze, suddenly turned into a yelling , drunken husband just stumbling into the house after a few hours at the local.

Or something like that – it’s the yelling, rather than the drunkeness, I think.  The normally quiet, sparkling citruses turned feral, hissing and screeching at me like some vicious stray cat. Or like the Polo Era, when every guy at the gym was wearing a gallon of it – and it hurt to breathe.


So.  I guess the lesson here is: wear Habit Rouge to lounge around in – or go to bed in.  Do NOT wear it at the gym.

What are your thoughts on Habit Rouge?  This is my first time really engaging with it so I’d love to hear your thoughts – if you haven’t worn it, would this be a perfume that might work for you (or your SO or, I dunno, your UPS driver?)  I like it – a lot – but I ain’t wearing it to the gym again, that’s for damb sure.

  • March says:

    I dug around in my memories … I remember thinking it was gorgeous but not really “me”? Probably when I wanted weirder scents. It sounds absolutely lovely and I run so cool maybe I’d never get the screech.

    • Musette says:

      It really is beautiful! I trend warm(er) and it smells lovely on me – just not if I amp up by exercising.

      A perfect excuse to just be still (yeah – and we know how well that works for me)

  • Dina C. says:

    Habit Rouge sounds like something I need to get my husband to wear. (Not during exercise!) I don’t think I’ve ever sniffed it in the extrait. To wander off on a tangent…the fashion arbiters have decided that red is “in” this fall, and I couldn’t be happier. I got out my red vintage Coach Willis Station handbag, and I’ve been wearing my two red coats, and red sunglasses. Very Christmassy.

  • cinnamon says:

    Sampled this years ago and have no strong memory except that it felt ‘weird’ on me. So, need to have another go. Luca Turin labelled this ‘sweet dust’ — I think one of his more inspired descriptions.

  • Maya says:

    You had me there for a while thinking I should try Habit Rouge. Then you got to the sweating part, so it’s a pass for me which is just as well. I’ve got a list with too many perfumes on it already, though I this list is actually getting smaller. Yay!

  • Tom says:

    I haven’t worn it in a while- I don’t think I have a bottle anymore (mine was older than dirt). I remember liking it, but I do remember that it could go screechy- that elegant gent in his hunting coat and boots got thrown from his steed into a vat of lemons and had to stomp his way out. But now I’m curious.. enough to get a discount bottle online. Hey I almost never sweat willingly.