According to most reviewers on Basenotes, Parfum d'Habit by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is a manly powerhouse storming on his horse into sunset. A vintage Clint Eastwood type of scent, perhaps. In reality, I don't find any cowboys in Parfum d'Habit, despite its strong jaw and all the leather and vetiver involved.
The opening notes are a bit sharp and nose-tickling. Online sources name them as blackcurrant buds, bergamot and petitgrain, and I certainly get the bitterness of the latter. But things soften significantly as soon as the leather comes into play. It's more of a vintage black coat than a buttery suede jacket, probably because the strong patchouli note keeps it dark and somewhat dirty. Still, the allover feel is warm, dry and woody. For the first couple of hours something is constantly happening on my skin. A green and herbal note peeks from under the wood, a hint of raw animalic sensuality that disappears as soon as I notice and try to catch more of it, and a lot of crisp vetiver.
Yes, these are some of the basics of masculine colognes, but when I wear it I don't feel like I'm putting on a costume or a false air. This Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier scent actually feels more refined than Racine or Route du Vetiver, maybe closer to Santal Noble. It's not flirty and doesn't try to please, but there's an air of easy confidence and effortless chic. That's a good thing no matter who you are.
After a long and unfortunate hiatus, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier perfumes are back in the US and can be found at Henri Bendel and Luckyscent.
Photo: Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, Life Magazine May 1945.