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October 07, 2005

Fragrance review: Lanvin Arpege Pour Homme

Arpegehomme

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

Arpège Pour Homme is the newest men’s fragrance from Lanvin, created by Olivier Pescheux. A decision to have Arpège as part of the name immediately sets up a challenge from an incomparable feminine version of Arpège, created by André Fraysse and Paul Vacher in 1927 (and successfully reochestrated by Hubert Fraysse in 1993). Yet, Arpège Pour Homme is worthy of its name, pairing crisp elegance with gentle softness.

The transparent hesperidic note sets the stage for the composition, remaining present throughout the development. While initially it soars over the peppery dryness of the top notes, its vivid clarity softens over time. An indolic note of jasmine is an interesting counterpoint to the austere and cold iris. As iris unfolds fully in the heart of the composition, it attains an almost violet-like quality from the vanillic notes, which cascade rapidly into the base. The base notes are layered with delicately sweet and powdery musk, oscillating between clean and sensual.

The gentle warmth that arises after the surge of floral notes is exactly what makes feminine Arpège appealing. Where vetiver provides a cooling touch in the original Arpège, a somewhat sharp hesperidic twist that is woven through the entire composition, gives Arpège Pour Homme an interesting leitmotif. While Arpège Pour Homme would be perfectly suitable for women, I would suspect that it might definitely fall more into a conventionally defined masculine category. Whatever the case may be, the elegance and refinement of Arpège Pour Homme are without a doubt.

Notes include pink peppercorns, mandarin, bitter orange and neroli; iris, jasmine, mate, nutmeg; vanilla, tonka beans, patchouli, Australian sandalwood. Again, I have to point out Serge Mansau’s bottle design. Arpège Pour Homme is available from Escentual, Saks 5th Avenue and other select retailers.

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