Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904)

Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain
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Mouchoir de Monsieur is a popular perfume by Guerlain for men and was released in 1904. The scent is powdery-animal. It is being marketed by LVMH.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Lavender, Lemon verbena
Heart Notes Heart NotesJasmine, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Tonka bean, Cinnamon
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Oakmoss, Iris, Vanilla



8.0 (153 Ratings)


7.1 (109 Ratings)


5.9 (103 Ratings)


8.3 (111 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 22.08.2018

Interesting Facts

Since February 2014, the original 1904 Extrait version of Mouchoir de Monsieur is exhibited in the "Hall of Mirrors" at Maison Guerlain.

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Bottle 8.0/10 Sillage 9.0/10 Longevity 9.0/10 Scent 9.5/10
A floral-animalic fougère
Although I'm very tempted by the idea of writing a review on Mouchoir de Monsieur without a single reference to Jicky, I guess it's only fair to start by stating that yes, they are similar.

Nevertheless, if I hadn't smelled, owned and worn Jicky EdT prior to MdM, I would have simply perceived the latter as a wonderful, old-fashioned powdery fougére dominated by three notes in particular: lavender, iris and civet. You will have to like each of the three in order to appreciate or even tolerate MdM.

However, having worn Jicky and never feeling entirely comfortable with its dry-down, I will make some comparisons.
First of all, despite some people feel exactly the opposite, I find considerably more civet in MdM. Someone at Basenotes referred to MdM's animalic side as "bad breath" smell, which is not only brilliantly funny but also brilliantly accurate. But only if you huff it from an inches distance and that's not how one wears a perfume.
Whereas Jicky is more herbal and aromatic, MdM is essentially flowery. Jicky does have a noticeable rose note, but that's in a way obscured by the herbs.
And about the drydown... Even though MdM kind of settles into a more powdery scent than it's elder sister, I also do find it somehow more 'open', easier to wear and - dare I say this - artistically better. Jicky, at least in its current EdT formula, turns more into an ambery mess.

Mouchoir de Monsieur may not be the easiest masculine to pull off, but it has such timeless, unquestionable beauty, that instead of wanting to wear it daily for the rest of my life, I'd much more prefer it to be the single fragrance my loved ones actually remember me by.
Mouchoir de Monsieur
Maybe it's some weird human drive for finding distinction, maybe it's simply the result of having more perfumes than I could ever imagine wearing in a lifetime, but I find myself focussing on the qualitative differences of some very similar perfumes. Guerlain Habit Rouge eau de toilette and eau de parfum. The same for Guerlain Insolence. Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois, Bois de Violette and Bois et Fruits. I’ve found themes that I like and now I'm looking for the variations.

I've gone backwards historically, starting with the Sheldrake/Bourdon perfumes for Lutens and going back to the ones that started the trend: Guerlain’s Jicky (1889) and Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904). The contrasts between Jicky and Mouchoir play out as the differences in temperament you might find between twins. These perfumes differ in degrees of expansiveness, but have more similarity than difference. But when resemblance is taken for granted, the differences jump out at you.

(A note about formulation. I have the eau de toilette of Jicky from 2005, and a brand-new bottle of Mouchoir, also eau de toilette.)

Both perfumes have a rich, almost tactile quality but Jicky also has a cat’s poise, an active balance that might shift one way or the other on a whim. Jicky’s play of lavender and vanilla seems to sparkle, suggesting something fluid and always in motion. Oh, Jicky has its raunch. The civet note is neither subtle nor hidden, but it's playfully lewd. Jicky seems very aware of its shifty personality, and may play any side at one time or another to charm you. Mouchoir speaks with the same voice as Jicky, but is more reserved. To use a word that I wish had never fallen out of use, Mouchoir is melancholic. Where you can take the entirety of Jicky in in a single breath, Mouchoir takes a bit more commitment. The effort pays dividends, though, and wearing Mouchoir rewards you with a sense of groundedness and presence.

Is Jicky simply a less uptight version of Mouchoir? Or is Mouchoir a more introspective version of its impulsive elder brother? To look at the two more specifically as perfumes, Jicky leans more toward the oriental genre. It is thicker and more voluptuous. It's dessert qualities are right on the tip of its tongue when it kisses you. Mouchoir, particularly in its basenotes, has the austerity of a chypre, emphasizing dryness over dessert. Accordingly, it's basenotes growl where Jicky’s purr.

Only the most sensitive nose around you will likely spot the difference in these perfumes from one day to the next. Deciding which to where is far more important to you than to anyone around you. And here is the delight of these twins. Choosing the right one and feeling the satisfaction as I apply it feels like setting loose the butterfly effect on my day.

Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 8.0/10
Helpful Review    4
Powdery Notes for the Dandy
Launched in 1904, Mouchoir de Monsieur is one of Guerlain's long sellers. It has always been there although I think it does not get the attention of other Guerlain perfumes. Small wonder, its marketing in the traditional bee-bottle is just as old-fashioned as the fragrance. For me, the bee-bottle indicates that a perfume is aimed at dedicated Guerlain aficionados and not so much at a chain store audience. A wise decision? Given the fact that a powdery-spicy gents' cologne is something rather special, one has to grow into it to really appreciate it.

The core of Mouchoir de Monsieur is a brilliant blend of iris, cinnamon spiciness and a good dash of Guerlinade – definitely not just another iris soliflore. This very unusual accord of powder and chalk takes me back to the Fin de Siècle, and maybe further on to the times of allonge wigs 300 years ago. Mouchoir de Monsieur may never have expressed any modernism. Mouchoir de Monsieur is sometimes compared to Jicky as the male version of it. There are indeed similarities, namely a similar vanilla and civet accord (although civet is not listed here). I do not get too much development which means that this fragrance retains its character during a full wear. It fades considerably after about four hours but traces remain for much longer.

I wouldn't say that powdery iris fragrances mark a typical gents' cologne. It is not easy to link powder notes to the idea of the masculine. Rather than that, powdery notes can evoke a certain air of distinction, or a certain detachedness from the world of the ordinary. The combination with the vanillic Guerlinade and the cinnamon both enhances and alienates this character of the iris. A well-dressed gentleman wrapped in bone-dry chalk, vanilla and spices cannot be a man of hard labour: more than anything else, Mouchoir de Monsieur is the fragrance of the Dandy. Oscar Wilde would have loved it!

But - who is a Dandy today?

With the decline of this archetype also the audience for Mouchoir de Monsieur may have become smaller. If today the Guerlain afficionados buy Mouchoir de Monsieur, are they also wearing it?

We have gents' colognes with iris and powder notes that have overcome this olden style. The straightforward L'Homme de Cœur by Divine with its leaner juniper spiciness and background woods has much more grip. Prada's powdery Infusion d'Homme hits the taste of today's consumer with its fresh appeal, and Dior Homme with its “lipstick” accord is for those who like it comfy.

Mouchoir de Monsieur is a brilliant and unique fragrance well worth getting to know. But what makes Mouchoir de Monsieur difficult to wear for me is that powder notes are generally something intimate. I cannot ignore that body powder is used for baby bottoms. This use is actually what will limit the popularity of any powdery gents' cologne IMHO. In case of Mouchoir de Monsieur, distinction and intimacy is a strange combination. Not sure if some people would consider this sexy. When I use this fragrance I feel like wearing somebody else's suit. At least I haven't grown into it yet.


Hajuvana 3 years ago
If ever a masculine deserves to be called 'beautiful', this is the one.+1
Bottle 8.0
Sillage 9.0
Longevity 9.0
Scent 9.5

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