Like Turin wrote in his guide, “it took guts to come out with an aromatic fougère in 2003”: it did, indeed, as Rive Gauche pour Homme is truly a jump into the Seventies. Not a “rewritten tribute”, but a veritable, extremely elegant and pleasantly pedantic aromatic fougère exactly as they made (plenty of) them thirty years ago. Something I like to see as a proud and shameless slap to contemporary trends, which is admirable from such a big important company. It makes a statement, which at that level of visibility, may truly mean something. While I usually can’t stand fragrances - especially niche - which are “inspired by” and/or plain rip off chypres and fougères but they try to conceal that by acting new, “cool”, “luxury” and avantgarde as if they were ashamed of smelling derivative, too simple and “too outdated” as they do, I can’t help but appreciating an open and genuine operation like this. There’s a big difference in fact. Rive Gauche pour Homme is the quintessence of nostalgic simplicity, smelling and looking openly outdated, declaring it loud and proud. Many other companies still produce very classic fragrances, but to launch a new one, again – “it takes guts”.
All here is a true time capsule from the past, from the fragrance itself to the unpretentious, functional and almost cheap-looking bottle which looks like a drugstore shave foam can out of the 1970’s. The fragrance, anyway: lavender, anise, green herbs, woods, oak moss, patchouli, carnation, a nephew of Azzaro pour Homme looking and acting exactly like his hero uncle, just younger. The skin is softer and paler, the voice is still a bit juvenile, everything’s more light-hearted and livelier, but the face, the look, the style, it’s all the same. This is Rive Gauche pour Homme: a fougère which combines a lighter modern look, an overall obvious “fresher” feel due to its young age (I mean lacking in the “vintage” feel caused by the aging of the juice), with a vintage quality. It doesn’t aim at be a masterpiece, and in fact it isn’t, but it’s an extremely pleasant and stylish fragrance retrieving the true purpose of a man’s perfume – smell good, confident, mannered, masculine. Dry and dark as most of classic men’s scents, but the “aromatic” side comprising powdery-floral notes of lavender and anise keeps it bright enough. Obviously a nostalgic redundant product thirty years late on its reference trend, but totally irresistible. The Kaspar Hauser of fragrances.