I discovered Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier when I moved from New Zealand to Australia in 2004. Their story captured my imagination and ever since I have been a distant admirer of the brand. I say distant because the range is no longer available in Australia and it is also hard to find in the major Asian cities. Jean Laporte founded the house in 1988 following his departure from L’Artisan Parfumeur. Inspired by the Parisian parfumeur gantiers or perfumed glove artisans who were all the rage in 17th century France, Laporte’s range evokes imagery of French decadence at its height; perfumed wigs, floral scented face powders, bourgeois frivolities and Mary Antoinette. Maitre’s perfume range provides a rich palette of floral offerings as well as some old world gems for men. The jeweled bottles let you know you are in for a camp adventure even before you bring the scent card to your nose. I preferred the men’s packaging prior to 2006 with its dark ruby glass. The new rouge glass is also nice but is a tad less regal. Laporte has since moved on. His apprentice Jean Paul Millet Lage is in control as the house nose. Like L’Artisan this is a truly kaleidoscopic range. Favourites include the female scent Bahiana (for men), Parfum D’Habit (which I am yet to review), Santal Noble, Ambre Precieux (For fans of L’Artisan Ambre Extreme) and Jardin Blanc (L’artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons). Garrigue is another example of the range’s diversity. It belongs to the brand’s aromatiques line and inspires thoughts of cologne commissioned for the French court using exotic new spices and herbs following the return of one of its explorers from a Mediterranean expedition. Garrigue is one of Jean Laporte’s own creations and was launched in 1988.
If the French were asked to create Calvin Klein Eternity for men in the 17th century it is possible it would smell like Garrigue. Wonderfully fresh Garrigue is a simple cologne construction. It begins with bergamot and lemon. The traditional cologne accord of lavender and citrus is augmented with sage and rosemary. While the MPG website lists juniper as a heartnote the presence of a neroli accord stands out to me as it extends from the top through to the mid or heart notes with the use of more tenacious materials to create an ‘oranger’ effect. Combined with Calone, Garrigue has a pronounced green melon floral note that slowly fades to musk and sandalwood. America is well versed in this style of ‘clean’ perfumery. American’s would have illustrated the herbal notes in a more abstract and perhaps polite way. The French however have boldly presented this garden fresh scent as though it had been freshly ripped from a garden, wet earth still entangled in its roots.
Garrigue is one of a few contradictions that exist in Maitre’s collection. Forget 17th century parties at the Chateau de Versailles. Garrigue is an ultra masculine scent for a modern sporty male. He leads an active lifestyle, works hard and has a busy social schedule. He is confident but also straightforward. Garrigue makes effeminate men appear more masculine and makes masculine men appear more refined. The light cologne construction contains none of the cliché synthetic wood/amber notes in many of today’s ultra masculine fragrances. Although it is simple, give Garrigue a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Replace all your Calvin Klein men’s fragrances with this! The Different Company Divine Bergamot, Creed Neroli Sauvage, Diptyque L‘Eau De Neroli.
Perfumer: Frederic Stalin, Jean-Francois Laporte
Release date: 1988
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Aromatic Fougere