Habit Rouge by Guerlain

*Picture from Fragrantica

My dad has a bottle of Habit Rouge Eau de Toilette, and I always pick it up and smell it. Some perfumes (Dune) make me think, and others (Liaisons Dangereuses) make me feel, but Habit Rouge doesn’t make me do anything but enjoy the moment. It is abstract, enjoyable, and its brightness reminds me of the fuzzy spot of yellow sunlight the prism leaves on the wall in the morning.

Guerlain’s website portrays it as a kind of uber-masculine perfume for whom only the most rugged cowboys qualify; those who would ride their stallions through a cloud of Habit Rouge and dust into the sunset in pursuit of the killer (You know that song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? That’s what I thought of when I read the copy.)

It’s a romantic notion, but I don’t think John Wayne would wear Habit Rouge on the job. To me it’s a yin/yang example of androgyny. It best suits feminine men and masculine men. It is too bright to be traditionally male, but too raspy to be traditionally female. The first thing I smell is a gentle wave of orange blossom and bergamot, with an oud accent that holds from top to bottom. There is a powdery side note that also holds, although it is strongest in the beginning. It reminds me of lathered shaving cream, and I can see in this respect how Habit Rouge would make someone, probably a child, inherently associate it with manhood. It gives off the same clean vibe as Jo Malone’s Lime Basil and Mandarin.

Habit Rouge becomes even more abstract and spicier in the heart, containing a cinnamon note to go along with the strengthening oud. It also becomes more herbal. I smell lavender close to the drydown. To me, Habit Rouge doesn’t fade into a heavy drydown, but many people notice patchouli and leather.

Habit Rouge is one of the few intelligent things that is also truly comfortable to be around, and that’s probably why it’s my favorite masculine. Throughout the whole trajectory, it has an admirable and rarely-seen combination of cheer and tact. Maybe the real reason it’s seen as a traditional masculine is wishful thinking: Habit Rouge brings to mind the rare personality marked by simplicity, intelligence, and sense. The perfect man, but nearly impossible to find.

Perfumer: Jean Paul Guerlain
Price Range: Moderately Expensive
Recommended Occasion: Any
Release Year: 1965
My Rating: 10

Read more reviews at Perfume Shrine and 1000 Fragrances. What Men Should Smell Like reviews both the eau de toilette and the older eau de cologne

This entry was posted in Bergamot, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clean, Lavender, Orange Blossom, Oud, Powdery, Spicy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Habit Rouge by Guerlain

  1. formaggio says:

    Hadn’t thought about it, but Habit Rouge is one that could be worn by a woman. Would work great, in fact.

  2. formaggio says:


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