Vintages Worth Pour Homme

Worth Pour Homme

03/25/14 15:51:26 (5 comments)

by: Sergey Borisov

I purchased some bottles of Worth Pour Homme for my fragrance collection just to complement the feminine Worth perfumes. My interest was (and still is) “The Poetic Series” by Worth, which was developed in the 1920-30s. These five fragrances whose names are Dans la Nuit (1924), Vers le Jour (1925), Sans Adieu (1929), Je Reviens (1932) and Vers Toi (1934) form a romantic love storyline: “At night, just before dawn, never-said good-byes, I'm coming back to you.” I am happy to give credit to Michael Edwards and his excellent book Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, where I first learned about this series and began my searches.

Charles Worth was considered to be the first couturier and the father of haute couture, as he created outfits for tzarinas, empresses, queens, and princesses. His grandson Jacques Worth agreed with the idea of ​​Maurice Blanchet, perfumer and owner of perfumery stores Coryse Salome, to create a line of fragrances under the name Worth. It happened just months after Chanel №5 was launched at Chanel's Parisian boutique.

There are some typical problems with Worth Pour Homme vintage flacons, as with any other perfume that has some history of launches, reissues, different owners and formula changes. 
Some sources indicates that the fragrance Worth Pour Homme was created in 1932, simultaneously with Je Reviens. I'd love to get some proof, but so far I have none. All the Worth Pour Homme versions that have gone through my hands have a clear image of green aromatic fougères, so typical of the 1970s and 80s. You can recognize close kinship with Azzaro Pour Homme, Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Quorum Puig,  Elite Floris, Baie de Genievre Creed, and though to a lesser extent, even with newly reissued Fougère Royale Houbigant of the 21st century.

Those bright, virile, big-boned fougères with powerful and persistent basenotes cannot go unnoticed. Arguably the best masculine type, aromatic fougère has a skeleton of “lavender - geranium - tonka - moss – musk” developed by the extension of the aromatic lavender theme by the resinous oils of aromatic herbs (bay leaves, rosemary, sage, tarragon, marjoram, basil, thyme, tarragon, wormwood, absinthe, etc), and to further color it green they have a green scent branch protruding from rosemary and petitgrain through pine needles to vetiver, moss and fir balsam.


Jules Christian Dior, Jacomo de Jacomo and Macassar Rochas have a lot of similar features, except Worth Pour Homme does not include the green resinous bitterness of galbanum, which makes these perfumes darker, more solid and more bitter. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is distinguished by its bay leaf smell, by honey sweetness and some bitter accord in the drydown recalling beer hops. Tsar Van Cleef & Arpels is more earthy, more transparent and then elegant, with its focus on leather notes. Baie de Genievre Creed is more warm, woody and spicy. Yatagan Caron has a dense woody-herbal liqueur quality, more on the dense and woody tip and less "in your face," 

So the theory could be developed that Worth Pour Homme (as well as Quorum Puig two years later) was released in order to mimic the success of Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973) and Azzaro Pour Homme (1978) and maybe develop it further. Just look at their bottles—they even look alike: chunky glass flacons colored like beer bottles, one large white letter on the bottle.

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Taking the perfumes out from their chests, one after another, to find and recall their smells in order to find the best match with Worth Pour Homme, I noticed that ​​aromatic fougère family was once as popular as translucent ozone watermelons were in the 90s, or gray-green violet-woody fougères in the 2000s.


Had they been reflected in world culture—like, in films or literature? Sure. This fragrance is for the taxi driver played by Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; this is the fragrance for boxer Rocky Balboa portrayed by Sylvester Stallone and Mad Max played by Mel Gibson. An ultimate perfume for tough guys.

Mel Gibson

I was lucky to compare Worth Pour Homme in three versions: made ​​in London after 1993 (blue box, clear bottle with blue stopper), made in France in the early 80s (green bottle in a green box with a diagonal, both are marked with white letter 'W') and a concentrated version of Worth Pour Homme Haute Concentrée in a red-brown box with a paisley pattern.

The British version in the blue box is the perfume created for the show-off. The guy is sharp and strong, young and full of testosterone, he whistles at every skirt and enters into any rumble. Its geranium and rosewood works as a jetpack.


The French version with the letter 'W,' which is older, is more dense, plump and mature. In the start it has a fermented liqueur accord resembling vintage Macassar Rochas or Jules Christian Dior, as if the perfume was infused in an oak cask. The leather accord and green resinous herbs—fir balsam, pine needles, rosemary, bergamot—are more pronounced, serious and non-transparent.

The Paris and London versions play together like father and son. The elder keeps all his intentions secret and keeps its leather-vetiver base until the last hours. But the young has an interesting powdery floral green heart hidden under the mock arrogance of herbs—with a carnation, cedarwood and musk, the heart reminds me of lovely green powdery Iris Bleu Gris Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.

Finally, Worth Pour Homme Haute Concentrée. This is an incredible, huge salute of lavender and bergamot guns, after which comes the deafening silence of tarry and resinous notes. Cumin, rosemary, carnation, juniper (cade oil), vetiver and moss pass quietly, almost inaudibly—by the way, it reminds me of another rarity, Piroguier by Comptoir Sud Pacific, based on citrus fruits and wood tar. Barbecue lovers can wear Worth Pour Homme Haute Concentrée as a memory of the best piece of meat, juicy, smoky and marinated with Provençal herbs.


All three options are good, but I would choose the Parisian if it was necessary to choose only one. Now Macassar and Jules have become rarities and their prices went up—so take Worth Pour Homme, which can be found at sale prices.

Worth pour Homme (1980)


Top notes: Lavender, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Orange, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Cinnamon;
Heart notes: Carnation, Green notes, Rosewood, Pine needles, Geranium;

Base notes: Leather, Cedar, Tonka bean, Amber, Musk, Oakmoss, Fir balsam, Vetiver.
 

 

Serguey Borisov

Serguey Borisov has been known in the Internet world of perfume under the nickname moon_fish for more than 10 years. Now he writes about perfumes for GQ.ru and Vogue.ru, and contributes on the subject for glossy magazines.

 

 

 

 



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Bigsly
Bigsly

The HC reminds me of Vintage Tabarome, just a bit weaker and with strong lavender added.

Mar
25
2016
ChrisInBrooklyn
ChrisInBrooklyn

Hoping to get a hold of the Haute Concentree as the London reformulation sounds abysmal... I had a mini of WPHHC in the 80's and was far too young to appreciate it.

Jul
12
2014
wesleyhclark
wesleyhclark

Great article!

I used to wear Paco Rabanne in my early twenties (late 70's/early 80's), not having any idea of what it was I was wearing. And I didn't care. I wore it because i thought it made me au courant and "finished."

A fragrantica club contributor whose opinion I respect, lovingthealien, maintains that nothing smells as dated as an aromatic fougere, and I have to agree. I couldn't wear Paco Rabanne again, not even for a day.

But I suppose its time will come once again.

Mar
26
2014
missan
missan

Personally I think the current UK version is terrible. Don´t know what kind of alcohols they have used but it´s really low quality. Since -92 the UK version has been changed at least two times, and always for the worse. No wonder it´s very cheap.

Mar
26
2014
Cybernoir
Cybernoir

Thanks so much for this excellent overview, readable, and well written as always. This kind of article truly is the best part of Fragrantica, and the reason so many make their perfume home on the internet here. I have only the feminine Worth, but after reading this article I suspect I would prefer the male.

Mar
26
2014

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