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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caron 3eme Homme

By Tom

The eighties were a time when everything was big: the Reagan years featured giant shoulder pads on women, balloon pleated pants on men and hairdos on both that resembled lions manes in both breadth, height and desperate need of a good conditioner. Everything was about the flash and the glitz; "Dynasty" and "Dallas" ruled the airwaves and the scents of the times could double as chemical weapons when applied with the abandon that was common at that time. Trust me, I lived through it. Being trapped in an Express elevator for 50 stories with some dude who bathed in Lagerfeld is not a happy memory.

On the other hand that's the decade where Annick Goutal debuted as perhaps the first true niche house, so...

It's also the decade that Caron brought out 3eme Homme, ostensibly named after the Orson Welles film from 1949. 3eme is a big fragrance, if not nearly as large as some of the other scents from the 80's; it really does seem like a 40's scent filtered through the eye of the ironic 80's. It's a fougere, with a slap-you lavender that's bright and spikey. Just when you think you have it pegged, it takes a sharp left into jasmine and ginger that takes the scent into androgyny. The sharp lavender never leaves the composition, even unto the woody, powdery and musky drydown, and that's a good thing; the he-said/she-said play between warm floral and chilly lavender is a delight, and a nice reminder that the 80's weren't all about sequined jumpsuits and mall hair. It also makes it a scent that would be perfectly suitable for a woman in a Kate Hepburn in Pants sort of way so ladies, feel no compunction about stealing this one.

3eme Homme is available at e-tailers at shockingly low prices, mostly around $35. This makes it cheap enough to want to spray with abandon, but I would resist that urge. This might not be the loudest concoction ever brewed, but in a decade that screamed at the top of it's lungs even a booming voice can be drowned out. In this decade of meek, watery little scents this could be a bit much...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I should try this one (wearing Caron today as well). It seems to me that I'm the only one who loved the eighties, I loved its music and loved that I was slim & young, full of plans and ideals. Sometimes I still try to beam myself back there - I can manage it for few minutes, when listening "Fade to Grey" from Visage extraordinary loud...

3:04 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Ah, Tom.
It's the civet that gets me, in this one...
That dirty, dirty civet that I crave; this is so animalic and yet elegant.
And the cinnamon, too.

Yes, mama likes this baby.

Not sure that everyone ELSE feels the same way, though.

I resent having to be Perfumically Correct....

7:49 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

What the Caron men's do with lavender continues to hold my interest...I think it says something when a scent lingers in my "rumination space," no matter what my like/dislike conclusions are. Though [quick to point out] I liked this one, and had fun with the notable switcheroo it pulls. It's kind of like L'Artisan Poivre Piquant in its ability to so dramatically shift gears; both would be useful demos for "drydown happens, and here is what it means."

In simplistic terms, for me it combines "you smell nice" with "nice trick!" :)

7:54 AM EST  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Did someone say civet? Good morning, Tom. GREAT review. I love the way you evoke that "other 1950s" that the Eighties were. And, despite a catalog of bad reformulations, 3eme keeps up the Caron name. That said, it is one of the most difficult scents for me to put my finger on, note-wise ... just like the elusive Harry Lime himself.

10:05 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have a love/hate relationship with the 80's: I met some lifelong friends then, and I was thin and young as well. Wish I could go back and tell myself a few things. Ah well...

11:40 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I tend to kill off the civet, but I do love that drydown..

11:41 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love the trick it pulls! It's a scent and a magic act!

11:42 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Thanks! I was glad to see that this survived somewhat intact as well..

11:43 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

This was one of the first scents that made me realize I didn't hate *all* lavender scents. Love it, love the price.
Am currently in a retro mode w/ 80s scents (the H&R Guide is *fatal* to my budget - I read it like a shopping list) and have recently rediscovered the amazing first scent ever put out by Gianni Versace. *Gorgeous*. I have to admit I love oriental scents and the 80s put out some real classics in that category. I actually have good memories of the 80s and being seriously into Siouxsie's music and the Furs and Bunnymen. I still can go into swoon mode over Richard Butler. :-)

11:56 AM EST  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I think 3eme Homme is great, and have been trying to foist it on my men friends as well ever since I accidentally scored 5 10 ml vintage bottles for $1.00 (I thought I was buying one). On me the opening lasts for such a long time I almost forget why I've put it on and then -- ah! there it is! that gorgeous almost-incense...

12:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alyssa said...

P.S. The notes and structure are very similar to Jicky, but I don't think they smell the same -- how do you think they compare, Tom?

12:02 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I feel the same about it- this was one that made me like lavender.

I liked 80's music and still do! Just not the stuff most people think of.

12:13 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


5 for $1? Wow! i think that's about the best bargain I've heard of in a long while!

12:15 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am one of the people that does no favors to Jicky even though I would love to be able to wear it. I don't think it smells the same at all.

12:16 PM EST  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I know, I know! Bargain of the century! It was an *bay thing, and they didn't describe it very well. I though I was bidding on a single mini and got lucky when no one else put in a bid. Imagine my surprise when the mail arrived...

Good to know about the Jicky, thanks. I just sent some of this to my friend who had to abandon J because of various associations and I didn't want to unintentionally traumatize anyone...

2:05 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Nice of you to "foist"! I'd love to have someone "foist" something as nice as that on me!

4:26 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Carons didn't work for me at all -- until I tried the men's and realized I'd been shopping on the wrong aisle! This one, Yatagan, Anarchiste... be still my heart! I still don't love any of the ladies' scents, but I wear these regularly.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have to give l'Anarchise a whirl..

1:22 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

With your account of notes including jasmine and ginger, I clearly must try this one. And of the 80s, lately as the 80s are back in fashion I've been thinking it's kind of a fun training to love that which we were instructed to hate during the 90s. The idea of the beautiful undergoes such massive cosmetic surgery every decade or so. It's either deliciously perverse or frighteningly conformist, I haven't decided.

4:12 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'm going to get serious her for about five seconds. I don't gilt the memories of my yoof in the 80's; too many people died and too many people ignored it, including our then President. I think each decade we came of age in resonates to future generations in ways that the people who grew up in it can't share with them. I like the music but have no desire to move back there at all.

1:46 AM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, as odd as it sounds with my well-known Caron love, I have never tried this! Obviously I must do so immediately!

I agree with your assessment of the Eighties - great music but NO THANKS to going back there! I have tried to blot out my memories of the Reagan years altogether.

1:37 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


go out and try this- I'd love to read what you think about it.

3:43 PM EST  

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