The Story of the Fake Le Male
I was once approached in a parking lot by a guy claiming to have a bottle of the new fragrance Le Male by Jean Paul Gautier. For $20. Yes, alarms started to go off. But I was curious. This was a new scent. The buzz around it was high and I was in college. So my money was funny. Plus, the passion for fragrances started way before then. I was willing to give it a shot. As expected, it was fake. Alcohol laden, and only slightly resembled Le Male. I learning a lesson. But I did like the slogan written on the bottle. “If you like….then you’ll love…”. That experience is the inspiration for this post. One note two fragrances. Bamboo!
One Note. Two Fragrances.
These two scents aren’t clones or replicas of each other. They really don’t smell alike. They both feature the unique note of bamboo. And if you like one, you may love the other.
Mont Blanc Starwalker
Released by the house of Mont Blanc in 2005. The nose behind the scent is Micheal Almairic and he utilizes the notes of Bamboo bergamot, orange up top; Sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk in the mid; and amber, ginger, nutmeg and fir resin in the base. Making this overall scent smooth and masculine.
Major notes for me is the bamboo and sandalwood. Here in the introduction, you get a fair amount of bergamot that reseeds quickly and you’re left with a smooth woody bamboo sandalwood combo. In the background, you’ll get a very subtle ginger note with some sweetness in the base. Overall linear and never transitions for what you get at the 5-minute mark. Nice. Elegant and minimalist.
Release in 2012 by Kilian the nose behind this fragrance is Celice Becker. There is a lot more going on in Bamboo harmony than in Starwalker. You’re going to get a blend of neroli and bergamot to accompany the bamboo note as well as some spices and floral qualities from Mimosa. The mimosa in this will gives you a unisex feel but not too feminine.
The bamboo notes are similar. The bamboo in the by Kilian being more refined. Also, both are going to give you a splash of bergamot at the beginning with both short lived.
The bamboo note in Starwaker is the main player. Some might say the only player. In Bamboo harmony, it’s aptly named because there is a harmony of notes surrounding the bamboo. There are Spices and florals. Definitely a more complex scent than Starwalker. Mont Blanc, however, outperforms Bamboo harmony on my skin and comes across more masculine.
If you like the smell of Mont Blancs Starwarker but a little underwhelmed or bored with the linear progression, Bamboo Harmony may add a layer of complexity that you may like. Conversely, if Bamboo Harmony is too feminine and you want the unique note of bamboo only more masculine.