Reading the notes and inspiration behind Frapin’s The Orchid Man, as well as its name, lulls one into a false sense of security.
My first thoughts, cased in its masculine, rich burgundy sleeve with bold typography, is that this will be a beast of a scent. Throw in the formidable hot-as-hell perfumer/creator David Frossard (pictured below) and the Frapin house speciality which is pretty much bottling masculinity, and I surmised I’d be on to a doozy. That raw core but sophisticated steeped in French seduction that bowls over the ladies. And the men. What I didn’t realise is that this liquid pheromone concoction would be as fresh and sleek as an illicit nip on the backside. Not at all as deep and overblown as I’d imagined, but a lot cooler.
The Orchid Man is an assured, collected form of masculinity that doesn’t have to brag about his banknotes or his conquests. This is one smooth ride with a punch that feels like a kiss. It’s elegance is all encompassing and very, very addictive. It needs such a type to wear it well. I sprayed this on the GBF and he drooled. It was like catnip to him. I’m training him to spray this one lightly and selectively. Like a extremely considered encounter on his Grindr app. Definitely not spray and pray.
What is it that makes it so suckerpunch appealing? Frossard and Frapin’s inspiration was drawn from 1920s legendary boxer, George Carpentier, nicknamed The Orchid Man. An all round sportsman with a penchant for style, Carpentier easily moved from Paris to Hollywood, dabbled in the stage and the stockmarket and saw success and inevitable 1930s banking collapse failure in both. Carpentier then proceeded to return to Paris and open a successful, stylish cocktail bar. This man could ride the waves with panache.
The elegance, the ritual, the agility and the movement of graceful yet powerful boxing is captured in The Orchid Man. Nose, Jerome Epinette brought Carpentier’s sporting and gentlemanly prowess to life. There’s an multo refined leather accord at the base for rakish masculinity which seems ever present in the fragrance. Cracked leather boxing gloves meet the worn through aspect of the boxing gym with the concentration, triumphs and sweat of the men who trained there. The wet humidity of a beautiful patchouli and oakmoss only adds to the intensity while a delicious waft of Calabrian bergamot and of Madagascar black pepper punches about their joint weight.
The bergamot’s freshness merges beautifully with the more intense aspects to temper and re-direct its energy. Like a cool splash that refreshes mid-round, it knee jerks the senses and refocuses the wearer as well as anyone in his wake. This one could last the ten rounds but is more likely to catch his opponent off-guard with its finesse, bowling them over and leaving them thinking, ‘what quite happened there?’. My favourite men’s fragrance launch in a LONG while. Let’s find the man cool and classy enough to wear it.
The Orchid Man is available from Bloom Perfumery priced at £98 for 100ml.