Musketeers – Aramis (1964) and Balenciaga Portos (1980)

Ivanhoe, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Musketeers. I must admit I loved watching the old costume movies and still am partial to any re-remake.

imageThough an avid reader, I never bothered reading any of these, surely in this case part of the (guilty) pleasure is in watching handsome bearded men in leather suits playing cloak and dagger.

Leather, men and musk is what it’s about today. I’ll start with the beast that is Aramis (in its current formula), so unashamed masculine, that I have no trouble seeing the musketeer straight off his horse from battle. The opening is herbs and there’s cumin, and then there’s some more cumin, perhaps you take cumin with that? I was pretty choked that in this combination for once the cumin doesn’t at all remind me of Chicken Jalfrezi take-away, it actually smells ‘masculine’, like fresh sweat from someone you like. (As opposed to stale sweat from someone you really don’t like!)image It’s in the company of wormwood and leather that cumin becomes more of a handsome French musketeer, than a Barbarian (Musc) Koublai Khan. Also consider, which Khan would have added a little green freshness and jasmine? Yes, in Aramis it’s all there, ending on soft bed sheets of (an uncanningly deep and authentic smelling) oak moss and musk.

I struggle to call it animalic because it’s more about human skin and testosterone than any animal I can think of. Even the warmth it exudes is something which spells more Musketeer than Musk deer to me. It says: “just a kiss”, but don’t believe a word Aramis says.

While I wouldn’t put it past women to wear this, it would probably be the equivalent of men wearing Vintage Rochas Femme ( pre the cumin stuff that is ’89). On anyone who can wear Aramis, I bet it smells sensational.

Notes: artemisia, bergamot, cinnamon, gardenia, pelargonium, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, leather, oakmoss, amber (from fragrantica)

Portos EdC, was first introduced to me by a lovely Italian perfumista. A much overlooked fragrance which is no longer in production but can still be found online. imagePortos is much prettier than his fellow musketeer and much more obviously unisex. Wormwood, bergamot and especially geranium makes for a floral and lively opening. The absinthian mixes with minty-rose softness and becomes bittersweet, a little Dandyesque perhaps. As the opening wears of, a smooth leather and castoreum (beaver) becomes more evident. The base is rooty green, warm and velvety of vetiver, musk and moss.  The earthy oak moss lasts all day.

So is Portos an old-fashioned gentleman? More likely it’s a cologne for anyone tired of fruits, aquatics or blonde woods. I think on most people it would even wear a tad sweeter than on me, making it just too cool as a women’s fragrance. A player and a dreamer is Portos, I think he wouldn’t mind sharing his cologne.

Notes: artemisia, cumin, bergamot, coriander and galbanum, jasmine, geranium, carnation, cedar, patchouli and vetiver, castoreum, leather, moss, musk, myrrh, incense and labdanum (from fragrantica)

Musketeers from 1921 Douglas Fairbanks Sr silent film, 1973 Richard Lester film and the 2014 BBC series.

Main Musketdeers are mine. Aren’t musk deers the cutest?



20 thoughts on “Musketeers – Aramis (1964) and Balenciaga Portos (1980)

  1. Does the Fanged Musketdeer make a good pet? They’re very endeering!
    I’ve got my nose buried right now in the lovely remains of Portos – Mmmmmm….

    • Hihi, I’m sure they would make excellent pets had they not been endangered species… I’m glad you liked Portos, I thought you might.

  2. LOL at Trine’s ‘endeering’. Applaws!

    I am not sure I have ever smelt Aramis but I have a good idea of what it’s like thanks to you – I gather there’s a hint of cumin in it?

    Really loved the phrase ‘minty-rose softness’ and would love to sniff that – and hey, I don’t even like mint! That’s the beguiling effect of your writing. 😉

    • Oh deer, you two! Deer (endeering or otherwise) have hoofs, no matter how much you applaud them! 😀
      Aramis cumin?
      It really surprised me that cumin could also NOT smell of curry, though. And as for minty; take it with a grain of…cumin 😉

  3. I wonder if old-school macho masculines like Aramis are coming back with the recent release of Frederic Malle’s Monsieur?

    • I haven’t tried Monsieur yet, but they might be coming back. Now that eveyone has gotten used to strong perfumes again thanks to oud, they might not think of things like Aramis as an ‘Old-man perfume’, but I honestly couldn’t say. It strikes me that the development for masculines are still lacking behind the unisex and feminine perfumes.

  4. Love, love, love your artwork!! I’m like you, I’ve never bothered to read the book but I always loved watching various remakes, series, and films including the animation version. I don’t think I’ve ever tried any of the perfumes but you made me interested…

    • Thank you so so so much dear Magpie <3 great another musketeer girl, I wonder if the books might be great holiday reading?

  5. Hehe, neither of these things sound like anything that I would touch with a 10 ft pole – at least at this point in my perfume journey – but your post was quite entertaining. 🙂 At least cumin smells like food for you – I think I could tolerate that maybe, but it usually registers as terrible sweat for me and I’ve only found a couple of fragrances that have cumin that I can tolerate. Maybe just 1!

    • Yes, I think we can leave you out as a customer of the two, perhaps Portos for your husband?
      Now you have me interested which cumin perfume you can wear? My own tolerance for the stuff is usually zero, but then that’s apparently because it only ever paired with fruits or other foody stuff.

      • Well, the only fragrance I love that has a noticeable cumin note is Ne M’Oubliez Pas, and to be honest the first two times I sampled it I didn’t notice the cumin at all. Then when I sprayed it on, it was like WHAMMO cumin and I got really nervous, but loved the rest so much that I can handle it, and eventually it fades. NMP does have a plum note to it though, so perhaps you won’t like that either?

        • Also, another thing of note, I rarely find Guerlains that I really love, so this one was a complete shocker!

        • Hm, I’m not sure how I feel about that as I normally love Guerlains and (finally) have a sample of this one on its way to me. Hoping for the best 🙂 thanks for letting me know about it. However, now I think of it perhaps Rose Nacre has it too, and I love that one??? Need to check.

          • I still ADORE it, so I hope the cumin treats you well too. 🙂 I think it’s so gorgeous – it’s probably my favorite scent EVER. At least right now. And also terribly expensive and hard to buy, lol.

  6. I haven’t tried any of the two perfumes you’ve reviewed (and will probably stay away from “Aramis” since I hate cumin) but from your description both are complete misnomers. The Three Musketeers was, I think, my most favorite book when I was a child: I re-read it (and the other two books in the series) multiple times and, when I was done with them for the first time, even attempted to write something in between a prequel and a parallel reality story – unsuccessfully: I wanted to read more about them, not write for somebody else. Anyway, what I’m trying to say, Aramis character doesn’t smell of cumin and Portos… why would anybody want to wear a perfume named after a comic relief?

    Your illustration made me smile: it’s such a clever (and cute!) play on words and the theme!

    • Oh, I know what you mean, Undina, misnomers are annoying, obviously especially when something is close to your heart. I remember you being upset about the Vagabond Prince perfumes too, and I can rant forever about musical associations in perfumery. I mean, it should be easy to get right?
      Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      • Actually, whenever I read any music-related references about perfumes, I immediately start wondering what you think about those 🙂

  7. I love how your brain works. 🙂
    Musketdeers. 😉

    And you know me, I tried either Aramis or Portos but for the life of me can’t remember which one. I did like it a lot though. It wasn’t a modern issue either.

    • Hehe, I just remembered I always did this. Before I could write I drew my address in this kind of ‘language’, so instead of kors-gade ( cross + street) I drew a cross and a magpie, a magpie being called ‘skade’ in Danish, making it kors- skade, a homophone to korsgade when spoken 🙂
      Hm, if you liked it a lot, I wonder if it was Portos, because I know how much you like Jicky, and it could wear a little like that on you, I think…

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