Why This Fragrance is Reserved For The One Who Refuses To Stay In Their Lane

An iconic scent that celebrates those who charter their own path.

by Deanna Pai

The mark of a truly modern scent? It can stand the test of time, enduring year after year without feeling overdone or stale. And that's exactly the case with Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male, which first debuted back in 1995 (for context, before wireless Internet, before smartphones, and long, long before social media). That timelessness is no accident—if anything, it’s a testament to the rare scent that can actually stay fresh and relevant over time.

And therein is the magic of Le Male. The since-retired French fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier is known for his irreverent, unconventional designs, so this scent — a similarly unique take on masculinity — was par for the course. Created as a new interpretation of what it means to be a man, it balances comfort and warmth with modern sensibility, making it a perfect gift for the guy in your life. Ahead, what makes it stand out.

The Inspiration

Gaultier has long been known for his love of the sailor. (Proof? The sailor-striped designs that became staples in his collection.) And for a men’s scent, the inspiration is especially apt: The sailor is both manly, sexy, and fearless, embodying a different type of masculinity that defies the usual expectations.

The Fragrance

Since the scent is inspired by the comfort and reassurance of masculinity, it should come as no surprise that vanilla is at the heart of it. However, it’s also paired with top notes of lavender, mint, and cardamom, which call to mind the freshness and familiarity of shaving foam. The middle notes of cinnamon and caraway add extra warmth, setting the stage for the lingering base notes of vanilla, tonka bean, and sandalwood. Might we mention, a couple favorable counterparts to take you through the night are Le Male Le Parfum (a woody amber with notes of iris) and Le Beau which features the sweet mid notes of coconut.

The Bottle

Gaultier is known for his ability to elevate the everyday—in this case, a simple tin can. It houses the bottle that’s shaped like a classic torso, indicating virility and strength. Etched onto the glass, you’ll find Gaultier’s signature sailor-striped jersey, which, according to the brand, serves as an enduring symbol of freedom and seduction.

The Appeal

Le Male’s unique scent and iconic bottle may help explain its lasting popularity over almost 30 years. That also makes it a foolproof gift for the man who, like Gaultier and his inspirational sailors, doesn’t play by the rules. You can now also find it in a Jumbo Gift Set, which pairs a healthy size of the iconic bottle with a travel spray ideal for on-the-go applications.

Another unforgettable gift? The Holiday Collector Edition Spray, which displays the classic bottle encased in a red puffer jacket, emblazoned with the designer’s name. It’s a true celebration of masculinity, making it a perfect present for the rule-breaker on your list.