Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland (1999) joins a long line of soapy barbershop fougères the genesis of which can be found in Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973), and is indeed the last of such a line. By the turn of the 21st century, traditional fougère types as we know them now were waning in favor of lighter “fresh” fougères, which removed the vanillic or soapy aromatic aspects of older types while intently focusing on the fresher, greener side to the fougère paradigm, and sometimes didn’t even have noticeable oakmoss in their bases. With Patrick, Fragrances of Ireland was more after a “stereotypical green” feeling to match their “in honor of St. Patrick” market copy since this is a perfume house tied closely to Irish tourism and sold at tourist traps or souvenir shops throughout the country, meaning it goes for that classic “Irish Spring” vibe that the older fougères it’s in league with also capture. As such, guys well-stocked in this genre may see Patrick as redundant, while others not-so-steeped in vintage men’s styles may delight in Patrick’s then-anachronistic construction. I think for what this is, how obscure it is, and how little we know otherwise about Fragrances of Ireland or even who composes their perfumes, Patrick could have come out far worse as an homage to one of their biggest cultural figures.
The opening of Patrick should be familiar to anyone who’s smelled the original Paco Rabanne pour Homme, Roger & Gallet L’Homme (1979) or Worth pour Homme (1980). For those not so sure of what I’m talking about, it’s your classic dry bergamot, clary sage, and in Patrick’s case, a twist of artemisia. This introduction rubs close to Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981) in that it focuses on dryness rather than going all-in with lavender like the others, but Patrick’s “Kouros Lite” form only holds through the top and part of the heart once muguet, geranium, and orris come into play. There are no animalics here, and Patrick goes with a pine note into the base where the classic fougère lines of Worth and the others reassert themselves by way of tonka, oakmoss, a bit of patchouli, vetiver, and musk. The final drydown feels a bit woodier, greener, and sharper than most other fougères in this vein, which is how Patrick separates itself from the pack, and since there seem to be no discernable changes since launch, Patrick quickly becomes an alternative to hunting deep vintages of classic fougère favorites, which is why this gets so much talk online. Wear time is pretty good at 10 hours and sillage/projection is as to be expected for a scent like this, meaning don’t hose yourself down. I’d call Patrick best for casual or office use and pretty much year-round.
Perhaps best of all is you get old-school style, old-school quality, and good performance value all for the sum of half what most deisgners sell for these days, since the Fragrance of Ireland MSRP of $40usd is closer to what a discounter will want for a current bottle of Paco Rabanne pour Homme. Vintage die-hards or artisanal perfume freaks with Reinheitsgebot-level purity standards will likely find heresy somewhere in Patrick’s composition, execution, or performance, but if you bar the varying degrees of lunacy you’re likely to find in any such hobby community, Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland is a solid green barbershop masculine with just enough obscurity to tickle everyone’s inner hipster. Sourcing a bottle can be a bit tricky at times because distribution on this one is small and eBay sellers like to overcharge for it (labelling it erroneously as rare), but unless it truly becomes discontinued by the time you find this review, Patrick can usually be picked up at an assortment of websites or stores carrying goods or cultural items from Ireland. The closest thing I’ve found to a bar of Irish Spring outside a bottle of Sung Homme by Alfred Sung (1988), Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland is definitely one for the wet shaver crowd worth checking out. Thumbs up!