Choo! Choo! We all know the sound of the frag hype-train as it gathers steam. And there’s certainly been a lot of fanfare around Marc-Antoine Barrois Ganymede EDP since its release in 2019.
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Following stints at Dominique Sirop, Jean Paul Gaultier at Hermès and Giambattista Valli, Marc-Antoine Barrois launched his own couture brand for men in 2009.
He made his fragrance debut in 2016 with the cult favourite Marc-Antoine Barrois B683 EDP, and the recently released Marc-Antoine Barrois Encelade EDP looks set to become equally popular.
Marc-Antoine Barrois Ganymede triumphed at The Fragrance Foundation Awards 2020 in France, the UK and Russia, and was a finalist in The Art and Olfaction Awards in the same year.
It’s being hailed as one of the best leather fragrances in recent years. We tell you why it’s so special.
Scent Notes (According to the Brand)
Mandarin from Italy, essence heart Orpur saffron (top); violet, Chinese osmanthus absolute Orpur (heart); Akigalawood and immortelle absolute (base).
We’re starting to think Quentin Bisch must be one of the busiest perfumers around.
Born in Strasbourg and a graduate of the renowned Givaudan Perfumery School, he made his fine fragrance debut in 2010 with the relatively unknown Reminiscence Essence EDP.
Creations for brands such as Etat Libre d’Orange (La Fin du Monde EDP 2013), Ex Nihilo (Fleur Narcotique EDP, 2014), Mugler (A*Men Ultra Zest EDT, 2015) and Jean Paul Gaultier (Le Male Essence de Parfum EDP, 2016) showed he was a talent to watch, whether for designer or niche.
Quentin Bisch has been in non-stop demand ever since, with everyone seeming to want a piece of the “star perfumer” (he’s too humble and focused on his work to let such flattery go to his head).
Parfums de Marly Delina EDP (2017), L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarina Corsica EDP (2018), Azzaro Wanted by Night EDP (2018), Chloé Nomade EDP (2018), Carolina Herrera Bad Boy EDT (2019), Paco Rabanne 1 Million Parfum (2020), Essential Parfums Bois Impérial EDP (2020), Maison Crivelli Hibiscus Mahajád Extrait de Parfum (2021), Kenzo Homme EDT Intense (2021) and Van Cleef & Arpels 22 Vendôme EDP (2022) are just some of his achievements.
“The fragrances of the Maison Marc-Antoine Barrois are the result of the meeting of two young designers. One is a couturier, the other a perfumer.
Their childhood memories brought them together. Remembering captivating smells; of the leather from an elegant attaché case or an immaculate desk blotter; of the distinct smells of wood during the regular gather-ring of fuel to warm the family home.
The artistic skills of the former and the olfactory talent of the latter together sparked the magic of these beautiful fragrances.
“The perfume of an oneiric reality. For this new opus, the duo has not changed, nor the creative osmosis between Marc-Antoine Barrois and Quentin Bisch, but the destination is elsewhere.
The two fellow artists have dreamt of this new planet: Ganymede, the rocky satellite of Jupiter discovered in 1610 by Galileo, is both luminous and covered with salt-water oceans.
It acquired its name from Greek mythology: a young man, Ganymede, was kidnapped by gods who had been so enthralled by his beauty that he was offered immortality.” – brand website
Who Would Like it
If you’re looking for an elegantly understated leather fragrance that’s still highly distinctive, this is the one for you.
Where To Wear it
More versatile than expected, you could wear this to the office and after hours with ease.
It has special occasion written all over it but ever since the it-could-all-end-tomorrow Covid pandemic, we’ve decided not to horde this type of scent.
Due to its soothing qualities, it also makes a fine bedtime companion (yes, wearing fragrances to bed is a thing).
Packaging & Presentation
From the transparent glass bottle with its gold label to the blue box it is housed in, there’s an air of timeless elegance.
No flashy tricks needed.
It starts out quietly with a citrus note of mandarin orange, fresh and unsweetened. The spice saffron is known for its leathery qualities and its treatment here is deft and without any heavy-handedness.
What makes this scent most intriguing is the dynamic between the airiness of violet leaf, floral fruitiness of osmanthus and herbaceousness of immortelle.
The combined effect is softly salty and metallic. It sounds clinical but is given a sensual musky aspect with the synthetic Ambroxan.
It’s all held together with a liberal dose of the Givaudan captive molecule Akigalawood. Quentin Bisch has used this ingredient in other creations of his, including Mugler Angel Nova EDP, Etat Libre d’Orange Experimentum Crucis EDP and Ex Nihilo Cuir Celeste EDP. Here, it has elements of patchouli and woody spice.
Much is made of the collaboration between brands and perfumers in an increasingly creation-by-committee world. It’s clear the partnership between Marc-Antoine Barrois and Quentin Bisch epitomises what niche is all about: the exploration and execution of unusual ideas (yes, a designer brand can be niche too).
The beauty of Marc-Antoine Barrois Ganymede lies in its subtle sophistication and that it doesn’t venture into obviously animalic territory. While understated, it’s also multi-faceted, unique and, as per its inspiration, a tad otherworldly (some might even say disgusting and strange, we disagree).
Similar Fragrances To Consider
Other niche options include Nomenclature Holy_Wood EDP, Memo Ocean Leather EDP, Simone Andreoli Ocean of a Midnight Moon EDP Intense and Ex Nihilo Cuir Celeste EDP.
Azzedine Alaïa EDP, the fragrance debut from the Parisian designer and awarded the ultimate five stars in Perfumes: The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, is one of the best and so well priced.
You also can’t go wrong with Cartier Déclaration Parfum and Hermès Hermessence Cuir d’Ange EDT.
On a super-tight budget? Zara Vibrant Leather EDP offers terrific value.