Bon Parfumeur 004 Review

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 8 min.

French niche brand Bon Parfumeur is new to the fragrance world, having been founded in 2017, but has already made something of a reputation for itself as a purveyor of quality fragrances at affordable prices. 

Taking the minimalist approach to perfumery that is so in vogue at the moment, each fragrance in the Bon Parfumeur catalogue is represented by a number (such as 702 or 401) and a list of three “key” notes: for example, “orange blossom, petitgrain, bergamot” or “tea, cardamom, mimosa”. 

004 gin, mandarine, musc (which I’ll be referring to simply as 004 from here on out) is a 2021 release from Bon Parfumeur that has quickly become one of my absolute favorite purchases of the year. I just can’t seem to get myself to stop wearing it! 

004 gin, mandarine, musc is a fresh but spicy fragrance featuring juniper, ginger, mandarin orange, and a base of leafy tobacco, musk, tonka bean, and patchouli. Simultaneously fresh and warm, 004 is a versatile fragrance that fits all seasons and occasions. It also offers excellent performance and value for money. 

Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look at 004 gin, mandarine, musc by the house of Bon Parfumeur. 

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes: mandarin orange, Italian lemon, bergamot

Middle Notes: juniper berries, ginger, nutmeg 

Base Notes: tobacco, white musk, Indonesian patchouli, tonka beans

Scent Description

The name of the scent, “gin, mandarine, musc” might lead you to believe that this fragrance is a summery, citrusy, G&T kind of affair with a nice musky base. That is indeed what I thought prior to purchasing 004, and there is indeed such a nuance about the fragrance. However, this is far from a mere summer citrus cologne. 

Instead, 004 is one of the best summer appropriate tobacco fragrances I know of. Indeed, I find it hard to believe that tobacco isn’t listed in the name of the fragrance instead of gin.

This is a tobacco fragrance through and through, and any kind of gin vibes present are merely ancillary to what 004 actually smells like. For those looking for a great gin fragrance, check out Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling or L’Humaniste by Frapin; this ain’t it, chief. 

004 opens with a blast of fresh, juicy citruses, most prominent among them a delicious, almost candied mandarin orange. You also get a zingy grating of ginger, a twinge of aromatic juniper, and a dusting of nutmeg, which is a spice commonly used to construct a “fresh spicy” accord. 

Pretty soon after that, though, the star of the show emerges: tobacco. A lovely, dry, leafy tobacco that never veers into smoky or candyfloss shisha territory – just a nice, leafy, natural smelling tobacco. That tobacco is coupled with just a bit of tonka (this is far from a tonka bomb like Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme), a plush bed of musk, and a few leaves of good ol’ patchouli. 

The candied mandarin orange remains throughout the life of the fragrance, as does the nutmeg. This combination, along with the tobacco, gives 004 an ever-so-slight Christmassy vibe. You’re not going to smell like a Yankee Candle, but there is a festive vibe about 004 which I absolutely love. However, that festiveness is contrasted with a lightness and freshness which stays around even into the deep drydown. 

This balance between heavy, “wintery” notes like spice and tobacco and fresh, “summery” notes like mandarin, ginger, juniper, and lemon somehow works beautifully, and makes 004 a fragrance that can be worn in almost every season. 

The fragrance doesn’t really evolve beyond the first ten to twenty minutes or so, which has been my experience with all the Bon Parfumeur perfumes that I own, but I don’t really have a problem with that. This is such a pleasant and well-rounded scent that it doesn’t really need to change much to be great. 

The best way I could describe 004 is “handsome”. This is solid, dependable, effortless, (non-toxic) masculinity in a bottle. It’s something that just about any man could rock with ease, and yet it doesn’t smell “common”. It doesn’t necessarily smell overly unique or avant-garde, either, but this is definitely not something you’ll smell on just anyone. 

In just a few words, 004 is: fresh, spicy, festive, musky, aromatic, citrussy, slightly sweet, handsome, and masculine. 

Presentation

The packaging for 004 is simple but well made. 

Packaging

This is the box for 401, but the Bon Parfumeur packaging is the same regardless of the fragrance.

004 comes in a small, rectangular white box with minimal branding. A cardboard sleeve with the name of the fragrance and its notes fits around the box and can be easily removed. The box opens book-like, revealing a niche into which the bottle fits comfortably. 

Excuse the small stain.

Simple, effective packaging with minimal waste. I like it. 

Bottle

The bottle is a simple, small, squat, and rectangular affair. A sticker decal similar to the sleeve of the box is applied to the bottle, but other than that there is little-to-no branding to speak of. The cap is metal and feels pretty well made, actually. The sprayer dispenses a fine mist, just as it was intended to do. 

Overall, the bottle is simple and minimalistic, but just right. No complaints here, especially considering the price, performance, and quality of the scent. 

Performance

The performance of 004 is above-average. 

Longevity

The longevity of 004 in my experience is excellent. 

Four to five sprays on my perfume-eating skin give me eight to ten hours of longevity, more on fabric.

That’s more than good enough for me. This lasts me through my work day and errand runs, and easily survives a shower. It might not give you beastly longevity that will last for days, but it’s more than respectable longevity for the average person. 

Of course, if you want even more longevity, you could simply increase the number of sprays you apply. 

Projection & Sillage

The projection and sillage of 004 are similarly above-average. 

Four to five sprays gives me two to three hours of soft, but consistent projection and arm’s length sillage. 

004 is also a fragrance that easily penetrates through masks, and I can readily pick it up through my mask when I’m riding my motorcycle as well. 

Again, it’s not a beast mode miasma like some fragrances, but people will absolutely be able to smell you (and will likely compliment you) if you come into close proximity to them. 004 creates a fabulous aura around you, but is not an intensely loud kind of perfume, which suits me just fine. 

Value For Money

The value for money for 004, and really for the whole Bon Parfumeur line, is fantastic. 

A 1 oz (30ml) bottle of 004 retails for €38, or $43 USD ($1.43/ml). A 3.4 oz (100ml) bottle retails for €82, or $92.78 USD ($0.92/ml). A 0.5 oz (15ml) travel bottle retails for €24, or $27.16 USD. 

As you can see, Bon Parfumeur offers a variety of sizes for you to choose from. As someone who has a big collection of perfumes, this is a huge plus for me. I own a 30ml bottle of 004, and that is more than enough for me given the strong performance. 

For a niche fragrance made with high quality ingredients and offering great performance, that’s an absolute steal. This is a fantastic addition to any man’s lineup and would make a perfect gift, too. 

Who Would Like It

I struggle to imagine a human being who would not find this to be a pleasant smell. 

There is freshness to appeal to the fresh crowd and spiciness and depth to appeal to people who like richer, darker fragrances like myself. It is unique, but doesn’t smell strange or off-putting in the least. 

I could see this working for just about any guy, so long as they are a man (though this could be unisex, I see it working better on a guy) and at least twenty years old. Otherwise, anyone from a New York hipster to an Iowan corn farmer could rock 004

You also should probably be okay with the smell of tobacco in fragrances, but nothing about this smells like cigarette tobacco or even cigar tobacco, just warm, dry, leafy tobacco. 

When To Wear It

004 is also an incredibly versatile fragrance. So versatile, in fact, that it’s kind of become my new “dumb reach” fragrance, something to just spray on when I want to smell good and not think about it too much, along with Narciso Rodriguez’s For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum, which I’ve reviewed here

I have worn this in hot, humid, 95°F (35°C) weather, and also in cool, windy, 55°F (~12°C) weather with no issues in either conditions. I wear it to work regularly, as well as to casual hangouts with friends and dates. This might not be the best choice for a formal affair, but I can’t really see it smelling inappropriate there or anywhere. 

This is a versatile, Swiss Army Knife of a fragrance that could very well be someone’s signature scent. It reminds me of a good pair of dark wash jeans – you can wear them with just about anything, from a smartly tailored navy blazer to a plain white t-shirt. The same goes for 004. 

Similar Fragrances 

This is where I run into some difficulties. I own, and have smelt quite a few tobacco fragrances in my time; hell, I’ve smelt quite a few fragrances period, probably several hundred or even a thousand. None of the other tobacco fragrances I’ve smelled, such as Xerjoff’s Naxos, Aramis’ Tobacco Reserve, Ormonde Jayne’s Montabaco Intensivo, Amouage’s Journey Man, etc., are similar to this. 

That being said, 004 reminds me of something, but I can’t really pinpoint what exactly it is. The closest thing to it in my experience is Burberry London, often called “Christmas in a bottle”. London is a spicy, Christmassy, sweet tobacco fragrance with some freshness to liven it up. 004 doesn’t really explicitly smell like London, but it could be considered London-adjacent. 

Other than that, I can’t really think of any other fragrances that 004 smells like. You’ll just have to smell it for yourself and find out! 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fresh, spicy, and handsome tobacco scent
  • Excellent value for money 
  • Strong performance

Cons

  • The tobacco note might be a turn off for some
  • Packaging is pretty barebones

I really struggle to think of any other cons for 004

The Final Word

Simply put, 004 gin, mandarine, musc by the house of Bon Parfumeur is a great fragrance. 

Warm, spicy, fresh, aromatic, sweet, musky, and totally wearable, 004 is a best-of-all-worlds kind of a fragrance that has signature scent written all over it. It’s so damn pleasant, handsome, and fun to wear that I just can’t myself. I might have to upgrade to the 100ml bottle soon. 

So, for its fantastic scent, great performance, simple but solid presentation, and phenomenal value for money, I award 004 an enthusiastic: 

★★★★★ 5 stars out of 5