GENDARME - ETYMOLOGY, IDEA AND COMPANY
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The word Gendarme is the result of the evolution of language. Originally coined homme d'armes (French) or man-at-arms, the plural of which is gens d'armes which evolved into gendarmes and given the singular of gendarme. The Gendarmes primarily served France from the late fifteenth century as heavy cavalrymen of noble birth to Early Modern European History as light cavalrymen that provided regular force to the Kings of France (Dunn, 2006).
Topper Shroeder , a former National Sales Manager for a major music company, not the middle names of two men like "Paul Sebastian," had an idea for a special fragrance due to his allergies to cologne. In the 1970's, a friend who knew of Topper Shroeder's fragrance allergy, asked him to test a new hypo-allergenic fragrance he was trying to market, but the fragrance was never launched. The only way Topper Shroeder could ever wear and use the fragrance was to make it himself. The friend referred Topper to a French fragrance house where the original hypo-allergenic fragrance was made and through years of formulation, the one formula that had the working name "Tonic for Men" would become the Gendarme cologne for men that it is today, although it was never intended to become a commercial fragrance.
Due to the fact that whenever Topper would request a batch of his fragrance made at the fragrance house the friend had recommended him to, he would have to order it in large quantities which equaled about 750 bottles. As a National Sales Manager for a major music company, in 1983, the batch he ordered so he could wear cologne he wasn't allergic to resulted in 250 perfect Christmas gifts. From that point forward, as he began to receive telephone calls from upscale men's stores, including Fred Segal of Hollywood, requesting that they be able to sell and market the cologne, Topper Shroeder figured with the left over bottles he would sell them at their request and would sell as much as he could. All of the bottles were sold and orders were placed for more.
In fear that people he would give the gifts to (who were mostly in the music business) would mistakenly drink "Tonic for Men" instead of apply it as a fragrance, Topper Shroeder asked his partner to come up with a name both macho and French and Bob Adel baptized "Tonic for Men" as Gendarme (Bennett, 1997).
GENDAME by GENDARME 4 OZ. COLOGNE SPRAY
The Gendarme 4 oz. cologne spray bottle is approximately 3" tall by 2.5" wide and approximately 1" in diameter. It is a clear glass bottle (with the exception of the Gendarme logo and content detail writing on the lower portion of the bottle) that comes with a 1.5" silver cap to cover the spray pump. The cologne inside the bottle is like the clear glass and is also colorless giving the clean and crisp cologne an exceptionally clean and crisp look. Gendarme can be found at the men's fragrance counter at major department stores as well as specialty boutiques and fragrance shops.
The company describes Gendarme as:
"The freshest! Casually sensual, yet professionally down-to-business. Distinctively driven to be assertive, yet ever so cleverly subtle. Made for a man because women love it! It blends uniquely with the user's musk, to create his/her own signature scent."
"The un-official fragrance of California."
"'Green' with citrus and verbena top notes. "Herbal" with a dry-down of jasmine and thyme, bound to a hint of leather. A full 12% oil blend for a compelling long last, that won't overpower the room."
GENDARME - A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
I will never forget my first experience with Gendarme, which today is still one of my favorite, if not the favorite, cologne I like to wear.
It was 1991 and I had just moved to Los Angeles, California, and I was out shopping with some friends at the Beverly Center, a large commercial shopping mall. A friend of mine suggested we go elsewhere and we ended up at International Male which boutique is no longer there today. Regardless, before I moved to Los Angeles I would always receive the International Male mail order catalog which was the type of catalog guys were almost too embarrassed to open since all the clothing revolved around racy underwear for men. During the late 1980's, catalogs just did not focus on brawny tan men sporting their naturalness in underwear, with the exception of International Male. My experience at the boutique, needless to say, was even worse since all of the clothing their also revolved around racy underwear for the "kept" man and even in the early 1990's, I just wasn't having it. The catalog was better because I could close it but inside the boutique the only thing I could do was run out of there. What added insult to injury was the fact that the guys that worked at International Male at the then time even looked like the models in the catalog! The only thing I could purchase was my first spray bottle of Gendarme and only because it was pretty much the only classic looking merchandise available and since I was in a shopping competition with my friends, I had to purchase something so I wouldn't look like an idiot. In 1991 the 4 oz. spray bottle cost me $40 plus tax and today, the Company lists the fragrance at $72.00 although the suggested retail value is between $50.00 and $72.00.
Regardless, luckily for me, I would later find out that I could purchase Gendarme at various locations, including Macy's at the Beverly Center.
In concert with what the Company states about this particular fragrance, I am in complete agreement and add that to me it smells very clean like a gently sweet non-confrontational cotton or linen type of fragrance. Whenever I wear the fragrance, I always receive compliments and even from those in the office that typically cannot be around others who wear fragrances. The fragrance is very California and although great year-round and especially for heavy fingers that love to spray an entire bottle in one application, not much of an application is necessary for a long-lasting aroma due to its oil base, yet perfect for heavy fingers in that too much of an application won't result in a confrontational overpowering fumigation.
Bennett, T. (1997, November 1). Topper. Retrieved August 30, 2009, from Answers From The Cologne Guy: http://www.thecologneguy.com/topper.htm
Dunn, L. (2006, December 5). Gendarme (Historical). Retrieved 08 30, 2009, from Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendarme_(historical)
Gendarme Spray Cologne. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2009, from Gendarme: http://www.gendarme.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=71&c=4&gmen=shop