Gendarme was established in 1991 by the California-based recording industry professional Topper Schroeder. Schroeder had first become interested in personal fragrance when he found that many mainstream men’s fragrances irritated his allergies and asthma. When his favorite cologne was discontinued in the early 1980s, Schroeder contacted a professional perfumer who was able to create a similar scent. Schroeder began sharing his bespoke fragrance with friends, and when they wanted more, he decided to produce and market it professionally, and Gendarme was born.
In addition to the clean-smelling, citrus-herbal Gendarme, the collection now includes Gendarme Green, Gendarme V (for “Vetiver”), Carrière (a light floral fragrance for women), Grabazzi, a series called 7 Sinful Scents, and more. The Gendarme line became known as a “California cult classic” after it became popular with stars like Sharon Stone, Deborah Messing, and Robert Downey, Jr. The rapper and actor L. L. Cool J was such a fan of Gendarme that he eventually became a business partner in the company.
Schroeder and his partners also opened The Gendarmerie, a boutique salon that offers hair styling, massage, and manicures as well as Gendarme products. On a more playful note, Gendarme has also collaborated on limited edition, pop culture-themed fragrances like Moi by Miss Piggy and Mojo by Austin Powers.