Category: BFF

big fucking fougères

digging (into) vintage: Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, 1975

Perfumer André Fomentin. Forthright, stark accords have a broad legibility that I find appealing. Fundamental accords keep some degree of some degree of virtuosity even when the notes harmonize. The best potential for synergy is when different elements are connected by a couple of associative links, as in the seemingly Kevin Baconish degrees between bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum in a…

digging (into) vintage: Jacomo Anthracite, 1991

Perfumer Mark Buxton Luca Turin has referred to Anthracite pour l’Homme as one of the artful late 80s-early 90s men’s fragrances that that were influential critically, but not commercial successes.  The heart of this set was a group of floral fougères: Caron Troisième Homme (1985), Givenchy Xeryus (1986) and Paco Rabanne Ténéré (1988), YSL Jazz (1988).  They were a new…

Houbigant Fougère Royale, 2010

Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux I think I’ve let expectation get the best of me. I tried the reissued Fougere Royale (original 1882 by Paul Parquet) and was underwhelmed. While the drydown had a pleasant soapy quality, Fougere Royale mostly seemed like a mild lavender fragrance, not the trombones-blasting, coumarin-fest I imagined. Again, my expectation, my problem. Still, in trying to consider Fougere Royale on its…

Amouage Interlude Man, 2012

(image Robert Longo, Men in the Cities, 1979) Perfumer Pierre Negrin. God knows Amouage have done the ‘go big or go home’ style masculine fragrances before. In fact they are some of the line’s most successful perfumes. Hybrid vigor, Amouage’s implicit goal, has led to beautiful fragrances that highlight traditional Eastern materials and Western compositional methods. The sensibility that results…

digging (into) vintage: Christian Dior Jules, 1980

  (image, Martha–the last passenger pigeon. source, Smithsonian Institution.) Perfumer Jean Martel (perfumer of Paco Rabanne pour Homme!) What does “vintage” mean in perfumery?  It doesn’t have the same meaning as wine, where the noun ‘vintage’ refers to a specific year.  We use ‘vintage’ as an adjective to connote quality and a timeframe.  The time implied is somewhere in the…

Jean Paul Gautier Fleur du Male, 2007

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian Looking back, Francis Kurkdjian’s Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Male marks the time when Kurkdjian was pivoting his career from work for designer labels and the more rarified niche lines to his own line.  Fleur du Male was released in 2007.  2009 saw the first perfumes from Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Designer, but with a twist, Fleur du…

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche pour Homme, 2003

(image source unknown) Perfumer Jacques Cavallier Rive Gauche pour Homme is a thick, heavy aromatic fougère.  The aromatic notes are in the cast, but aren’t key players.  They are the Greek chorus to the lavender/coumarin drama at the center of a fougère.  Clove focuses our attention on the coumarin, and rosemary and geranium steer us to the lavender. Because the…

digging (into) vintage: Yves Saint Laurent Jazz, 1988

(image Billy Strayhorn) Perfumer Jean-François Latty Jazz is a great illustration of the point that the aromatic fougère of the 70s-80s had reached before Cool Water changed the rules.  It has a warm spiced opening that plays against the longer-lasting notes that define the heart and a classic fougère base. Jazz has a major/minor chord interaction that maintains my interest as…

digging (into) vintage: Azzaro pour Homme, 1978

Perfumers Gerard Anthony, Martin Heiddenreich and Richard Wirtz. We kvetch about the creative and well-made fragrances that are discontinued because too few would wear them; we resent the crap cologne that sells like mad. Isn’t it uplifting to see a fragrance that has been so popular for so long be so spectacular? If complexity in composition is rather old-school, then let’s hear it for…