Houbigant Fougère Royale, 2010

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Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux

I think I’ve let expectation get the best of me. I tried the reissued Fougère Royale (original 1882 by Paul Parquet) and was underwhelmed. While the drydown had a pleasant soapy quality, Fougère 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 Fougère Royale on its own, it eluded me. Had I not known this was the remake of a classic and had simply smelled it ‘cold’ I probably would have said, “Nice. Soapy lavender.”

I think of fougères and chypres as being defined not only by their constituent notes but by their demonstration of classic evolution: top, heart, base. Fougère Royale doesn’t really go that route, feeling more stalled than linear. It doesn’t really smell like a fougère at all, just a lavender cologne.

This is the grand-daddy of them all?!


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