Robert Piguet Futur, 2009 (original formula 1974)

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(Image superretro.com)

Perfumer Aurélien Guichard (current formula)

Futur was classic mid-20th retro-futurism at the time of its release. It was marketed as avant-garde at its release in the late 1960s, an era known for its conviction that the future was more about style than science. In the 60s, the future was in fact the 1960s with sleeker fashion, poses and objets (rayguns and cocktail glasses).

Smelled in the present, the revived Futur can be considered a bit retro not because it smells old, but because this species of green floral didn’t so much evolve as (with a few exceptions) become extinct. Futur’s points of direct comparison are this handful of extant green florals from the 1960s-1970s: Chamade, Metal, No 19, Aliage and especially Private Collection. (I’m not going to stare into the abyss of attempting to distinguish the green floral from the green chypre.) Niche perfumery has produced a few examples of the style since the late 1960s, but mainstream perfumery has more or less dropped it.

The green floral might appear out of step with current trends in mainstream perfumery, but Robert Piguet are smart to include it in their line. It is comparable in archival tone to Fracas and Bandit, and like these two, smartly encapsulates a genre. Additionally, as a well composed melodious floral it fits in with more recent releases from Piguet such as Douglas Hannant and Petit Fracas. It is also composed by Arelien Guichard, the perfumer responsible for the recent spate of new RP releases (Casbah, Mademoiselle Piguet, etc.).

Green florals are alluring, and Futur is no exception. It has a bright-eyed composure and doesn’t come off as heavily coiffed and made up as Private Collection and Chamade do. It’s not as stagey as Metal. Informal, but not slack Futur has a simple chic to it. It shows an astute abstraction in the composition that makes it one of the black-box perfumes. You can see into it whatever you please, and as a result,  it works in most any context.

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