In its current state, Fougère Royale is a complicated smell. I was expecting a Caron Pour Homme-esque mix of lavender and tonka, but instead it's more of an abstract grey/green mix of violet leaf and lavender spiced quietly with clove and brightened with a big glob of chemical orange.
It's that orange that complicates matters - it does a lot to modernize the smell (without it, Fougère Royale would fall somewhere between Penhaligon's English Fern and Grey Flannel), but just isn't particularly well executed. Frankly, the faux orange smells sweet and saccharine and comes awfully close to ruining everything. Metaphorically speaking, it would be like if someone poured molten latex over a recreation of Michaelangelo's David and tried to pass it off as a respectful update - it just doesn't fit, so much as to call the whole thing into question. I don't know - it's not terrible, but I don't think it's very good either. I'd personally save my money and stick with Grey Flannel...
Oh how this must have been a real stunner way back in 1882. Just the thought of living in that era and experiencing life sends shivers down my spine! Regretfully in 2016 Houbigant Fougere Royale leaves me feeling confused. On one hand it is a comforting scent, but on the other it feels too familiar and makes you realize that the men's market is flooded with Fougere Royale flankers. Despite its long and rich history; it just doesn't feel special. I suppose it was bound to happen at some point where the leader becomes the follower and that's the price you pay for being groundbreaking.
Elegant and masculine describe Fougere Royale (2010) by Houbigant. It is herbal and somewhat floral with lavender, geranium and lilac making themselves known. Followed by green notes of freshness and chamomile. Rounded off by vetiver, bergamot and rose. It is perfect for the summer months. Sophisticated in every way. I think every man should have this fragrance in their collections.
After trying Houbigant Fougere Royale, it's easy to understand why it's a classic men's fragrance. I'm trying the 2010 version and have no basis of comparison to the original 1882 version.
Like Ralph Lauren Safari and Tom Ford for Men (though spicier and less sweet that both, arguably), Fougere Royale epitomizes (to me) the "fresh spicy" genre, blending a fresh opening of lavender and citrus with a heart of florals and spices, and a base of patchouli, oakmoss, amber, tonka, and the very dirty clary sage.
It's a powerful symphony of notes that yield a strong masculine blend, so it takes time to appreciate the different elements involved. I imagine it can come off a little harsh to some, a little too spicy to others, but overall, it's a very interesting blend that merits trying by all men, seemingly ideal for formal nighttime occasions, with likely year-round wearability. Also, very good on performance for an EDP---not a projection monster but still very good on projection and excellent longevity.
7 out of 10
Impressive opening – the aromatics are spectacular. The opening is a traditional bergamot, chamomile, lavender, and green, but I don’t remember an accord with such impressive aromatics. When the aromatics subside, what remains is a rather traditional fougere opening complete with bergamot, lavender, geranium, and rose. The ingredients are top quality.
The middle continues the heart note florals into the opening. In addition to the mentioned rose and geranium, the florals are filed out with spicy carnations and lilac. To my nose the rose has already disappeared from the floral and the accord has been filled out with cinnamon, with patchouli and oakmoss already rising up from the base.
The base continues with patchouli, oakmoss, sage, and a bit of sweetener provided by tonka bean – those are the notes that I can identify, anyway.
Fougere Royale: Classic construction, excellent blending, quality ingredients, and distinguished history. What’s not to love?