Fraîche Badiane is a crisp hesperidic scent distinguished by a beautiful sweet bergamot top note and generous doses of basil and anise. The interplay of anise and bergamot harkens back to classical spicy fougères of decades past, particularly Azzaro pour Homme and Tuscany, but Fraîche Badiane is a much more effervescent and transparent fragrance. In fact, it wears like a bi-generic hybrid between an herbal citrus fragrance and an aromatic fougère. Fraîche Badiane is a comfortable, well-balanced and refreshing alternative to the conventional eau de Cologne formula, with a fetching spice, musk, and clean patchouli drydown that persists for several hours as a quiet skin scent. While it’s hardly ground-breaking, Fraîche Badiane ought to appeal to anyone who enjoys spicy fougères but wants a less weighty, and perhaps more “modern-smelling” fragrance.
Olfactory but disappointing
I purchased Fraiche Badiane after the raving reviews by some highly regarded basenoters. I tried it full of expectations and once again I was reminded how subjective and emotional liking a perfume is. Fraiche Badiane is well made with high quality ingredients. It starts with a blast of zesty citrus but it mellows down within half an hour into a conventional linear citrus fragrance of no depth, low projection and - when in its dry down - quite some admirable longevity. FB became a skin scent within 1 hour, but the base notes are still traceable on my skin 6+ hours after application! Overall, FB is an olfactory citrus fragrance with an old world feeling. The flacon and the cap with the oversized red sparkling rock is pompous and not well balanced (a small bottle with a big glitchy cap). Although I appreciate some of the quality FB demonstrates I cannot say that I like to smell it on me. In addition, the concentration of FB is of an eau de toillette and while the quality is good it doesn't justify the hefty price tag especially given that its projection is so poor.
Pros: old charm and quality
Cons: old-fashion with a feeling of staleness"
A very nice old-fashioned citrus-topped woody chypre.
The lemon-and-herbs top was a little scratchy, but not bad. Then a strange undertone came in, which reminded me of Kouros's urinal cake note, but VERY buried. Every few sniffs early on, there would be something dirty, but it quickly fell into place, mixing with sandalwood to form a creamy richness-enhancing base that was there mostly to make the whole scent feel more luxurious (kind of like what how the sandalwood/ambrox mix in Bois du Portugal does, though the Creed does it a little better). In the heart, the lemon faded to verbena and a touch of hawthorn came in while the vaguely animalic sandalwood hummed underneath. Eventually, it ended with a fairly standard green chypre base.
If classics like Equipage, Eau Sauvage, Derby, and BDP get you going, you'll likely fall in love with Fraiche Badiane. It's quite well done, though I'd still pick BDP over this (though, to be fair, Badiane lasts and projects better). If you like modern niche experimentalism or mainstream aquatics, you may find this quite dated, but it does what it does quite well.
There's a blurry line between negative and neutral, and there's a blurry line between neutral and positive, but there is a thin line between positive and negative, and this sprints towards that line, trips, and breaks it's ass. Fraîche Badiane has, at its core, a really rough, masculine. herbal smell that could very well be patchouli but I'm not that sure to be honest. This is some outdoorsy stuff that will throw hadukens at everyone in the room if you overspray. It's just as overbearing as any mother-in-law. There's also some nice citrus and anise on top, but they do not conceal the beast at all.
The truth is, it is a pretty good smell, and it's never irritating or unnatural-smelling, but damn if it just doesn't work when worn.
Atelier Cologne may have invented "high powered Eau de Cologne" as a branding concept, but MPG has long been creating "extended version" Eau de Colognes such as the neroli-based Eau pour le jeune homme or the beauty at hand. Fraiche Badiane is an aromatic citrus in the style of Detaille's vintage scent Aeroplane or Goutal's Eau du Sud, but it gives these trads a twist by adding the star anise note to the citrus-basil combination. It's top notch quality, very natural-smelling, refreshing but sufficiently substantial, interesting if not shockingly innovative and a sheer pleasure to wear. MPG has lacked buzz recently, they certainly would deserve some for scents like this.