Since I've only worn this fragrance once, I'll come back and do an edit when I've had a bit more exposure to it, but I do have a couple of thoughts after first wear. I really like the smell of this stuff, however, it is weak enough that I had a hard time picking up all of the different notes, and I didn't get any pine at all, which was a huge disappointment for me. Anyway, it is a very soft smell, and I kept feeling the need to add more to my skin so I could enjoy it. The longevity was almost nonexistent, and the sillage was nonexistent. The reason I'm giving it a thumbs up so far is because it is such a nice little smooth fragrance. But, I may change to a more neutral position if I can't get any better longevity out of this juice. I only have a sample right now, and I'd hate to invest in a full bottle if I'm not able to get any better longevity in the next few applications.
I have mentioned before that I sometimes brew my own absinthe as a hobby. Fou d'Absinthe doesn't smell much like the actual drink, but it seems to have a similar effect - nobody around me seems to want to try it, and if they do, it's weird to them. Following the release of Gucci's Envy for Men in the late 90's a slew of houses threw in their two bits for the ginger Oriental battle, and most of them are quite good. Fou here is a beautiful and tragic example of this class of fragrance - Beautiful in that it is airy and green, crisp and quite natural, and an absolute ode to Angelica root in a way I've never encountered in a fragrance, and tragic, in that the brevity of the fragrance cripples its value, and the fact that the eerily similar Aura by Jacomo can be had for just a sixth of the price. In light of all of this information I Love this scent but I completely understand why most people will pass it up. If ever l'Artisan opts to make a concentree or extrait of this, rest assured I will be among the first in line, but as it stands this is only 'quite good' instead of 'truly great.'
Clumsy is perhaps the best way I can describe Fou d'Absinthe. I thought I would like this much more than I did while wearing it. It's a strange kind of green fragrance with the odd medicinal edge.
The opening is a pungent chemical green with an odd salty tinge. I absolutely hated it and struggled to identify the notes. After about fifteen minutes, a clove, pepper and ginger appear and bind with a piney green base. There's some patchouli and a sweetness lingering underneath, but they never overcome the sharper edges of spice and pine.
If you layered Polo Green and Yatagan, you might replicate Fd'A. Aside from the awful opening, the remaining fragrance wasn't horrible, just a little edgy for my tastes. Average sillage and longevity.
A generous Neutral rating for me.
This was a blind buy, along with Timbuktu...which is truly a beautiful fragrance, yet this doesn't appeal to me that much. I've never really owned many 'green' fragrances, and after using this will probably steer clear of them in the future. I find Fou D'absinthe too herbal and almost medicinal for my tastes. There's a certain bitterness to it, especially in the opening which I dislike intensely- it actually makes me quite nauseous.
After around five minutes, Fou D'absinthe becomes more pleasant as the anise(which I love in a frag) cloves and ginger come into play along with some patchouli, warming things up a little...sadly it's not enough to make me love it.
Probably best worn during the colder months, I can imagine this being horrid during the summer.
Projection was moderate on me and longevity passable I suppose at around 5 hours- a little less than I'd hoped given its EDP strength.
I should admit up front that I have a bias toward Olivia Giacobetti's work. I don't think of her as strictly a formalist by any means, but she uses technique as the springboard to surpass form. Her perfumes take you a certain distance into the recognizable, spin you around and then leave you to your own devices.
e.g. Safran Troublant gives you a confectionery rose with a surprising hint of saffron. Just when you're at the point of reconciling these ideas, you're adrift. By the time you're in the heart notes you've left behind food and flower and find yourself accompanied by something else entirely, something you've never witnessed before. Similarly, by the time you make out the lily and the incense in Passage d'Enfer, they've given way to a third presence, again something completely new.
Fou d'Absinthe takes an identifiable trope, the fougère, pays full respect to it, and then dispenses with it. The first sniffs of the perfume paint the picture of the fougère in full. Soapy, herbal, expansive. It has the broad strokes, large gestures and great strides of the classic aromatic fougères. It sits comfortably with Azzaro pour Homme, YSL Rive Gauche pour Homme and especially Paco Rabanne pour Homme.
Into the heart notes, though, the form dissolves, though the perfume remains perfectly coherent. It seems appropriate that the genre that set the course for abstraction in perfumery gets taken apart, deconstructed. The ur-Fougère, Houbigant Fougère Royale, was a result of the thinking employed in other abstract arts: reduction of ideas to definitive characteristics, representation without depiction or narrative. Giacobetti again takes form, in this case the whopping fougère genre, tries it on for a bit and then moves on. I don't get a sense of irony in her method. It's more the joy of finding new beauty in well-worn form.
Fou d'Absinthe also happens to smell spectacular. You don't need to scrutinize it. Like wearing an exceptional piece of jewelry, you can contemplate it or you can simply take pleasure in wearing it. The combination of simple beauty and depth of idea is characteristic of Giacobetti's work and is the outcome of her use of form as a means of inspiration and not an end goal.
If you're ever confronted with the question of whether perfumery is art, try the side-door and look to the perfumer. Is there any doubt that Giacobetti is an artist?