Reviews of Fougère Royale by Houbigant

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    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Houbigant Fougere Royale 2010 is not properly an updated version of the original hyper-aromatic and truly green-mossy vintage formula but a sort of brand new "re-issue" which strikes for simplicity, discretion, mediterranean airy-tasty initial light greenes (culinary herbs), suave romanticism and "clean" modern balance (but also in my opinion for its lack of innovative inspiration despite there are no doubts the whole olfactory fatigue is masterfully executed). The aroma is not that aromatic green vigorous master-work which the original used to be since I detect far more a sort of general floral aqueous woodiness throughout (more than that herbaceous stout temperament several reviewers talk about and which I absolutely don't catch) in a way the juices jumping me in a while on mind are not properly renowned fougere a la Azzaro Pour Homme or Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (with all the huge respect for the hyper qualified Way Off-Scenter) but more markatedly ultra dry fluidy chypre a la Romeo Gigli Sud Est, Gucci Pour Homme, Nino Cerruti 1881 (ok aromatic mediterranean fougere finally ultra-cedary) and Cashmere For Men by Cristiano Fissore. The initial lavender/mediterranean herbs accord is pale (I detect far more bergamot at the beginning which conjures me indeed far more the hesperidic Givenchy Monsieur's opening than for instance the aromatic Drakkar Noir) and in a while you can forsee the "melancholic" floral-woody-soapy upcoming evolution somewhat pleasant but faintly articulated. There is by soon something like a sort of tea-chamomile hesperidic fluidity (well combined with rosemary in particular- but also with further aromatic herbs) conjuring at the beginning scents a la Bvlgari Pour Homme and Roger&Gallet The Vert. Woods, orchid, musks, may be cinnamon and heliotrope are soon hallmarking as finally rounded by a touch of vanilla while I hardly catch a noticeable herbal aromaric vibe (the herbs seem indeed by soon like diluted in a dry spicy woodiness). The dry down is dry, musky woody, warm, softly spicy, delicately floral (vaguely rosey), balanced and discreet. I appreciate this final outcome for measure and comforting warmth. An interesting "Chypre Royale" for us.

    23rd August, 2014

    farang's avatar

    Thailand Thailand

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    This is an excellent re-issue! I don't care what the original smells like since the current issue smells wonderful. It also probably 'updated' to make it a bit more 'modern' so as not to feel dated.

    It is the prototype of a classical fougere with high quality ingredients which are very well blended.

    My only wish is that it would be longer lasting. It lasts around half a day on me which is rather brief for EdP. But considering the plush and beautiful fragrance it is, I am going for a full bottle.

    07th August, 2014

    Eau Yeah's avatar

    United States United States

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    After months of sample testing, in hot and humid weather, It looks like Fougere Royal will become my Summer signature scent. I love this stuff, and the sillage and longevity are great - which is tough in Florida. I finally bought a bottle and have no regrets. The oakmoss and vanilla on the drydown just kept staying into the 6 hour mark for me, which is rare, as my skin absorbs so many perfumes. May not be the classic it once was, but it's what we have now, and for me that's great. I've received lots of compliments from both men and women

    22nd July, 2014 (Last Edited: 29th July, 2014)

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Never having smelled the seminal Fougère Royale of 1882, I must evaluate the contemporary reissue without reference to the original. Taken on its own merits, it is a solid, enjoyable aromatic fougère composition with strong family ties to such familiar 1970s genre entries as Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973) and Azzaro pour Homme (1978). Specifically, it is less complex, dense, or spicy than the Azzaro, but less fruity up top, more obviously green, and more tightly integrated in its accords than the Paco Rabanne.

    The reissue opens on straightforward top notes of bergamot, lavender, and rosemary, then evolves quickly into an appropriately classical herbaceous fougère accord. The lingering rosemary and lavender are bolstered by prominent geranium, artemisia, and clary sage in a pleasantly astringent and medicinal arrangement that comes straight out of the corner barbershop. A healthy dose of coumarin, that staple of the fougère style, rounds out the clean, well-tailored, bittersweet accord that carries the original scent’s name.

    Once the fougère accord is established, it holds its shape consistently for several hours. A sharp vetiver, clean herbaceous patchouli, and a dollop of moss provide both a woody foundation and a crisp, clean drydown. The composition is moderately potent, projecting well from the skin, though less forcibly than the “powerhouse” fougères of the late 1970s and 1980s. I despair of ever sniffing the original Fougère Royale, but with its conservative, gentlemanly demeanor, this newcomer passes muster for what the granddaddy of all fougères might once have been.

    14th June, 2014

    Gian_Luca_Perris's avatar



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    Fougere Royale, the original is a perfume extract, if you want to experience the complexity and the richness you should try that version; it was created like that in 1882 and today it makes no difference
    EDP is a very good way to come towards the modern market.

    05th June, 2014

    2nosedtwin's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Houbigant - Fougere Royale
    Few people know how the real thing did smell but a lot of people know that it cannot have smelled like how it is today. This cannot longer be called Royale- instead from now on, its 'just' a fougere... It smells like a chemical crusade to revive it once highly original spirit and in my humble opinion it fails miserably.
    It is a fougere, no doubt, but it 'feels' as a imitation of Fougere Royale- it behaves as an schizophrenic person who tries to be her/himself. I get so many flashbacks to different modern fougere-based perfumes that its difficult to get a glimpse of what it really stands for. But I guess that’s what you get when you try to reproduce the original with as many synthetics that used to be in the original Fougere Royal as natural materials. No wonder it smells like Kenzo pour homme, Drakkar Noir, Azzaro man, Allure pour homme and Cool water. As soon as I spray this it smells sharp in a unfresh way- cumin/cardamom/fir/lavender dressed up in a bubblegum-waxy jacket with a slight fruity smell of red berries. There is a ylang-ylang tropical fruit-note together with a petrolic-oliness, some orangey-neroli and the smell of sawing a metal tube. It gets a candied-greenness that reminds of hairspray and cheap vetiver which altogether smells thin, plasticy and 'horrible'. It really has that hollow, refined white sugary sweet-like note that’s kind of penetrating.
    The thing I do like is the way it manages to smell like fresh crushed fern, between the fingers- that sweet green fir-like, oily-spicy peppery-tone, but that vanishes rather quickly... No real oakmoss- more of a resinous, polished cedarwood-note dipped in a white musk that smells sharp and out of tune. What does smells nice in here is a dusty smell of wooden sawdust, that gives it a rough-edged feel, but it gets lost in a blurry, soapy smell of fabric softener, and of course, coumarin. I’m gonna try to wash this of my hand now...and leave myself with this one question... How on earth would the original have smelled like?

    06th May, 2014 (Last Edited: 07th May, 2014)

    Oviatt's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have never smelled the original but I must say that the new version does smell good. It may not be the true fougere Holy Grail that everyone was hoping for but it is not as far off as it may seem; the lack of coumarin--that essential element of a fougere--is made up for by having a tonka note at its base. After all, the word coumarin comes from a French term for the tonka bean, coumarou, from which coumarin was first isolated. The lavender and oakmoss--the other key ingredients of a fougere--are there, to the extent that oakmoss is anywhere, these days. What I like is the clary sage note (one of my favorites) in the top notes and the spicy, fresh, peppery geranium and carnation in the middle notes. All in all, this is a fragrance of sharpness and freshness with a clean soapiness just barely covering up a smell of slightly sweaty humanity which makes it very French and really rather appealing.

    29th April, 2014

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is a review of the recent re-issue edp. It is certainly under-whelming. A bit of mint, a characterless lavender and a slightly acrid wood note. Mediocre attempt at recreating a classic - they should not have bothered.

    The original I hear was extraordinary. In addition to the notes at the top of this page, it additionally had spikenard and petit grain in its top notes.

    Only two old style classic fougeres rock these days - Penhaligon's English Fern and Trumper's Wild Fern. You can't go wrong with either of these two.

    Stay away from this Houbigant re-issue of Fougere Royale.

    First Edit - I have just experienced the vintage edc. It is a simple lavender fragrance, and as Barbara Herman notes, "much more subtle and natural." Still under-whelming, but without all those ridiculous notes the re-issue imbued it with. This is going back in time and experiencing the grandfather of all men's (non-floral) scents. As such, all serious scentaholics should experience a reference sample - available only from The Perfumed Court.

    24th February, 2014 (Last Edited: 08th April, 2014)

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Nice smelling but still an impostor

    To qualify as a fougère, a fragrance needs to have 3 essential elements: lavender, coumarin, oakmoss. While this 2010 release might be an attempt at re-conceptualizing a classic structure within the constraints imposed by IFRA, none of the 3 elements is adequately represented to carry the genre across. It smells more like a lightly spiced floral tea over a lightweight synthetic base. As pleasant as it is, it lacks presence. If this piece of work is a fougère then I must be the world's greatest perfumer.

    Pros: Lovely chamomile note
    Cons: Not fougère enough."

    29th September, 2013

    rbaker's avatar



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    The first and still a very good fougère

    The original EdC version:

    The top notes are a nice mix of Bergamot and lavender. When he drydown begins, a delightful floral note emerges, which in my skin has carnation and geranium dominating, with a hint of rose in the background. It is beautifully crafted. This floral core gives the fragrance a softness that is much more prominent than in many of the chypres released in the following decades, especially those loud ones in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. The base adds an oakmoss that is comparatively restrained, and a gentle sweetness based on tonka and vanilla. Initially projection and silage are all right, but after a couple of hours it is close on my skin, with a total longevity of about four hours. Historially this is the first fougère ever made, and groundbreaking creation of a new class of fragrances, and after 130 years still remains a very well blended, delightful and versatile composition.

    10th June, 2013

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    *This is primarily a review of the vintage EdC of Fougere Royale with a side-by side comparison to the current EdP re-issue...

    Fougere Royale EdC (vintage) opens with very aromatic lavender and mild bergamot before quickly transitioning to its primary overall accord as the lavender remains, now coupling with a combination of oakmoss and hay-like coumarin rising from the base, with a very mild cinnamon undertone with mild herbs joining it. During the later stage of the dry-down the scent grows faint with hints of vanilla detectable underneath the rapidly receding herbal green accord. Projection and longevity are well below average, with the scent lasting only 3 hours on skin before it is nearly undetectable.

    Fougere Royale EdP (re-issue) opens with a sparkling bergamot mixing with a more subdued lavender than the EdC and a very notable cinnamon or nutmeg undertone. The scent has a very soapy vibe that is missing the oakmoss and coumarin the EdC features so prominently early, instead focusing on the bergamot, lavender and cinnamon solely. This combination holds for most of the scent's duration until the later dry-down, as very subtle oakmoss is revealed as the bergamot and lavender completely dissipate. Joining the just detectable oakmoss is a relatively dry amber that rounds out the scent's development. Projection is average and longevity is below average at about 4-6 hours on skin.

    Fougere Royale EdC (vintage) is a fine example of what many of the best old-school fougeres replicate. It is heavily driven by oakmoss and coumarin with aromatic lavender in strong support for the primary accord, and what an accord it is! I did find it a bit smoother and much more wearable than the rough around the edges accord I was expecting based on others who have smelled it before. That said, it was a very pleasant surprise as some of those rough scents like Crown's Fougere and Penhaligons' English Fern were both just too much for me and I really disliked them both. In contrast, Fougere Royale EdC is very wearable, much less vociferous and quite gorgeous and natural smelling with the oakmoss and coumarin really making the composition work. The vintage EdC is as rare as they come and a long since discontinued full bottle may be near impossible to obtain for anywhere near sane money on the aftermarket, but if you get a chance to sample this 4.5 star out of 5 juice that launched the Fougere genre, I highly recommend it.

    A brief comment on the EdP Fougere Royale re-issue... I sniffed the reissue first as I had my sample of that one before obtaining the vintage juice and was initially highly impressed. When analyzed as its own scent without the Fougere Royale legacy to live up to the EdP re-issue really does smell great. It is a relatively simplistic composition of bergamot, lavender and cinnamon over a lightly soapy base; nothing more, nothing less. A very clean and easy to wear scent that is stronger in potency and lasts longer than the original while projecting better too. That said, it just does not strike me as a true fougere and when you smell it side-by-side to the EdC its deficiencies are made all the more clear. It also is relatively pricey at $170 (or $600 for the lacquered box version) for 100ml considering it is such a linear simplistic scent no matter how pleasant. I love it, but I find it hard to recommend at that price point and also with the knowledge that it only is a faint shadow of the original EdC. Still, it earns a 3.5 to 4 star out of 5 rating in its own right.

    27th January, 2013 (Last Edited: 10th February, 2013)

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    A bright citrus and herb (lavender and chamomile) fragrance that doesn't stand above the thousands of other citrus based fragrances. The original formula has been around over a hundred years. I don't know how this compares.

    30th October, 2012

    PeteH's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    Recently a work colleague, upon smelling my fragrance of the day, asked me "Oh, my... Where did you find that stuff? They haven't made it for years!".

    I was surprised... "I got a new bottle just the other day", I replied.

    "What?", she asked, "A bottle of Fougere Royale?"

    I laughed... "No", I replied, "this one is called Invasion Barbare".

    She was shocked. IB smells just like her husband did in the 1960's.

    I can't vouch for the reissue of FR - from the reviews below, it doesn't sound promising - but IB fooled an old bird with fond memories of the original.

    10th September, 2012 (Last Edited: 13th October, 2012)

    le mouchoir de monsieur's avatar

    France France

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    Anybody who may be interested in experiencing a sketch of the original "Fougere Royal" by Houbigant should most definitely avoid buying the recent re-issue of this by Houbigant: It is so far removed from the original in every aspect that it defies logic that they would dare to slap this legendary name on a very expensive bottle, beautifully packaged, that contains a perfume so common, that, barring Serge Lutens "Muscs Kublai-Kahn, which made me vomit in the loo at Barney's, it is the only perfume I have ever had on my skin that, not only caused me embarrassment during the day I tried it, but eventually made me quite ill, and would not come off of me: I have a very high tolerance of fragrance, and have tested thousands of perfumes: Very seldom do I find myself trying everything imaginable to get one off: This was the case with the re-issue: Nothing would kill it, including, after soaping, scrubbing, alcohol rubbing, blasting with the strongest scents I own. It is so vile that it truly reaches "joke" territory, so common that I would sooner dump a plastic bottle of Brut "cologne" all over me in a drugstore than allow a single drop of this onto my dermis. I found a 500ml bottle of the original Fougere Royale perfectly preserved in it's box in the Clignancourt Flea Market in Paris in the late Eighties, and used it to the last molecule: Even setting the bottle upside down once empty then swabbing the screw-on cap with a Q-tip. Penhaligon's "English Fern" was a near perfect copy of this in the days prior to re-formulation. Today, it still is the closest I can suggest. The second closest would have to be Geo Trumper's "Wild Fern." Interestingly, if you can get hold of an original bottle of Dana's Canoe, which may only be "Made Bottled and Sealed in France," especially in its long ago disappeared "Extra Rich" formulation, while this has much more carnation in it than Fougere Royale did, somehow, I am reminded very specifically of this flea market bottle i picked up for a song that I so voraciously wore, that, when it was done, I found myself in a panic. For years I looked for another, and never found one. The fragrance "H Pour Homme," which regularly is passed off as "Fougere Royale" in ebay searches, is not the original, as I very sadly found out after buying an entire stock of it (18 bottles!). I can only marvel at the house of Houbigant, and, under my breath whisper "Shame!" that they could ever begin to think this re-launch could so much as suggest the original, which, buyers beware, it most definitely does not. Fougere Royale, R.I.P.

    08th April, 2012

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    A wonderful fresh spicy fougere with a lovely chamomile note running through the composition and it has a beautiful rosy floral heart.

    It's beautiful when it takes to the air when you are outside and surrounds you. A real quality fragrance that also has good longevity and projection.

    23rd March, 2012 (Last Edited: 29th August, 2012)

    Zimmies's avatar



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    In my opinion, it is not like the original of which i own one bottle from the 50's to compare it to (taking into account that my old sample will have changed over time) but not miles apart. I actually prefer the new one to the old as it seems to have been moderinized through the use of newer ingredients. Does it need to replicate the original? Yes if we want to have that scent back in our lives and no if we want new scents added to our palettes. There are likely no people alive who would have smelled the orginal release from the 19th century and even if they were around you could not seriously expect them to remember a scent over 100 years old to draw comparisons. I agree with most of the other reviewers though that is it overpriced as is any perfum / cologne that cost more than $50-$60 per 100ml. What does Luca think of it?

    05th March, 2012

    purplebird7's avatar

    United States United States

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    I love this. It's a fresh, green, yet sweet and smooth masculine fragrance that a woman can enjoy wearing. Fougère Royale is a lavender, herbal, and citrus scent made WARM by a vanilla and tonka base. It begins as a clean, aromatic, soapy fragrance like a barbershop--like a steamed, white terrycloth towel smelling of herbal lavender, zesty bergamot, minty geranium and fresh clary sage. Then it gradually heats up and sweetens with vanilla, coumarin, and a touch of patchouli. This is great. This is going to make me go out and examine the entire Fougère genre because I need one in my wardrobe. If nothing else is as warm and approachable as this one, then I'm getting this one.

    17th February, 2012

    Lush's avatar

    United States United States

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    I've been wearing the recently released Fougère Royale all day today, and I must say I have not enjoyed it. I understand the historical significance of its previous incarnation. I understand it is complex and made of high quality ingredients. But in the end, I smell like the old man I was trying to avoid at the movie theater the other night. Fougère Royale is too strong, medicinal, and old for me.

    26th December, 2011

    Oproust's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fougere Royale burst forth in 1882 and became the progenitor of the entire fougere family that flourishes to this day. Azzaro, Jicky, Paco Rabanne, and A Taste of Heaven are among the countless offspring of Fougere Royale. Fougere Royale opens with a zesty blend of citrus, lavender and chamomile. The chamomile note is distinct and outstanding. The mid notes take on a floral-herbal accord, with geranium prominent. The base notes are classic fougere, oakmoss and tonka bean. Patchouli and herbs hold down the base. Fougere Royale is a fresh, spicy, woody fragrance that I admire. However, I don't reach for it often, as there are many of its children lurking in the ferns, each holding a special piece of my heart. It is for these that my wrist yearns.

    18th December, 2011

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Fougere Royale (2010) is a classic, spicy-aromatic fougere. No doubts! I honestly don't know how it compares to the original formula but my personal virdict on this iteration is not so positive. It smells good and collects all the chrisms of this kind of compositions but in the end it's not so distinctive nor particularly oustanding.

    Now, we shouldn't forget that FR was the first fragrance to open the doors to all other fougeres but this current version it's not the original. It's just a pricey reformulation that sounds a lot like a marketing product. Let's put it simpler: it's like seeing a Beatles reunion right know...do you know what I mean?

    Overall, FR (2010) smells good but nothing to justify the price tag. I give you three reasons why this is not worth owning:

    1) this is not Fougere Royale (that's for sure considering IFRA's restrictions and different quality/source of the ingredients).

    2) You can have plenty of classic fougeres doing exactly the same thing starting at 1/5 the price.

    3) When you buy this, you don't get a piece of history. It's like buyng a Mona Lisa's poster in a fancy frame.

    11th December, 2011 (Last Edited: 20th December, 2011)

    Kaern's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I really doubt whether this is anything like the original. Basically, it's way too busy and trying too hard. Fougeres are hardly shy, especially aromatic ones, but this cries out for some subtlety. It still smells pretty good and is definitely a bracing experience, but I'm not sure it warrants the £100 asking price as cheaper alternatives are numerous.

    06th September, 2011

    bonzo's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    aromatic fougere.relaunched after a reorchestration and reinterpretation of the original scent and available!
    this is a very luxurious and lush scent, powerful rich and aromatic.Very complex, interesting but to my mind too overrunning and breathtaking.You don´t see the forrest for the trees.There are so many different ingredients (incredible),the opening is already a firework of flavouruing ingredients but on top the drydown is an intoxicating thunder storm of contents;although the perfumer is offering a unique rework of a fern-like scent this fougere royale is nonetheless simply said too much- I personally miss the the undertones, the refine and subtle moments and calm moments- this remains a powerful and vigorous symphony played by a huge orchestra that does not keep on my toes.It´s a restless scent, long lasting powerhouse bouquet of aromatic ingredients.What I appreciate is the risk of offering a really intersting scent in a world of boring light aquatic metrosexual perfumes but if you ask for my personal fougere choice I´d rather recommend azarro por homme, estee lauder for men , tuscany etc.-these are better balanced and more pleasant.

    21st May, 2011

    bokaba's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fougere Royale is a modern interpretation of the 1880s fragrance that started the fougere genre (much like Coty's Chypre) and is quite a feat to live up to. I'd like to say that there are things I like about it and some other things I find not so appealing. To start Fougere Royale is an aromatic fougere not a classic fougere, which is an incorrect rendering of the original. FR certainly does have the traditional lavender-geranium-tonka accord that defines the fougere genre, but does not feature it. The opening is composed of high quality citruses and aromatic elements. The heart is the most beautiful delicate floral bouquet of geranium, rose, orchis, heliotrope, and carnation. This is probably my favorite phase of the whole production. Then the base is very woodsy with oakmoss, tonka, and vanilla. My nose interprets some of the new mown hay coumarin accord as a spicy cedarwood that dominates the base.

    All in all, I feel FR is a good buy available at mid-range niche prices and is readily available. If you are at all inclined to buy it, I suggest doing so as you might have to wait several decades until it is brought back again. I feel something like Penhaligon's English Fern is closer to the original Fougere Royale as it is a high quality stripped down classic fougere with lavender, geranium, clover, oakmoss, and coumarin. I feel the EdP concentration is incorrect as the original was likely an EdC.

    13th April, 2011

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    I'd be very interested to hear from those who've tried both the vintage and the new iteration. How do they compare? I think I've let expectation get the best of me. I tried the reissued FR and was underwhelmed. While the drydown had a pleasant soapy quality, FR mostly seemed like a mild lavender fragrance, not the trombones-blasting, coumarinic feast I imagined. Again, my expectation, my problem. Still, in trying to consider FR on its own, it just didn't capture 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. Nothing to write home about except that it shows a bit of complexity over time." Probably.

    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. FR doesn't really get that. It doesn't really smell like a fougère at all, just a lavender cologne. This is the grand-daddy of them all?!

    22nd March, 2011 (Last Edited: 04th October, 2011)

    Kalynne's avatar

    United States United States

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    RE: New Fougere Royale. Without knowing the notes I was expecting something a bit old fashioned and floral in a boring way. I gave the back of my hand a good spray. An inch of oily residue stayed put. My impression, oh it's fresh and citrusy. Hmm...bergamot and the sort of lemony bite of geranium that I love. I think geranium is the star. Not too floral, don't really pick up the carnation, but maybe it's a support. A touch of something a bit herbal. It came off like a great herbal body spray. 4-6 hours later, geranium, clary sage, oak moss, and possibly tempered carnation. Vanilla isn't too sweet. My skin sweetens everything, which is a problem since I'm more of a spicy not sweet girl! This is just right! I might be in love. This is not an old scent, it has energy that keeps going all day while as it evolves, but does not completely give up it's top notes. Love geranium for that and a little needed synthetic I suppose. Another scent to put on my must-have list!

    05th December, 2010

    Joe_Frances's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fougere Royale circa 2010 is perhaps the relaunch of an historic fragrance, but it did not bowl me over, or offer anything revelatory about the structure or character of these types of fragrances. It was neither eye opening nor jaw dropping. While it is certainly not boring, and I liked it a lot, it was not so compelling as to displace the ferns from Penhaligon and Trumpers, in my estimation. Further, it didn't say anything so new as to make it a "must have" for fougere lovers unless there is a need to own all such fragrances. FR may have come before those others, but the FR that is available today doesn't displace the other good-to-excellent alternatives on the market. It settles into a lovely classic mens' fragrance that becomes more barbershop that the other ferns I have mentioned, and it has more staying power than either Wild Fern or English Fern. Nevertheless, at the relatively high cost of entry, one would want to be seriously seduced into buying it. So far that has not happened to me.

    04th December, 2010 (Last Edited: 30th April, 2011)

    ga97's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have version from the 1950's and the scent holds up. One of the best ferns ever produced.

    18th July, 2010 (Last Edited: 23rd December, 2010)

    odysseusm's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Ad fontes – from the source

    Many thanks to HW for the wonderful review. I read it early in my BN days, and it inspired me. Now I can offer my own take on this interesting scent. I was able to obtain a bottle of this vintage juice, but I held off on reviewing it for a year. I needed to try other classic fougeres, and learn about scents generally, so that I could do it justice.
    My bottle is from Houbigant’s re-launch period of Fougere Royale, somewhere in the 1959-1963 zone. It was from a seller who had the inventory of a drugstore of that time. The little splash bottle is lovely, with a glass stopper. The juice is a golden colour. The bottle was very tightly stoppered, and I’m confident that the contents are as well-preserved as possible.
    What I encountered was the magnificent, incredibly beautiful scent of a classic fougere. It is so lovely! No wonder it was the sensation of its time. It is rich in a way I’ve never smelled in any other fougere, even those of the top ranks. It has a compelling depth, a kind of earthy quality that is peerless. It has power amidst the beauty, and thus it is an assertive scent that any man might happily choose. Its rich, languid notes convey the image of a warm summer day, with flowers and grasses shimmering in a heat haze.
    Amazingly after all this time, the ingredients still ring true. The lavender is very dry and aromatic. It combines well with the dusky green notes from clary sage. Special mention is due for the heliotrope – it delivers its characteristic vanilla-cinnamon-powder chord. The pleasantly fern note, something like rubber or soap, is here. The dry-down is dry and haunting, and completely satisfying. Good duration, especially for a vintage scent. I can still detect it 10 hours later.
    But again I must stress the richness and depth of this scent. People really smelled like this in the late 1800’s? Amazing, simply amazing.
    And in dialogue with HW’s wise, wrist-by-wrist comparison… here is Penhaligon’s English Fern. EF is brighter, crisper, a thinner and more lean scent (especially at the outset). In comparison to the FR it is weaker! I can hardly smell it. Gradually it grows, but it does not equal FR. It is done in the house style of many Penhaligon scents, namely with a cool, even frosty British reserve. It has a crisp, even slightly salty aspect. All of these elements I can recognize only in comparison with FR. EF used to be my benchmark fougere, and it is a marvelous scent. But there is only one FR.

    (Cf. a related scent with the same name by Deparco/Gemey, which also goes by the name H pour Homme.)

    26th November, 2008

    Howard Wallace's avatar

    United States United States

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    Houbigant’s Fougere Royale, or Royal Fern is an important historical fragrance, unfortunately very hard to come by today. It was created in 1882 by Houbigant’s owner Paul Parquet. Several sources on the web list it as the first perfume containing a synthetic chemical to receive popular acclaim. That chemical was, I believe, coumarin. Coumarin is found naturally in lavender, clover, and tonka beans. The synthetic production of coumarin allowed greater control in creating the distinctive new-mown hay smell. Royal Fern was the first and defining example of the fougere, and lent its name to a whole family of perfumes.

    I was recently able to find a 4 oz bottle of new old stock Fougere Royale from a drugstore that was open from the 1940s to the 1970s. The decades have been kind to this bottle. It was still in its original box. The bottle was still full. There may have been some minor chemical changes over the decades, but the liquid inside still has the pleasing notes I’ve come to associate with a fougere. As I write this I have Houbigant’s Fougere Royale on my left wrist, and Penhaligon’s English Fern on my right wrist. Every once in a while I sniff one or the other to compare the two in my mind.

    The first thing I notice is that the Penhaligons is stronger. This may be due to being several decades newer, or to being applied with an atomizer. The Fougere Royal came in a splash bottle. After each sniff of the Penhaligons I have to wait several minutes before I can smell the fragrance on my left wrist. After a few minutes though, the smell is once again quite evident. The old Fougere Royale can without a doubt stand on its own merits. However, in direct competition with the youngster it is overwhelmed.

    The next thing I notice is that the Fougere Royale has a small bit more of a sharp, tobacco note than the English Fern does. Otherwise the two are quite similar, and evoke similar thoughts of a sylvian nature.

    The staying power of my sample of Fougere Royale is difficult to rate. After wearing it for several hours I can no longer smell much of it. However, my wife tells me it is still strong.

    23rd October, 2006

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