Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Fougère Royale by Houbigant

Total Reviews: 8
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...
05th January, 2017
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.
28th December, 2016
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)
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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 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 Show all reviews
United Kingdom
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
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
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)
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)