What is it about perfume houses and their "official" list of notes? Here, as is obvious in the many astute Basenoter reviews, the central note is immortelle, which is not part of the official seven notes given out by Parfum d'Empire - lavender, tarragon, patchouli, geranium, tobacco, tonka, vanilla.
The range of scents not in the note tree detected by the 23 reviews as of this writing is astounding. To summarize: coffee, chocolate, mint, Assam tea, oakmoss, maple bacon, civet, anise, cumin, coriander, tumeric, ginger.
I have in past reviews for immortelle scents (Eau Noire, Sables) appreciated the scent achievement without wanting to smell like the kitchen in an Indian restaurant. Primarily, that was due to the sweetness of the garam masala vibe that immortelle gives off.
Here, however, what I get is only one note (not 7, not any of the 12 other notes fellow Basenoters have detected), just one, immortelle. The difference for me is that this is not sweet, but both richly honeyed and bitter. The removal of the sweetness makes me like it. It removes the scent from the gourmand category and places it not in the fougere, but in the chypre category.
I have experienced hundreds of great women's perfumes of the past century and all the chypres have this great "bitter" honeyed note that closely resembles Fougere Bengale, although I don't know if immortelle was the common ingredient, as I never heard of its use in perfumery until recently.
In any case, this is the first immortelle usage I like and its all due to its honeyed bitterness and my attraction to the classic chypres of the past. A surprise, and a welcome one.
An unlikely set of complimentary notes set this one off, and, for the most part, they stick around the whole time it’s on the skin. Fougere Bengal hits you with a ringing bell of what smells like musky hay, camphorous licorice, and maple syrup-immortelle. The camphor is really there to spike both hay and syrup as the volume’s turned up on both of those notes. With that said. the blending is seamless, and the effect is a warmth that sidesteps the saccharine. As with a number of Parfum d’Empire scents, the musk is raunchy but muzzled deep within the mix. After a while, a sketchy synth-moss rolls up and yells “copout,” but the scent manages to keep its cool all the same. It does smell like a fougere, but one that breaks the rules in a smart way. Nicely done.
Diptyque's L'Autre takes a nice shower, then settles down to a caffe mocha.
Fougere Bengale starts out as an oddly dry coffee and chocolate gourmand that's seasoned with exotic spices. Several of the prominent top notes are "Bengale" indeed: coriander seed, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. The resulting curry accord persists, albeit more discreetly, right into Fougere Bengale's heart. After a half an hour on the skin, a classical aromatic/sweet/mossy fougere arrangement wells up underneath the Indian restaurant accord. Next up is a generous dose of syrupy immortelle. Happily, the moss and the bitter aromatic notes offer balance and contrast against the gourmand mocha and spices, so that Fougere Bengale never becomes overly sweet and syrupy. It certainly smells dark and rich, but also "hot," or even a bit parched.
After a couple of hours the chocolate drifts into the background, leaving the spices and the semi-sweet fougere base to themselves. Late in the game Fougere Bengale lets go a charming surprise: a sweet, mellow tobacco leaf note that drifts up and hovers quietly above the moss and vanilla drydown. It's a warm and comforting end to an interesting journey. The strong curry accord will not please everybody. It's certainly not among my favorites. But if the idea of wearing garam masala appeals to you, go out and try Fougere Bengale - it's very well done.
Advertisement — Reviews continue below
I blind bought this (what was I thinking) but as time progressed it grew on me in a weird way. At first spray, the curry immediately smacks the nostrils the syrupy, sticky honey kicks in after a few seconds. Then, the hay with a hint of ginger here and there. From a few wearings ovespraying isn't advised.
Fougère Bengale opens with a nice, rich, powerful, kind of dark and almost intoxicating blend of spicy-resinous notes, almost boozy initially, a tad sticky and cleverly mixing an Oriental feel of candied-spicy sumptuosity with a Mediterranean herbal inspiration – which is possibly the nicest trademark of Corticchiato’s style, I personally think he’s particularly good in “revisiting” the classic French opulence with a shady Mediterranean feel. At the very heart of Fougère Bengale lies a powerful, incredibly aromatic, thick and warm herbal-tobacco accord comprising nuances of hay, licorice, aniseed. A light floral breeze provides the right amount of liveliness and “fresh air”, together with a sweet and graceful tea note (perfectly melting with licorice) and a subtle yet detectable mint-balsamic feel. Fantastic drydown rich in tobacco and, again, sweet-balsamic nuances of licorice and aniseed, just more woodier, overall quite dark but still with a touch of floral grace. I feel the tribute to fougères too, although this is not a fougère at all and has quite nothing to do with traditional fougères – I only think it’s more a matter of small subtle echoes (tobacco, woods, lavender, herbs...). Evidently close to some Lutens works as well, like other scents by Parfum d’Empire, but somehow more austere, more green, and also more simple. Honestly I don’t think the materials are that great here (just a feel), but Fougère Bengale is overall surely pleasant, refined, rich and sophisticated with its peculiar sort of Mediterranean “gloominesss”. A bit linear, but you won’t get tired of smelling it.
25th February, 2014 (last edited: 27th December, 2014)
This is a little too pale, minty and aquatic for my tastes, but it's not a bad scent at all if you like those kinds of notes. I just wish that there was more tobacco and I'm not getting any of my beloved oakmoss. I can see the barbershop references totally, and it's not a bad thing, but I'm afraid that that reference may make women shy away from trying this when they shouldn't. Personnally, I think that placing scents squarely in masculine and feminine categories is getting a little outdated and senseless. If it works for you you should wear it. My friend (a guy) accidentally grabbed my vintage Norell edp because I had it sitting too close to the tray of "masculine" scents that I own and he, not looking closely, mistook it for Guerlain Vetiver. He shrugged it off and went on out the door. When he came back later he was hooked and now he purposely grabs the Norell from time to time, especially since he receives compliments.
This is one of the booziest scents i have ever tried.
Most dominant hey note,'mixed with some spices reminds me of some hot dry place where there is little green or humidity there is something so cognac, very boozy.
Its more masculine scent because that boozy note does not go well with feminine style:-) , but its sweet, there is no association to jungle, but the strength and opulence can be connected to the pure strength of tiger, i like it.....
Wearing this scent i visualise lions hidden from the hot dessert sun under the very scarce tree shadow
Though I am in my 40s, I have found that I have old school tastes for colognes. I rarely like anything on the market now (or in the last 25 years) in the US. But I do favor the scents of Lutens and Goutal and my perennial favorite is Hermes Equipage.
I just got Fougère Bengale. I did not like it after I first sprayed it on. Now, an hour later, it feels like and old friend and I love it. I also received a sample of Equistrius from Parfum d'Empire and look forward to possibly making another friend.
I get an overwhelming curry accord on top, followed by a sour tobacco odor. I think it’s pretty much unwearable.
Curry, ginger and Helichrysum (Immortelle) with lavender on top. I suspect the curry not being actually present but just being recalled by the everlasting flowers that in some specific context may assume a culinary/spicy feel. Tobacco and hints of vanilla in the base joined by oakmoss. Nice and well orchestrated with just a touch of sweetness but when it comes to immortelle, I still perfer stronger compositions a-la Sables.
Not exactly a fougere, more of a fougere-like.
When I first smelled Fougère Bengale upon its release I was uncertain whether I would like it - the fougère part was immensely attractive but the tobacco note, which has a clear curry leaf and immortelle aspect to it, was a bit critical. I'm overly sensitive to immortelle and cannot stomach either Eau Noir or Sables, nor do I like to smell of curry-cumin dishes as much as I like to eat them. Thankfully, this part of the fragrance has turned out to behave well on my skin.
Like others I find there is a pleasant boozy aspect to the opening, which doesn't seem all that lavendery in the usual fashion. The herbal-hay leads over nicely to the very dry tobacco note with its salty-spicy character, which is quite similar to that in Lorenzo Villoresi's very rare tobacco scent "Virginia." This dryness is balanced by sweet, slightly vanillic notes of tonka, but it clearly defines the scent as principally dusty and dark. The association with strong black Assam tea leaves makes sense, though it is not made as explicit as in many tea fragrances proper. The Patchouli adds some restrained camphor-like nuances and woody substance in the base.
In sum, Fougère Bengale comes acros as rather serious and formal, rather than leisurely or even romantic. A dinner suit for the tropics tailored on Savile Row would make a nice match, perhaps.
Parfums d'Empire FOUGERE BENGALE opens quite boozily to my nose. In fact, I'd call this a woozy-oriental perfume! After a couple of minutes, the composition sobers up and some kind of forest green component comes into focus—something like fir, I'd venture to guess. This is another composition that would work for guys and gals with a penchant for all things oriental. Because of the forest element, FOUGERE BENGALE definitely seems much more fougère and masculine than chypre to me. It might actually be too dark green for me, and there is something in the drydown which smells slightly celery-like, but this is definitely an interesting composition well worth sniffing. This is not a sweet but a savory composition.
02nd July, 2011 (last edited: 11th July, 2011)
I'm afraid I dont get any of the exciting notes promised by the house..
I can clearly and distinctively smell something else here, though, that is licorice.
Whch, after a little while, becomes quite nauseating.. I cant really say I enjoyed this..
Advertisement — Reviews continue below
I admit I was sensitive enough to be repulsed in 2007 (when it came out) by the image and concept behind the perfume itself : All that talk about tiger hunting got under my skin, and I actually tried this about two years later...
A big love at first sniff made me forget about poor tigers and sleazy british hunters. Bought myself a 100ml bottle right away.
FB is unbelievably delicious. The way immortelle and civet (there's a good doze of these both) are mixed with classic fougere base makes this a really unique smelling thing : Sure, it has some similarities with such fragrances as Eau Noire and Sables, but it smells very different in the end.
I smell raisins, dried plums, wet hay bales, damp straws, warm fur of some wild animal, pipe tobacco and curry-like spices - among some other things.
For a foody and almost gourmand scent this is exceptionally masculine, although it could of course be worn by women, too.
As you may know this company's bottles come with suprisingly full and unsteady spray mechanism. Makes a small challenge in application since this, like some other PdE perfumes, are very strong with loads of character. The one needs to be fairly easy on the trigger to avoid overdoze and that way boredom towards this brilliant fragrance.
Really a gorgeous thing and, if there ever was such a thing as animalic gourmand, then this is the one.
Five shining stars.
This is an interesting one! It has a very definite curry and vinegar note right up front. The vinegar subsides almost immediately, but the curry note remains throughout. It is a very spicy, warm scent. In fact, it smells much like an Indian restaurant would smell; fragrant, very slightly sweet, and earthy.
I usually like gourmands and since I over-sweeten most perfumes, I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, the sweetness and warmth came off as pure maple bacon on me. Seriously, I smelled like I had just fried up a big skillet of maple bacon! Not unpleasant, just too weird for me. After about four hours, the subtle, sweet floral laced with green spice began to emerge and it is quite lovely. However, I can't justify smelling like maple bacon for four hours to get a very light, close floral.
I can see how this perfume would be brilliant on someone. However, I would probably just get myself accosted by very hungry carnivores. However, it is certainly beautifully created and interesting enough to be a fun try.
I seem to be creating a collection of 'curry' scents. I love Indian food, and now it seems, I want to smell like it. So Ive added this to a selection of Eau Noire, L'Autre, Serge Noire and Declaration. Seems I cant get enough of cumin or imortelle.
I get a slightly boozy rum accord from FB, very thick and rich and if I was to compare it Id choose Sables with a bit of added sweetness, but not too much.
With the ad copy talking of dandies and tobacco, I so much wanted to love Fougere Bengale. I liked the lavender and immortelle, but could not get past the "curry" note, which I found unsettling.
After a cursory first contact with this perfume I felt a very strong attraction although I could not figure out what I liked exactly. What stayed in my memory was a very warm, herbal aroma.
Later I had the opportunity to try it with a generous spray in a perfume shop. Initially, what surprised me is a touch of vinegar, that others might describe as chutney. Coriander can often create such a sour topnote or basil. What dominates the heart of the perfume is a very faithful reproduction of the scent of tobacco leaf. Immortelle? Although not mentioned in the note pyramid I can clearly understand the affinity (notes from http://www.parfyym.pri.ee/. : Topnotes: lavender, Heartnotes: tonka beans, tobacco, spices, laurel, Basenotes: mint, moss, ginger, patchouli, gingerbread)
But what was revealed in the drydown of the scent was really a surprise. It is the most faithful reproduction of a natural scent that I associate with summer holidays: the smell of wet straw, whether it is in a straw mat stretched on the sand on a beach, or in a straw hat or a wicker chair that was left exposed to the humid night air. It is a very characteristic odor, herbal and totally unique. If this means anything to you, try FB. Well worth it.
Coffee? I guess. …Chocolate? Maybe … but mainly I get a potent spicy opening that reminds me of a curry. The spices dominate from the start, and the background holds a rather quiet bitter note – coffee and/or chocolate. The backdrop keeps the curry and the whole accord from getting too out of control. To my nose the spices are conglomerate and I have a difficult time separating out any individual notes: It best for me to defer to Jenson on what the particular notes are. On my part, suffice it to say the fragrance presents a complex accord that has layers of spice and herbal notes. Until the drydown I find it quite linear. Fougère Bengale does not send a lot of sillage off my skin, but as light as the sillage is, the accord is deep, dark, and dry – foreboding, even. After quite a while the spices open up a bit to reveal drydown of tobacco. Unlike several other reviewers, I get no sweet through the entire long run of the fragrance. Ordinarily I enjoy deep, dark, dry fragrances, but this one comes across on my skin as pure, dark spice. If I could smell the patchouli and geranium and / or some of the sweet notes, I would appreciate it more than I do. I agree with Trebor about Fougère Bengale’s similarily to Dior’s Eau Noir, which is a fragrance I can’t tolerate. This one I can tolerate, but it takes a bit of resolve. Fougère Bengal is a complex, interesting fragrance, but it is not for me.
I love Fougère Bengale. It's my favorite immortelle fragrance, and I've tried quite a few.
Yes, it smells like curry, but it doesn't just smell like curry - it's green, it's spicy, it's herbal, and its fougère touch gives it a classic men's fragrance feel.
The top notes are lavender and coriander with immortelle peaking through in the background. The coriander note is like coriander leaves to me - greenly spicy rather than a spice cupboard effect. Think of the chopped cilantro used in Indian and Mexican food. The lavender is herbal, its floral qualities hidden. It's all very fresh and transparent initially, though it is - thankfully, given my tastes - free of citrus and aquatic notes.
In the heart the immortelle dominates, but slowly it mellows and the oakmoss makes itself at home, green and slightly bitter, with tobacco and a touch of a vanillic base. All very pleasant, gentle and unobtrusive.
I find the sillage good but the longevity a little wanting - I could do with more than the six to eight hours it gives me. That being said, its charm, lightness, and easy wearability paired with an unusual spicy-gourmand-meets-green-fougère accord make it a real winner in my book.
21st April, 2009 (last edited: 21st July, 2009)
I actually like this perfume house, but don't love the scent. It is definitely interesting. It hits me with fresh, tropical grass, cardamom, and coriander then gets really sweet. Almost like honey was poured over the above ingredients and the pile was left to bake in hot, humid air.
i dont get any chocolate or coffee at all..all i get in the opening is - green chutney note(minus the chilli) with coriander paste and hint of turmeric. as it progresses it moves into a damp note of patchouli done in the same style as BOIS 1920 Patchouli or a Profumum Thundra not as earthy as the latter two though..soon one cud smell dried tobbaco leaves emnating givin this a very classic old style approach. the combination of patchouli and tobbaco is very well blended...settling finally into a very earthy base...
nothing to really wow about...i cant think of any ocassion to wear it as well, except for a Safari or treks. this is not my type of scent, however, i have seen that many people like these type of green scents. i would trust the majority and give it a thumbs up. personally, neutral, worth a decant, not a bottle.
Starting with a smoky cardamom coffee and continues with a surprisingly nice curry. Not long living and definitely masculine. I am not an spice lover and this is not appealing to me but i must admit that it is good work.
Fougere Bengale by Parfum d’Empire is a big, dramatic scent in the style of Eau des Iles. It has a very aromatic opening that is intriguing, deep and likeable. There is lavender and a bit of roasted coffee. Despite notes I’ve read here and elsewhere this is not a really foody/gourmand scent, in my opinion. Then leathery, animalic notes (probably from an unnamed synthetic) contribute a slightly wild, savage note which has good staying power. There are interesting, complex spices here. They are done with a subtle hand and are not curry-ish at all. Finally, a honeyed hay-tobacco note emerges, and this too persists. A hay note is to be expected in a fougere, but this is sweeter and more substantial than usual. This is a sensual scent, suave and yet a bit dangerous. It is not quite my style (a little richer than I really like) but I have to admit it is attractive and enjoyable.