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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.
03rd August, 2011