I have been avidly reading basenotes.net over the last few weeks, having suddenly developed a fragrance addiction, by way of developing a shaving product addiction... That said, the category of fougères was unavoidable from either path, and I discovered that they were a fragrance family that interested me.
The first fougère I bought is Trumper's Wild Fern, and it's also the first bottle of cologne I have ever bought (save for a bottle of Brut 33 I got as a kid, but that's another story...). It lead me to look up other related fragrance--and I'm delighted to hear about those Fougère Royal reboot rumours.
So far I have tried Wild Fern, English Fern, Mouchoir de Monsieur, and discovered Roger & Gallet as well as Valobra fougère soaps. I'm enjoying tremendously all of these scents, but one question remains nagging: Who really coined the term "fern" or "fougère" and who used that famous accord first, perhaps before it even had a name? (...)
What bothers me is that everyone refers to Fougère Royale (1882) as the first fougère, and in the same breath, mention that Wild Fern is available since 1877!! Based on this limited chronolgy, the real term should be "fern" and Trumper's the perfumer!
This confusion reminds me of the other confusion in which Fougère Royale is involved: being the first perfume to have synthetics, an honour that many bestow instead on Jicky...
From what I have read and seen, it does seem that Trumper's Wild Fern was first on the scene. I am not sure why Houbigant's fern is so frequently called the first fougere. It may be that Houbigant first identified their fragrance as a fougere, and then it happened that poeple began identifying Trumper's as a fougere as well.
By the way, Brut is an enjoyable fougere, too, when used carefully (not overapplied).
Welcome aboard, MHV!
Check out the thread I posted in this group, titled "Excellent blog." It has a link to a great discussion of the history and components of a fougere. Ayala makes an interesting case:
1873 - Yardley English Lavender has all the ingredients of a fougere and arguably is the first of the sort (without the fern/fougere name).
1877 - Trumper Wild Fern
1882 - Houbigant Fougere Royale
Interesting blog post. I think it speaks to the notoriety of Fougère Royale that the generic term is now fougère, rather than fern. Still, I'd be curious to learn more on the genesis of Trumper's product.
Ody, the Yardley could indeed constitute as the first. Have a sniff at the Brilliantine if you ever get the chance. Fantastic stuff.
Here's more confusion. There is evidence to suggest that Truefitt & Hill made the first fougere/fern cologne.
Aztecface, your comment about Truefitt & Hill is intriguing. Can you offer more information?
In an older post of mine i mention several old concoctions by T&H where one is the first Fern cologne clearly made very early.