I finally have my hands on a bottle (a special thanks to a very kind Basenoter who helped facilitate the process).
From the start, expecting to be underwhelmed, I was actually quite amazed.
Fougere Royale is like the “primordial soup” of today’s fragrances. This is my first time trying FR and yet my mind is flooded with familiarity –I’m grasping the fact that FR has really been with me almost every step of the way of my perfume hobby. It is the backbone of at least 50% of my wardrobe.
Coumarin and citrus isolates seem to be the key players that propel the fragrance and make the green herbal and bergamot topnotes sing, while the rest of the chems seem to suggest supporting the light –almost nondescript- floral heart (mainly lily of the valley, carnation and rose). The ingredient list reads:
Alcohol, Parfum, Water, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Cinnamal, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Isoeugenol, Linalool, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone
FR rests upon a cool, mossy base (and a touch of patchouli softened with a mere suggestion of vanilla and cinnamon). Notice there is no oakmoss listed; so either a synthetic was used or an absolute which, I assume, would allow the oakmoss to reside in the ‘parfum’ portion of the ingredient list.
I find it safe to say at the moment that any reformulating was likely done only to comply with IFRA restrictions, and for the sake of consistency and preservation of the originally intended impression of the fragrance. Fougere Royale is indeed a very modern scent –ahead of its time during first release and still valid 128 years later.
I have a vintage bottle in transit, so I look forward to a side by side comparison in the next few days.