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  1. #1

    Default Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    according to good old wikipedia
    Fougere: The class of fragrances have the basic accord with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin.
    but what does oakmoss smell like? or even coumarin (Tonka bean)?

    Chypre:usually with a top note of citrus and woody base notes derived from oak moss and ambergris. I have no idea what ambergris smells like or again oakmoss.

    How does one detect coumarin, oakmoss or ambergris so that he/she knows its a Fougere or Chypre scent?

    Thanks for the clarification
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    http://www.leffingwell.com/h%26rfrag...e_masculin.pdf

    should give you an idea if you're familiar with some of the scents in there.
    Last edited by TimothyX; 31st August 2009 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Fixed link
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    I'm afraid the link doesn't work.

    At any rate, I feel that fougeres and chypres are very similar. I've read on more than one occasion that the fougere is sort of the masculine version of the chypre. Fougeres smell softer to my nose, often with herbal qualities and very green, as though you're walking through a forest after it has rained. Chypres are more agressive and dark, often with sharp bitter citrus top notes.

    If you want to know how certain ingredients smell without actually buying some oils, check out the single note exploration subforum.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    1. As you sample more and more perfumes and categorize them in your mind, you will begin to recognize oakmoss or coumarin in basenotes
    2. It always helps to smell the stuff. Floris in Jermyn St. has testers of many ingredients as part of their bespoke service. Or buy, e.g.:
    http://www.profumo.it/perfume/prodotto.asp?pid=1
    3. Descriptions:
    http://books.google.de/books?id=UYrD...umarin&f=false

  5. #5
    TimothyX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    LF: CAP/LID for Creed Original vetiver and Creed Millesime Imperiale, 75ml. Please pm me.. Thanks!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    In fougeres the lavender is very important, chypres tend not to feature this note. This may be a good place to start. Most modern masculines are "aromatic fougeres" which generally means a complex mixture with noticable lavender at the top. Classic fougeres (ferns) smell very green (try trumper's wild fern for an example of this).
    To me:
    Oakmoss smells bitter green mossy foresty.
    Coumarin, sweet, slightly vanillic, nutty, inedible.

    Like any classification system, it is imperfect. There are overlaps.

    For masculines - archtypes may be:
    - Chypre - Chanel pour monsiuer
    - Aromatic Fougere - Azarro PH, Rive Gauche PH, Brut.
    - Clasiic fougere - Trumpers Wild fern, Penhalifgons English Fern.

    Sampling these may be a good nose orientating starting point

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by hirch_duckfinder; 31st August 2009 at 12:42 PM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    ok thanks, it was confusing to see the two terms because it seemed strange that those types of compositions would be given names. If thats the case then how come other types of scent builds are not given names?

    What I mean to say is that why hasn't say a citrus top note scent that moves to an oriental dry down got a name?
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    The easier way to understand these is to smell some of the ingredients by themselves. If you can get a hold of some oakmoss absolute, tonka bean absolute, and perhaps some lavender and bergamot essential oils, you can get a better idea of the "feel" of these genres.

    As for why the other genres haven't been given names - who knows? But there are terms like "green floral" and "incense" and "leather" that usually refer to mixed blends rather than single notes.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerandir4 View Post
    why hasn't say a citrus top note scent that moves to an oriental dry down got a name?
    Ha, it does: L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme

    Seriously, it's because those genres were defined by two hugely popular fragrances a very long time ago:

    Fougere Royale by Houbigant
    Chypre by Coty

    Both long gone, and can only be smelled by association (unless you somehow manage to gain admission to ISIPCA's fragrance museum, which is highly unlikely)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by andylama View Post
    Ha, it does: L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme

    Seriously, it's because those genres were defined by two hugely popular fragrances a very long time ago:

    Fougere Royale by Houbigant
    Chypre by Coty

    Both long gone, and can only be smelled by association (unless you somehow manage to gain admission to ISIPCA's fragrance museum, which is highly unlikely)
    aha that makes sense.
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    I just had to keep wearing frags that had certain notes until they finally "registered" in my mind.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    There is a website (Perfumer's Apprentice?) that sells small vials of pure perfumery ingredients, specifically for learning to identify the individual notes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by andylama View Post
    There is a website (Perfumer's Apprentice?) that sells small vials of pure perfumery ingredients, specifically for learning to identify the individual notes.
    thanks for the info
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Great topic. Helpful answers too.

    Btw, Andy, love your avatar. How's da Lion's Roar these days?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerandir4 View Post
    ok thanks, it was confusing to see the two terms because it seemed strange that those types of compositions would be given names. If thats the case then how come other types of scent builds are not given names?

    What I mean to say is that why hasn't say a citrus top note scent that moves to an oriental dry down got a name?
    There are other types of scents that have names, like orientals, florientals, green florals, leathers, aquatics, green scents, and so on. Those don't have tripod bases, though, whereas chypres and fougères do. The thing about the tripod bases of chypres and fougères is that the combination of notes produces a distinctive, recognizable vibe that can't be predicted from the nature of the individual ingredients. So, for example, bergamot, oakmoss, and ambergris/labdanum/patchouli become one thing, and it's hard to recognize any one of the three unless the accord is out of balance.

    So maybe your questions, "What does ambergris (or coumarin, or oakmoss) smell like?" are not helpful questions where chypres and fougères are concerned, because these individual notes blend so closely in the accord that the original components no longer smell like the individual notes. Together, they make something new.

    But since you ask:


    • Oakmoss is variously described as strong, bitter, a little green, woody, sharp, slightly sweet, and sometimes slightly rubbery. Tree moss is similar, but not as strong or bitter.
    • Ambergris is at once sweet and earthy, with overtones of vague floral or fruity notes. Real ambergris stinks unless it's greatly diluted, the same as other animal-based scent products. It makes a warm impression, and some people claim to detect a cinnamon-like backnote.
    • Coumarin smells like new-mown hay, vanilla, cut clover, maybe a bit like mild tobacco. It can make a powdery impression, depending on concentration and blending with other scents.


    With EU regulations restricting the use of some perfume products, including oakmoss and some citrus oils, perfumers are remaking some of these accords, so now people speak of near chypres, like Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, which has no oakmoss in it, but smells pretty much like a chypre.

    Also, depending on what else goes into the mix, there are all kinds of chypres: citrus chypres, green chypres, floral chypres, and so on. The same is true for fougères: aromatic fougères, herbal ones, spicy ones, oriental ones —the list goes on.

    I hope this helped broaden your understanding of chypres and fougères. Love 'em both, couldn't smell good without 'em!
    Last edited by JaimeB; 3rd September 2009 at 12:34 AM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    One way to think of the difference is as follows: today's fourgeres are usually aromatic and at least a little soapy. The chypre has more of an earthy quality, so they are on opposite ends of what I call the "vertical" scale of fragrance. Chypres tend to be fuller (though not necessarily richer), in general, and so are stronger on the "horizontal" scale.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 2nd September 2009 at 11:59 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerandir4 View Post
    according to good old wikipedia
    Fougere: The class of fragrances have the basic accord with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin.
    but what does oakmoss smell like? or even coumarin (Tonka bean)?

    Chypre:usually with a top note of citrus and woody base notes derived from oak moss and ambergris. I have no idea what ambergris smells like or again oakmoss.

    How does one detect coumarin, oakmoss or ambergris so that he/she knows its a Fougere or Chypre scent?

    Thanks for the clarification
    I haven't smelled ambergris. Coumarin is released when you freshly mow your grass lawn. Oakmoss smells bracingly bitter "inky" to me. Note my references are a bottle of pure coumarin dissolved in alcohol, and a Givaudan Oakmoss base.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    A while back, there was a professional perfumer on Basenotes, mrclmind, and he posted on this very subject, much more eloquently than I did, so I'm pasting his post on the chypre/fougère question here:

    "I don't want to beat a dead horse here at all, but think of it this way. If you had some samples (diluted to prevent fatigue) of the following raw materials: Coumarin solution, Distilled lavender essential oil, distilled bergamot oil, oak moss absolute and labdanum absolute; and suppose you dipped a different testing blotter into each one (making sure to label them appropriately). If you smelled the lavender and the coumarin blotters together, you would get an immediate fougere accord, very distinct and noticeable. If you did the same with the bergamot and oak moss blotters you would get a very distinct chypre accord.

    "If you combined the lavender and the oakmoss, you would smell oakmoss and lavender. If you combined the bergamot and the coumarin you would smell bergamot and coumarin. If you tested bergamot and labdanum you would smell bergamot and labdanum. There would not be the distinctive "ghost notes" as you got from the chypre and fougere experiments.

    "If you combined the chypre and fougere blotters (the lavender, bergamot, coumarin and oakmoss together) you would probably smell a bit of a fight going on. This could be the beginning of either a remarkably complex perfume, or the beginning of a big mess depending on the person formulating it. If you added labdanum to the chypre combination you would get a much fuller expression of the chypre accord.

    "I don't know if I'm making any sense here or not, but the point I'm trying to make is that those two accords: chypre and fougere are quite distinct; they have been built up quite a bit over the years and many hybrids have emerged, but by familiarizing ourselves with the basic accords in more classic expressions of these scents it is much easier to recognize them when we smell them.

    "I'll stop going on about all this now; but I love these kinds of topics!"

    —posted August 27, 2008, by mrclmind
    Last edited by JaimeB; 3rd September 2009 at 05:34 AM.
    Yr good bud,

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    A good example of a classic chypre is Dali's first perfume (the "women's" one). The base is unisex. There are plenty of good examples of fougeres. Platinum Egoiste is one most people can sample at the local store that carries "designer" frags.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Whatever happened to miraclemind anyway?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    thank you all for the information!
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  22. #22

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimothyX View Post

    Hi TimothyX, do you know where I could find the feminine version of this document? It was helpful to understanding the different catergories of fragrance and which fragrances belong to each category.

    I'm trying to expand my knowledge and understanding of fragrance.

    Thank you.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Spray it, don’t say it…
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    JaimeB's quote from mrclmind is great. It describes the classic origins of the two accords. They've been used since just as if they were single notes - that is combined with a wide variety of other notes to make a rich variety of fragrances.

    There's one other thing to remember. Just because the publicity for a scent calls it a fougere or chypre doesn't mean it will smell anything like the classic accords. This is especially true of the "modern chypres," as discussed last month.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    PaulSC, thanks for the feminine chart!

  26. #26

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    There are 3 types of realistic families (based on notes present in the blend), and 4 types of non-realistic families (based on final feeling of the blend).

    The realistic are:
    -citrus
    -floral
    -woody

    The non-realistic are:
    -chypre
    -modern chypre
    -fougere
    -oriental

    Example: Armani Acqua di Gio vs Davidoff Cool Water
    In the non-realistic families, they both qualify for the same family: fougere. Some may even specify "acquatic fougere", like they would for Morabito Or Black as an "aromatic fougere" and Azzaro Pour Homme as an "aromatic/woody fougere".
    That said, in the realistic families, Acqua di Gio is a citrus/floral, while Cool Water is a wood/floral.

    The other way can happen too: Armani AdG and CK One are both citrus/floral fragrances, but AdG results being a fougere, while CK One is more a chypre. It's just 2 different ways to rank fragrances, noting that the non-realistic family ranking is an old-school way to rank, based on "reference fragrances" (i.e. Coty Chypre and Houbigant Fougere Royale) when the industry was small and there were "hard borders" between styles. Now, given the current creativity in the perfumery industry, it's not really used anymore.


    To answer the inital question:
    Both fougere and chypre often have a citrus top and an oakmoss base. The main difference being that a chypre should have resins (often labdanum) in the heart/base notes, while a fougere has a very a noticeable flowery (often lavender) note.
    But again, while the realistic families ranking system is straightforward to understand, the non-realistic families ranking system are based on perception, and leaves room to interpretation - not really used anymore to classify perfumes.

    The olfactive perception chart continuosly evolve, and since 2010, the word "fougere" has been simply deleted (and seeing the older chart, it's easy to understand that "fougere" doesn't mean anything). While the word "chypre" has never been included.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragrance_wheel
    Last edited by Andy the frenchy; 21st March 2019 at 08:49 PM. Reason: typo

  27. #27

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shemelimelle View Post
    Old, dead floaters.....
    Old for sure, dead floaters never, because internet never forgets!

    As per forum policy we shall continue an existing thread (independently of the date of the initial post) instead of double posting. Make sense, and it's very useful, so we don't need to reinvent the wheel at each new thread. How strong I wish there were only one single thread on vetiver instead of the 100's existing, and that each person having a question on a theme looks if it hasn't been already tackled...

  28. #28
    Basenotes Junkie Shemelimelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Okay. *shrugs*
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy the frenchy View Post
    Old for sure, dead floaters never, because internet never forgets!

    As per forum policy we shall continue an existing thread (independently of the date of the initial post) instead of double posting. Make sense, and it's very useful, so we don't need to reinvent the wheel at each new thread. How strong I wish there were only one single thread on vetiver instead of the 100's existing, and that each person having a question on a theme looks if it hasn't been already tackled...
    I don't mind reusing old threads for the reasons you mention, but a long thread of several pages going back a decade or so might actually not only be cumbersome, many of the fragrances discussed may well be discontinued, not to mention reformulated beyond recognition. It might be worthwhile to start a new thread to seek scents that are modern and available. Just not so often that there are 5 or 6 threads on the same topic going almost continuously, but if it's been dead for two or three years, I think that might make an old thread less useful and a new one would be appropriate.
    How do you know what a French whorehouse smells like?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Ok can someone better explain to me Fougere and Chypre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zilpha View Post
    if it's been dead for two or three years, I think that might make an old thread less useful and a new one would be appropriate.
    I respectfully disagree, and for what I've read on this thread, all the fragrances are still in production or available to buy on ebay.

    "a long thread of several pages going back a decade or so might actually not only be cumbersome"
    When I first posted, this thread hadn't even started its 2nd page.

    "many of the fragrances discussed may well be discontinued"
    They may, and that's exactly why I want to keep going an old thread, since real fougere and chypre are not produced anymore because of the restriction on oakmoss. A chypre is still a chypre, a fougere is still a fougere. The subject of this thread is perfume classification, not a particular fragrance.

    "not to mention reformulated beyond recognition"
    Don't you think you exagerate just a little bit?

    "Just not so often that there are 5 or 6 threads on the same topic going almost continuously"
    I subscribe to the threads I like and get notifications... are you really monitoring all the forum continously? Today I was sick home, that's why I contributed so much, but I wish I had always so much time...

    "if it's been dead for two or three years, I think that might make an old thread less useful"
    I don't think so, especially for the points I mentioned previously, and I have been thanked several time by some users on different threads that agreed with me. I don't think that adding new threads (that would add extra pages anyways) is beneficial, and I think that the information is better accessed if available in a single thread. It may not serve the OP anymore, but for sure other people that are wondering the same questions at the same time that I'm asking myself the same ones. Points of views I guess.

    Thank you for having shared your opinion with me!
    Last edited by Andy the frenchy; 22nd March 2019 at 04:03 AM. Reason: typo




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