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  1. #1

    Default First stab at a fougere

    So I've acquired what seems to me a respectable assortment of fifty-odd notes, and have finally taken the plunge and tried my first blend, a fougere. My alcohol hasn't come in yet, so this is in a base of sweet almond oil from the Indian market.

    • 1 Oakmoss abs.
    • 1 Styrax Benzoin oil
    • 3 Vanilla abs. (my tonka bean abs. hasn't come in yet)
    • 10 Bergamot
    • 6 Lavender
    • 2 Eucalyptus globulus


    I added 87 drops more of the base oil to dilute it to a 20% concentration of fragrances.

    My personal observations:

    Maybe that's just how oakmoss is, but my oakmoss has a distinctly soapy note I don't associate with fragrances I know to be based on lots of oakmoss. The base accord doesn't seem to have much fixing power, since the bergamot and lavender escaped VERY quickly leaving the oakmoss-styrax-vanilla base sort of gauzed over with eucalyptus: not unpleasant, but not what I think of when I think "fougere" . . .

    Maybe a bit more of the vanilla and styrax would help moderate the pungent "soap" of the oakmoss? I'd imagine that would help fix it more too.

    Remarks? Remonstrances? :-D

  2. #2

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Some fougeres are described as "soapy", that's just the way they are. I think you are missing a vital ingredient from your base; Geranium. For me, ALL fougeres contain an accord of Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium, on a base of musk and moss (so you are missing some musk too). Then you can ring the changes by making it more spicy, citrus, floral, ozonic etc.

  3. #3

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    wait for the tonka, you'll need the coumarin. even better, get some of the pure stuff and use both. you will need geranium and some musk, too. you could add some vetiver. go easy on the bergamot. first get the fougere accord right, experiment with the ratio's. i suggest to leave out the stryrax, vanilla and eucalyptus until you've managed this.

  4. #4

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Thanks both of you! I thought the fougere accord was supposed to be oakmoss, coumarin, lavender, and bergamot. *puzzled* Where do geranium and musk fit in this?

    I do have both tonka abs. and musk coming in . . . I've never smelt tonka, but have heard it compared to vanilla, which is why I in my impatience used that. Vetiver has got to be my favourite EO, so there's no twisting my arm to get me to include it! *grins*

    I do, unfortunately, have to wait for my "real" measuring equipment to come in. I was lucky that the oils I needed for this experiment came in dropper bottles rather than vials.

  5. #5

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    the geranium is an essential part of the fougere accord. it might be not very well known among perfume-aficionados, perhaps because the geranium isn't (supposed to be) sticking out as a separate note; it's supposed to blend seamlessly into the scent of a fougere accord.

    the musk isn't essential to that particular odor, but you will need some anyway (i can't think of a single fougere without musk, many great ones contain quite a lot of it). personally, i quite like some civet in a fougere, too. but this is certainly not essential.

    for the aromatic fougere (ie, the modern fougere) you'll need to extend the aromatic side with spices/spicy molecules (and maybe herbs and such).

    you could re-introduce the oriental elements, if you like it. it's been done before with great success, for instance aromatic fougeres in the anisic direction with vanilla (think yohji homme et cetera).

  6. #6

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    You are right about the key ingredients, but most Fougère are actually aromatic Fougère which needs some wood and spice too. I would avoid the eucalyptus altogether and (if you are OK with it on your skin, and this perfume is for your own use) put in a bit more oakmoss. There is nothing wrong with adding geranium but it isn't a necessary component for Fougère style accords.

    Much as you love vetiver be cautious with it - it has a huge odour yield and will overwhelm everything else if you use much. I keep mine diluted to 10% in ethanol to help me avoid overdosing with it.

    The soapy odour may also be partly due to the almond oil you've got it in - dpg and alcohol are more neutral and might avoid that. Soapy smells are useful though - keep a note in case you want to use it to make scented soap - the soapy note will help it fit in comfortably.

    Hope that helps.
    A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.”
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    chris,

    i agree with what you wrote, except for the geranium part.

  8. #8

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    I'm still wondering about the vanilla-vs-tonka thing. What are your thoughts about including one versus the other?

  9. #9

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    one of them is a source of coumarin, which is essential in a fougere; the other doesn't belong in the fougere accord (which doesn't mean you can't use it in a fougere, see my earlier post).

  10. #10

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    I was under the impression that coumarin was just a source of "vanilla-ish" scent, though . . . Like I said, I've never smelt it by itself.

  11. #11

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Ah I see where you are getting confused now - coumarin does not smell of vanilla - it smells of new mown hay (more or less) but it is one component of the tonka bean smell, which does have vanilla-like elements to it.

    Coumarin btw was the first synthetic component ever used in a perfume (so far as we know) and the perfume in question was Fougère Royale by Paul Parquet for Houbigant, which started the style (and btw did / does contain geranium, even though many later ones in the type did not).
    A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.”
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Oh! That makes a lot more sense now, thank you! I need to put in my order with White Lotus, which is where I'm getting the tonka bean absolute from . . .

  13. #13

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    if it doesn't have to be all natural, you could just get coumarin. it would be much cheaper.

  14. #14

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    if it doesn't have to be all natural, you could just get coumarin. it would be much cheaper.
    It doesn't really HAVE to be, but I have a personal aesthetic predilection away from synthetics . . . maybe I'll become disabused of it at some point when I'm unable to do what I want without recourse to aromachemicals, but "I don' wanna" yet. ;-)

  15. #15

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Quote Originally Posted by sehrgut View Post
    It doesn't really HAVE to be, but I have a personal aesthetic predilection away from synthetics . . . maybe I'll become disabused of it at some point when I'm unable to do what I want without recourse to aromachemicals, but "I don' wanna" yet. ;-)
    That's fair enough, but part of the point of my bit of perfume history in the earlier post was to point out that a Fougère, by definition and from the very beginning, uses a synthetic.

    Now, if you want to you can, I believe, buy the 'natural isolate of coumarin' - derived either from tonka or one of the other plants in which it occurs naturally. However it will be chemically identical with the synthetic, it will just cost a whole lot more, so unless you have a religious commitment to 'natural' then it's not worth using - but if you do it will enable you to avoid adding a lot of elements to your accord that you don't really want, in order to get the one you need (in this case coumarin).
    A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.”
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  16. #16

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    That's fair enough, but part of the point of my bit of perfume history in the earlier post was to point out that a Fougère, by definition and from the very beginning, uses a synthetic.
    True . . . Well, I plan to order from Perfumer's Apprentice at some point soon, and they have what seems as good a deal as any on coumarin. Maybe I should pick that up on grounds of history . . . :-)

    Edit: And no, I don't fool myself with "natural isolates" versus synthetics . . . I've had many a "violent discussion" with people who were convinced that synthetic ascorbic acid was somehow different fundamentally from vitamin C extracted as a pure chemical from rosehips and whatnot . . . *grins*
    Last edited by sehrgut; 4th August 2011 at 03:10 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Any idea where I might pick up coumarin already in solution? It seems to be sold only in pure form that I've been able to find. My only accurate weighing apparatus is an Ohaus triple-beam: good in the sub-gram range, but not in the mg range. (Though I have friends still in academia who I might be able to get to weigh out the crystalline coumarin into vials for me if need be.)

  18. #18

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    just get a better scale. you can get 0.01 pocket scales on ebay and such for very little money (less than 10$). of course they're not the best, and working with them is a little tedious. but if you dilute say 10 gram of coumarin in 90 grams alcohol, the little inaccuracy that the scale might have isn't really all that problematic. make sure you take off the container every time you add/subtract a little, then put it back. otherwise the scale might not register it, and present you wrong readings as a result.

    you will need the scale to dissolve many other solids too. like musks. every perfumer needs musks.

    if you're really serious about this, invest in a decent scale, and formulate by weight. look up the threads on this forum about scales for advice.

  19. #19

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Quote Originally Posted by gido View Post
    just get a better scale. you can get 0.01 pocket scales on ebay and such for very little money (less than 10$). of course they're not the best, and working with them is a little tedious. but if you dilute say 10 gram of coumarin in 90 grams alcohol, the little inaccuracy that the scale might have isn't really all that problematic. make sure you take off the container every time you add/subtract a little, then put it back. otherwise the scale might not register it, and present you wrong readings as a result.
    Having been in biology, I'm rather pickier about weights and measures, and don't think I'd be happy with a cheap scale: I'm used to wonderful things that jump around with every tiny speck of powder you drop on them. (i.e. I can't put up with a scale with so much "give" you've got to jostle it to get it to register additions/removals.)

    I can work with quantities such as 10g:90g easily enough with my Ohaus -- it's a lab-quality balance. I had one of those "pocket balances" as a teenager and anyone who thinks they work for crap needs to learn the difference between "precision" and "accuracy". *grins*

    (And anyone who thinks they're getting repeatable measurements in the 0.01g range with them is fooling themselves.)

    I just bought a set of Microman pipets on eBay, and the wonderful local Gilson rep is getting me some of the capillary piston tips for them, so I'll have sufficiently-accurate liquid measure. As far as a scale goes, if I can actually pick up 10g of coumarin (or even one or two grams), I'd be comfortable with my current scale. I just don't want to work in the .01g range with it. (And while writing this, I called Perfumer's Apprentice and they said their 15mL bottle contains about 10g.)

    you will need the scale to dissolve many other solids too. like musks. every perfumer needs musks.
    True . . . And my balance will be good for that. I've got deer musk and civet coming in, and will be preparing my tinctures when they arrive. Yay! (Need to order beaver castor and hyraceum still . . . and want to experiment with muskrat . . . )

  20. #20

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    sehrgut,

    you're right about the scales. what i wanted to get across, is that there always is a way.

    I've got deer musk and civet coming in, and will be preparing my tinctures when they arrive. Yay! (Need to order beaver castor and hyraceum still . . . and want to experiment with muskrat . . . )
    deer musk? you mean real musk tonkin, the real animal musk? i'm sorry, i think that's very unlikely, verging on impossible. for one thing, it's illegal. so either way you're dealing with criminals (and it will most likely be fake in that case) or you know someone (who knows someone) who lives high in the himalaya's and found a way to smuggle the stuff to the states.

    civet isn't easy either, buy not impossible. profumo.it sells it. however, if you're getting this from the supplier that sells 'real deer musk' i wouldn't hold high hopes for this one, either.

    i'm sorry to bring you bad news.

  21. #21

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Different suppliers for the two of them (civet from ham_firl). I know deer musk is extensively faked, but first, deer musk isn't illegal. Farming of musk deer has been done since the '50s in China, and is still done today (this musk was presented as farmed); and second, I won't be out terribly much if it turns out to be false, so I figured what the heck.

    I know there are a few members here who've smelt genuine musk, and was planning to contact some of them and send them bits of the tincture when it's done to get their "vote" on whether or not it was legit.

    So don't worry, you didn't give me any bad news . . . I knew from the start it was a bit of a gamble. ;-)

  22. #22

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    in Muther Rusea, fougere stabs YOU!



    Edit - (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/in-soviet-russia)
    Last edited by Master-Classter; 6th August 2011 at 05:50 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    *laughs out loud*

    LUVVIT!

  24. #24

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    agarwood has a good musky scent. I make my fougere base from Agar, Labdanum or Balsam of Peru, Hay abs, and oakmoss and a couple of other things. Hay is similar to Tonka and sweet like a tobacco absolute.

  25. #25

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    I almost ordered some hay abs. from White Lotus . . . grr . . . Now I wish I had.

    I have some agar; not super-high quality (ham_firl's cheapest grade), but incredible nonetheless: a drop on a blotter left in my studio had the whole room wonderfully perfumed the next day! It's like nothing I've ever smelt before . . .

    Labdanum is coming from White Lotus, tobacco abs. is in progress. :-)

    I need to get more oakmoss, as I discovered the oakmoss I got from an eBay seller was 50% oakmoss, 50% miscellaneous oakmoss-ish aromachemicals (sold as "cosmetic grade essential oil"). Luckily, got a full refund through eBay's dispute system. Though that could DEFINITELY explain the acrid soapiness I mentioned above. :-/

  26. #26

    Default Re: First stab at a fougere

    Be sure to dilute absolutes before use. Oakmoss abs you will dilute to about 20% - 30% in perfumer's alcohol. Tobacco abs I dilute to about 50%. Hay abs is also very strong and can be diluted to about 25% in p-alc. You can get an excellent Black Agarwood from Eden Botanicals.

    Hay and Tobacco have a similar scent. Be careful if using both in one accord. Try two separate accords and see which you like better.

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