Perfume Directory

Duc de Vervins (1991)
by Houbigant


Duc de Vervins information

Year of Launch1991
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 101 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyLoft Fashion and Beauty Diffusion

About Duc de Vervins

Duc de Vervins is a masculine fragrance by Houbigant. The scent was launched in 1991

Duc de Vervins fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Duc de Vervins

A nicely balanced and well composed fougere with all the right notes (pace Morecambe and Wise) played at a regrettably remote distance.

15th September, 2020
Lavender and powder haters should probably stop reading now. The less well known Duc de Vervins by Houbigant is a beautiful concoction of lavender, powdery notes, moss and some spices. The latter are certainly not overbearing and are blended in quite masterfully with the other notes.

But it would be hard to say much more about this scent without comparing it to two others scents: firstly, the venerated and cult classic Brut (yes, Brut!) and the equally comparable Caron Pour Un Homme.

The Houbigant comes across as an Eau de Parfum of Brut, with the Caron being an appropriate comparison owing to the similarity of the notes - powerful and aromatic lavender and vanilla on a bed of musk and amber.

Those seeking a stronger or longer lasting version of Brut or perhaps just like aromatic, powdery scents with a hint of nostalgia from a bygone era, should look no further than Houbigant Duc de Vervins.
21st October, 2019
I'm loving this! After reading some awful reviews, I didn't have high hopes, but I really love the way Duc de Vervins combines a shiny violet leaf fougere with a lemony vetiver chypre. The lemon lifts the violet leaf, while the violet leaf adds shimmer to the chypre greens, while the vetiver adds a sharp green quality to everything. It's all flawlessly mixed and pretty much perfect. Thumbs way up!
12th August, 2019
Although everything has already been said, can't help writing some words about this nice fougere. Starts green and spicy reminding me of Drakkar Noir and VC&A Tsar. However, instead of getting woodier or ambery like the ones above, It dries down in a different direction: herbal, soapy and sligthly sweet (still keeping some "green sparks").
It's just a bit surprising that no one has mentioned some similarities with Rive Gauche (that is more refined and stronger) and the all time classic, Brut (which is sharper).
01st October, 2018
Duc de Vervins is something of lark from an old storied perfume house like Houbigant. It was created by unfortunately unknown in-house perfumers at Houbigant and was a desperate attempt at reclaiming lost prestige and desirability in the men's segment from a house once head-and-shoulders with Guerlain and Creed in terms of status, but had since accumulated a drugstore reputation by allowing a lot of their legacy scents to be licensed out for mass-market manufacturing. 1985 was the actual birth year of the scent as an ultra-limited and expensive alternative to designer powerhouses and fougères of the time, and it makes sense once smelling it that the stuff falls inbetween the soapy lines of Drakkar Noir (1982), the lemon verbena zest of the contemporary Creed Green Irish Tweed, (1985), and the semi-sporty green tones of the also-later Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels (1989). Duc de Vervins straddles so many styles from the 80's that it smells like a clone of whichever one above you hold most dear, for those with a stronger emotional bond to their scents, but for the more objective, just tries to "gussy up" a popular style of the day into something ennobled. Houbigant eventually took this down to the designer level with a wider relaunch in 1991, replacing gold-tone metal fittings and cap on the bottle with the gold-coated plastic most know now, and the scent saw more success, but draws wildly disparate opinions from hobbyists.

Part of the flack on Duc de Vervins is the esteemed Luca Turin declaring the scent as "...the worst fougère of all time" which means a lot of ardent worshippers of his "two cents" will outright avoid or at very least walk into the experience with negative expectations, like when a lambast from a major movie critic tangibly damages a film's chances at finding an audience. Duc de Vervins definitely treads some familiar territory, but it intentionally draws upon the legacy of the very first fougère that was also made by this house, which itself was very purposefully green (since "fougère" means fern-like anyway), so this direction should not be unexpected. To be fair, I'm not saying self-reference from a house can't be criticized, since not everyone loves Guerlain's "Guerlinade" compound either, but intertextuality between compositions within a house can make them more enjoyable. Duc de Vervins opens with bergamot and lemon verbena, bright, juicy and leafy, drawing the biggest comparisons to the aforementioned Drakkar and Creed scents. Lavender, rosemary, and geranium provide the staple green fougère experience beyond this point, making a slightly soapy sheen appear That's not dissimilar to Alfred Sung (1988) or the much later Cabaret de Grés Pour Homme (2004), but not on the same level of intensity thanks to a dirty cumin counter-note. The base is cedar, musk, and patchouli on a bed of coumarin and oakmoss, because this is Houbigant, and they invented the fougère, so such base notes are almost expected. The whole thing slides shy of the original Fougère Royale (1882) by being less floral, less fanciful, and more direct like the power-hungry 80's venture capitalists this was likely pitched to, but is still refined and very strong. Duc de Vervins is the laugh of a Victorian gentleman channeled through the 80's Blaupunkt stereo of a Wall Street socialite driving his BMW down the turnpike.

If a bright, lemony, green, mossy, and slightly soapy fougère in a vein that blends antiquity with 80's paradigms sounds good to you, then Duc de Vervins might be playing your tune. Folks owning any of the half-dozen fougères this draws close to might see this as redundant, but people who like Geoffrey Beene Bowling Green (1986) but think it's a bit too sharp definitely need to check this number out. I can kind of see why esteemed critics like Turin might have expected much more from an illustrious house like Houbigant once serving nobility and responsible for delivering many of the late Paul Parquet's perfume masterpieces into the world, but if you strip away all the pretense such decorum suggests, Duc de Vervins is just plain good, but maybe a tad too plain for the house that released it. One thing is for sure: if it was anywhere remotely close to the worst fougère on earth, I doubt it would have the praise it does, let alone a thumbs up from me. If there's any criticism I can lobby at Duc de Vervins, it is that Duc de Vervins just too "in the pocket" as far as fougères go, but doesn't have the commerical deodorant soap opening nor will cost you a kidney to find in the aftermarket, since Duc de Vervins is been in production multiple times and it's often at good sale prices if you're okay with a moss-restricted and presumably brighter/sharper modern bottles. Best for formal or office use, maybe casual day use in more high-brow company, and definitely leans mature. Vintage Members Only jacket and Saab 900 Turbo sold separately.
08th June, 2018 (last edited: 02nd November, 2018)
For some reason, I keep thinking this fruity-sweet, green, herbal spicy fougère is actually called Duc de Verveine, probably a Freudian slip; because in my mind, it's the herbaceous-citrus note of (something like) verbena that this slightly thick and flat profile needs before it can really take to the air.

There are worse aromatic fougères than this but there are better ones too.

15th April, 2018

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