There are countless fragrance options on the market and doubtless, you know your favorites. Florals, orientals, and aquatics are just a few of the perennially popular scent categories. If you’re ready to explore some of the more interesting and unusual fragrance choices, try a touch of fougère.

The History of Fougère Fragrances

 Fougère, pronounced “foo-zhair” comes from the French word for “fern.” It was originally designed as a new scent category for women. It is now much more common in male or unisex fragrances and typically features notes of lavender, coumarin, and woods. This gives it a warm, dark tone reminiscent of a stroll through a mossy forest.

The perfumer who gets the credit for creating the first fougère is the nose Paul Parquet of the Houbigant perfume house. In 1882 he released his new scent, Fougère Royale, and it was an instant hit. His woody perfume soon became the foundation for countless imitators and spin-offs.

One of the more interesting aspects of this category is that it is an “imagined” fragrance. Ferns have no scent. Fougères are what ferns are imagined to smell like if they did have a scent. This leaves a tremendous amount of leeway in designing these perfumes. Each fragrance is an interpretation of the perfumer’s own imagined fern aroma.

Fougère Fragrances Today

Still popular in our more modern times, fougères have grown and adapted to fast-paced 21st-century living. Modern perfume houses, such as Paco Rabanne, have created their interpretation of this classic accord. This includes adaptations such as:

  • Introducing a bright opening of bergamot or other citrus notes
  • Adding more florals, including rose or geranium, to the heart
  • Softening the dry down with base notes of amber or benzoin

One currently popular trend is to add more wood notes for a darker, heavier fragrance. There are also gourmand variations that include notes like vanilla or cacao.

How To Wear Fougères

Due to their crisp freshness, fougères are truly wear-anywhere fragrances. As long as you are aware of the sillage, you can match a fougère to any occasion. Some possible pairings include:

  1. Wear the richer, more luxurious oriental fougères for special occasions. Typically spice and animal notes are added for this exotic category.
  2. Aquatic fougères are relatively new and include salty ocean notes. Wear these to the office or for sporting events.
  3. For those cold winter nights when you want to sit by the fire with good company, you can’t go wrong with aromatic fougères and their hint of citrus and herbs.

Today there are countless variations on the classic fougère fragrance. To find the ones that fit your lifestyle, it’s best to start with testers or trial-size offers. 

The Future of Fougères

Fougère is one of the newest categories of perfume, as hard as that may be to believe. This youthfulness amid very old perfumes is the quality that allows fougères to evolve and change quickly. Be on the lookout for fougères to embrace modern notes such as foods, beverages, and metals. Stay up to date with the developments at LaBelle Perfumes


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