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July 30, 2019

Fragrance Deep Dive: The Fougere

Fern leaves

Timeless classics are sometimes the best options for the modern fragrance wearer.  This includes the fresh yet woodsy scent known as fougère (pronounced foo-JAIR). While it’s considered a pillar of men’s cologne categories, even those familiar with fragrance may still feel unclear on fougère as there are many different ideas of what fougère should smell like.  With that, many men might be looking at a description saying “What is fougère?”

Seeing how many different fragrances exist just in the fougère category, it is worth going back to the basics.  To start, fougère translates from French to simply mean “fern” or “fern-like.” However, ferns (unfortunately) smell nothing like colognes with a fougère description.  The fragrance was first created in 1882 by, Paul Parquet who gave it the name fougère because that is what he wanted ferns to smell like. However, like many things that existed in 1882, fougère has evolved and does not necessarily smell the same way it did from when Mr. Parquet conceived the idea for the scent.  However, there are some common notes.

In a fougère fragrance, the scents of lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss, and coumarin are typically featured which ultimately leads to a nice combination of flowers, plants, moss, citrus, and spices.  The top notes are sweet and are what consists of the lavender. As these top notes fade or evaporate, that is when the more woodsy and spice notes appear in the mid and base notes. This includes the oakmoss and in some cases, incense.  By understanding the different layers of this scent, it is easier to see how the complexities of this scent are able to evoke several different feelings or settings at once, while not getting in the way of each other or seeming too busy.

image of lavender fields

Despite having existed for nearly 150 years, fougères remain extremely relevant in the world of fragrance, in part, because many perfumers including Fulton & Roark have created some fougères with modern twists.  

Our solid cologne Hatteras is named after the natural and untamed Hatteras Island, Hatteras is our take on the classic fougère.  While unquestionably assertive, bold and spicy, we worked to keep Hatteras from becoming overpowering. The solid fragrance format is perfect for this fragrance, because the fragrance remains fairly discrete, allowing those closest to you to appreciate your fragrance without the entire room taking notice. 

When smelling Hatteras, you will get the familiar hints of lavender, vetiver, oakmoss, and incense.  However, you will also get notes of fresh hay and deep woods. This creates a fresh and crisp scent that is not all high notes but has depth in the mid and base notes.

Hatteras is a great answer to the question of what a good fougère fragrance is with as mentioned a combination of the classic scents with some modernity.  Fougère, as explained in this blog, is confusing. It is old yet evolved, fresh yet woody, and named after a fern but it smells nothing like it. 

Image of hand holding a Fulton & Roark Hatteras solid fragrance/cologne

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