About Fougère in Perfumery


In the article we outline the History, Evolution & Meaning of Fougere in Perfumery and finish with a review of the Best Fougère Fragrances, classic/iconic, modern and contemporary perfumes and home fragrances.

What is the Definition or Meaning of Fougere?

The name Fougère originates from the French word for “fern” and it is one of the main olfactive families used to describe a perfume.

However, Fougere is not a single ingredient!

Instead, it is an Olfactory Accord, a combination of fragrance ingredients that create a perfume with a typical scent and shared commonalities.

A classical Fougere usually contains coumarin, bergamot, lavender, vetiver, geranium and oakmoss: they open with fresh top notes of Lavender and Bergamot, develop into a heart of Geranium and finish on a fond of Coumarin, Oakmoss and Vetiver.

Modern Fougères have been fashioned with a variety of other notes including floral, animalic, green, citrus, spices, woods and herbaceous.

Fougère is not an Obscure Class of Fragrances and not only for Connoisseurs!

Citrus Fruit Bergamot Essential Oil Fragrance 1

The beauty of Fougere is its combination of warm sensuality with light freshness.

The Origin of Fougere in the World of Perfumery

‘Fougère Royale’ from the perfumery house Houbigant Parfum and created by its Paul Parquet, is believed to be the name’s origin.

In 1882, when Houbigant introduced Fougère Royale, it was a fragrance originally created for women but the creation quickly became popular amongst the men of the day.

Even today, Fougère mostly features in the category of ‘fragrances for men’.

Paul Parquet demonstrated a true pioneering spirit when he used Coumarin, an isolate from the Tonka Bean.

‘Fougère Royale’ was later discontinued and actually added to the scent archives in Versailles(France), the Osmothéque. Fortunately, the fragrance was reintroduced in 2010 by Houbigant as a perfume for men.

The resurgent popularity of Fougère is attributed to:

  • its classic nature that offers perfumers the opportunity to add new unique twists, and
  • the versatility of the note for the wearer,as there are few situations where a Fougere is unsuitable

A complete fragrance wardrobe should never be without a Fougère.

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We are passionate about Fougere in Perfumery

The Fougère Family

Fougère (pronounced as ‘foo-jair’ or ‘foo-shair’) is one of the main olfactive families of fragrances.

Some perfumery houses say Fougere is its own family, for others it is a sub category of Aromatic and again others combine Fougere with Aromatic into a group.

Fragrance families are defined as ‘parent groups’ or categories that share a common profile. They share an accord with a typical character. Other fragrance families would include Citrus, Gourmand, Chypre, Fruity, Woody, Oriental and Floral. Each of these families may have further subdivisions for certain nuances or variations.

One such example within the Fougère family would be the term and sub-division named ‘Leathery Fougère’. Clearly the term ‘Fougère’ refers to the primary characteristic, where on the other hand, the term ‘leather’ makes reference to the secondary accent that defines the fragrance, yet does not dominate the overall impression.

Another example is 'Aromatic Fougère' where additional notes of woods, herbs and even some spices add to the character of the fragrance. This is currently a most popular sub-division.

These classifications are inherently subjective and the same fragrance can be categorised into a different family by a different perfumery house.

Within the Fougère family and genre, the classic, the modern and the contemporary are the most noteworthy.

Enjoy Beautiful & Unique Fragrances built with the the Fougère Accord

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Classical Fougère

It would be very dismissive of us to create a guide for Fougère and exclude the fragrance where it all began - Houbigant’s Fougère Royale.

Fougere Royal By Houbigant

Recently brought back to life in 2010 following an extended absence, it is undeniable that Fougère Royale is a classic fragrance. It has the sense of remarkable elegance as a masculine fragrance and instantly feels at home when put with a smart suit and tie and a pair of brogues.

Fougère Royale announces its presence with a sharp blast of zesty bergamot and herbaceous lavender. It prefers to demonstrate strong masculinity with robust top notes rather than opening with a smooth fragrance. The lavender is tessellated by the heart that contains a pinch of geranium, which increases the volume of the menthol facets of the two flowers and adds a touch of sweet rose, The Fougère fragrance then transitions to a luxurious base of moss and warm hay with spots of vanilla spice.

The inspiration and influence it had on a generation (as noteworthy of an achievement as it is) is not the most remarkable part of this icon. It’s true power is shown when even 132 years later, the smell hasn’t dated a day.

It must be said that it would be naive to suggest the newly revised 2010 version of Fougère Royale would be a perfect recreation of Houbigant’s 1882 original. Even with our best efforts, the availability of ingredients and IFRA regulations are an impossible barrier. Nevertheless, the Fougère Royale is just as dignified as ever and the same themes are present throughout.

We would argue that when it comes to masculine fragrance styles, Fougère is timeless.

Fougere For All! Today both men & women enjoy wearing Fougere and it suits all occasions.

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Eau De Parfum Person Reflection Bergamot Basil Patchouli Couple Bike 9 16

Modern Fougère

Created in 1995, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male is on par with Fougère Royale as a classic fragrance despite its more modern origins. However, they could not be more dissimilar, the Gaultier representing something resembling a Fougère pumped full of steroids.

Le Male For Men By Jean Paul Gaultier

Smelling them both side by side makes one wonder how much of an uproar and outrage would such a fragrance have made if it were to have been released with Fougère in 1882.

Apart from swapping the oakmoss for vanilla and mint, La Male contains all of the ingredients required for Fougère. Within its genre, Le Male is one of the most barbershop-Esque examples and it portrays the preened and buffed male body. (Fougère Royale is more associated with a hairy chest whereas Le Male is a waxed and tanned chest.)

Despite the modernity in it’s bouquet, the Fougère spirit continues to thrive within the coumarin vibe with the vanilla in perfect balance with the herbaceous and aromatic zing of the mint.

At present, Le Male is no longer ubiquitous, it remains an exciting perfume and a trend-setter that can be worn easily and to various occasions. It is definitely a Fougère that endeavours to (cheekly) break the rules, whereas its more classical counterpart is a much more formal affair.

Oakmoss in Fougère, a Magical Partnership

Pairfum Chypre Aromatic Woody Oak Moss Lichen Niche Perfume

Contemporary Fougere

Here at Pairfum London we love to turn familiar themes on their head and to present them in a new and innovative light.

It will come as no surprise that we enjoy an unconventional journey into the Fougère family with two fragrances:

The first one, is a rich, woody and spicy fragrance where the zest of Grapefruit & Bergamot infuse the opening with freshness. The sensual heart of Masculine Leather is enhanced by the rich spicy elements of Black Pepper and Nutmeg. The base is intense and woody with Black Cedar, Patchouli, Tonka Bean and Oakmoss.

This a Leathery Fougère, ideal for the gentleman, the individual, that is confident in his masculinity. The pure and unashamed masulinity of leather, cedar and oakmoss in the best tradition of a Fougere underpin this note and it harmonises beautifully with the fresh zest for life in grapefruit and bergamot.

In the second note, “Bergamot, Basil & Patchouli”, the accord opens with Bergamot, Lime, Green Leaves and spicy Basil. The heart is fresh with Lily, Freesia, Violet Leaf, Rose and Geranium. It rests on a beautifully rich woody base of Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Cedar and Amber.

A modern Aromatic Fougère that combines the sensuality typical of a Fougere with a re-interpretation of green freshness. This note is inspired by the green, aquatic freshness of the sap of young trees you typically find in a forest. It is very Fougere in its nature and spirit.

Fougere is a Fragrance Accord

Natural Lavender Candles Scent Calm Sun

The beauty of Fougere is its combination of warm sensuality with light freshness.

Fougère in Home Fragrance

For Home Fragrances we have taken the rather unconventional route of actually introducing a true Fougère. We believe that are currently the only house that offers this type of note for the Home:

Our Innocent White Lavender Fragrance opens with aromatic Artemisia and Bergamot, to combine with a heart of soft White Lavender, pure Lily, Iris, Hyacinth and Bluebell. The base note sensually envelops with Intense Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber and Tonka Bean.

Here we offer a modern Fougère with the sensuality typical of Coumarin in Tonka Bean but re-inforced with Musks and Sandalwood. The note's soft freshness is herbaceous and green.

"SPA" is a beautifully, Aquatic note with Bergamot, Mandarin, Rosemary and fresh Violet Leaves. Radiating from the heart are Sea Salt, White Flowers and Green Tea. The fond vibrates with Woods (Cedar, Patchouli), Amber and Oakmoss.

This is a contemporary note in the best tradition of an Aromatic Fougère, it combines green, aquatic freshness with a fond of Woods & Oakmoss.

Pairfum Flacon Perfume Room Spray Signature White Lavender

White Lavender
Flacon Room Perfume

This innocent White Fragrance opens ...

Pairfum Snow Crystal Candle Classic Noir White Lavender

White Lavender
Snow Crystal Candle

This innocent White Fragrance opens ...

Fragrance Description White Lavender Artemisia Lily Musk Vanilla

This Innocent White Fragrance opens with aromatic Artemisia and Bergamot, to combine with a heart of Soft White Lavender, Pure Lily, Iris, Hyacinth and Bluebell. The base note sensually envelops with Intense Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber and Tonka Bean.

Pairfum Large Reed Diffuser Bell Noir White Lavender

White Lavender
Large Reed Diffuser

This innocent White Fragrance opens ...

Pairfum Flacon Perfume Room Spray Signature Spa

Flacon Room Perfume

A beautifully aquatic note ...

Fragrance Description Spa Violet Green Tea Sea Salt Cedar

A beautifully, Aquatic note with Bergamot, Mandarin, Rosemary and fresh Violet Leaves. Radiating from the heart are Sea Salt, White Flowers and Green Tea. The fond vibrates with Woods (Cedar, Patchouli), Amber and Oakmoss.

Pairfum Snow Crystal Candle Classic Signature Spa

Snow Crystal Candle

A beautifully aquatic note ...

Pairfum Large Reed Diffuser Bell Signature Spa

Large Reed Diffuser

A beautifully aquatic note ...

Enjoy a Fougere that Complements You, Naturally

Fern Fougere Fragrance Light Green

Fougere Fragrances - Review

Faberge Brut 1964

Brut Original by Fabergé

A key reference when it comes to male fragrances, Brut Original made its appearance in the world in 1964. The masculine and timeless heart of fern is unveiled by the notes of this Fougère perfume.

Constructed around a ferd accord blending floral notes with patchouli and sandalwood forms an harmonious composition.

Top Notes : Orange Blossom, Aromatic Notes
Heart Notes : Geranium, Fern Accord
Base Notes : Patchouli, Sandalwood, White Musks

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

This perfume’s soft contours are as quintessentially symbolic of virility as Paco Rabanne is irresistibly charming. This extended to his rugged, dark and latin male models who arouse a masculine presence.

This atmosphere is furthered through notes of rosewood, laurel, sage and rosemary that create a truly herbaceous fragrance. The signature qualities of a Fougère are brought out with a bouquets of geranium and lavender. As a finale Tonka bean, amber, honey and musk end the fragrance on a sweetish note.

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme 1973

Azzaro Pour Homme by Azzaro

In a list of the top-selling perfumes for men in the European markets, Azzaro would surely make an appearance. A true charmer who has dressed celebrities from Jane Birkin to Romy Schneider, Loris Azzaro is often described as an instinct driven and a truly fascinating man.

In this fragrance, the timeless and masculine olfactive structure is improved upon by the unconventional touch of zesty, ethereal and unexpectedly transparent notes paired with ingredients often found in much higher concentrations in the typical perfumes of his competitors.

Various notes of carefully herbaceous lavender features alongside anise and fennel in a unique accord. The clear presence of cardamom, vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli enrich the already woody and spicy middle note. Facets of musky and amber finally bring warmth to the whole miraculously contain all of the charm of Italy.

Boss Number One by Hugo Boss

The nose behind this aromatic Fougère fragrance for men was Pierre Wargnyne. Hugo Boss launched Boss Number One in 1985.

This fragrance should be remembered in the context of its time, of Wall Street brokers and London Bankers in their elegant suits with shoulder pads, wearing Rolex and stepping into Luxury cars. Hugo Boss epitomised captured this spirit and this fragrance was the scent of success.

Top Notes : Artemisia, Juniper Berry, Basil, Lemon
Heart Notes : Jasmine, Rose, Clary Sage, Honey
Base Notes : Cedar, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Tobacco

Boss Number One By Hugo Boss

Prada Pour Homme by Prada

One year on from the launch of their first feminine fragrance, here are some of the words used to describe Prada’s first fragrance for men: complex, refined, luxurious and bold.

Suede with its leathery accents, citrusy cologne, soap accented fern and amber are the four olfactory paths that lead to this Fougère fragrance. Like other brands, the voluptuous, rich and sophisticated bouquets are enhanced by the luxurious bottle blended with retro influences and design.

Top Notes : Cardamom seed, Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli
Heart Notes : Orange Blossom, Geranium, Myrrh, Vetiver, Nirvanolide
Base Notes : Labdanum Ciste, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Leather, Saffron

Eternity For Men by Calvin Klein

Summarised as a non-citrus freshness that remains on the skin in both a mild and clean manner.

The late 1980s in the USA is characterised by the return to family values, of which Eternity for Men is thought of as a forerunner. Invoking the images of family and the value of fidelity, Calvin Klein uses this messenger of universal truths as a vehicle to pay tribute to his marriage
Although this perfume debuted in the American market in 1989 and has been a leader in men’s perfumes for many years, this Fougère fragrance was introduced in France much later in 1993.

The bouquet that blends fruity accents, aquatic tones and sandalwood notes provides the fragrance a “nouvelle fraiche” - a modern flavour.

This bouquet is built on a foundation of Fougère that is robustly strengthened by coumarin and lavender while being modernized by a copious use of transparent floral notes.

Dolce Gabanna Pour Home By Dolce Gabanna

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana

The reflection of the sophisticated and sexy Italian men.

The iconic Italian house has created a ‘perfect synthesis between their innate love of tradition and an ardent desire for what’s contemporary’. The style and elegance of the ‘Dolce & Gabbana’ man is perfectly illustrated by this Fougère through its peppery and freshness.

The warm tonka beans are paired exquisitely by the dryness of tobacco and cedar, upon which the iconic trio of pepper, sage and lavender unveils a spicy aromatic heart. All of which is opened with flaunting fresh tonalities of neroli, mandarin, bergamot and orange.

Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Launched in 1982, this was for almost a decade the most widely used men’s fragrance in the world, with nearly 50% of american males having worn it at some point. It is described as “the gentle forcefulness of a man’s perfume”.

As a result of a contemporary fruity note, updating a classical Fougère accord created a masculine bouquet that remains one of the top 10 perfumes in Europe.

A pineapple note has toned up the lavender base that is herbaceous with fresh mint, basil, verbena and rosemary. The spicy heart tones add a freshness while the musk, cedar and oakmoss heighten the woody finale to the note.

Top Notes : Lavender, Rosemary, Basil, Verbena
Heart Notes : Angelica, Cinnamon, Coriander, Juniper Berry
Base Notes : Balsam Fir, Patchouli, Vetiver, Oakmoss

Drakkar Noir By Guy Laroche
Tabac For Men By Maurer Wirtz

Tabac by Mäurer & Wirtz

Tabac was launched in 1959 and for the time it was a revelation with its soapy, creamy masculinity. The combination of aldehydes and tobacco were very innovative for its era.

Think of it as a "muscle car": slightly out of touch for everyday use but a classic that the world could not do without.

Top Notes: Aldehydes, Lavender, Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon
Heart Notes: Carnation, Orris Root, Jasmine, Rose, Pine Needles
Base Notes: Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Tobacco

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

Inspired by the mythical world of ancient Greece, a touch of elegant virility gives an atmosphere of the iconic greek gods.

A truly alluring perfume found on the all-conquering man of the 1980s, it was launched in 1981. One can literally smell the shoulder pads typical for the Eighties when sampling this perfume.

Top Notes : Artemisia, Coriander, Bergamot, Laurel
Heart Notes : Geranium, Jasmine, Carnation, Cinnamon
Base Notes : Patchouli, Vetiver, White Musks, Amber

Tom Ford Fougere D Argent

Fougère d’Argent by Tom Ford

Launched in 2018, Tom Ford Fougere d'Argent is a fougere for both men and women with coumarin prominent in the base. The inspiration behind the fragrance is to reinvigorate fougere as an olfactive category with a note reminiscent of classical fougeres.

Unlike a classical fougere, this notes opens with the freshness of ginger and mandarin.

Top Notes: Lavender, Ginger, Mandarin Orange
Heart Notes: Akigalawood, Labdanum
Base Notes: Coumarin


Perfume House Top Notes Heart Notes Base Notes
Fougere Royale (1775) Houbigant Lavender, Clary Sage, Bergamot Carnation, Orchid, Heliotrope, Rose, Geranium Tonka Bean, Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Coumarin
Tabac (1959) Maurer & Wirtz Aldehydes, Lavender, Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon Carnation, Sandalwood, Orris Root, Jasmine, Rose, Pine Tree Needles Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Tobacco
Brut Original (1964) Fabergé Orange Blossom, Aromatic Notes Geranium, Fern Accord Patchouli, Sandalwood, White Musks
Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973) Paco Rabanne Clary Sage, Rosemary, Rosewood, Laurel Geranium, Lavender, Tonka Bean Hiney, Oakmoss, White Musks, Amber
Azzaro Pour Homme (1978) Azzaro Fennel, Lavender, Anise, Basil Patchouli. Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cardamom Oakmoss, White Musks, Amber, Leather
Kouros (1981) Yves Saint Laurent Artemisia, Coriander, Bergamot, Laurel Geranium, Jasmine, Carnation, Cinnamon Patchouli, Vetiver, White Musks, Amber
Drakkar Noir (1982) Guy Laroche Lavender, Rosemary, Basil, Verbena Angelica, Cinnamon, Coriander, Juniper Berry Balsam Fir, Patchouli, Vetiver, Oakmoss
Boss No1 (1985) Hugo Boss Artemisia, Juniper Berry, Basil, Lemon Jasmine, Rose, Clary Sage, Honey Cedar, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Tobacco
Eternity For Men (1989) Calvin Klein Lavender, Bergamot, Lemon, Petitgrain Orange Blossom, Lily-of-the-Valley, Coriander, Juniper Berry Rosewood, Sandalwood, White Musks, Amber
Le Male (1995) Jean Paul Gaultier Artemesia, lavender, Mint, Bergamot, Cardamom, Caraway, Orange Blossom, Cinnamon Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Amber, Vanilla, Cedar
Prada Pour Homme (2006) Prada Cardamom Seed, Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli Orange Blossom, Geranium, Myrrh, Vetiver, Nirvanolide Labdanum Ciste, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Leather, Saffron
Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme (2012) Dolce & Gabbana Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli Sage, Pepper, Lavender Note Cedar, Tonka Bean, Tobacco
Fougère d’Argent (2018) Tom Ford Lavender, Ginger, Mandarin Orange Akigalawood, Labdanum Coumarin

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