I've fallen in love with a fragrance family, the fougere. French for fern, fougere is a fantasy concept meant to capture the scent of the natural habitat of ferns - the forest floor. The principal notes in a fougere are oakmoss, tonka bean and lavender.
The first fougere was Fougere Royale by Houbigant, created in 1882, and spurred a whole new perfume category. While it's probable that these fragrant chords were popular before the release of Fougere Royale, the fragrance captured a moment in time and has forever become linked with it's origination. Houbigant was the first house to develop a scent chemical meant to
replicate the scent of fresh mown hay, otherwise known as coumarin.
Coumarin is present in tonka beans, hay, sweet clover, sweet woodruff,
sweetgrass, flouve and deertounge and in lesser degrees lavender,
cassia, cherries, strawberries and apricots. It is an overall pleasant odor reminiscent of sweet grass with vanilla overtones.
Jicky by Guerlain was created soon after in 1889 and it has notes of lavender, rosemary, bergamot, opoponax, precious woods, vanilla, and tonka bean.
Fougere captured the imagination of perfumers who used tonka, oakmoss and lavender as a base to create new versions of the concept. Often the base is supplemented by patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood and myrrh. Often there is a rosy heart supported by geranium and clary sage, jasmine and orange blossom with top notes of lavender, rosewood, citrus, rosemary and bergamot. There are sub-categories of floral, fresh, oriental, amber, leather and precious wood fougeres.
I'm hosting a fougere workshop in my home atelier on Saturday, July 27th. We'll be sampling Fougere Royale, Jicky and a careful selection of fragrances by some of the botanical perfume world's best perfumers including Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Charna Ethier, Ayala Moriel and others. Each participant will get to create two perfumes using an assortment of oils I've collected just for the occasion. Tonka bean, sweet clover and hay absolute will be on hand along with several lavender absolutes and essential oils. This will be an opportunity to experiment with a few rare and precious oils like orris, ambrette, choya nak, ho wood, buddahwood and wild sweet orange.
Saturday, July 27th
1:30 to 4:30
$130 includes all materials
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Call (718)788-6480 or send an email to email@example.com for more information or to register.