A Side-By Side Vintage Versus Re-Issue Comparison...
*This is primarily a review of the vintage EdC of Fougere Royale with a side-by side comparison to the current EdP re-issue...
Fougere Royale EdC (vintage) opens with very aromatic lavender and mild bergamot before quickly transitioning to its primary overall accord as the lavender remains, now coupling with a combination of oakmoss and hay-like coumarin rising from the base, with a very mild cinnamon undertone with mild herbs joining it. During the later stage of the dry-down the scent grows faint with hints of vanilla detectable underneath the rapidly receding herbal green accord. Projection and longevity are well below average, with the scent lasting only 3 hours on skin before it is nearly undetectable.
Fougere Royale EdP (re-issue) opens with a sparkling bergamot mixing with a more subdued lavender than the EdC and a very notable cinnamon or nutmeg undertone. The scent has a very soapy vibe that is missing the oakmoss and coumarin the EdC features so prominently early, instead focusing on the bergamot, lavender and cinnamon solely. This combination holds for most of the scent's duration until the later dry-down, as very subtle oakmoss is revealed as the bergamot and lavender completely dissipate. Joining the just detectable oakmoss is a relatively dry amber that rounds out the scent's development. Projection is average and longevity is below average at about 4-6 hours on skin.
Fougere Royale EdC (vintage) is a fine example of what many of the best old-school fougeres replicate. It is heavily driven by oakmoss and coumarin with aromatic lavender in strong support for the primary accord, and what an accord it is! I did find it a bit smoother and much more wearable than the rough around the edges accord I was expecting based on others who have smelled it before. That said, it was a very pleasant surprise as some of those rough scents like Crown's Fougere and Penhaligons' English Fern were both just too much for me and I really disliked them both. In contrast, Fougere Royale EdC is very wearable, much less vociferous and quite gorgeous and natural smelling with the oakmoss and coumarin really making the composition work. The vinatge EdC is as rare as they come and a long since discontinued full bottle may be near impossible to obtain for anywhere near sane money on the aftermarket, but if you get a chance to sample this 4.5 star out of 5 juice that launched the Fougere genre, I highly recommend it.
A brief comment on the EdP Fougere Royale re-issue... I sniffed the reissue first as I had my sample of that one before obtaining the vintage juice and was initially highly impressed. When analyzed as its own scent without the Fougere Royale legacy to live up to the EdP re-issue really does smell great. It is a relatively simplistic composition of bergamot, lavender and cinnamon over a lightly soapy base; nothing more, nothing less. A very clean and easy to wear scent that is stronger in potency and lasts longer than the original while projecting better too. That said, it just does not strike me as a true fougere and when you smell it side-by-side to the EdC its deficiencies are made all the more clear. It also is relatively pricey at $170 (or $600 for the lacquered box version) for 100ml considering it is such a linear simplistic scent no matter how pleasant. I love it, but I find it hard to recommend at that price point and also with the knowledge that it only is a faint shadow of the original EdC. Still, it earns a 3.5 to 4 star out of 5 rating in its own right.