When 'Fou d'Absinthe' was launched in 2006, I was quite unimpressed by the fragrance.
I liked the name, and I liked (and like) at least Pastis, which is not far away from Absinthe. But not only Pastis or Ouzo, also Anis pastries and everything flavoured with fennel seeds - I love this idiosyncratic and typical taste, or smell, and know that many things are different.
Alone, I didn't find any anise or pastis in 'Fou d'Absinthe' at all, which - I still remember quite well - disappointed me for a long time, because as I said: the name of the fragrance was what I liked most. 'Fou d'Absinthe' - somehow picturesque, bold and bizarre.
That was the scent, but not the scent.
Instead: well-groomed Barbershop boredom.
So I thought in 2006, and with Fougère fragrances I had no contract anyway at that time, since I had finally outgrown the world of the Fougères, into which one is almost born as a man, and had risen to the chypre fragrances.
In the meantime, concerning my scent preferences, I have made quite a U-turn and have become a great friend of the once reviled Fougères, at least of the classical and aromatic variants, less of the fresh-aquatic and certainly not of the Ambrox faction.
So now I have rediscovered 'Fou d'Absinthe': the manageable rest in my old sample had survived the years surprisingly well and the perfumery of my trust even had a new bottle of the meanwhile quite rare scent.
And what can I say: I'm pretty happy with 'Fou d'Absinthe'!
A wonderfully darkly flavoured Fougère scent (today I also notice the anise/fennel notes!), which has a fantastic durability at least on my skin and textiles, with moderate projection at the same time. A typical gentleman's fragrance: moderate in volume, ladies, also olfactory, giving way.
In the comments on 'Fou d'Absinthe', it is precisely this decency that is a great shortcoming for many: the fragrance is too quiet, fades away too quickly, is powerless, etc.
Quiet it is, yes, but it hasn't vanished for a long time, at least not with me.
I particularly like the liqueur-like opening, which always surprises me and which I experience differently every time. Sometimes he reminds me of the gingerbread bliss of a 'Jägermeister', sometimes the bitter sweetness of a 'Becherovka' penetrates, and every now and then a bitter-aromatic pastis actually comes to mind. In any case, my spirits associations are constantly changing with regard to the prelude. But one thing is for sure: very alcoholic. A schnapps for spraying on, so to speak, but without intoxicating effect - but the hangover is also absent.
Unfortunately, this snap start is not of long duration and the spice-heavy heart dominates the action. Dark and sharp chords give the fragrance softness and bite at the same time, all resting on a balsamic, mossy-green base.
Some people are reminded of old shaving soaps, which I can understand very well, because I myself use a soap of the brand 'Gold-Dachs', which actually smells something similar: powdery, woody and fresh-balsamic at the same time.
Often the fragrance is also called 'green', which in my opinion is not quite true, because I associate the colour green with the mossy aspects (and also with absinthe), but the woody nuances are at least as present as the powdery ones.
So a picture that someone else has found to describe this fragrance, hits the character of 'Fou d'Absinthe' quite well: ...standing in the woods with a shaving brush. I could imagine: ...before I had an Absinthe/Pastis twittered and a few liquorice snails in my pocket.
The brownish tones of the woods change here with the green of the leaves and mosses, as well as the white of the foamed shaving brush.
All this is neither spectacular nor new: aromatic Fougères were already enriched with anise notes in the 70s - best example: 'Azzaro pour Homme'.
And yet (even though Luca Turin finds the fragrance boring...) I think 'Fou d'Absinthe' has enough character and charm to hopefully stay with us for a long time to come.
A good sign is that 'Puig' - owner of the brand 'L'Artisan Parfumeur' since 2016 - has thinned out the old portfolio, but has retained a very large proportion of what I believe to be really important fragrances. Fou d'Absinthe' is fortunately one of them, like almost all fragrances by Olivia Giacobetti, but also those of her successor: Bertrand Duchaufour.
Unfortunately, the brand is no longer particularly present in the face of all sorts of niche companies that are constantly reviving themselves - a fate that this indie dinosaur (founded in 1976!) shares with many other heroes from the early days of the alternative market.
But let's hope for the best: 'Mûre et Musc', 'Timbuktu', 'Dzongkha', 'Tea for Two', 'Safran Troublant' and even 'Dzing!', which rumor has it should be stopped long ago - all still there. And yes, also 'Fou d'Absinthe'.
By the way, the fragrance reminds me again and again of the much later 'Invasion Barbare', also a dark tinted, strongly flavoured Fougère, but with an incomparably higher potency. Invasion Barbare' is so present that one is almost buried under it: strong, loud, with unbelievable durability and enormous sillage, just as (almost) everyone wants a scent.
It's different for me: I'm quite happy if a fragrance isn't already in the room before I enter it. A radiation of more than one arm length is rather unpleasant for me and an imposition towards my fellow human beings.
Fou d'Absinthe' is just the thing for me: an arm's length, then it's over. And that after just over an hour. What remains is a wonderful skin scent that I encounter again and again in the course of a day.
That's enough for me.