Scented Ferns : On Fougeres

“If God gave ferns a scent, they would smell like Fougère Royale” is a sentence supposedly uttered by perfumer Paul Parquet who in 1882 created one of the earliest modern perfume legends, Fougère Royale for Houbigant. And so, you hear again and again the same story of ferns (fougères in French) being scentless and Parquet being the genius responsible for the first perfume that “didn’t imitate nature.” That Parquet was a creator of remarkable skill is beyond doubt, but are ferns really scentless?

estonia-forestfougere royale

For many years I thought so, but today I’ll gladly admit my mistake. There are numerous varieties of ferns, and even the ones with the most delicate of scents have a distinctive odor. In my new FT column, Fougères: fern-inspired perfumes, I explore my botanical discoveries and discuss some of my favorite fragrances in this ever popular family.

Extra readingPerfumers on Perfume : Paul Parquet and fougère perfume reviews.

On a related topic, do you have any perfumes that evoke the smell of a forest to you?

Left image: Estonian forest, photography by Bois de Jasmin. Right image: Fougère Royale for Houbigant ad.

 

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123 Comments

  • Jenny Katz: During the (admittedly brief) period, years ago, when I was a jogger, I used to run through one brief span of woods that smelled shockingly, stop-you-in-you-tracks deliciously, of sweet, sun-warmed peaches. There was no peach orchard in sight—just a dense patch of ferns, I have no idea what kind. For years I’ve looked for a perfume that captured the scent, and recently I’ve found one that comes close: the radiant opening hour or so of Aftelier’s Bergamoss, before it starts to dry down into something drier and mossier. Glory! March 21, 2016 at 7:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Peach scented ferns sound heavenly. I have been sniffing lots of ferns, ever since I discovered how good they can smell, and yes, there are some fragrant varieties. March 21, 2016 at 11:00am Reply

  • Karen A: A walk in a forest sounds heavenly! Although in the past fern-inspired fragrances might not have sounded appealing to me, they do right now. Perhaps starting to work in the garden and walks in the woods is sparking a craving for something new. March 21, 2016 at 8:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Have you ever tried fiddleheads? In the US I discovered that it’s a spring delicacy. March 21, 2016 at 11:01am Reply

      • Marcella Miller: Fiddleheads! Great seasonal treat here in Canada. They are now available in specialty produce markets, but I admit to picking my own. (which is considered a no-no).
        Gently sauteed in butter with a generous amount of lemon, lemon zest and pepper: delish March 21, 2016 at 2:35pm Reply

      • kayliz: Just googled fiddleheads: they look gorgeous! Right up my greens-loving street:) March 21, 2016 at 2:46pm Reply

        • Floralouise: Fiddleheads are a bit like young, fresh asparagus. I haven’t seen them in the stores yet. March 21, 2016 at 5:58pm Reply

      • Karen A: I have not, but have seen them for sale. I’m apprehensive about picking the wild ones – both because of being wary of picking the right ones and more so because I want all the wild plants (except poison ivy, thank you very much – even though I know that the birds love the berries) to just grow. March 21, 2016 at 3:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, I also worry about that. So, I just buy the farm grown ones. Korean stores sell dry fiddleheads, which are delicious. March 23, 2016 at 3:55pm Reply

      • Christine: Fiddleheads! YUM!!! March 22, 2016 at 9:01am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: We have a wonderful fern in Artis, the Zoo in Amsterdam. Fille en Aiguilles reminds me of this uplifting smell. March 21, 2016 at 8:18am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Ha, wait a minute…”fern” means ”varen” of course (Dutch). I was confounding it with ”fir”.
      Ferns don’t smell as far as I know. March 21, 2016 at 8:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Fille en Aiguilles is a beautiful perfume. March 21, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

      • Karen A: I just received a sample, thank you Limegreen! and I am loving it. March 21, 2016 at 3:45pm Reply

        • limegreen: You’re welcome! Not quite the pine and rosemary that you were craving (I think fresh rosemary is hard to capture) but the pine is so resinous/syrupy, isn’t it? March 21, 2016 at 3:47pm Reply

          • Alicia: My nose is quite eclectic, but pine is one of the few scents it doesn’t enjoy on my skin. Thus I was not impressed by Fille en Aiguilles. My Lutens’ Fille is the one in Berlin.
            I certailnly like the pine fragrance in the forest behind my house,where many types of ferns grow. I never noticed any smell in them,nor in the trilliums or the Virginia bells, and not in the wild violets, alas! Only the wintergreen aroma is quite noticeable, but soon the muguets will bring the scent of heaven to my woods. March 21, 2016 at 4:28pm Reply

            • Floralouise: Where I grew up (rural New England) trilliums were known as “stinking Benjamin” and I’ve always found them to have a pungent, almost skunky odor. March 21, 2016 at 5:55pm Reply

              • Alicia: Floralouise, it depends on the species of trilliums you have? Are yours burgundy or white? March 21, 2016 at 8:17pm Reply

                • Floralouise: Burgundy! I have seen white ones but they’re much less common around here. March 21, 2016 at 9:57pm Reply

                  • Alicia: Yes, the burgundy ones are skunky. I have a couple at the end of my woods in Upstate NY, but most of my trilliums are white. March 21, 2016 at 10:41pm Reply

          • Karen A: Ohhh, I am thoroughly enjoying it! March 21, 2016 at 4:54pm Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Alicia! Absolutely opposite here! La Fille de Berlin is sour and too soapy on my skin. The Lutens roses are not for me.
              Do you know this song?

              L’amour de moi s’y est enclose
              Dedans un petit jardinet
              Où croît la rose et le muguet
              Et aussi fait la passerose. March 21, 2016 at 5:06pm Reply

              • Alicia: Our chemistries disagree, Cornelia. La Fille de Berlin does not turn sour in my skin, instead A. Goutal Ce soir ou jamais unfortunately does.As for La Fille en Aiguilles I think it is the conipherous note (pine, fir, cypress?); I am not fond of them as a personal perfume, although I love them in nature. There are very few notes that I dislike per se, and LFeA happens to have it. True, I don’t dislike it in abstract as a fragrance, but it is not one for me. March 21, 2016 at 8:32pm Reply

                • Cornelia Blimber: Diversos diversa iuvant.

                  (we must say ”diversas” of course!) March 22, 2016 at 6:09am Reply

                  • Alicia: True, Cornelia, and as the Renaissance Italian poet, Serafino Aquilano, said: “per tanto variar Natura é bella.” March 22, 2016 at 11:04am Reply

  • Scented Salon: Ferns in a forest: delightful childhood memories. There is nothing more peaceful. Your photo could have just as easily been taken in the Latvian forest where I grew up. March 21, 2016 at 8:42am Reply

    • Victoria: It also looks like many Ukrainian forests, although the Baltic forests are wet woods, so the scent is very distinctive. March 21, 2016 at 11:06am Reply

    • Floralouise: Or the New England forests where I grew up. March 21, 2016 at 6:00pm Reply

  • sandra: Great Article-
    Living in the city I am not sure when is the last time I walked through a forest.

    How was your new year yesterday? I made your rice cookies but only made a dozen and realized after I re-read your recipe that it was suppose to make 30. So I did something wrong-made them too big I think. I used white poppy seeds instead of black. We also had a date truffles, Muhailbiyah and a big pot of herb noodle soup. March 21, 2016 at 8:44am Reply

    • Victoria: The bigger, the better! 🙂 I usually make mine small, but last time I was in a rush and some came out as large as the conventional cookies. Not as easy to eat, since they are so crumbly, but they were nevertheless tasty. You can also decorate them with almonds or pistachios.

      Your menu sounds great! Did you make date truffles yourself? March 21, 2016 at 11:08am Reply

      • sandra: yes
        I take about 12 dates pit them, put them in a food processor with a tablespoon of tahini and cardamon (a large pinch) then let the mixture cool in the fridge.
        I roll it into small balls and roll them onto toppings. I did coconut and powdered dark chocolate.
        You can do crushed nuts, ground Arabic coffee or whatever you have in your cabinet! Easy and de-lish March 21, 2016 at 1:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds delicious. I imagine that it would be great rolled in walnuts or pistachios. March 21, 2016 at 2:15pm Reply

          • sandra: the middle eastern cookbook I used for the recipe rolled them in coconut, coffee and toasted sesame seeds (yum) March 21, 2016 at 5:19pm Reply

            • Victoria: What book did you use? March 23, 2016 at 3:55pm Reply

              • Sandra: Pomegranates & Pine Nuts is the name

                Do you have a cookbook you would recommend? Not to heavy on the meat recipes March 23, 2016 at 3:58pm Reply

                • Victoria: Do you have The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden? March 23, 2016 at 4:14pm Reply

                  • Sandra: No I don’t, I just looked it up and they have a kindle version (I have used up all the cupboard space for a hardcopy). Do you recommend it? March 23, 2016 at 4:28pm Reply

                    • Victoria: Very much! It has lots of great recipes and many variations, including vegetarian ones. March 23, 2016 at 4:29pm

  • Kat: Tradition has it around here that a pillow full of dried fern helps against arthritis and rheumatism. Once you’ve helped collecting and drying fern you know for sure that they do have a scent.
    I used to collect wild blueberries and where they grow you’ll also find fern and heather. All together create the perfect late summer scent in an alpine forest – but I haven’t ever met anything close in perfume form. (Although I bravely sampled the whole Bergduft range.) March 21, 2016 at 8:44am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Kat! You are right, they smell, as Victoria said already…I clicked right away to the article in stead of reading the text–sorry, Victoria!
      I know ferns only from the flowershop, and there even roses don’t smell anymore. March 21, 2016 at 9:26am Reply

      • Victoria: True, they don’t. At least, hyacinths are still scented as are lilies. March 21, 2016 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: This is fascinating, and something I haven’t heard before. Interesting that you mentioned blueberries, because the forest I described in my article had plenty of them. March 21, 2016 at 11:09am Reply

      • Kat: I can attest to the fern’s healing properties. But in case you ever go collecting blueberries – make sure to always look under adjacent big fern bushes (and they will be around), lift the fern and there in its shadow the biggest blueberries will grow hiding from preying eyes. March 21, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

        • Kat: Oops, I meant I can’t tell you whether fern truly helps with rheumatism. I’m not quite that old yet but old enough to overlook typos. March 21, 2016 at 11:39am Reply

          • Victoria: Human brain blocks the typos out to focus on the general content, one theory that I’ve read. I’ll stick with it. 🙂 March 21, 2016 at 2:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: A good tip! I so miss the ritual of berry picking that we had with my grandmother. March 21, 2016 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Patricia: Lovely article, Victoria! I must try Eau Illuminee now, especially as I very much like the Parfums DelRae line.

    More fir than fern, my favorite forest fragrance is Ormande Jayne Woman. Tania Sanchez writes a wonderful review of it in The Guide, referring to its “witchiness.” March 21, 2016 at 10:03am Reply

    • Victoria: This is one of my favorite reviews by Tania, and yes, she described OJ Woman perfectly. A perfume for a dark forest out of the gothic fairy tales. March 21, 2016 at 11:10am Reply

  • limegreen: What a refreshing vista for the first days of spring, thank you! The wet humid mossy smell of ferns in the tropics is what I think ferns smell like. Too much competition from other fragrant things in the woods (white ginger grew wild, so fragrant).
    I find Caron Yatagan reminds me of a forest — not the wet lush ones but the dry pine forests in the Rockies. Bracing air in the high altitude kind of forest. (The other end of the spectrum would be Fille en Aiguilles, already mentioned above.) March 21, 2016 at 10:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I found that wild ginger had that most potent aroma, even the old, tough leaves. Another favorite is turmeric. I had a small piece of a fresh root that sprouted and the leaves were highly perfumed. My MIL said that in India it can be used for cooking. March 21, 2016 at 11:12am Reply

      • limegreen: Have you tried turmeric “tea”? I drank it regularly for a while and it was quite bracing. March 21, 2016 at 11:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t yet. I’ve meaning to try it. March 23, 2016 at 3:57pm Reply

  • Annikky: What a lovely article (and not only because it mentions Estonia), thank you so much! Although the link to the ‘family cottage’ was surprising 😉

    I don’t know if you’ve had time to read The Cabaret of Plans already, but it covers – among many other topics – the 19th century fern madness that I was completely unaware of previously. Fascinating stuff.

    As you say, Estonian forests tend to be damp and dark green (not all of them are, but my childhood woods were), so for me, Ormonde Jayne Woman and SSS Forest Walk are still the best at capturing the essence of a forest. March 21, 2016 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: I started the Cabaret of Plants a few months ago, but I got sidetracked by some novel recommendations in one of our threads here. I will definitely have to pick it up again. The 19th fern madness sounds intriguing.

      The hyperlinks (and article titles) aren’t picked by me. And well, didn’t you speak of your passion for the country manors–so, there. 🙂 March 21, 2016 at 11:16am Reply

  • Connie: This article is right on point, as I just visited a garden yesterday that is around the corner from me that has native perennials and ferns. Yes, the ferns do have a distinct fragrance. As I wandered through the garden checking on my favorites, Benzoin Lindera and Rue Anemone and taking note of the new plants sprouting out, I couldn’t help but smile at the new scents that greeted me with every step. If you want to take a look at what I saw visit this website: http://gpcnativegarden.org/fern_garden.htm
    This garden is just around the corner from me and I can’t wait to visit each week to see the many changes that occur with the seasons. Thank you for sharing your beauty of the fern fragrance. March 21, 2016 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I’d love to visit this garden, one of the largest collections of ferns. Does Benzoin Lindera smell like benzoin resin, vanilla-, cinnamon- like?

      Thank you for the link, Connie. March 21, 2016 at 11:18am Reply

      • Connie: Yes, this is what they make the Benzoin Essential Oil out of. It is quite lush smelling in your garden. I do not have a plant in my garden but I enjoy it there. I use Benzoin for several of my products and it is quite lovely. March 21, 2016 at 11:57am Reply

        • Victoria: Benzoin resin used in perfumery comes from trees in the genus Styrax (not to be confused with styrax balsam which comes from a different plant.) I thought that Lindera benzoin is named just because of its scent, but I have never actually smelled it.

          I’m actually burning some benzoin incense right now. March 21, 2016 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Teddee Grace: My mother could always smell morel mushrooms, which are only available for a short time each May in the Midwest. I always thought perhaps what she discerned was a combination of aromas that were prevalent that time of year in the correct environment for morels. March 21, 2016 at 10:43am Reply

    • Victoria: My grandmother could smell porcini mushrooms, and I remember that mushroom hunting with her was an activity requiring the full use of one’s nose. 🙂 March 21, 2016 at 11:19am Reply

  • Nick: It would be a stretch to categorise Pour Un Homme de Caron under fougère perfumes, but I think the stripped-down, minimalistic nature somewhat allows it to fit in amongst the modern fougères. And, what of Mouchoir de Monsieur?

    I find the freshness of Cool Water amazing, but also like haute laundry — blame it on the success of dihydromyrcenol. Other than those from the houses dedicated to perfumes, I find the mainstream fougères to be too similar to Drakkar Noir and Cool Water. Provided we adhere somewhat to the structure of fougères, I wonder what the next ‘new lavender’ is. March 21, 2016 at 10:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Michael Edwards classifies Pour Un Homme as Floral (in the same group as Nicolai Pour Homme), while Mouchoir de Monsieur is definitely a fougere to my mind. I think that besides lavender, coumarin is an important part of any fougere, so I found it interesting that the coumarin redolent fern is actually called “the hay scented fern”.

      Lavender, though, is a very interesting note and it’s open to so many interpretations. I still think that the ill-fated Burberry Rhythm for Her is one of the cleverest modern takes on this classical ingredient. March 21, 2016 at 11:25am Reply

      • Nick: That makes sense. It is almost like an accented soliflore.

        And, you are absolutely right. I keep forgetting the very meaning of the term: ferns. The other materials of the fougère are important. March 21, 2016 at 11:33am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s such a brilliant perfume, and while the composition is simple, it is ingenious. Have you tried Impact de Caron, the parfum version of Pour Un Homme? March 21, 2016 at 2:11pm Reply

          • Nick: Oh, I thought it was a different fragrance when I had a glimpse. I would be sure to check it out.

            In any case, my thoughts are with you and the people of Brussels. I hope you all are not terribly affected. March 22, 2016 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Elena: I love the smell of ferns! I grew up in a very rural area in Massachusetts, and there were ferns absolutely everywhere. The smell of fresh soil, crushed ferns, decomposing wood and leaves, and the forest in general was the perfume of my youth spent outdoors. I had few neighbors but acres and acres to explore, and ferns made a perfect shelter for dolls or imaginary fairies. March 21, 2016 at 1:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is something about ferns that inspires such fancies. Whenever I think of a fairytale forest, I imagine a place festooned with mosses and densely covered with ferns. March 21, 2016 at 2:14pm Reply

  • kayliz: I have samples of Fille en Aiguilles and Ormonde Jayne Wiman and love Fille especially, but don’t really appreciate the foresty associations that many other people get.
    Chypre Mousse, on the other hand, transports me every time to a deciduous forest on a damp autumn day: humus, mosses, mushrooms and wet leaves. I wear it only rarely but when the weather (and my mood) are right for it, nothing else seems to do. March 21, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: I need to retry Chypre Mousse! March 23, 2016 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Floralouise: I would love to find a perfume that smells like the forests on the coast of Maine where I used to hike in my twenties (and still occasionally do). The air seemed resinous and used to leave a dry woods, herbal, salty scent on my skin and clothes. A slight tang of grapefruit too. A lot of the trees had a bluish cast and juniper bushes are plentiful. That smell is my “madeleine.” March 21, 2016 at 6:28pm Reply

    • Gretchen: I have been searching for that same scent Ina perfume for years! If anyone knows of recommendations please share. March 21, 2016 at 10:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, this sounds like something I’d love too. March 23, 2016 at 3:56pm Reply

  • Katy McReynolds: Many whom enjoy fragrance describe fougeres as barbershop or like something their Grandfather would wear. One cannot help but believe that this is very faint praise indeed. I love this category of fragrance and think it is very under appreciated. I find it difficult to find them in my perfume desert as most people find the classic ones hopelessly old fashioned. I wear Pino Sylvestre Pino and Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo. I think JPG Fleur du Male and Paco Rabanne could fit in this category as well. I am happy to see that Houbigant is relaunching Fougere Royale. I shall have to order a sample. March 21, 2016 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree. But familiarity can breed contempt, and that is a very popular masculine fragrance family. March 23, 2016 at 3:57pm Reply

  • Michaela: Sorry Victoria…
    Are you and your husband OK? March 22, 2016 at 5:45am Reply

    • limegreen: After the shocking news, I came on the site to also wish safety. You are in our thoughts! March 22, 2016 at 7:39am Reply

      • Gretchen: Victoria, my thoughts raced to you before dawn here in the US when I read about the horror. May you, your husband, friends, and colleagues all be safe, and may you find comfort in one another. March 22, 2016 at 11:14am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much, Gretchen. March 23, 2016 at 4:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: We’re! Thank you. March 23, 2016 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Raquel: I hope you’re ok. March 22, 2016 at 7:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your concern. March 23, 2016 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Floralouise: My thoughts and prayers are with you. March 22, 2016 at 8:50am Reply

  • Aurora: Keeping you in my thoughts at this terrible time for Bruxelles. March 22, 2016 at 8:55am Reply

    • Aurora: And I enjoyed your article so much, it’s lovely of you to share it with us. Nuit Etoilee makes me think of a northern forest in winter. March 22, 2016 at 10:54am Reply

      • Victoria: I liked the EDP the most. That resinous drydown is a delight. March 23, 2016 at 3:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! March 23, 2016 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Marsi: I hope you and yours are well. Sad and scary times continue, unfortunately …. March 22, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your thoughts, Marsi. March 23, 2016 at 4:01pm Reply

  • mj: Victoria, I hope you and your family are ok. I’ve been watching all morning the tv news reports. So terribly sad!. March 22, 2016 at 9:38am Reply

  • Iodine: Hope you and your dear ones are OK. I’m so sad. March 22, 2016 at 9:40am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, we all are fine. March 23, 2016 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Jeanne: I just heard the terrible news. I hope you and all your loved ones are ok. You’re in my thoughts today. I wish I could say more. It’s hard to get my mind around such a terrible tragedy. March 22, 2016 at 9:47am Reply

  • spe: Victoria, I’m praying that you and your loved ones are okay. One day this nonsensical violence will stop. In the meantime, we must not fear this evil. We must be confident that good triumphs. Always.

    Regarding fougere, I grew up in the forests of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. I think that’s why I have difficulty with the category. The smell of ferns and forest are imprinted on my experience. Nothing really smells comparable. But that won’t stop me from trying Eau Illuminee! Thank you for your recommendation. March 22, 2016 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. To you and everyone else. I appreciate your comments and messages.

      Do try Eau Illuminee, please. It’s such a beautiful perfume. March 23, 2016 at 3:59pm Reply

  • AndreaR: Adding my prayers. March 22, 2016 at 10:51am Reply

  • meg: Take care of yourself. I’m so very sorry. March 22, 2016 at 10:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Meg. March 23, 2016 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Sapphire: Word on NST from Annikky and Robin is that you are safe. So relieved to hear it. Acts like this are inexplicable to me. March 22, 2016 at 11:07am Reply

    • Michaela: Thank God!
      And thank you, Sapphire, for the good news. March 22, 2016 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! March 23, 2016 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you very much, everyone! We’re fine. I have few words today, and I’m thinking of people in Brussels and also in Ankara, where a brutal attack took place just a week ago (and there were several others over the past months). It’s unbelievably tragic. March 22, 2016 at 11:15am Reply

    • dilana: I am so glad you are ok.
      I was so worried this morning.
      Of course
      i am so sad for those who have been hurt, whose loved ones have been hurt, both in Brussels this morning and in so many places recently.
      As for your question,
      I am wearing Mossy Breaches, a wonderful green incense scent which was an unheralded
      Tom Ford private collection. It reminds me camping in the Northern Adrondack mountains. March 22, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you, Dilana.

        Mossy Breaches, of which I keep thinking as Mossy Beaches, is another green perfume that makes me think of ferns. March 23, 2016 at 4:04pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: Glad to hear you’re safe. The feelings of many people here in Germany, including myself, are torn between overwhelming sympathy and willing to help those escaping from this horror and the paralysing feeling of fear of what is yet to come…
      I’m sending lot of warm wishes your way. Stay safe. March 22, 2016 at 1:56pm Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you so much! Same to you. Many warm wishes. March 23, 2016 at 4:04pm Reply

    • solanace: Too much war in this world. Way too much. Glad you are safe. March 22, 2016 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Natalie: Off topic but I wanted to say I’m keeping the people of Belgium in my prayers. And I am praying for the senseless violence to end and for peace. 911 taught me to go on living fearlessly because what they want is for people to be in terror of them and I for one won’t let them do that to me. March 22, 2016 at 1:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Natalie. March 23, 2016 at 4:04pm Reply

  • solanace: Dear Victoria, I hope you and yours are ok. Sending you a big Shalimar hug. My heart is with you. March 22, 2016 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. Hugs are always welcome, and Shalimar scented ones especially so. 🙂 March 23, 2016 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Sophie: Very glad to read that you are safe. I used to live in Waterloo as a child, and Belgium remains very close to my heart. So sad. March 22, 2016 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I visited Waterloo a few times, and I liked it very much.

      Thank you, Sophie. March 23, 2016 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Linda: Sephora used to sell its own line of shower gels, which included fern and rosemary scents — I wish they were still on the market. March 22, 2016 at 8:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that sounds very good. March 23, 2016 at 3:53pm Reply

  • john: Thank you for this lovely piece. It feels odd coming late to this thread after so many other things have been said, but I’ve long since accepted that it is possible (and even a good idea sometimes) to break up grief or concern or anxious speculation with contemplation of something like a fern. So, again, thank you for your writing. I was happy to see some of the scents mentioned in this thread as well; I have only sampled the Lutens, but thought of it as a distant relative to Yatagan, which I own and love. Having only just received it this winter (and shelved it for spring), I’m very curious to see if it reveals a different personality in summer, as many reviewers have compared it to the aroma of the ‘high desert’ (I’d love this to be so for me… As a boy I used to visit a hermit aunt who lived in a shepherd’s cabin near the Mojave desert and the smells have always stayed with me). Speaking of perfumes with dual personalities, I wanted to add a point to the conversation about Pour Un Homme… It is my signature, and having worn it day in and day out for much of about eight months now, I’ll argue for it’s place as a fougere rather than a floral. Its initial lavender absolute is so strong that this tends to dominate the impression this fragrance makes, but in the overlap between minty-caramelic lavender and musky vanilla is an unmistakeable fern note. For me, it is this lovely hay note that actually what holds PuH together and makes it so stabilizing. The revelation for me came last summer when jogging along the beach by the foggy dunes of the Oregon coast. The wind was blowing the scent of nearby vanilla grass and it smelled almost identical to Pour Un Homme… And of course vanilla grass is a source of coumarin. To think of Caron’s staple not as an enhanced soliflore but as a study in the hay note that extends from the bracing lemon-lavender start to the vanillin skin scent, is, in my opinion,to gain a new understanding of why it has been a staple for such a long time. March 23, 2016 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, John. I loved your description of Pour Un Homme. You’ve captured all that I love about it.

      Another Caron’s fougere I love is Le 3eme Homme. Just brilliant. March 23, 2016 at 3:52pm Reply

      • john: Thank you for mentioning it! I tried the Third Man (love the film) at the Caron Boutique in New York and found it spellbinding. I really had not experienced ‘indolic’ jasmine prior to this, and ran into it again a day or two later at the CB I Hate Perfume fragrance library in Brooklyn when I smelled ‘Where We Are There Is No Here’, without a doubt the most beautiful use of Jasmine I have ever encountered. As for Le 3em Homme, I do mean to revisit it someday soon. March 23, 2016 at 9:14pm Reply

  • NBelle: I actually would love to have a perfume inspired, and scented like, the a walk in a forest!

    I grew up in the PNW, and I do miss the walks and the pines. I love the scent of crushed leaves, and soil. Ferns were also aplenty, and I remember the dusty red pollen on the backsides of the leaves. Ah… homesick now haha.

    On another note, I’ve eaten fiddleheads in Yunnan, a Southwestern province of China. It is quite delicious, and has a meaty yet delicate texture. I think they cooked it with river fish soup, and little seasoning other than salt and chopped spring onion. Yum! April 1, 2016 at 6:39am Reply

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  • Karen A in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Mine too! They are such wonderful shrubs/small trees. Yes, except the Burkwoodi is a pale pink, but the others are all native to this region. April 27, 2017 at 4:04pm

  • ana in Recommend Me a Perfume April 2017: Oh, thank you, the vetivers sound very, very good — I’m going to have to find myself a better-paying job soon! 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 4:00pm

  • Aurora in Cherry Blossom Haiku: I enjoyed this mix of poetry and humour, Victoria, and well done on the gardening, but take good care of your back! Lilacs across the street are in bloom, purple… April 27, 2017 at 3:03pm

  • Maria in Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes: It really is a nice iris!! I also like the Absolue and Iris-cedre versions, but the on and off effect is better done,for me, in the original Infusion d’iris 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 1:27pm

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