Robert Piguet Baghari : Fragrance Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The decisions of fragrance houses to reach into their archives tend to elicit mixed feelings in me. While getting a whiff of a 1920s boudoir or a 1950s cocktail party seems like an intriguing proposition, the past cannot be resurrected in all of its complex and intricate detail. The reissued fragrances would inevitably differ from their predecessors either due to commercial (change in tastes) or practical (disappearance of raw materials) considerations. At worst, the juice in the bottle would have little to do with the fragrance that supposedly inspired it. Thankfully, the recent reorchestration of Baghari respects the Robert Piguet tradition, resulting in a fragrance that combines modern radiance with neoclassical softness.

The original Baghari was created in 1950 by Francis Fabron, the perfumer who is responsible for such marvels as Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps (1948), Balenciaga Le Dix (1947) and Givenchy L’Interdit (1957). Fabron’s work is exemplified by the distinctive style that is often referred to as French. Elegant and polished with a delicate accent of powdery notes, his compositions have a romantic, wistful aura. Baghari is likewise built on a luxurious floral bouquet of rose, jasmine and iris, with pronounced woody warmth. It is perhaps darker and more assertive than Fabron’s other creations, but these qualities assure consonance with the rest of the Piguet line. Although Baghari was marketed in 1950 as a fresh, subtle fragrance for a young woman, I would have to admit that the original version might come across as old-fashioned to consumers raised on fruity-floral fare.

Baghari was reorchestrated this year by Aurélien Guichard of Givaudan, the creator of the excellent Bond no 9 Chinatown. When wearing it side by side with the vintage Baghari, the differences are thrown into relief. The main differences are apparent in the top notes and the drydown. The whiteness of aldehydes in the new Baghari is instead replaced with sweet, almost candy-like notes. The woody dryness of the base is laced with a pronounced dose of iris which preserves the luxurious effect while lending a modern lustre to the composition. Yet, the heart of the composition allows a glimpse of the original romantic softness resulting from the rainfall of flower petals. Being related to Chanel No. 5 and Le Dix, Baghari seems like a sweeter, crisper take on that theme.

While Baghari accomodates the contemporary preferences for the instant gratification of a pretty top note, this change in the formula distorts neither the character nor the complexity of the composition. Even if it does not exactly replicate the scent of a cocktail party from the 1950s, it beautifully conveys retro glamour. For a romantic such as myself, this is quite irresistible.

The original 1950 Baghari included notes of aldehydes, bergamot, orange blossom, lemon, rose, lilac, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, jasmine, Bourbon vetiver, benzoin, musk, amber, vanilla. The 2006 Baghari features bergamot, neroli, violet, aldehydes, jasmine, orange blossom, rose (Bulgarian or Damascene), rose Centifolia, iris, vetiver, amber, musk, vanilla. It is available from Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman in the US, Harvey Nichols in the UK, and Le Bon Marché and Les Printemps in France.

Robert Piguet gowns photo from Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics.



  • Nick: Dear Victoria,

    I look forward to visiting Baghari!
    I have just received my Bandit Eau de Toilette, and the label on the bottle has “Bandit” written in capitals rather than in lower case like the parfum and Eau de Parfum. In addition, it says it is made in France, not the U.S like the parfum. You know what I’m wondering. Would be great if you could glance your Bandit EDT just to check if the label is in capitals, or any other readers too. Want to know I have the real deal.

    Best, September 7, 2006 at 9:55pm Reply

  • patchamour: Dear Victoria,

    What a charming thought — to drop in, via perfume, on a cocktail party from the 1950’s! Or at least on retro glamour. Perfume can evoke such nostalgia, I find. A side question: Is the readily available L’Air du Temps similar to that same perfume in the 70’s and 80’s? I recently bought a bottle of the EDP, but it didn’t seem familiar, somehow. September 7, 2006 at 10:32pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I very much look forward to trying Baghari, V! I love his other creations, particularly L’Air du Temps, so this may be a possibility for me.

    Unfortunately, to answer Patchamour’s question, L’Air du Temps has been changed. I recently bought a bottle of the EdP, and it had much less vibrancy and character than the original that I wore in the 60’s and 70’s. The lasting power for an EdP is not up to par, either.

    Hugs! September 7, 2006 at 10:56pm Reply

  • Dusan: V, great to see you back with your beautiful reviews! I hope everything is well with your new home.
    I have never tried today’s fragrance in either versions, but I do have a question regarding reformulations – in July I got a wonderful birthday present from my girlfriend – a bottle of Habit Rouge. Now, Guerlains are hard to find here, but luck would have it that I spotted a single HR at one of our biggest perfume stores two days before my b-day. The strangest thing is that they don’t carry Guerlain (no one does), yet they had a tester for that one bottle of HR. I tried it and instantly fell in love, which helped my GF decide on the present ;-). Ok, so she bought it, I hardly waited until we got out to rip open the cellophane and then I was a bit miffed to discover it was a splash, rather than a spray bottle. Nevermind, I said, it’s the jus that is important. And it was. Still, I’ve worn it a lot ever since, and have come to realize the tester was a bit different: heavier on vanilla and cleaner, while my jus opens with a blast of citrus and dries down to earthy, dirty, spicy vanilla, which I love WAY better. I am also quite certain the tester was an EdT (transparent glass), rather than an EdP (red bottle), which would explain the difference. So, my question is (at long last) – has HR been reformulated and, if so, does my bottle come closer to the original?
    One other thing, at the bottom of the box it says “100 ml 3.4 Fl OZ No. 501” – what does 501 mean? On the side it also says (among other things) COPYRIGHT GUERLAIN 1996.
    Hope you could help. Thanks, Vic, and sorry for the lengthy post.
    Hugs September 7, 2006 at 11:30pm Reply

  • dani: I was at Neiman Marcus today and I tried it, I though it was a little too strong for me September 7, 2006 at 10:53pm Reply

  • Marina: Fascinating! I have some old Baghari and am very much looking forward to trying the new one. Thank you very much for the review. September 7, 2006 at 11:15pm Reply

  • sdn: speaking of piguet … i bought a five-fragrance tester display from the mid-60s off ebay. it features bandit, visa, fracas, baghari, and calypso. the perfumes seem to have all gone bad except the fracas. but maybe you can smell something i can’t, so i’d be happy to send it to you. September 7, 2006 at 11:23pm Reply

  • Ina: Oh, this sounds irresistible! I cannot wait to try it! September 8, 2006 at 12:10am Reply

  • Judith: Welcome back (in a manner of speaking:) I hope you are settled in well! And what a truly beautiful review. I have put on some of the sample of Baghari that I got yesterday, and I am loving it (it does much better when it is not competing–and confused–with 15 other ‘fumes:) It does evoke Le Dix for me (more that no. 5), but it’s its own scent. It seems much more aldehydic (and complex) than most new fragrances, or am I wrong about that? (I am terrible at note analysis). Since, as you know, I just bought the gorgeous Soir de Lune, I have mixed feelings about liking this one so much too! I definitely cannot afford to buy it right now, but it is probably looming in my future. . . September 8, 2006 at 8:09am Reply

  • Elle: Am thrilled to see that this is a respectful reissue. I adore the original and didn’t realize that its creator was also responsible for those other three scents – which I adore. I can’t wait to try this new version of Baghari. September 8, 2006 at 8:36am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, I wanted to clarify my comment: I just noticed that you referred to Bandit Eau de Toilette. That is indeed a fake, unless it is older than 10 years. Fracas for Men is also a fake. Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics makes Fracas and Bandit on the EDP and the parfum. September 8, 2006 at 12:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, I find the vintage fragrances to be just amazing just for that reason–they allow me to time travel.

    I agree with violetnoir below that L’Air du Temps has unfortunately been reformulated. It used to contain a large dose of musk ambrette, which is now considered toxic. The distinctive floral aspect of musk ambrette worked with the rest of the composition to create its special carnation complex. Now, it is not to be used anymore, and there are no comparable substitutes. I treasure my vintage bottle. September 8, 2006 at 1:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dani, I did not find it too strong for me, but then again, I like richer blends. It is a good idea to try for oneself. September 8, 2006 at 1:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, yes, I am very disappointed to discover L’Air du Temps to be changed. Sometimes, this is just inevitable.

    Hope that you get to try Baghari soon. I think that you might enjoy it. September 8, 2006 at 1:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, they have enough similarities to see that one is a reissue of another. If you like the old one and do not mind extra sweetness, you will enjoy the new version. September 8, 2006 at 1:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: S, thank you very much for your kind offer. I already have a similar set, and mine was in decent condition, apart from Fracas (ironically!) I love the clear bottles, although the dark ones used now are probably better for preserving the perfume. September 8, 2006 at 1:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, thank you very much. The unpacking is getting done slowly.

    As for Habit Rouge (originally created in 1965), it definitely was changed throughout its lifetime. The bottle and box designs were changed in 1985 and then 1996 (which is when I suspect most of the reformulation took place). The EDP must be the newer formulation, to begin with. Originally, the range included eau de cologne, after shave. Eau de Toilette was introduced in 1988. September 8, 2006 at 1:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, it is very lovely! September 8, 2006 at 1:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, thank you! I am glad that you also see Le Dix, but yes, I agree that Baghari is distinctive enough. It is similar, but not identical. I have been wearing it almost daily since I got it, and it is such a beautiful and romantic fragrance. September 8, 2006 at 1:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, given the fact that many of the reissues seem to be miles apart from the original versions, it is great to discover the re-edition that respects its predecessor. I also realize the difficulties of trying to reintroduce something as the exact same copy of the original. The best solution for us, vintage fragrance lovers, would be the Osmotheque. Preferrably, the one in the US. 🙂 September 8, 2006 at 1:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Jenn, I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts! September 8, 2006 at 1:35pm Reply

  • chaya ruchama: I just sampled it this am, and I’m very pleased so far with the opening, middle, and drydown-my only concern will be- does it last?

    And- dare I purchase yet another bottle…

    Thanks for the fair and informative review [as always !] September 8, 2006 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Dusan: V, thank you so much for the information. So I guess I’ve got the reformulated version :(. I’m still puzzled over the number 501, though.
    Hugs September 8, 2006 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Dusan: V, thank you so much for the information. So I guess I’ve got the reformulated version :(. I’m still puzzled over the number 501, though.
    P.S. I’ve just finished my sample of Iris Silver Mist and now I so so sad. It is hauntingly beautiful! September 8, 2006 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Robin: V, lovely review, and I really like the Baghari although it is not at all what I expected, knowing nothing of Piguet other than Bandit & Fracas. But “retro glamour” is exactly right, and the packaging is perfect. Was the original bottle different? September 8, 2006 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Jenn: Can’t wait to smell this; I am hoping it will be the Piguet fragrance I can wear. September 8, 2006 at 11:59am Reply

  • sdn: wait, the bandit edt is a fake? what’s the difference, and why is it being distributed? September 8, 2006 at 6:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, my pleasure! It lasts quite well on me, and it has a great sillage. I am still anticipating the parfum with impatience. I would imagine that it is even more stunning. September 8, 2006 at 11:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, N501 is a lot number. It indicates that your bottle is from the 1996 lot. September 8, 2006 at 11:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, Iris Silver Mist is gorgeous! It is one of my favourite fragrances. I hope that you can replenish your supplies soon. September 8, 2006 at 11:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, the original bottle was almost the same shape as the current parfum bottles for Fracas and Bandit, but it was completely clear. The original Baghari is very lady-like and elegant, but with a bit of an edge, just like the rest of Piguet fragrance line. September 8, 2006 at 11:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: S, Bandit in the EDT was made years ago, but it has not been sold in the last decade. The current official licensee for Robert Piguet is Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics, and they are not producing the EDT in any of their fragrances. So, whatever is sold now as the EDT is a counterfeit copy (no connection to the current manufacturer), unless you by chance come upon a bottle from the vintage stock. The bottles and boxes of the vintage EDTs do not resemble the current design at all. They have rounded edges and come in splash only. September 8, 2006 at 11:21pm Reply

  • Nick: Dear Victoria,

    Thankyou. The moment I held the unopened box, I knew something was up. They chose the wrong person to punk! September 9, 2006 at 1:58am Reply

  • Donald: I’ve got a bottle of Bandit EDT bought in the middle of 80’s in the most respectable perfumery of Marseille, rue saint-ferreol. The bottle was alone in a drawer, forget by the saleswomen… The bottle for the test was a transfered perfume, an horror !
    The name Bandit is in capital, write in clear Yellow on a brilliant black box. There is a drawing in clear yellow and mat black representing au flame stylised. In the bottom, we can read REF.94402, Parfums ROBERT PIGUET made in France For Orinter Geneva Switzerland.
    May be is an autentic… I can send the scan.
    Donald September 9, 2006 at 6:18am Reply

  • LisaCarol: Victoria, I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite some time and I find your writing and imagry absolutely superb, it’s always such a pleasure to come here! And this Baghari review is no exception! Ever since I heard about the re-issue, I’ve been longing to, if not try on, at least hear about the original, and your words on it makes it sound irresistible! Even if the new composition is indeed a lovely one, personally I find that there is too much amber/vanilla in the base (reminiscent of Bond’s Broadway Nite), which makes it almost oriental in spirit, to really rear me in. The original, however, seems to be lacking this, which is (partly) why I find myself craving it – my missing floral if you wish.
    I agree that the new version is indeed a scent with a retro feeling, the sweetness in it makes me think of ice-cream stands, with girls in vichy prints and alice bands queing in front. I find it all very summery, which has me wondering why Piguet choose to launch the scent now, when summer is over?

    Concerning Bandit EDT, I know that “our mutual friend” CarmenCanada has a bottle of it, which, if memory serves me right, was given to her by Robert Piguet’s grandson. I find it hard to believe that he would have given her a dupe… Hopefully Carmen will stop by and enlighten us on the subject! September 9, 2006 at 10:11am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    How are you ? Beautiful new website decoration ! Question: What are your 5 favorites personal fragrances -of all time . Just wondering. I do not have a SINGLE one – I love many ! Thinking of you !
    Your perfume devotee reader –
    Madelyn E September 9, 2006 at 11:03am Reply

  • Katie: Lovely, lovely new design, V. Very clean, very appealing. Nice work! 🙂 September 9, 2006 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Din: I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE! I love it.
    PLEASE DON’T STOP – Keep on writing until you’re 100 years old!

    God bless you,
    Din September 10, 2006 at 2:36am Reply

  • Diane: Oh, this sounds gorgeous! I love the original L’Interdit as you know, and upon your suggestion, tried Le Dix and that’s my speed, too. Vintage L’Air du Temps is beautiful. Surely, I will fall for Baghari…

    Ditto Din’s remarks! God bless you, dear. You are such a talent! September 10, 2006 at 6:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, I hope that you can resolve it! Good luck! September 11, 2006 at 12:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Donald, the bottle you describe sounds like an authentic EDT bottle. The counterfeit copies are similar to the current EDP design, with some variations around the typeface and shape. September 11, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: LisaCarol, thank you very much for a wonderful compliment. I am also enjoying the new Baghari. I agree that the sweetness is much more pronounced, especially in the top notes. The drydown loses some of it. I love your image of in vichy prints and alice bands!

    I am certain that whatever D. received is authentic, but it is likely to be from an older stock. Donald described a vintage EDT bottle above. The only licensee and distributor FF&C has not been making the EDT for the past decade. Another counterfeit Piguet is Fracas for Men. September 11, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, thank you! Top 5 favourites would be a tough call to make, but right now they are: Chanel Bois des Iles, Guerlain Mitsouko, Fracas, Caron Nuit de Noel, Hermes Doblis. September 11, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, thank you! I am glad that you like it. September 11, 2006 at 12:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Din, thank you for your kind words! I hope that my nose would still be in the working order when I am 100. 🙂 September 11, 2006 at 12:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Diane, knowing your tastes, I guarantee that it will be love at first sniff for you. It is gorgeous!

    Thank you for your sweet words! September 11, 2006 at 12:52pm Reply

  • sdn: i just got a sample of this — it is lovely! the orange floats on top and it’s sophisticated without being overly fruity or floral. it’s an interesting counterpoint to fracas and bandit, both of which i also love (but in different ways). October 5, 2006 at 9:12pm Reply

  • Gail S: I don’t know if you get notification of comments on old posts, but I wanted you to know that I linked to this review of Baghari on my blog.
    I like the perfume very much and appreciated your description of it which I couldn’t top no matter how hard I tried! February 18, 2007 at 12:11pm Reply

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