New Perfume Launches and Fragrance Trends : Fougere, Orange Blossom and More

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Are we safe from more oud? I certainly hope so. There has been a scattering of oud launches that lagged behind the recent onslaught, but so far there have not been many announcements of new fragrances focused on that now clichéd theme. As I survey the market, I mostly see a tendency towards classical themes this spring, with interpretations of either traditional genres or classical raw materials. I am eagerly anticipating the launch of Hermès Jardin Sur Le Toit and Tom Ford Lavender Palm (see more details about these new fragrances below); both from houses which never fail to offer something interesting. So here is another installment of my trend watch report which continues my earlier thoughts on perfume trends in 2011.

More White Flowers : Orange Blossom

As we move further into spring launches, I notice a strong trend in orange blossom dominated compositions. I find orange blossom to be an interesting note, not only because of its beautiful profile combining warm sweetness with green and animalic facets, but also because orange blossom has different associations in the European and US markets. In Europe, and particularly France where the orange flower is commonly used to scent baby products, it has very tender, innocent connotations. On the other hand, in the US it tends to be seen as more mature and sophisticated.

On the bright and delicate side of the orange blossom spectrum, we have Coach Summer to be launched in April. Created by perfumer Harry Frémont, it explores the sparkling, petally orange blossom impression, along the lines of Estée Lauder Wild Elixir. Lancôme will launch Ô de l’Orangerie, a flanker to the venerable classic Ô de Lancôme. It is based around the fresh, citrusy orange blossom accord, with orange zest, benzoin and cedar accenting the floral notes. Issey Miyake’s A Scent by Issey Miyake Soleil de Néroli is in a similar effervescent and bright spirit, with gardenia, jasmine, hyacinth and musk playing up the green floral notes of neroli (steam-distillation of orange flowers). Finally, Dsquared2 She Wood Golden Light Wood, created by perfumer Daphne Bugey, provides an interesting interplay between orange blossom and woody notes. It wraps orange blossom and neroli around vetiver and cedarwood.

Even the richer, more mature orange blossom themes take on a lighter, fresher spirit. One recent example is Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet. Created by perfumer Aurelien Guichard, it works the orange blossom, gardenia and tuberose to produce a light version of Fracas. The accents of sandalwood and musk give it a warm, soft backdrop. The doyenne of opulent orange blossoms, Oscar de la Renta, which was first created in 1977, will have a new companion, Esprit d’Oscar. It launches in April and will present the floral oriental orange blossom interpretation developed by perfumer Frank Voelkl. The classical Oscar orange blossom and tuberose accord is made lighter and more sparkling with the citrusy notes of lemon, bergamot, and citron. Another warm, sweet orange blossom this spring is Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, which reinterprets the classical Guerlinade accord by placing stronger accents on orange blossom and using bergamot, lemon, galbanum, and fig leaf notes to lend it a green, sharp quality. Orange blossom is a classical note, so the reworks of the fragrances of the past keep in spirit with the general classical tendencies of today’s market.

Aromatic Fougère: Traditional Shapes and Modern Expressions

An ever popular category of masculine fragrances, fougère is a fragrance type that combines quite a panoply of sensations, from the freshness of citrus and the aromatic brightness of herbs to the dryness of patchouli and the warmth of oriental notes. While it never shows signs of disappearing, both the traditional and modern takes on this idea have been interesting. Among the classics, Houbigant relaunched the iconic Fougère Royale, a fragrance that not only gave a name to this family, but was also responsible for the birth of modern perfumery with its unprecedented use of synthetic coumarin. Originally created by Paul Parquet in 1882, the new version was reorchestrated by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. If Fougère Royale is a quintessential classical fougère, Penhaligon’s Sartorial created by Bertrand Duchaufour is a modern composition, which uses the contrast between dark, modern ambers and fresh aldehydic (effervescent and metallic) notes. Gucci’s masculine counterpart to its feminine Gucci Guilty, Guilty Pour Homme is another modern fougère, but with a strong accent on citrusy notes. An Original Penguin, an American clothing company, went into a spicy fougère direction with their first fragrance. Original Penguin for Men is a composition of neroli, sage, golden apple, lavender, black pepper, fir needles, patchouli, black musk, tonka bean and vanilla. Created by perfumer Steve Demercado, it will launch in March. On the other hand, Tom Ford Lavender Palm refines the main fougère element, lavender, to its most essential and accents the note with bergamot, lemon, lime blossom and vetiver, clary sage, frankincense and moss.

Modern Cologne: Sheer Woods, Green Herbs, Exotic Fruit

Cologne, another very classical fragrance family, remains a popular choice for modern variations, some of which have been very memorable. Particularly enjoyable has been the treatment of woody notes, which in contemporary colognes have often been rendered sheer and luminous. Atelier Cologne, a brand with a memorable cologne selection, has delighted me with Oolang Infini and Bois Blonds, two fragrances in which the traditionally heavy and dark notes of woods and leather and woods and incense, respectively, are given a new transparent interpretation. The newest from Atelier Cologne, Vanille Insensée explores the sheer oriental accord idea as set against an effervescent citrus accord. On the other hand, some of the new colognes play with the accents, exchanging the traditional citrus for aromatic herbs (Cartier IV L’Heure Fougueuse) or else using different fruity notes to achieve a fresh effect. In the new fruity cologne genre, there will be a new trio from Marc Jacobs Cocktail Splash Collection: Ginger, Curaçao and Cranberry, inspired by tropical fruity notes. It launches in March. Finally, a much anticipated April launch of another edition of Hermès Jardin series, Un Jardin Sur Le Toit, explores the fresh green notes of apple, pear, green grass, basil, which are set against rose, magnolia and compost notes.



  • Olfactoria: I love the view ahead you give us!
    I look most forward to the new Hermes release in the Jardin series, I love Ellena, what can I say…
    I have recently discovered my love for orange blossom, if only in a more greener version rather than as a full-blown white floral, so this trend is interesting for me too. March 1, 2011 at 4:00am Reply

  • sweetlife: SO glad I started to like orange blossom last year… 🙂 March 1, 2011 at 9:54am Reply

  • karin: Compost notes? Like garbage? 😉 March 1, 2011 at 11:09am Reply

  • nathanthomas: Was looking through the trademarks TF has registered in the last few months & note mentions of some trademark fragrance names – Santal Absolute, Violet Blonde, Jasmin Rouge, Take my breath away. Presume these are upcoming fragrances for 2011 (?) March 1, 2011 at 12:41pm Reply

  • violetnoir: And, don’t forget Duchaufour’s newest perfume, La Belle Helene, for MDCI. It pairs pear (ha, ha!) with osmanthus and green notes…so interesting.

    That Penguin fragrance sounds interesting.

    The only oud fragrance that I tested that I loved was By Kilian’s Rose Oud, so I am not sorry to see the trend take a break.

    Thank you for the great update, V!

    Hugs! March 1, 2011 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Patty: I am not unhappy at all to see oud take a break for a while. There’s only so much you can do with it.

    Thanks for the look ahead! March 1, 2011 at 9:16am Reply

  • violetnoir: Really??? That’s not good.

    I will have to do a side-by-side comparison on those two.

    Perhaps the perfumer has spread himself just a bit too thin lately, since he is in such demand these days. March 1, 2011 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: I know, that will come in handy this spring! I have even more news of orange blossom dominated perfumes, so I think that it will be an interesting development (a change from the full blown tuberose trend, although tuberose is not going to disappear!)
    Plus, orange blossom is quite versatile. March 1, 2011 at 10:22am Reply

  • Victoria: My pleasure, Patty! Yes, the oud trend is getting quite dull at this point, mostly because now everyone is doing the same thing with it. And 90% of the time, they are not doing it that well. March 1, 2011 at 10:23am Reply

  • Victoria: Hermes launches always thrill me, even if I do not end up falling in love with all of them. At least, there is something polished and coherent about the whole line, which is missing sorely from most brands. March 1, 2011 at 10:25am Reply

  • violetnoir: Duchaufourization! I think you just coined a new perfume phrase, V! I love it! March 1, 2011 at 4:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: LOL! I take it that it is more of a woody note. Who knows though… I am intrigued. March 1, 2011 at 11:11am Reply

  • Marina: Sheer woods sound good. Green herbs too. The rest I can live without 🙂 March 1, 2011 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Victoria: I don’t know if I could live without fruity notes. Not the vulgar and cheap fruit salads, but vivid and sparkling a la YSL In Love Again and Dior Diorella. March 1, 2011 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: I know that Santal Absolute has already been announced as the new launch, so I presume that the others are in the development.
    Unsurprisingly, Jasmin Rouge particularly piques my interest! March 1, 2011 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am wearing La Belle Helene right now, and it reminds me of L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore. I like it though.

    By Kilian ouds are the only successful ones for me. Very nicely done. March 1, 2011 at 2:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Side by side, you can definitely see the difference clearly, but when I first put on La Belle Helene, I thought that Luckyscent sent me a wrong sample by mistake. 🙂

    Bertrand Duchaufour is everywhere these days (and now he will take over The Different Company too), it is true! That should be a trend in itself: Duchaufourization of the niche perfumery. 🙂
    That being said, I like his fragrance style, so I am curious to see what he does for TDC. March 1, 2011 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are making me smile, R! 🙂
    Let me know what you think of La Belle Helene. I like the drydown best of all. March 1, 2011 at 4:16pm Reply

  • k-amber: I have just heard the news about The Different Company at a department store carrying some interest lines. Love the term Duchaufourzation as well 🙂

    Off topics, I tested Byredo line, launching 14 at once, and didn’t move me very much. M/MINK and Bal D’afrique attract my attentions a bit…
    Have you tried any of them?

    Kaori March 1, 2011 at 8:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: Kaori, I have tried the line very briefly, but it did not really impress me. On the other hand, I recently discovered more of Nasomatto, which I liked, especially Nuda.

    Duchaufourzation is going to be my next trend watch topic at this rate! 🙂 He is really at the helm of many launches these days. March 1, 2011 at 9:05pm Reply

  • Bella: Hello Victoria! My name is Bella and I wounder if you could help me out. Since you don’t have a contact info I hope it’s ok that I leave you this message here. Could you please let me know where and how you get the images. Thank you! March 2, 2011 at 4:17am Reply

  • Victoria: Contact info is on my about page.
    They are just stock press images, you can find them online. March 2, 2011 at 8:33am Reply

  • key change: I’m really excited about the new Coach fragrence; I really liked the original, thought the follow-up was rather unoriginal, and found Poppy to be too “tween” like for me. Are any of the orange blossem fragrances you mentionned available at Sephora? I have a gift certificate! March 2, 2011 at 7:04pm Reply

  • breathesgelatin: I love the original Oscar… if you can believe it, I bought it when I was in high school, circa 1999, because I loved the scent. All my friends thought I was totally weird. I knew nothing about perfume back then, I just knew what I liked. It was all I wore for many years – I wore it daily throughout HS and college. I still have a bottle but don’t wear it often now. I think I’ll have to try Esprit de Oscar…. March 2, 2011 at 9:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like green florals, so Coach Summer caught my attention right away.
    A Scent by Issey Miyake Soleil de Néroli is going to be in Sephora, if it is not there already. I smelled Florale version of A Scent, and I really liked it. A slightly smoky jasmine! March 2, 2011 at 7:39pm Reply

  • FragrantJourney: This is good news for me! Orange Blossom is my favorite white floral, followed closely by tuberose. My favorite orange blossom is my wonderful bottle of L’artisan Limited Edition Orange Blossom. And I loved the sadly departed Slatkin Orange Blossom shampoo. I used to swoon in my shower. I bought every bottle I could find at TJ Maxx when they went out of business and only recently ran out! I will be anxious to try these new ones. Oh, by the way, my biggest OB dissapointment? Prada’s Infusion de Orange Blossom. One of the few OB’s I’m unable to like. And I so liked the Original Prada Infusion d’iris. March 3, 2011 at 6:07am Reply

  • Victoria: I agree, Oscar is a great fragrance, very complex and interesting. I am also curious about Esprit d’Oscar, because sometimes the modern variations on the classical themes can be very interesting. March 3, 2011 at 9:28am Reply

  • Victoria: I am also very sad about the departure of Slatkin, especially Orange Blossom shampoo. It was so fragrant, so good. Nice to find a shampoo that does not smell like a bowl of fruit salad, for once.
    That Prada was also my least favorite out of all Infusion series. I am looking forward to smell Infusion de Rose though. March 3, 2011 at 9:30am Reply

  • key change: Ah, I don’t think my local sephora carries it. Plus I’m in canada, and we often get things six years after they’re released in the U.S. Soleil de neroli sounds fantastic! (the SA last night was also remarkably unhelpful, though) March 4, 2011 at 9:43am Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, I also noticed that in Canada the selection can vary dramatically. I think that some brands follow different distribution patterns than what they would do here in the US. March 4, 2011 at 10:34am Reply

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