houbigant: 3 posts

Perfumers on Perfume : Paul Parquet

Ernest Beaux called Paul Parquet the “greatest perfumer of his time.” Coming from the legendary creator of Chanel No. 5, it’s very high praise, but Parquet (1856-1916) deserves it for his innovative work. Although most of his fragrances, like Le Parfum Idéal or Coeur de Jeannette, created for Houbigant, have not survived, his influence is profound. He is responsible for giving perfumery the fougère fragrance family, inspired by his marvelous Fougère Royale. His experiments with novel synthetics inspired many groundbreaking fragrances of the 19th and early 20th centuries such as Piver’s Le Trèfle Incarnat, Roger & Gallet Vera Violetta. Even Beaux himself was under the spell of Parquet’s creations.

Paul Parquetfougere royale

The start of Parquet’s career was in hosiery, rather than perfume. It was not until 1878 when his father bought a perfumery called Houbigant-Chardin (founded in 1775 by Jean-François Houbigant) that Parquet became interested in the business. In 1881, Parquet bought Houbigant-Chardin from his father, and over the course of the next three decades composed a fascinating and original collection*. His style was bold, dramatic, and daring, but also romantic.

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Houbigant Oranger en Fleurs : Perfume Review

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Oranger en Fleurs (“A celebration of the orange tree”) is a new release from Houbigant, a perfume house with a history dating back to 1775.  The company’s perfumes have for several decades been identified with drugstores, but the release of Oranger en Fleurs signals a return of Houbigant to the luxury market.

Oranger en Fleurs is a fully realized orange blossom fragrance that presents the honeyed floral note in a tableau of leaves and twigs, jasmine, rose, tuberose, ylang-ylang, nutmeg, cedar, and musk, along with something called “eau de brouts” (an absolute with a sharp, green orange blossom aroma).  The moment I sprayed it, the resemblance to Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger was unmistakable.  Substitute Lutens’ cumin for nutmeg and give the composition some airiness and you have, for the most part, Oranger en Fleurs.

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Houbigant Essence Rare : Vintage Perfume Review

Houbigant is a fragrance house with a remarkable legacy. Its Fougère Royal created in 1882 by talented Paul Parquet was the first fragrance that successfully fused the manmade ingredient coumarin with natural aromatics. The majority of fragrances trailed by men today are descended from this abstract and effervescent composition. By the time Robert Bienaimé took over the reins from Parquet as the chief Houbigant perfumer, the house had several beautiful fragrances to its name: Le Parfum Idéal, Violette Pourpre and Coeur de Jeannette. Bienaimé created several other distinctive blends, including Quelques Fleurs before opening his own house Bienaimé Parfums in 1935. Essence Rare was one of the last few fragrances he designed for Houbigant before his departure.

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