Monday, 30 August 2010

A Fresh Start

In previous months I've worked around the fragrance wheel, showing you how to recognise oriental, woody, and floral fragrances. There are just two areas still left to cover: fresh and fruity fragrances and fougère fragrances.
The 'fresh' category of the fragrance wheel (used to categorise all fragrances) incorporates water, green, and citrus-style smells. Not as commonly found as the other categories on the wheel, this does not mean that they are any less appealing. Hermès goes out on a limb with its unisex, fruity and fresh scents, such as Jardin Après Le Mousson, and another brand to make use of the fruitier side of life is Ralph Lauren, with perfumes such as Safari. While it also incorporates spices and woody notes, it uses lemon and juniper to create a unique citrus fragrance. And if it doesn't quite go far enough for you, you could also turn to other Ralph Lauren perfumes such as Ralph Rocks. The bright orange bottle is undoubtedly lurid, but it packs a positively tropical punch with its blend of kiwi, passion fruit and citrus fruits. 
For a fresher option, Issey Miyake's perfume for women presents L'Eau D'Issey, which promises to "bring together the benefits of earth and water". It uses cyclamen, which although it is a flower, is grown from tubers, which also produce potatoes and truffles. 

 Plenty of other ladies' perfumes allow outdoor girls to pick the fragrance that's just right for them. Examples of fruity fragrances can be found at DKNY (Be Delicious), Yves St Laurent (Champagne), Moschino (Cheap and Chic), Calvin Klein (CK One Summer), and Cartier (Eau de Cartier). For fresh or green perfumes, you can plump for Bond No 9, Charlie by Revlon, Versace Metal Jeans Women, or Diorissimo by Christian Dior. By looking beyond the obvious floral or oriental scents, you should be able to find a perfume that's right for you - a task often easier said than done, I grant you.

But what do you do when all of the areas on the fragrance wheel appeal to you, and you want something that mixes them all?

This is where the fougère fragrances come in. They sit in the middle of the fragrance wheel, and their name is French for fern, which might imply that they belong more to the fresh and fruity family, but in fact they contain elements from all four of the main categories: "the freshness of from the Citrus family, floral notes of lavender, the spicy-sweetness of a Floral Oriental, the ambery depth of an Oriental and the Mossy Woods warmth of sandalwood and oakmoss." (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Another notable feature of the fougère family is its unisex quality: while often worn by men, there's nothing to stop women from wearing them too. Davidoff's Cool Water is a famous example for men, while Guerlain's Jicky is an example that is mostly worn by women. Often containing elements such as lavender and oakmoss, they offer that touch of je ne sais quoi on your skin. 

Finding fougère perfumes for women can be tricky; even in this age of equality, and in spite of the fact that the fougère family does incorporate aspects of all four fragrance families, the fougère scents are more often than not associated with men. But it's not impossible:  Eau d'Elide (Diptyque), English Fern (Penhaligon's), and De Bachmakov (The Different Company) are touted as unisex fougère options. Ben Sherman's 2Tone can be worn by women, as can Luciano Soprani's 2, O Boticario's Acqua de Colonia, and Yardley's English Lavender. But these just scratch the surface; Fragrantica offers a full and detailed list of fougères on offer. But ultimately when perfume shopping the important thing is to find a fragrance that you like - not one that necessarily conforms to the label - man or woman, fougère or non - that someone else has given it.

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