Thursday 19 September 2019

VERT FOUGÈRE by Floris London

With heritage comes tradition and, unless it’s managed carefully, can easily become a double edged sword. Customers are naturally drawn to the latest and loudest fragrances and, if you’re not offering something similar, you run the risk of being left behind. Floris definitely has heritage and tradition, which are both impressive to say the least, but what they also have is a determination to remain loyal to the standards originally laid down by the founder, Juan Famenias Floris. The latest fragrance, Vert Fougère, combines traditional apothecary aromatics with the refined fashions of Jermyn Street and continues Floris' famous heritage.

Since their conception in 1730, Floris has always prided itself on the creation of refined fragrances for both men and women. Now, whilst the intensity of these perfumes has varied over the years, the company has never deliberately released something that was overbearing and disconnected to its classic line. This approach has led certain reviewers to refer to them as “old fashioned” and “safe” whereas, in actual fact, they were maintaining a family tradition of keeping fragrance personal. Perfume should not be judged on the projection or longevity, it should suit the moment and become as one with the wearer.

When Floris announced that there would be a new fougère fragrance joining the collection you could easily have been forgiven for thinking that it would stick rigidly to the classic structure. The time honoured tradition of lavender, tonka bean, and oakmoss has been endlessly reworked since the ground-breaking Fougère Royale launched in 1882. Now, the line between this and a chypre fragrance is most definitely dotted rather than solid and the two can often be mistaken for each other. So, with Vert Fougère, the decision was taken to place it squarely in the former and this called for some imaginative creation.

Nicola Pozzani was tasked with realising the scent and told me that he wanted to really explore the darker aspects of the “green notes” so associated with the style. He wanted it more flirtatious than fanciful and also took the brave decision to replace the tonka bean with benzoin and the oakmoss with a birch tar accord. It pulls in aspects from Floris’ famous Elite, a favourite of Nicola’s, but also pays tribute to the colognes from the company’s heritage. Under the watchful eye of Edward Bodenham, who is the ninth generation in the Floris family line, Vert Fougère is reassuringly traditional and yet wonderfully contemporary.

You are immediately hit with a cologne-like combination of grapefruit and bergamot but very quickly it’s followed by a ginger-touched galbanum. This second pairing seems to pull the green quality downwards to provide that darker aspect that Nicola was aiming for. The traditional lavender is there, although it is deliciously smooth, but the best is yet to come. An addictive birch tar and smoke accord sits gently alongside a subtly placed vanilla, but both allow a silky cedarwood to round things off perfectly. Imagine Raffles Palm Court in Singapore rather than a shaded English forest and let Vert Fougère transport you.

Vert Fougère is available from the Floris boutique at 89 Jermyn Street in London or from their website at priced at £120 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Floris]


  1. Thank you for posting about it Stephan. A coincidence that I mentioned Floris to you the other day. I have a lot of time for this company. So glad that Nicola loves Elite, it was the first Floris fragrance that I fell in love with years ago, when I had a chance to smell it in a gorgeous, but now sadly closed perfumery in York. I shall have to order a sample of Vert Fougere, lots of my favourite notes in it.

    1. Hello Barry, I think that you'll find whispers of Elite in the new Vert Fougere and it will be interesting to see what you think. Best, Stephan