Monday 10 August 2020


The niche sector of perfumery still looks like a rapidly growing market, even in the current uncertain climate. New companies continue to appear, also vanishing with a similar speed, all hoping that they will be become the latest “new young thing.” To many it felt like a certainty that there was room for ever increasing brands but, more recently, it definitely seems like only those with dedication, talent, and drive can succeed. One perfect example of this is German born Sven Pritzkoleit. He’s once again taken the traditions of French perfumery and mixed them with some contemporary magic to create the beautiful Fougère Intense.

I feel as if I’m talking about fougère fragrances a lot this year, and that is no bad thing. The style conjures up tweed suited gents, London’s Mayfair private clubs, and an era of decadence. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the style did fall out of fashion for a time. Thankfully it is well and truly back, and most companies have tried their hand at reinventing this wonderfully masculine fragrance family. Even though this is traditionally the male domain, there is nothing wrong with ladies gravitating to this aromatic style as well, and many do.

In a nutshell, the fougère style of fragrance was an imaginary interpretation of the non-scented fern and its surroundings. Created by Paul Parquet in 1882, it drew heavily on a synthetic ingredient called coumarin. This had always been present in tonka bean but, in Houbigant’s Fougère Royale, he took full advantage of the overdose that could be achieved of this almond-like, hay-touched sweetness and blended it with bergamot, lavender, and oakmoss. The fragrance became a worldwide hit and, such was its success, it actually gave rise to a whole family of fragrances under the name of fougères.

When Sven Pritzkoleit took on the challenge of creating his own version of the classic fougère he once again wanted to blend the traditional with a contemporary edge. This style of scent has been presented thousands of times by an equal number of perfumers, but often the herbal astringency can make it feel aggressive if it is unbalanced. Sven took inspiration from the classic Eau Sauvage by Dior, and even recalled the much-missed English Fern from Penhaligon’s, before taking his interpretation in a slightly more sensuously animalic direction. With Fougère Intense, Sven manages to score yet another success.

The fragrance opens with an effervescent and watery splash of bergamot and lime, but very quickly the animalic aroma of civet pulls up from the base. This sensual note is present but not overpowering, and perfectly catches hold of the lavender to give a purple hue rather than the usual campherous quality. There’s a delicate floral tint to the fragrance, but it doesn’t intrude, and almost floats above a tempered blend of woody patchouli and earthy moss. Whilst it does have a musky coumarin sweetness in the base, Fougère Intense remains bright and engaging throughout, and its watery edge even helps to take the fire out of the soaring temperatures.

Fougère Intense is available from the SP Parfums website at priced at €38 for 7.5ml and €129 for 30ml. [Sample provided by Sven Pritzkoleit]

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