Monday 3 June 2024

BLEU RIVIERA by Fragonard

A bottle of the perfume Bleu Riviera by Fragonard
The scent of the sea has been a fragrance trend that, whilst arguably exemplified by the classic L'eau d'Issey pour Homme, continues to be experimented with constantly by perfume houses around the world. This idea of capturing the aroma, the feel, and the look of the ocean has been presented in many forms, but not all of them have managed to capture both the majesty alongside the delicacy. For the launch of their new eau de toilette, Fragonard have thrown their hat into the ring and introduced a second aquatic fragrance to their male range, and it’s a celebration in the form of Bleu Riviera by Jordi Fernández.

Fragonard is a name that is as synonymous with French perfumery as the likes of Dior or Channel and, whilst it is considerably more wallet-friendly, the quality of its fragrances can certainly hold their own in an ever-expanding marketplace. It’s often still referred to as a “tourist perfumer”, because it was originally launched at the time when visitors to the South of France would motor up to Grasse for some scented diversion, but it has now gone far beyond a mere playful pastime. Probably still best known for their iconic Belle de Nuit, launched in 1946, Fragonard have a lot more to offer.

Fragonard was founded in 1926 by Eugène Fuchs and was, as I’ve mentioned before, very popular with tourists “wintering in Nice”. The original offerings were simple preparations, but they quickly started to create more complex perfumes. Over the years, the company have split the fragrances into both gender and collections, and so the offering is extensive but controlled. The men’s collection has always been popular but, over the years, it’s been streamlined as well as added to (I still dearly miss Sieste and Confidential). The last new release was the popular Secret Absolu by Jordi Fernández, and he’s back with the latest Bleu Riviera.

The box for the perfume Bleu Riviera by Fragonard
The company is now run by the three great granddaughters of the original founder, and it’s under their control that the packaging has been modernised and the fragrances have been given a mainstream makeover. For Bleu Riviera, Jordi Ferńandez from Guivaudan was given the brief to create “an ode to the Côte d'Azur”. It’s a pretty wide brief but, with his trademark skill of honing in on a project’s heart, he's given us a walk beside the sea with the aromatic herbs at your feet. Reinventing the aquatic category of fragrances is almost impossible, but his mood-enhancing oceanic experience is definitely one to try.

Bleu Riviera opens with an exciting green-edged citrus burst of mandarin, bergamot, plus a hint of piercing galbanum, and it’s this first blend that cleverly signifies the area’s sunshine and cooling breezes. The bergamot then links seamlessly down to a peppery lavender and clary sage, plus a healthy dose of oceanic spray, so you’re also transported to the mountain paths that crisscross the Côte d’Azur. These ancient routes, where aromatic plants brush your heels, is then given an earthy dryness thanks to the patchouli and vetiver but, in a final nod to the magical quality that this part of France exudes, a combination of smooth iris and ambery tonka bean provide a warming end to a wonderful fragrance.

Bleu Riviera is available from the Fragonard website at priced at €35 for 100ml, €48 for 200ml, €75 for 600ml, and also €12 for the 250ml Shower Gel. [Sample provided by Fragonard]

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