Thursday, June 30, 2011

Results for the Spring 2011 Fougère Challenge

The Results are in and here they are:
Fougère Perfume Challenge for the Spring of 2011

Sponsored by Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Posted on March 22, 2011 with an end-date of May 31, 2011 and

The Prize to be sent out by the end of June.

Tulips in the garden. 2000

What defines a Fougère perfume? A chord of Oak moss, Lavender, and Bergamot, certainly; fresh citrus coupled with lively florals and base notes that are animalic and coumarin; delicious treks into Amber Fougère, Woodsy Fougère, or Spicy Fougère, give this family many paths to travel.

There is a great deal of variety in what can be done, as you can see. This is what makes this challenge so interesting. Each perfumer has gone a different way with his or her creation. So, what I’ve done is determined how good it is in its own category, in my opinion. Is it the best green & fresh Fougère? Or, the
best floral Fougère?

There are five perfumers from Canada and the US participating.

They were graded from 1-10 on the following categories: how well they followed instructions; their vision of the perfume’s creation; a short five-sentence bio; a recent photo; a Data Tag with pertinent information about their perfume; the balance, character, diffusion, tenacity, and structure of their creation.

A Natural Perfume has the following qualities:

o Balance – so that no single component can be detected (unless it is a soliflore)

o Character – The twists and turns of a perfume as it evolves on the skin. What kind of a perfume is this? Is it a raunchy riot? Is it soft and gentle? Where does it take you? What’s at the heart of it? Does it have personality? How do the layers unfold? Who would this perfume appeal to?

o Diffusion – does it surround the wearer with an aura of scent?

o Tenacity – staying power is the ability of a perfume to last on the wearer for more than just a couple of hours

o Structure – Is there harmony in the mix? Have the base, heart, and head notes been properly addressed? Are the proportions correct for these ingredients so that there is balance, character, diffusion, and tenacity? Does it have dimension?

They were asked to create a data tag to accompany their perfumes. It should list:

o The Name of your perfume

o Your contact information – your company name, website, and email address

o Size of the container – is it 10 ml or 2 oz? This should go on the first page

o Ingredients – including essential oils, absolute, concretes, waxes, tinctures, macerations, and bases

o How to use – share where to dab or spray and info about natural perfumes in general

o Precautions – follow your own heart. For me, I list them, as an informed consumer is a safe and happy – and a repeat consumer. I do not use photo toxic citrus oils.

o Best before date (mm-dd-yy) – I make my product fresh for each person, so I do small batches that do not age-out before they leave here. For cream-based, it is dated 6 months out; for wax-based, it is dated 9-12 months out; for oil-based (fractionated coconut and jojoba is dated 2 years out) (sunflower, sweet almond, and grape seed are dated 6 months out); for alcohol-based, it is dated 2 years out (although I have some I made 6 years ago and they are still great). This is a rule of thumb. Citrus perfumes will age-out in about 6-8 months.

I spent a whole day with each fragrance and made my notes as I went along. This group of perfumes were wonderful to inhale. The aromas all made me smile. Each perfumer has done a superlative job crafting his or her Fougère Accord, which support the various avenues of adventure.

The Entries below were logged as they came in:

1. Anita Kalnay – Comox, BC, Canada

Flying Colours Natural Perfume at

Vision: “I’ve been having a love affair with olive leaf – combined with a deep yearning to go to Italy and find my family roots. I wanted to keep the woody nuance and intriguing vitality and depth of olive – yet still make it perfumery.

As the design unfolded, I imagined bright citrus orchards, enduring familial roots, and new leather shoes … and a plane ticket!

Olive absolute lent itself to working with lemony notes, lavender and dry woodsy elements. Himalayan cedarwood and valerian turned the tide for me on this one and carnation added subtle sweetness.”

Bio: “As an Aromatherapist and energetic healer, I am keenly aware that scent seeps into the cracks of the psyche and fills in the gaps of the rejected self with qualities of grace and beauty.

I have always been artistic and imaginative and blending for others brings out the best in me. The challenge as a Perfumer is to create the grace intended and ‘step away from the table’. The high vibrational frequency is there and you either love it or hate it. Either way, something happens.”

Creation: “Tuscan Olive”; Fresh Fougère

Notes: Fougère accord (proprietary blend); bergamot, lemon, lemon myrtle, lavender, olive leaf abs, litsea cubeba, carnation, black currant bud, valerian, Himalayan cedarwood, and black spruce abs.

Review: Opens with a bright, lemony, candy that is so cheerful and edible that all I can say is a big YUM! This is truly mouth watering. After a while, the spicy notes begin to pop out and the diffusion of lemon and spice takes over the scene. The warm glow of olive, spice, and citrus waft up to my nose as I sit here typing. Every once in a while I think, what is that I’m smelling, then I remember and take a closer sniff. This perfume is lovely, light, and bright. Four and a half hours later, the dry down of Olive and Cedarwood are smooth and comforting. There is still a citrus note coming through, too. This scent lasts all morning.

2. Bruce Bolmes – Burlington, WI, USA

Bruce is in the process of launching his website so please stay tuned for this very talented perfumer: SMK Fragrance at

Vision: “My inspiration for the Fougère creation comes from years of exploring and enjoying nature. I have been an avid nature lover ever since I can remember. Spring in Wisconsin is one of my favourite seasons to explore all the wonders of a new beginning. From my 40 years as an amateur mycologist (note: this is a branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi) exploring the hard woods forests during the Spring, one is reminded of the fresh scents that build a classic Fougère accord.”

Bio: “My interest in scents started many years ago. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s, my fascination with scents exploded with the opening of the incense shops loaded with all kinds of new aromas and limited essential oils of that era. Later, during my years as a chef and the owner of a European cuisine restaurant, I began to experiment with various essential oils and extracts in developing new and creative recipes. I have also produced various tinctures and extracts for the ‘lure’ business. My natural perfuming interest is a way I can express my love for nature.”

Creation: “Fougère No. 7”; Unisex Fougère

Notes: Fougère accord (proprietary blend); rose, sandalwood, cedar atlas, cedar Himalayan, orange sweet, lemon, carnation, anise, basil, neroli, ambergris tincture.

Review: the opening refrains are mysterious and captivating. There is an overall earthy floral that I want to crawl into and explore in depth. The diffusion is amazing and, at the 1 hour mark, the scent goes powdery on me. At this point, there are some soft spice note. Two hours later, this scent is persistent and has not lost its strength. Four hour mark shows a bit of a tapering off and has settled into a bright floral Fougère. At 10 pm (I’d applied it at 6 am) it is still going strong. This perfume has a bright floral/fruity dry down and the next day it was a lovely soft powdery scent as I applied my warm breath to the area. You’ll be set for scent all day with this perfume.

3. Maggie Mahboubian – Hollywood, CA, USA

Lalun Naturals at

Vision: “Light florals are crowned by an exquisite gardenia enfleurage extracted from the flower of our own shrubs. These are layered onto a classic Fougère base. The effect is that of a fragrant tea that opens with a creamy white note. As the perfume unfolds it reveals sunlit flowers that give way to a shaded earth. A luscious aromatic journey.”

Bio: Maggie Mahboubian studied Natural Perfumery with Lyn Ayre. She is an architect by profession. With her knowledge of aesthetics, she explores the intersection between architecture and perfumery. Fundamental to her work as a perfumer is her garden where she grows many of the plants she extracts. Maggie recently formed her company Lalun Naturals Inc, which will offer her natural perfumes as well as her seasonal skincare line.

Creation: “Fougère Blanche”; Floral Fougère

Notes: Fougère accord (proprietary blend); galbanum eo, clary sage eo, pink grapefruit eo, gardenia enfleurage, jasmine grandiflorum abs, ylang ylang, vanilla abs, beeswax absolute superior, cocoa abs, tobacco abs, and ethyl decadienoate (natural isolate).

Review: Allow this perfume to settle on your skin for 20-30 seconds as it is startling, right out of the bottle, immediately awakening all your senses. This is likely due to the gardenia and galbanum notes, which are both noted for their very green floral scent. After the initial hit, it settles down to become very soft and pretty. At the one hour mark, it is a beautiful diffusive floral Fougère. Two and a half hours later, I get a soft tobac/cocoa dry down with light floral overtones. At the four hour mark it can be lovingly revived with the warmth of your breath. Throughout this process, I was constantly sniffing my arm as this scent was multi-layered and I didn’t want to miss anything. This very sexy perfume will take you through the evening.

4. Deborah Carol – Seaside, CA, USA
Paisley Sky Perfumes

Vision: “I wanted a verdant Fougère blend of ‘crushed green’ fragrant leaves and resinous woods. I also was inspired to play with the classic bergamot note and decided to explore another citrus – perhaps something to impart a smoky spice. Therefore, ‘Green Fire’ has an up-front but lengthy citrus tone, which on the skin insinuates into the layered green profile. I find my personal preferences tend toward the masculine keys, and indeed Green Fire reveals background edges of mineral woods and sweet charcoal. Green Fire does not have Lavender essential oil, only the absolute to provide a softer, rounder floral sweetness, that I feel emerges in the dry down.”

Bio: Natural Perfumery is the artistic star that I must follow. It is both a fulfillment of my lifelong fascination with plants and an opportunity to work in the complex and compelling science-art of scent design. The sensuality of scents and the crafting with the incredible gifts of nature are utterly irresistible. Everyday I engage in this profession, I am grateful to be able to work with such sensuous, inspiring materials. The tremendous pleasure I feel in developing scent-experiences provides the impetus to strive to understand the craft at deeper and greater levels.

Creation: “Green Fire” a green-wood/citrus Fougère

Notes: Fougère accord (proprietary blend); opopanex, frankincense, Immortelle abs, vetiver, agarwood abs, liquidambar, cistus, beeswax abs, spikenard, yellow mandarin, and tarragon.

Review: This scent opens very green with light citrus notes. There are some twists and turns as I worm my nose under, around, and through this perfume; may enticing routes along the way via agarwood, cistus, spike, and vetiver. The citrus notes come through then disappear only to reappear an hour later. The perfume is well-crafted and stays true to its vision. At the 4.5 hour mark the scent is lovely and sweet. The dry down is smoky and lemony with the final presence of spikenard, angelica, and litsea.

 5. Justine Crane – Fresno, CA, USA

Vision: “My goal in creating this fragrance was to utilize the sylvan qualities of Fougère and expand them to include robust florals and unusual foresty components to create a unique Fougère experience. I didn’t want a straight Fougère for this project, but something a little more delicate, with more of the watery aspects of moss and the richness of a floral parfum. I attempted to achieve the mossy aspects by using a California native plant, chamaebatia folioloso, also know as mountain misery or kit kit dizzee, which grows in and around the forests of Yosemite National Park. Mountain misery has distinctively clean, water, breathtaking mossy essence, which one never forgets. The floral aspect was created using tuberose absolute and gardenia blossom tincture, which I attempted to make more rich and creamy through the use of cocoa absolute.”

Bio: My name is Justine Crane and I have been seriously studying and creating Natural Botanical Perfumes since 2003. My business in natural fragrance began with my soap company, Sierra Soapourri, now closed, which I started in 1996; next came Delicia, a live storefront in Fresno, CA, that I opened with my then business partner in 2004. I currently own and operate The Scented Djinn, a Natural Botanical Perfumery, as well as write for several blogs (Oh, True Apothecary!, Le Parfumeur Rebelle, and Perfume Pharmer), and I tutor, and wrote, the curriculum for NBP (Natural Botanical Perfume) online course at Nature’s Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts. My aspirations in this art form are to create beautiful perfume and life-long bonds of friendship and camaraderie with my fellow perfumers.

Creation: “Wawona” fresh/green Fougère

Notes: Fougère accord (proprietary blend); wheat grass tincture, chamaebatia foliolosa tincture (mountain misery), cassia, santalum album, vetyver mitti, bergamot, tuberose, cocoa abs, pinion pine resin tincture, and gardenia blossom tincture.

Review: Wawona opens with a fresh green Fougère accord and soon settles down, grounding itself to Mother Earth. It is ethereal, soft, and subtle, not startling the senses but gently stirring them to come in closer for a deeper inhalation. There is a dance of notes coming on the scene then fading away. The scent wears for a few hours on me but very gently and very close to my skin. For this reason, I would describe it as an intimate scent where someone needs to come in for a nuzzle thereby being delighted by the aroma. The lovely sweet soft dry down reminds me of the Sweet Woodruff in my garden, with notes of vanilla, lavender, and tonka bean.

The Results Are In

The Grand Prize Winner is

Bruce Bolmes
Maggie Mahboubian is the runner-up, with just one point behind. The other three challengers were only one point behind Maggie. It was very close. I am sending this to you in advance and will be making a Blog Post by the end of the week.

You all did so well and I appreciated every one of your compositions. It was an interesting and in-depth journey into what makes a Fougère live up to its name: verdant, open, sylvan, and outwardly mobile.

Congratulations to each and every one of you with my heartfelt gratitude for making this journey an olfactory adventure that was frolicking fun.

The Prize A beautiful 5 ml atomizer of Coeur d'Esprit Natural Perfume surrounded by an elegant gold sleeve, suitable for wearing in the Springtime; perfect to carry with you.

For Bruce, I’m sending along “Fougère Pour Homme”, a wonderful Men’s Cologne that was developed last year. I hope you enjoy it, Bruce.

No comments:

Post a Comment