Houbigant may not necessarily be the first name that springs to one’s mind when thinking about the annals of olfactory history, but it should be. Houbigant are an incredibly important house with an esteemed heritage that led to the birth of one of the most famous olfactory families of all time: the fougere. With Fougere Royale in 1882, Houbigant cemented themselves within the fragrance hall of fame, creating a style of perfume that would influence masculine perfumery for over 100 years and still does right up to this very day. So yes, you should know Houbigant and if not, lucky you because you get to discover all that they have to offer for the very first time.
But it’s not just Fougere Royale that Houbigant is famous for, they’re also well renowned for creating floral fragrances that embody womanly beauty unlike any other. That fragrance was Quelques Fleurs and it launched in 1912. Quelques Fleurs is a hugely complex bouquet of jasmine, lily of the valley, tuberose, violet, rose, carnation, I could go on… (essentially, name a floral – it’s there). It’s accented by green notes and a rich, brassy base. It smells glamorous, in that old-school way, with a soapy, full-bodied spirit that is impossible not to enjoy.
105 years after the launch of Quelques Fleurs, Houbigant has reinterpreted the iconic signature of their flagship floral in Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret. Described as a “spellbinding perfume” that leads one’s senses “on an enchanting trail”, Jardin Secret celebrates the beauty of nature by boasting a rich forest of narcissus, magnolia, orris, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine and orange blossom. Just like Quelques Fleurs, this is a floral with a capital ‘F’ – f for ‘fabulous’ perhaps?
Top: Bergamot, Yellow Mandarin and Neroli
Heart: Magnolia Flower, Narcissus Absolute, Rose Centifolia Absolute, Orange Blossom Absolute, Jasmine, Orris and Ylang Ylang
Base: Sandalwood, Ambrette Absolute, White Amber and Musk
How Does it Smell?
The opening accord sheds light on Houbigant’s secret garden. Dawn is created by a shimmer of citrus notes that evoke the cool dew that caps the grass like crystalline crowns. As the sun rises, these droplets of mandarin and bergamot burn off, steaming in the summer heat. There’s a gauziness to the opening that feels almost aldehydic because it’s dry and starchy, adding a bright white light to Jardin Secret, intensifying its dawn-like glow.
The heart is pure flowers but one would be hard-pressed to identify a single bloom amongst the vast borders within Jardin Secret. Much like Quelques Fleurs, the original, Jardin Secret follows the abstract bouquet of floral thinking, meaning that it presents the idea of florals rather than a photorealistic rendition of specific flowers. This results in a beautiful bouquet full of pinks, greens, reds and purples with an odour that is sharp, dry and heady.
In the base, Jardin Secret really warms up, shedding petals and swapping them for sandalwood chips, amber and musk. There’s still a transparency to the composition, with these warmer, heavier notes breezing through the stems and heads of the bouquet like a soft summer wind. What I like most about the base is how it acts as a compliment to the floral core, rather than appearing as a third act. The supple, powdery quality of the musks and the milky texture of the sandalwood simply soften the dryness that Jardin Secret fizzes with for so long.
Quelques Fleurs Le Jardin is meant to evoke a magical garden and I think it does a pretty good job. To my nose it feels like a vintage floral, sharing a lot in common with its relative Quelques Fleurs, but with a modern twist of musk as opposed to a rich mossy base. When I smell it I think of a beautiful Liberty fabric marked with an ethereal and colourful floral print. It’s a real statement piece but it’s something that can easily be worn with any outfit – the perfect accessory if you will!
Would you like to try the Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret Eau de Parfum? If so, we’ve got 3 x 100ml fragrances to give away! To be in with a chance of winning, head over to the Escentual Facebook Page to enter. Ends 13/07/2017.
No purchase necessary. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Contest begins 6th July 2017 and ends 13th July 2017. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on or about 14th July 2017, three prize winners will be drawn, if the winner doesn’t respond within 7 days, the competition will be redrawn. Prizes must be accepted as awarded; not redeemable in cash or credit.