It’s easy to get a bit snobby about fragrance. We’re often told that pricier means better, and whilst this can be the case, especially as a bigger budget can allow for a perfumer to work with better materials, it isn’t always so. The simple truth is that there is good stuff and bad stuff at both ends of the pricing spectrum, so it does no good to turn one’s nose up at something just because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Take Roger & Gallet, for example, their fragrances are beautifully composed, accessible and easy to enjoy, and the best part is that they are super affordable too. What’s not to love about that?
Generally, Roger & Gallet creates fragrances in cologne concentration, meaning that they are of a particular style (citrus, herbs, florals and musks etc) and are relatively ephemeral. They’re the type of scent one can throw on when they simply want to smell good. This year, however, the brand is launching a collection of more intense colognes called Extrait de Cologne. These more modern colognes have invigorated the genre, giving them an entirely new signature, one that is fresh, vibrant and bold, but also entirely in keeping with the spirit of the brand. Oh and what’s more, they’re still incredibly good value too! Again, what’s not to love?!
Tubéreuse Hédonie plays a game of hedonism with the fatal floral note of tuberose. Famed for its mythical ability to corrupt virgins who walk the tuberose fields at night, tuberose is a heady, sweet flower with an intoxicating air. In this Extrait de Cologne, Roger & Gallet have made it feel light and airy, giving the impression of tuberose caught on the breeze whilst also maintaining the richness of the flower. A washed out, diluted tuberose this is not. What’s more, there’s a glistening jasmine-like note that showcases the fresher, more golden aspects of florals. Together they create the perfect balance and the Tubéreuse Hédonie Extrait de Cologne smells like a lush garden at the break of dawn, with sweet, swelling tuberose blooms adorned with golden dew drops. Tubéreuse Hédonie is a blossom that glitters under the sunlight of a new day.
Green, green and more green, that’s the first thing one thinks of when sniffing Cassis Frénésie. But this isn’t that dry, grassy green that one often sniffs in fragrances, no, this is a fresh, crisp green that feels like a veritable forest of leaves, buds and stems. Cassis Frénésie is a verdant symphony of lush greenery and tangy fruit notes. It’s refreshing without relying on citrus notes and it wears like a dream – a daydream of an Amazonian forest.
I do love a good tea fragrance and Thé Fantaisie is a very good tea fragrance, and not only that, it’s a rather lively one too. Smelling it, one can almost imagine bubbling water in the kettle, poured over a lovely cup of earl grey. The contrast of soft black tea against gleaming bergamot is one of the most pleasing smells there is and in Thé Fantaisie it is put to good use, emboldened by musk and accented by the dry greenery of green tea. Thé Fantaisie is the perfect tea fragrance – sunny and bright, with a refreshing coolness that works on any occasion.
There’s a similarity in tone across the entire Extrait de Cologne collection – a bright, zingy quality but also a transparent softness. Verveine Utopie is no exception and it seems to borrow facets from each of the other fragrances; the coolness of Thé Fantasie, the lush greenery of Cassis Frénésie, and the floral hues of Tubéreuse Hédione and Néroli Facétie. It’s a rich, spring-like floral with amazing complexity but it’s also the most accessible in the collection. If you sniff but one Extrait de Cologne, make sure it’s Verveine Utopie.
There are few materials that can bring a smile to one’s face in the same way that neroli does. It is such a happy note, with golden hints of orange blossom, facets of zesty orange and nuances of beeswax, and honey. For Néroli Facétie, Roger & Gallet have created a bold neroli with the balance shifted firmly towards the beeswax facet. It has an almost animalic richness to it that contrasts the sparkling zest of the citrus nuances to perfection. Néroli Facétie is the divisive one in the collection, created for those that are a little bit more adventurous with their fragrance selection.