It’s that time of year again when we head online or out shopping for the father in our lives. Fragrance has always topped Father’s Day shopping lists, after all, it’s a small gift, and it is still one thing a lot of men don’t buy for themselves.
For Father’s Day 2021, Kiana Beauty Melbourne asked me for my top pick and like most gift buyers, my first inclination was to look for a new fragrance generating noise on social media. Christian Dior Sauvage Elixir was an option. The newly added elixir is the most intense expression to date within the Sauvage collection. It is an aromatic fougère fragrance with notes of citrus, lavender, spices and ambered woods.
Unless you know a little bit about fragrances, aromatic fougère is probably meaningless – and rightly so. The name is derived from the French fragrance, Fougère Royale, which was created by Houbigant in 1884. Although the original fragrance didn’t endure, the name stuck. Fougère Royale was so influential, it gave birth to an entire lineage of men’s fragrances, which Sauvage gives credit to.
Fougères are a harmony of citrus notes, which typically include bergamot, aromatic lavender and herbs, woody notes and coumarin, a warm, powdery smelling molecule found in South American tonka beans. Geranium is often used as the bridge between the zesty, aromatic top notes, and the earthy woody notes in the fragrance’s base.
Most pop songs, the best and worst, are composed using only three or four chords. In men’s fragrances, the fougère is a single accord. It is the tune most men’s fragrances hum along to. Over the years perfumers have experimented with its boundaries. Fougères during the 1970s often included leather notes. By the 2000s they were made more sheer with watery notes and transparent woods. Men’s fragrances moved away from chest-beating power fragrances that were popular in the 1980s and early '90.
A perfect balance between aromatic artemisia and coriander, geranium and a woody gradient spanning from fresh cypress wood to earthy patchouli leaves.
Looking through Kiana Beauty Melbourne’s inventory, I came across a gem; the perfect Father’s Day gift recommendation.
Yves Saint Laurent Jazz Eau de Toilette is such a classic. Created in 1988, this was a time when the couturier dominated men’s fragrance with legendary fragrances like Pour Homme and Kouros. Jazz has been restored to its former glory in YSL Beauté’s “La Collection,” which pays tribute to classic fragrances the brand had discontinued over time.
If you are a child of the 1980s, you might remember the advertisement for Jazz, which featured young Naomi Campbell dressed in Saint Laurent’s androgynous “Le Smoking” jacket, in reference to jazz singer Josephine Baker. The black and white advertisement mirrored the contrasting tonal bottle designed by Saint Laurent’s Art Director, Jérôme Faillant Dumas.
The fragrance was the work of perfumer Jean-François Latty. He struck a perfect balance between aromatic artemisia and coriander, geranium and a woody gradient spanning from fresh cypress wood to earthy patchouli leaves. The effect is so charming and near impossible to progress further, despite all progress made in organic perfume chemistry over recent years. Jazz is as perfect now as it was when I discovered it in the 1980s.
Constantly evolving fragrance regulations and brand repackaging leaves one wondering how much reformulation plays a role in the return of a classic like Jazz. Fougère Royale of 1884 is significantly different to the 2010 formula sold today. I have gone through my fair share of Jazz bottles over the years and La Collection: Jazz still gives me that feeling of reuniting with an old friend every time I smell it.
If you think Dad might enjoy this dapper retro gem for Father’s Day, you can buy it here at Kiana Beauty Melbourne.
Yves Saint Laurent and Carla Bruni images by Jean-Marie Périer from catalogue: Fashion Stills exhibition 2011
Sample provided for review by Kiana Beauty Melbourne