In his book Perfumes The Guide, Luca Turin describes Duc de Vervins as being the worst fougere ever made. For those who don't know who he is, Turin is a well known perfume critic, whose reviews I enjoy reading. Although I have a lot of respect for Turin, I couldn't disagree more with his comment. I think Duc de Vervins is excellent.
You've probably noticed that a lot of my reviews are of fragrances heavily influenced by Drakkar Noir. This isn't as much of a reflection of my personal tastes as it is of how hugely influential a fragrance Drakkar Noir was. Duc de Vervins is yet another variation of that iconic scent.
Duc has the big, muscular fougere brawn of Drakkar. It goes on very strong and maintains that uber-masculine smell for its duration. Where it differs is that it is much greener smelling than Drakkar, as well as more aromatic. This is a big hairy green monster, based on lime, juniper and oakmoss. Basil and sage provide a dry green herbal foundation that I like a lot.
What's most obvious with DdV is the gargantuan amount of oakmoss it contains. If you don't like oakmoss, stay away. The entire fragrance smells like it's based around oakmoss, which beomes more prominent the longer you wear it. After a few hours, DdV develops a kind of salty smell of old worn leather, which is very masculine and very enjoyable. This is a fragrance from the old school, no doubt.
By giving the scent a name like "Duc de Vervins", Houbigant likely marketed this as a fragrance blue-blooded aristocrats would wear. However, I don't think it fits that bill. Although I love this scent, it's not particularly refined. It's simply too strong and heavy to exude that kind of upper-crust aura. You would have been more likely to smell Duc de Vervins in a nightclub in 1983 (though it was released in 1991) than at a polo club.
None of that really matters, though, because this is an excellent fragrance that I look forward to wearing often.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: Houbigant