Though I wouldn't call it a love-it-or-hate it scent, Fou d'Absinthe is one of those fragrances that will either thrill you or bore you to tears. I think it all comes down to whether or not you're a fan of fragrances with strong green notes. If you're not, Fou d'Absinthe may be a boring woody snoozefest for you, and I can respect that. On the other hand, if you're like me and you love green fragrances, especially ones with strong pine or other coniferous notes in them, Fou d'Absinthe is a perfume you can't be without.
Fou d'Absinthe smells like the old Irish Spring soap I remember from about 35 years ago, with the scent of pine added to it. Doesn't that sound awesome? That's because it is! I've read reviews saying that Sung Homme smells like Irish Spring soap, and although I agree with that too, Fou d'Absinthe is cleaner, greener and fresher smelling than that old powerhouse. Fou d'Absinthe also smells kind of like Polo without the leather, tobacco, moss and heavy patchouli notes.
I don't quite understand why this is called "Crazy About Absinthe" (which is the English translation of "Fou d'Absinthe"), because artemisia is not a major part of this fragrance. Certainly you can smell its green, dry herbal astringency when you first spray it on, but it dissipates after about fifteen minutes. I can't see the point in naming a fragrance after a top note that disappears after just a few minutes. That would be like re-naming Quorum "Fou de Pamplemousse" ("Crazy About Grapefruit") simply because it has a brief grapefruit top note before it evolves into the dark brown macho monster it truly is.
No, Fou d'Absinthe is all about bright, cheerful and, thankfully, very long lasting green coniferous wood smells. It's as if I took a big handful of needles and sticks from pine, cypress and fir trees, some green grass, lime, sage and patchouli, ground it all up into a paste, took that beautiful paste with me into a mountain forest, and took a deep breath. It is wonderful.
The best thing about this fragrance is how it manages to sustain that incredible coniferous green smell for hours and hours (about ten hours on my skin), with no flagging. This is no mean feat for a perfumer, especially with a perfume as natural smelling as this one. Fou d'Absinthe has serious backbone, thanks to masterful work by the perfumer, Olivia Giacobetti. I can't say that about many other fragrances like this.
Yes, Fou d'Absinthe is an expensive niche fragrance - $160 for a 100 ml. bottle is nothing to sneeze at. And because it's pricey, I don't recommend anyone buying this without trying it first; you don't want to cough up $160 for a perfume, only to find out that it puts you to sleep. However, if you're a big fan of green and pine fragrances, you need to try this out, because it may turn out to be your Holy Grail scent.
MY RATING: 9/10
Fragrance House: L'Artisan Parfumeur