Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fou d'Absinthe

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


  1. Holy mackerel, you have written one hell of a convincing review here, Mr. Shamu. A piney, naturalistic green that replicates original Irish Spring with pine added, and Polo with leather subtracted? Plus a dollop of artemisia on top? I'm sold. I'm not even worried about it "boring me to tears." You have described my holy grail.

  2. I've read your Irish Spring reviews on your blog, so I had a feeling you'd chime in on this one! I haven't smelled Irish Spring soap since the mid-70's, so I'm going purely on my own memory here. But it's a smell I loved as a kid, and it's burned in my brain. What I love most about FdA is how it manages to sustain the same clean green smell all day. I can spray this on at 7:30 in the morning, and still smell the same thing at 4:00 that afternoon.

    Although I think it smells like Irish Spring, FdA doesn't really smell soapy. It's just got this awesome tangy green, clean smell that I love. I can't imagine you not loving this one, considering you love green fragrances. As for the pine notes, some people smell it very strongly. On my skin, the pine is not strong, and is more subtle, but it's there. I find that the fir needle smell is more prominent (fir smells sweeter and less astringent than pine to me).

    1. Yeah I'm going to have to give this one a go. You know Colgate has the original Irish Spring in deodorant and bodywash form now. I vaguely recall an older formulation of the soap from my younger days, but that was a time when the soap had already been reformulated at least once or twice. Currently I find Sung Homme to be the only fragrance that actually matches both old and new Irish Spring bar soap to the T. Thanks for this review, I'm looking forward to Fd'A.

  3. I have a bottle of the current Irish Spring bodywash, which says it's the original smell. It smells damn good, but it's nothing like what I remember the bar soap smelled like when I was a kid. I remember the bar was white with green swirls on it, and it had a much more natural green smell to it than the bodywash of today has. Fou d'Absinthe smells like the bar soap.

    1. There's a bodywash in the Irish Spring lineup called "Legendary Classic." It has a whitish-green gel, similar to the original bar soap. Then there's their "Original" bodywash, which is ostensibly the gel incarnation of the current bar soap - but ironically does not smell nearly as good as the current bar. I've been pestering Colgate about it for a while now, but they still haven't issued "Legendary Classic" in bar soap form. Wish they would.

  4. Count me in as a Fou D'Absinthe fan as well! I own a full bottle and wear in once in a while and love everything about it! It also has amazing longevity, being a EDP which is a great bonus. I also find it to be very fresh yet has an oriental vibe to it as well. It has also been described as a hot and cold fragrance and I could see that. It has everything I like about fragrances and never bores me as many fragrances do. I find something new in it every time I wear it. I also love its versatility. I'm not that great in describing notes but found you were spot on! I don't get the Irish Spring reference like I do with Sung Homme (which I also own) but I'll give it a go tomorrow and check it out.
    Speaking of Irish Spring, I noticed that there's a deodorant with the Irish Spring scent. I believe it's Right Guard? Maybe I'll get some and wear them together and see the effect! Thanks for the review!

    Chris from Montreal