Houbigant’s Orange Odyessy


The origin story of über-luxury fragrance maker House of Houbigant reads like a veritable who’s-who of European history. The four-centuries-old fragrance house, founded by Jean-François Houbigant in Paris in 1775, served as perfumer to the nobility of its day and also made countless benchmark discoveries in scent technology over the years—without which the fragrance industry might not be the same today.

The house is credited with creating the fougère, or fern-like, category of fragrances after the 1882 launch by perfumer and then joint owner Paul Parquet of Fougère Royale. Thirty years later, the house brought to market the first-ever multi-floral bouquet with its now-signature scent Quelques Fleurs, developed by the perfumer Bienaimé in 1912.

Now, Houbigant—which in days past served as the fragrance house of choice for Marie-Antoinette (who carried three vials of scent in her corsage to her execution), Napoleon, Queen Victoria and countless other kings, queens, princes, princesses, tsarinas, tsars, empresses and dukes—is bringing to market a new fragrance inspired by the Orange Tree. Orangers en Fleurs, launching this September exclusively at 43 Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus doors nationwide, marks Houbigant’s first new fragrance in half a century, said Elisabetta Perris, the house’s creative director.

“This is the first time in fifty years that the House of Houbigant has launched an entirely new fragrance rather than reinterpret an existing scent from our archives,” she said. Being a family business (the Perris family acquired control of the Houbigant name in 2005), “we have the rare gift of time on our side,” she added. “We are able to perfect a new fragrance and go back to the drawing board…in order to create something that we feel meets our high standards of excellence—much like what has prevailed for centuries at Houbigant Paris.”

The result of these labors is a warm and sophisticated juice developed by the House of Houbigant and Robertet senior perfumer Jacques Flori. While the Orange Tree has historically represented fertility due to its ability to produce flowers and fruit simultaneously, Orangers en Fleurs is composed of natural raw materials that will evolve differently on everyone’s skin, Perris said. “We do not target a specific consumer.”

Head notes include orange blossom, rose absolute and Egyptian jasmine absolute, which are balanced by tuberose, eau de brouts, ylang Comoros and nutmeg in the heart, and cedar wood and musk in the base.

Housed in a modernized version of a Baccarat crystal bottle—and then within a lavish hardwood lacquered box—Orangers en Fleurs is priced at $180.00 for 3.4 oz. of EDP and $600.00 for 3.4 oz. of perfume. Ancillaries will follow in October: a 3.4-oz. lotion and crème will retail for $75.00 and $135.00, respectively, and a gift set featuring the lotion and EDP is $180.00.

 

Houbigant 1 Houbigant-2 Houbigant building
New launch Orangers en Fleurs. Jean-Francois Houbigant The house’s original Parisian storefront.

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