Great Perfume House Series- Houbigant

Great things and legendary people often begin; it is said, from humble beginnings. This is true of legendary perfume manufacturer Jean-François Houbigant and the great perfume house he began four centuries ago. Yes, that’s right the House of Houbigant has stood since 1775 and has lasted when many other perfume manufactures have not. Jean-Francois Houbigant was born in Paris, France on December 21, 1752 into the servant class which what was then a very rigid caste system. The class one was born into almost always set the trajectory of one’s life. However, Houbigant’s mother worked for royalty – Duchess of Charost – who it is said took favor upon and sponsored him. Houbigant grew to work his way through merchants and equally ambitious perfumers to grow his appreciation for naturally occurring, beautiful fragrances.

Eventually, after tutelage from his future father-in-law, the 23 year old Houbigant established the company that has endured into the 21st century. Houbigant was permitted, under law, “to make and sell all kinds of scents, powders, pomades, pastes to whiten and cleanse the skin, soaps, toilet-waters, gloves, mittens and skin material” and that he did. Almost immediately, Houbigant’s fragrances caught the attention of French nobility and distinguished itself from the many competitors of the time. In fact, it has been rumored – though not proven – that Queen Marie Antoinette actually carried two bottles of Houbigant’s cologne on her the day she was…dispatched from this world.

Through the rest of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, Houbigant has continue to innovate and achieve excellence in the creation of fragrances that are appreciated the world over. In fact, it is said that modern perfume making would not exist were it not for these innovations and were it not for the model set by Houbigant’s fragrances. Some milestone fragrances produced by this august house include:

Fougère Royale (1882). This is still the most popular men’s fragrance.

Le Parfum Ideal (1908). This fragrance was one of the first to seamlessly into synthetic ingredients into its formula without loss of scent quality.

Quelque Fleurs (1912). This is one of their most popular fragrances to this day.

Quelques Fleurs L'Original Perfume for Women by Houbigant

In 1973, Michele Perris began a fruitful collaboration with the House of Houbigant which continues to this day, Jean-François Houbigant may be gone but the humble experiment that began four centuries ago continues as the world’s most respected perfume house lives one. We honor the memory and achievements of Houbigant and Perris by carrying its Quelque Fleurs original fragrance for Women. We look forward to your trying this perfume for yourself.

Sandalwood in Perfume

It’s the second most expensive wood in the world.  The tree itself is treasured the world over for its warm woody, notes that are indicative of mid-winter.  For more than 5,000 years, it has been so treasured by ancient peoples from all over the world that is has been used not just for its warm, sophisticated notes but in various religious ceremonies.  The ancient Egyptians even used the wood for its supposed medicinal benefits.  We are talking about the prized Sandalwood tree which grows from Indonesia in the east to Chile in the west and from the Hawaiian Archipelago in the north to New Zealand.  Its oil is used in a variety of cosmetic, aromatherapy and pharmaceuticals products but is most often used as a base in perfumes.

What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood oil comes from the wood and roots of the Santalum album which belongs to the family Santalaceae.  (It is also referred to as the East Indian sandalwood tree).  The finest quality of sandalwood oil comes from India where Sandalwood tree harvest is carefully protected by the government.  The main benefit of Sandalwood as it is used in fragrances – apart from its distinctive, milky, wood scent – is the that fact it combines well with other fragrances which is why its aroma can vary from citrusy, to floral and most other fragrances in between.  Sandalwood oil is extracted mainly from the roots of the tree by a process known at steam distillation.  Using this process super heated steam is passed through the wood.  Eventually this steam is cooled which gives us sandalwood oil.

Sandalwood’s use in Perfume

The use of Sandalwood as perfume goes all the way back to 700 B.C. particularly in the Eastern Indian Ocean region and the Pacific.  It was so valued in these places due to its use in religious ceremonies and because 16 different species of Sandalwood were once common to these regions.  While the East continued to use Sandalwood in incense and for its value in aromatherapy, the West began to use it chiefly in perfume when in the 1920’s the French began discovering its fragrance.   Today, Sandalwood is used in a variety of colognes and perfumes.  Some of the most popular perfumes that use Sandalwood include:

  • Hypnotic Poison Christian Dior
  • Waikiki Pikake Pacifica for Women
  • Samsara Eau de Parfum Guerlain for Women
  • Dior Addict Christian Dior for Women
  • OP Blend for Women Ocean Pacific

All these perfumes demonstrate not only how coveted Sandalwood is, but also how it mixes well with so many other notes.  For example, it mixes well with the middle notes – tuberose, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose, Brazilian rosewood, and caraway – present in Hypnotic Poison.  At the same time, it also blends in smoothly with the notes present in Samsara Eau de Parfum Guerlain for Women (iris, tonka bean, amber, musk and vanilla).  If you are looking for perfume whose aroma is as rich and vital as its history, you could not make a more sound choice than Sandalwood.

Tips for Blending Fragrances

As everyone who uses perfumes, colognes and similar products knows fragrances shopping is a very personal experience.  You are, after all, trying to find a scent that is special and uniquely you.  Well, the best way to achieve this kind of customization is by mastering the art of blending fragrances in order to create something truly unique.  But what are the essentials of fragrance pairing?  What does one have to know about this science/art?  Here are some tips to help you create your own fragrance blends.Blending Fragrances

Define the kind of scent you are trying to create:  There are scents that are floral, fruity, masculine, sweet, etc.  Once you have made this determination begin to choose scents that are in the same category and begin to experiment.

Learn how to identify essential oil notes:  Blends are comprised of top, middle and base notes.  Top notes are the strongest most noticeable aroma; middle notes last longer than top notes but are not as strong and finally base notes last the longest.

Know the basics of essential oil blending:  As pointed out above, scents can be woodsy, minty, spicy, based on oriental ingredients, etc.  Learn the fragrances that blend particularly well together.  For example, floral blend pair well spicy, citrusy and woodsy essential oils.

Consider the strength:  Each fragrance you add to your blend will most likely vary in intensity.  One fragrance should not overwhelm the other.  If it does then you need to go back to the drawing board so to speak and continue mixing until you have a greater balance of the fragrances.

Use an eye dropper:  You will want to use an eye dropper in order to be more precise when creating your blend.  This will help later when you are trying to make adjustments to your fragrance.

Label your blend:  Once you have blended your new fragrance place it in a separate container and put it aside.  You may also wish to write down how you achieved your new blend so that it can be more easily replicated.

At Lily Direct we have many aromas for you to choose from.  You can begin your experimentation with a variety of the most popular fragrances on the market including essential oils, etc.  We’re sure that aided by these tips and a visit to our store you will create a blend that is deeply personal and absolutely distinctive.