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It is said that the creation of Fougère Royale by Paul Parquet for Houbigant (1884) marks the birth of modern perfumery as Fougère Royale is that first perfume known to have made use of a synthetic molecule — coumarin — which had been synthesized by the British chemist William Henry Perkin in 1875.
Coumarin had originally been discovered in the Tonka bean which is itself employed in perfumery. The odor of coumarin is described as that of new mown hay and the molecule has a strong tenacity, i.e., it is long lasting in a perfume.
Fougère Royale itself is built around an accord of oak moss, lavender, and coumarin. This accord gave birth to an entire style of fragrances now referred to as the "fougères."
Fougère Royale continued to sell for over sixty years. Paul Parquet acknowledged that ferns ("fougère") do not really have an aroma, but if they did, it would be the aroma of Fougère Royale.
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