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"A sparkling and seductive blend of mandarins, peonies and roses."

Lutéce has not been considered something to rave about — although it isn't all that bad either, at least not when compared to some mass market fragrances.

What it is is a Houbigant fragrance of the post-"supplier to royalty", post-prestige, pre-bankruptcy era. In short, Lutéce is a fragrance that was introduced at the point in the Houbigant saga where the company was using its assets in any way it could to maintain a desperately needed cash flow.

Lutéce will be an extremely rare fragrance some day as it was never fashionable enough to become "collectible" and its distribution was not great enough so that there are just thousands upon thousands of bottles stashed away in various corners of the earth. Most grannies will not pass on with a half empty bottles of Lutéce on their dressers, ready to be offered on eBay by the heirs.

Lutéce stands as a symble of Houbigant's slide from greatness, a slide that was well under way by 1984, the year Lutéce was introduced. Soon Houbigant would be out of the manufacturing business altogether and the name "Houbigant" would live on only as a trademark licensed to others.

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Photo of Phil Goutell
Philip Goutell's Signature

Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.