My (Accidental) Signature Scent: Fracas de Robert Piguet

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Ahh, Fracas.  A fragrance known and loved the world over for its headiness, its femininity, and its aura of intrigue.  Originally released in 1948 as the creation of French perfumer Germaine Cellier, the almost overloaded white floral fragrance has been referred to as a masterpiece, carnal, yet vivacious, and really is just about as feminine as fragrances get.  Also known in perfumer circles as the quintessential tuberose fragrance, Fracas does not hold back on the floral.  There are many different notes at play in each classic black bottle, perhaps the more noteworthy being mandarin, jasmine, gardenia, cedar, orange blossom and violet, in addition to the all too apparent and utterly raw tuberose.

At this point you may be asking, what's with the name?  Fracas, French for "a disturbance, or disruption" hits the nail on the head for this fragrance.  It does not go quietly, and rest assured that everyone within about three to five feet of you will notice.  The initial, wet, just-sprayed scent is so completely overpowering at times that I have learned to spritz it on at least thirty minutes before leaving the house.  In addition to giving it time to mix in with your own personal scent, you must be sure and never spray it more than twice, unless you want to send yourself and everyone you encounter throughout the day into coughing fits.  But if you adhere to these two rules, you'll be sure and notice quite a few heads turning when you pass, and not in a bad way.

I've been wearing Fracas for about three years now (yes, my bottle has seen better days), and I suppose at this point I should explain the title of this post in a bit more detail.  At one point in my life, I would read up on and research perfumes, quite similarly to the way I treat beauty products presently.  Everyday I'd find a new article about a perfume I just had to sniff, ever on the lookout for something really show-stoppingly stunning.  Then I came across this.  Even on paper Fracas is a gorgeous fragrance, and I just couldn't resist the sound of it.  Without so much as even an actual whiff of the legendary fragrance, I found an online retailer who would sell me a sample, and the rest was history.  It wasn't until I had the actual physical bottle in hand that I realized I already knew this scent well.  I immediately recognized it as the fragrance that my Aunt always smelled of, and that I had admired the scent for so long before I even knew what it was.  I couldn't believe the coincidence, but I have refrained all these years from calling it my signature scent, because it is definitely not mine alone.

Even now, as my tastes change and bend toward more fresh, green scents, Fracas will always hold a special place in my collection for being my first proper grown-up fragrance.  It smells like pure and utter Woman (with a capital W, as the article linked above points out).  It takes a little getting used to, but soon enough you'll embrace the distinctly feminine air that takes over when wearing such a distinct and completely classic fragrance.

Fracas is not the easiest fragrance to get your hands on these days, but it can be purchased here at the moment for between $68 and $85 USD.  If you're at all interested in reading up further on the scent itself, I urge you to read this article.  If the fragrance's history is also of interest, this article about sums it up.  Both do a much better and more succinct job of reviewing and conjuring up the correct and magical images of Fracas than I could have ever done.

Do you have a favorite or a signature scent?


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