Thursday, September 02, 2010

Robert Piguet- Fracas (extrait de parfum)

I never wanted to wear Fracas until trying it in pure parfum. When smelling the EDP all I got was that big Big BIG tuberose. With a side of tuberose. And then it brings its friends gardenia, orange blossom and jasmine, and the entire thing is lush, feminine and undeniably gorgeous. But the combination, structure and general vibe were too much like the way Karl Lagerfeld's original Chloe used to smell in the late 1970s and early 80s, before they started cheapening the formula. And that means this 1948 Piguet fits my mother perfectly, so I bought her a bottle, got her addicted and promptly crossed Fracas off my list.

Still, I have a thing for Robert Piguet perfumes. Between the history of the house and my beloved Bandit, after a while I was curious enough to give the parfum a chance, and that was when I fell in love.

Fracas parfum holds back a little. It's not just the more restrained sillage but also something in the balance between the flower notes and the greenery. I don't get much (or any, really) jonquil from the EDP, because the tuberose-gardenia combo makes too much olfactory noise for me. The parfum scales it back and the narcissus note emerges beautifully and brings its typical dryness to the front.

I also find the parfum a bit sweeter in the dry-down. Fracas is creamy in every incarnation, but the sandalwood in the extrait is more prominent, rounder and tones down the exuberance of this southern belle.  The higher concentration is still an extrovert with a dominant presence and a clear voice, but it also offers more depth and introspection. It has a hidden side- like a beauty queen that writes poetry and is also very good at math.

Notes: bergamot, orange blossom, leafy greens, jonquil, peach, tuberose, jasmine, orris, carnation, rose, sandalwood, musk, moss, cedar, benzoin.

Fracas is the most popular and easiest to find among Robert Piguet perfumes. Many department stores offer the eau de parfum and some also have the parfum ($95, 0.25oz), including Sephora. There's also an entire range of bath and body products that can be purchased directly from

1940s illustration by Roy Best from


  1. Have you tried vintage Fracas?
    I been trollin evilbay and saw that it existed but in a edt.
    Reading up on it further on vintage perfume blogs it seems that it was even creamier and richer (of course) than it is now but not as a nuclear tuberose /orange blossom cloud , more like a feather boa , soft, no harsh edges.
    Aren't you curious too?
    I'm very , very tempted to throw caution to the wind and get some to see for myself.
    What say you dear?
    Worth it or not?
    I do adore Fracas, she's the queen of my smelly heart in Tuberoseland.

  2. Ahhhh, Fracas!! This brings back instant memories of my very glamorous much older sister in the mid 1970s! I think I might just have to hunt out a bottle now and experience that childhood longing once again!

  3. Tamara*J, I do not know much about available vintage versions; I've read on Octavian's blog vintage Fracas was way more animalic, but when I smelled the "original" at l'osmothèque, it smelled very very very much like the current edt. There certainly must be differences, but the current rendition is surprisingly faithful to the original, which was not that animalic after all.

    Fracas to me is all about orange blossoms. And some sinister/cold tuberose. Cold, but buttery. I find it very polished, very likeable, a little too sweet, but sooo elegant.
    It's not my favorite tuberose, but I think it's the most refined of all.
    It has a classic vibe.
    It was *my* introduction to tuberose and to florals in general. It was so easy to like! So I've always been fond of it (or just thankful?), but I've never been in love...

  4. Ahh Fracas. It's a fragrance that's been on my radar since I was about 12 or 13 and it was reissued stateside, much to my mother's excitement. I really should thank her for teaching me to love and appreciate this most iconic fragrance. I'm definitely not an all out fan of hardcore flowery scents, and yet there is something about Fracas that I find both stunning and comforting. The rich, creamy, heady combination of white florals is intoxicating and wonderfully warm as well.

    I do find it ironic that what is arguably the most womanly and traditionally feminine fragrance currently on the market requires such cojones to pull off - cojones that I, as a man, will never have.

  5. Spike -

    Jumping in here to say ' grab those cojones, ese!' - Fracas on a man is one of THE SEXIEST things ever! Seriously. Just a hint, mind you. But wow! I put it on my rompin' stompin', bareknuckle fighter hub and it was LUSH! And everyone who came within 10 feet of him was entranced.

  6. I added your review in a comparison between two of the most recent version of this extraordinary scent, :


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