Challenges – Review: Parfum d’Empire Aziyadé And Fougère Bengale

Parfum d’Empire is a line where I have found many perfumes to love. It is well-edited, it offers something for everyone, but not everything can be right for me.

These two, Aziyadé and Fougère Bengale present challenges to me. I could just leave them alone and move on, but both smell so interesting! It is not that I would say, “Aaaargh, I hate this!” but I feel myself repelled and attracted in equal parts and any perfume that does that, warrants a closer look. Both were created by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato.


Inspired by the Ottoman empire, Aziyadé’s notes include pomegranate, crystallized date, almond, orange and prune, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, Egyptian cumin, carob, frankincense, vanilla, Madagascar vanilla absolute, patchouli, musk and cistus.

What I smell is incense-y pine with an overlay of spicy fruit in the beginning. Later the spices take over – with a vengeance. Aziyadé is reminiscent of Serge Lutens Arabie, but it feels drier, less opulent, less “juicy”. Cumin is a major player in Aziyadé and were it not there, I would be singing its praises, without a doubt. The drydown is soft, a vanillic and woody musk that is still impregnated with spices. Aziyadé is very longlasting on my skin. BTW, on paper Aziyadé is pure love, here the fruit notes are amplified and the spices are tamed. If I was made of paper, I would want a bottle asap.

The first wearing was a disaster, but the more I persisted, the better it became to my nose. I am almost at the point of liking it by now. Aziyadé is unusual and memorable in any case.


Fougère Bengale:

Inspired by the Bengal part of the ancient Mongol Empire, Fougère Bengale includes notes of lavender, tarragon, patchouli, geranium, tobacco, tonka beans and vanilla.

“The warm and animalic notes of Fougere Bengale recount the famous Bengalese tiger hunts in the heart of the Assam jungle where the humidity is permeated with the odor of hay.” – from

That is a pretty descriptive ad copy. Fougère Bengale does smell like warm animal, humid jungle and decaying hay soaked in the good tiger’s urine. I wouldn’t wear Fougère Bengale, but I appreciate it, so much so that I persist in trying it.

Both these perfumes are well-made and unique. I know they have their fans and rightly so. A perfume that compels me to revisit it time and again, that inspires a fascination although I have so many fragrant distractions, which would make forgetting and moving on easy, is certainly worth the time.

What do you think of Aziyadé and Fougère Bengale?

What are your “can’t let go of it, although I don’t love it” perfumes?

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44 Responses to Challenges – Review: Parfum d’Empire Aziyadé And Fougère Bengale

  1. annemariec says:

    A male friend of mine – K. – bought Fougere Bengale for his male partner, S. S. smells divine in it. On him it is super sexy in a sweaty, cumin-y sort of way. He applies it lavishly. The amusing but is that K. is obviously very turned on by Fougere Bengale on S. It really lights fires for them, I could tell! So lovely to watch.

    But on myself – no. FB is just too curry-like for me. I like cumin in perfumes but I can’t go further than that. I prefer my curry on a plate!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Me too, Annemarie!
      But FB seems to elicit very strong reactions, great love or distaste, I haven’t heard of a lukewarm reception yet. But maybe I’ll get one today… 😉

  2. lady jane grey says:

    “… soaked in the good tiger’s urine…” LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you for the laugh, B. – it’s an awful day (already) in an awful week (clients now got completely insane…)
    I’m comforting myself with L’Artisans C. Vetiver Sacre (I get a strong black tea note out of it),
    Anyway, in the evening I have to try Fougere Bengale, I’m curious about the Tiger…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear you are having a bad week! I hope the next one is as restful as possible despite travelling and entertaining!

      Let me know what you think of our friend the tiger! 😉

  3. GeM says:

    Some brands really scare me!! They are the ones specialized in the weird and wacky aromatic world of peculiar perfumes, that carries a plethora of bizarre and oddball scents. I’m not used to some kind of smells but I admit that I feel attracted by them… to get that strange feeling.
    so… Freaky Bizarre perfume lines that repelle/scare and attract me in equal parts are:
    Miller Harris, Parfums DelRae, Etat Libre d’Orange, Comme des Garçons, Demeter, Mona di Orio (at first glance, muscs generally scares and attracts me at once!), Lorenzo Villoresi (I don’t know why! maybe a “mini-musc” same reason?),
    and who knows? quite probably will be this Parfum d’Empire when I get the chance. 🙂

    Recently I’ve taken a look on Histoires de Parfums, but I don’t think it belongs to this category of brands: they all smell straightly good from the very beginning.

    • GeM says:

      well… now I’m thinking in Histoires de Parfums Tubereuse and it’s quite strange enough…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Some brands can be a bit hard to stomach, for me Etat Libre d’Orange is such a line. But I generally love Parfums d’Empire, most of their scents are very weaeable and beautiful likr Equistrius or Ambre Russe for example.

      • GeM says:

        I just don’t mean only the ‘hard to stomach ones’, as you well said, but some of them simply have some kind of ‘weirdness’ to me…. I don’t know how to say…for example, it’s the same with almost every Lush product (soaps, shampoos, butter body lotions, etc…). Something strange happens to my nose when I’m smelling in a Lush shop (a sort of a very strange, repellent/addictive, characteristic and common note in all of their things)… that doesn’t mean that I don’t like them: in fact I’m a regular user and big fan of some of their products.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Interesting. I’m not entirely sure what you mean though. But when I think of Lush there is only one word that comes to mind – olfactory overload. (Those are two words actually. 😉 )

          • GeM says:

            Absolutely true! I have a synonim for yours when I’m shopping there: “Mission: Impossible” (two words more!) but finally at home, I love their Snow Cake soap -almonds, again ;). It is often compared with l’Eau d’Hiver-. And well, about my argument …how to explain… I think probably it’s something related to what we are used to (I mean in terms of olfactory culture). For example I think I’ll always be familiarized with whatever Guerlain and Dior and Givenchy will do, no matter how they stinks!, but I admit I wasn’t ready for Emotionelle by Parfums DelRae or Sécretions Magnifiques by Eat Libre d’Orange, and still not sure if I want to ever be!

          • Olfactoria says:

            I made my peace with the fact that some things are just not for me. Secretions Magnifiques is the very first one on that list! 😉

  4. andrea says:

    I really disliked my tester of Aziyadé and gave it away (I should stop doing that as I realise my tastes change) I have not tried my sample of Fougere Bengale but am not sure I want to smell of tiger’s urine. LOL….. I will dig it out and carefully test it.
    I really wanted to love Mona di Orio Tubereuse and kept trying it but alas it was just not me or rather Tubereuse is just not a note that I get on with.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I gave many samples away only to crave them again at a later stage. 😉

      No Tubereuse for you? Well, maybe eventually, maybe never. There are many others to love! 🙂

    • GeM says:

      Don’t give up with tuberose! certainly not an easy note, but it’s a learning to love exercise over time and it really depends on the edge of it (on interplay with the other notes) 😀 A very well known, common side effect and my first approach to tuberose was the classic Carolina Herrera woman, but then there are such a lot of varieties….

  5. Vanessa says:

    I immediately thought of Arabie when I started to read your review, but this is drier you say. I have to admit that if a perfume repels and attracts me in equal measure, my usual tendency is to run away and not persist with it. So thanks for sniffing the urinous hay and stewed things so I don’t have to. I take the point that these may work on some people, doubtless those with very magic skin….

  6. Ines says:

    I should mention I have bottles of these two. 😀
    I have to say Parfum d’Empire is one of the most represented lines in my perfume wardrobe. If I were to guess, I’d say Aziyade would be more difficult for people to wear as that cumin has a tendency to get itself known and I understand people don’t take favourably to it. 🙂

    But Fougere Bengale! OMG. I adore it!
    I already said it before and I’ll say it again- that’s a perfume that makes me feel like roaring (or whatever it is that a tiger does). It really boosts my self-confidence and appeal. 🙂

  7. Suzanne says:

    Of these two, I have only tried Fougere Bengale (thanks to Christos of Memory of Scent). I was hoping to love it as much as he and Ines, but alas, no. While not listed in the notes, I get vetiver and cedar in a vinegar-y yet dry combination that equates to sour on my skin. I’ve only tested it briefly and will try putting it on my husband to see if I like better on him, but it’s really a challenge.

    I’m glad, though, that it makes Ines feel like roaring!!

  8. deeHowe says:

    Like Ines above, I L O V E Fougere Bengale! From the first unexpected second of the first spritz, to the dry down many hours later, every time I caught a whiff of my perfume I felt intoxicated with pure delight. I expected a traditional Fougere, and got so much more! Urinous hay made me laugh—how differently our skin wears some scents! FB is FB worthy, 100%. when my travel spray runs out, I will replace it with the big ‘un. 😉 For those who haven’t heard me say it, FB strongly reminds me of Histories de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade, which I did not buy, due to Mr. Howe’s distaste for it (he harbors no such distaste for FB!).

    Aziyade I like as well—I thought the cumin, and the spices were gorgeous, but the fruity top notes I didn’t like as well— they felt cold and sharp in a strange way, but fortunately that phase only lasted about five minutes. After that: yum! Mr. Howe has claimed that one as his own, however, and since I’m so enamored with FB, I don’t mind ceding it to him 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      It makes me happy that you love them. I would like to smell them on your skin, I’m sure there is an enourmous difference to mine. I love 1740, and it doesn’t remind me of FB at all, but maybe I should try them side by side…

      • deeHowe says:

        I should probably try them side-by-side too, since it’s from memory that I insist they are similar! Although, they are obviously different enough that the MR doesn’t object to FB! 🙂

  9. Eva S says:

    I’ve been thinking about exploring the Parfume D’Empire line and this review surely whetted my interest! I’ve wanted to try Azemour (oakmoss!) especially but FB sounds really intriguing as well. For me “Fleur de Cassie” falls in the “don’t love it but can’t let it go” category, I take out my sample now and then, it is such an odd scent, not like anything else I’ve smelled so far!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Azemour is on my must-try list as well.
      Fleur de Cassie is certainly weird, it falls into this category for me as well.
      Generally I find the Parfum d’Empire line very good and interesting.

  10. Sugandaraja says:

    I like Fougere Bengale, but I must admit, the immortelle meets lavender combination works far better in Eau Noire. Now if only Eau Noire came in eau de parfum ( or parfum ) strength.

    As for Aziyade, my curiosity is piqued. A dry Arabie is only the latest in descriptions I’ve read ranging from ”Idole with Dr. Pepper” to ”salted pistachio caramel”. Personaly, Arabie falls into that attractive yet repellent category, smelling like an unholy love triangle between mincemeat, chicken korma, and pumpkin pie, but in a way that keeps drawing me back.

    Laura Tonatto’s Oltre is a fragrance that is fragrance I always think of when I think of attractive-repellent fragrances. It’s an aquatic based around pine, muguet, and seaweed ( quite a noticeable note, not pixie-dust fiction – think sushi nori ). It smells like a cold rainforest day, but there’s a certain dank, botanical fleshiness to it that wears me out and makes me wish I felt warmer.

  11. Fougère Bengale sounds incredible! Dee said it smells like HdP 1740, which I have and adore, so I absolutely MUST try Fougère Bengale. I have been trying to order the Parfum d’Empire sampler from their website but they keep rejecting my credit card! =( Boo!

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  13. dkchocoman says:

    I don’t know about the ” soaked in tiger urine” analogy but I will take that with a grain of salt when I try it. Of the ones I’ve tried save one, Wazamba , I have been very pleased with Parfums D’Empire’s scents. Ambre Russe and Cuir Ottoman were great. Both are intoxicating and brilliant in their structure and development on the skin. Wazamba, on the other hand was a red apple and incense disaster. The two accords just didn’t marry up well at all to my nose at least, but I will give it a go again to see if things have changed. I look forward to trying out these two. Great review!

    • Olfactoria says:

      thank you!
      Those two were (and still are!) difficult for me, but as you say, most of the rest of the line is a joy to wear and all of them are very well made. My favorite in the line is probably Equistrius, the chocolate iris – just gorgeous!
      Have fun exploring Parfum d’Empire!

      • dkchocoman says:

        Did you say chocolate and iris? OMG. As you can tell by my username, I am a lover all all things chocolate, dark chocolate in particular, more so in eating than smelling like it.LOL I will definitely put Equistrius on my sample list for sure! Thanks for the heads up.

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