Perfume house established by Jean Francois Houbigant in 1775. Like Guerlain, Houbigant was patronized by royalty in the early days of its history, but unlike Guerlain, it has not survived into the modern era with its reputation entirely intact.
Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882) was the first perfume to use the synthetic coumarin, and is thus sometimes called the first modern perfume (although others give that honor to Guerlain Jicky). Quelques Fleurs, introduced in 1912, was "the first modern floral-bouquet perfume" (Scents of Time, p. 95). Both fragrances were discontinued in the 1950s, then relaunched in the 1980s. Quelques Fleurs and Fougère Royale are now distributed by the Houbigant Paris prestige fragrance line (see below). Houbigant Aperçu, first released in 1925, survived into the modern era but appears to have been discontinued. Other fragrances — La Rose France, Demi-Jour, Bois Dormant, Fleur Bienaimée, Etude, Présence, Festival among others — are long gone.
Houbigant perfumes now owned by Dana
A number historical Houbigant fragrances that were originally introduced as prestige scents, such as Chantilly (1941) and Raffinee (1982), were later repositioned as mass-market fragrances.
Houbigant's ownership is too complicated to relate in detail. The firm, or what was left of it, filed for bankruptcy in 1993, then was acquired (along with Dana) by Renaissance Cosmetics in 1994. Renaissance filed for Chapter 11 in 1999; its brands were acquired by New Dana Perfumes, later renamed Dana Classic Fragrances. Dana Classic Fragrances still sells Chantilly under the Dana name.
Houbigant Paris prestige line
The prestige line, now called Houbigant Paris, has been owned by the Perris family since 2005. They distribute Quelques Fleurs, Fougère Royale, Duc de Vervins and Quelques Fleurs Royale (2004).
Where to buy
The Houbigant Paris prestige line can be found at selected department stores, including Neiman Marcus.
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