Vintages Houbigant


06/09/08 15:11:21 (9 comments)

In this guide I will discuss a brief history of Houbigant and the various perfumes presented from 1882-1988.

Jean Francois Houbigant established his famous company at the tender age of 23, in 1774. The modest shop was located at no. 19 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris and was named "A la Corbeille de Fleurs." His first products were toilet waters, scented gloves and powders.

In 1872, most of the products from the House of Houbigant were sold to the French aristocracy, nobility, clergy and the best known names in France.

Among his most famous clients was Queen Marie Antoinette, who reportedly hurried to Houbigant to get her perfume bottles refilled with Eau de Mousseline and Eau de Millefleurs before fleeing from Paris.

The company survived the French Revolution and was passed on to Jean-Francois's son, and then to Chardin, another perfumer, who was appointed Napoleon III's personal perfumer.

In his book Memories of Saint-Helena, Victor Masson wrote that Napoleon's wife Josephine was a devoted patron of Houbigant.

Other famous clients included Princess Adelaide d'Orleans in 1829, Queen Victoria of England in 1838, the Emperor Napoleon III in 1870, and the Tsar of Russia Nikolai II in 1890, all of whom appointed Houbigant as their royal perfumer.

After Chardin, two other perfumers acquired the company, Magny and Gabillot.

In 1881, the company was acquired by Javal & Paul Parquet. Perfumer Paul Parquet, who was one of the first to use synthetics in his perfume creations, became joint owner of the Houbigant business. He was also the creator of the first fougere fragrance called Fougere Royale.

Around the turn of the century, another perfumer joined Houbigant, Robert Bieniame, who became the assistant to and protege of Paul Parquet, and who created the classic perfume Quelques Fleurs. Often regarded as the first true multi-floral scent, Quelques Fleurs was the springboard for this type of perfume.

At the 1900 Paris Exhibition, Houbigant introduced a special perfume, Coeur de Jeanette, in honour of the exhibition.  This scent was created by Paul Parquet. Houbigant participated in all major exhibitions and the presentations ranged from luxury to low-priced.

The perfume bottle for the 1903 perfume Les Violettes was designed by the master glassmaker, Emilie Galle.

The 1911 fragrance La Rose France was created by Paul Parquet and named after the variety of rose which enjoyed great popularity during this time.

About some other Houbigant perfumes:

Ideal: Launched in 1900, this was the first composite perfume and a great success for many years. Its creator, Javal, took the idea for the box design from an Oriental carpet he had seen at Deauville.

Quelques Fleurs: Created in 1912, this was one of the first floral bouquets ever produced. The unique composition includes lilac, rose, jasmine, violet and orchid.

Etude: Presented in 1931, this was the classic Thirties perfume. The bottle rests on a silver-plated base and is encased in a box of varnished wood.

Raffinee: Introduced in 1982, it is composed of over two hundred ingredients, combining floral and oriental notes, including jasmine, rose and hyacinth, laced with spices, herbs and incense, The name is intended to evoke a certain refined elegance, as reflected in the packaging of lacquered red and gold.

Ciao:  This is a rich, floral-chypre fragrance, created around the essence of acanthus, a rare oriental flower, blended with jasmine, hyacinth and cassis, The woody, mossy base note is comprised of oak moss, sandalwood, and patchouli. First presented in 1980



(1988) Demi-Jour (dana)
(1988) Lutece (dana)
(1982) Raffinee (dana)
(1982) Monsieur Musk (dana)
(1973) Chantilly (dana)
(1941) Quelques Fleurs Royale
(2004) Apercu
(2000) Quelques Roses
(1997) Quelques Violettes
(1996) Duc de Vervins
(1991) Sportsman
(1988) Presence
(1984) Les Fleurs
(1980) Ciao
(1980) A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose
(1975) Ambergris
(1973) Civet
(1973) Air Nouveau
(1972) Indian Summer
(1957) Halyard
(1956) Eden Roe
(1955) Thunderbird
(1948) Chantilly (original)
(1946) Air Nouveau
(1945) Sous la Charmille
(1945) Anneau D'Or
(1945) Penny Merrill
(1945) Perseverance
(1945) Faune & Flore
(1940) Lilac Time
(1940) Transparence, reintroduced in 1945
(1939) Presentation
(1938) Magnolia
(1938) Honeysuckle
(1937) Eau Florale
(1937) Versailles
(1936) Verte Foret
(1936) Dedicace
(1936) Incartade
(1936) Farandole
(1936) Boutade
(1936) Town & Country
(1936) Country Club
(1936) Trouvaille
(1935) Chasse-Croise
(1935) La Nuit Tombe
(1934) A Demi Mot
(1934) Lyrisme
(1933) Cle Des Champs
(1933) Diapason
(1933) Presence
(1932) Abandon
(1932) Desinvolture
(1932) Dissonance
(1932) Demi-Jour
(1932) Autre Chose
(1932) Contraste
(1932) Les Heures Choises
(1932) Croquis
(1932) Allegorie
(1932) Ebats
(1932) Enchappee
(1932) Dedale
(1932) Floraison Houbigant
(1931) Entr'Acte
(1931) Parenthese
(1931) Avante Premiere
(1931) Avante Scene
(1931) Episode
(1931) Sports D'Ete
(1931) Sports D'Hiver
(1931) Subterfuge
(1931) Prophetie
(1931) Cadence
(1931) Resonance
(1931) Ritournelle
(1931) Interpretation
(1931) Jeux D'Orgue
(1931) En Sourdine
(1931) Consecration
(1931) Etude
(1931) Plein Ete
(1931) Emaux
(1931) Festival
(1931) Transition
(1931) Dominante
(1931) Chiberta
(1931) Tous-Deux
(1930) Fleur Bienaimee
(1930) Douce Quietude
(1930) Deci-Dela
(1930) L'ile De Beaute
(1929) Au Loin
(1929) Un Tour de Jardin
(1929) L'aile Du Reve
(1929) Intermede
(1929) Couleur du Temps
(1928) Essence Rare
(1928) Raffinements
(1928) L'Art de Plaire
(1928) Fraicheur
(1928) Premier Mai
(1928) Un Parfum Precieux
(1927) Bois Dormant
(1927) Dilettante
(1927) Royal Fern
(1927) La Fleur Bien Aimee
(1926) Un Coin du Ciel
(1926) Heureuse Surprise
(1926) La Fleur Noble
(1926) Temps Nouveaux
(1926) Sur La Terre Endormie
(1926) Souverainete
(1925) Celle Que Mon Coeur Aime
(1925) Curiosite
(1925) Princesse de Legende
(1925) Grand Air
(1925) Au Bois
(1925) Vert Gazon
(1924) La Belle Saison
(1923) Flatterie
(1923) Subtilite
(1923) Au Matin
(1923) Moulin Galant
(1923) En Butinant
(1923) Le Champ Des Oiseaux
(1923) Le Temps des Lilas
(1923) Douce Illusion
(1923) En Visite
(1922) L'Oeillet du Roi
(1922) d'Argent
(1922) Royal Bouvardia
(1922) Rose Ideale
(1921) Mon Boudoir
(1920) Un Peu d'Ambre
(1920) La Rose de France
(1920) Subtilite
(1920) Mes Delices
(1919) Un Peau D'Ambre
(1919) Mon Boudoir
(1918) Parfum d'Argeville
(1918) Note
(1918) Jasmin
(1915) Evette
(1915) Giroflee
(1913) Peau d'Espagne
(1913) Quelques Fleurs L'Original
(1912) Parfum Inconnu
(1912) Quelques Fleurs
(1911) La Rose France
(1908) Premier Mai
(1906) L'Oeillet Du Roy
(1903) Les Violettes
(1900) Le Parfum Ideal, reintroduced in 1926
(1899) Coeur de Jeanette, reintroduced in 1920
(1899) Eau d'Houbigant (original), reintroduced in 1920
(1885) Fougere Royale, reintroduced in 1900, 1920
(1882) Eau de Cologne Tres Pure
Anekdote (unknown launch date)
































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They forgot to add "Gardenia Concentree" (1935), which was said to be rather popular during the 1930s. Wish they would reissue it one day in a not so far future...


Especially story even glad when they see enumeration and found "Mon Boudoir" 1919 , scent Queen Maria of Romania , whom he loved fragrance and made the advertisement at that time.


Wow i just bought a bottle of Quelques Fleurs-at an antique shop. It's heaven i must say.


Bardzo,bardzo się ciesze że te zapachy jeszcze są i mam nadzieje będą z nami....


I've got my eye on vintage chantilly
& I'm dying for Quelques Fleur Royale- one of the most beautiful perfumes I have ever smelled <3


Very nice article. I love Houbigant perfumes but they are so difficult to find. Whatever happened to Essence Rare? I had this at the end of the 70s and I remember it was so beautiful and so unusual. It´s such a pity we cannot get these wonderful fragrances again. b.t.w. very well researched!


Wonderful article, Ms. Hummel! Thank you for the information (and illustrations).


We need to promote Houbigant to make it widely reachable again.


Wow, such an interesting and well-made article !
Congratulations !


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