Lavande 44 is Rania J's take on Fougere. Fougere is a genre of fragrances characterized by lavender, oak moss and other herbal notes. Fougere fragrances are typically masculine and have what you could call the "classic gentleman" smell.
Lavande 44 is no exception. It has a decidedly "gentlemanly" feel. Polite but present. It is the scent for those who shout quietly, wear brogues, and wish the bowler hats were still in fashion. Stylish academicians would be the other kind to favour it.
Lavande 44 is gentlemanly but not dated. Yet, it doesn't fit the classic definition of modern either. If Fougere Royale by Houbigant is a classic fougere and Gentlemen Only by Givenchy is a modern fougere, Lavande 44 falls somewhere in the middle. It is tempered and restrained without being dull or boring.
Lavande 44 is interesting because it combines classic elements of two different perfume traditions. You have lavender and petit grain from the Western tradition combined with resins and oud from the Middle Eastern tradition. The result is a classic scent with non-classic heart.
This dichotomous nature of Lavande 44 should be no surprise if you consider its maker. Rania J masterfully combines the traditional scents of her Middle Eastern heritage and modern French perfumery. On her website Rania explains that the aromas of spices and jasmine from her childhood in the Middle East and Africa inspire many of her creations.
Maybe this is why all of Rania's creations have facets typical for Middle Eastern fragrances. As of this writing, all her fragrances feature an oud note. It's usually not defining in her compositions but it gives a character that serves as a signature of the Rania J fragrances.
Lavande 44 also features an oud note, which is not typical for a fougere scent. Yet it works very well and makes the fragrance different.
Read More about Lavande 44
In case the name doesn't make it evident enough, Lavande 44 opens with a short blast of fresh lavender. It's the classic lavender opening you get from other high quality lavender fragrances.
On me, this blast quiets down within five minutes. The opening stays fresh thanks to the bergamot. An accord of dusty wood hums in the back from the very beginning. A big player in the background is a dusty, dry oud note, which takes away some of the powderiness and freshness of the lavender.
"...one fragrance that I thought I wouldn’t like, but turned out that I love is…Rania J’s Lavande 44."
Co-Founder of Twisted Lily
After the first 30 minutes, Lavande 44 settles into a nice soft lavender-woody scent. It doesn't develop much beyond this point. The tonka bean never materializes for me even though I'm sure it plays its role in the background. 53 users on Fragrantica report that they detect a patchouli note. It escapes me completely.
Overall, Lavande 44 dries down to a soft lavender-resin composition. It keeps humming from my hand but it takes me a close sniff from my skin to smell it.
How to Wear It
Lavande 44 is a fall/spring fragrance. Its herbal character makes it a good choice for these transitional. I can see Lavande 44 as a good choice for the summer, even though its herbal character doesn't whisper "summer" to me.
Lavande 44 is probably the most versatile scent of Rania J's. A day in the office, out for a picnic with your partner, or a quick drink at the bar are all perfect occasions to wear Lavande 44. I probably wouldn't wear it in the evening. There are much more appropriate choices for that time. I see Lavande 44 as the perfect cologne to spray on a crisp spring morning right after you've gotten a luxurious shave with all the trimmings.
I'm yet again going to disappoint the younger crowd. Lavande 44 has a somewhat mature character. Blame it on the lavender and the resins. It is very gentlemanly and anyone old enough to shave and wear pants can wear it. Yet, I don't see many people under 30 reaching for it. I just don't think they will find it appealing.
The Experts Say...
Lucas from Chemist in the Bottle calls Lavande 44 his "summer herbarium". The name fits the character of the fragrance, even though I don't detect any other herbs except lavender.
The phrase "summer herbarium", however, brings to mind some of the fragrances by Profumo di Firenze. It used to be an Italian outfit started by Enzo Galardi, the same perfumer who created many of the original fragrances under the name Bois 1920. In 2008 Profumo di Firenze released a fragrance called Spigo (lavender in Italian), which was the true definition of a "summer herbarium". Unfortunately, the Profumo di Firenze collection was discontinued and, thus, Spigo is largely lost.
Lucas makes an observation that the lavender note in Lavande 44 is hidden. To him, the note doesn't become evident until the fragrance settles. He writes that the first impression he gets is him "standing at noon in the middle of a field full of different herb."
Lucas aptly brings up a subtlety of the lavender in Lavande 44. It is the dry variety, which he observes, is the kind associated with masculinity. I hadn't thought of this distinction before but it indeed needs to be brought up and Lucas duly notes it.
Overall, Lucas is a fan of Lavande 44. He goes as far as to say that it is one of his favourite lavender fragrances.
Scent for Thought, on the other hand, is not that impressed. They find Lavande 44 "unusually salty and soapy rendition of lavender". I don't get any soapiness or saltiness in the fragrance. To me, Lavande 44 is anything but soapy.
Scent for Thought didn't get much of Lavande 44 after the first half hour. They write:
"unfortunately the composition is reduced to an almost imperceptible skin scent after the first half an hour".
Lavande 44 gets two stars from Scent for Thought.
Stamatis, one of the founders of Twisted Lily loves Lavande 44. The Scented Hound quotes him saying "one fragrance that I thought I wouldn’t like, but turned out that I love is…Rania J’s Lavande 44. I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t like it but I wear this one all the time now. It’s one of my favorites, a classic."
The Bottom Line
Lavande 44 is a lavender-based fragrance that epitomizes the smell of a classic gentleman. The quality of the ingredients is evident but I don't find the fragrance particularly strong as a lavender scent.
Would you buy Lavande 44?
I appreciate lavender-based scents but I don't like wearing them. So, I'll pass on Lavande 44.
Would I get compliments wearing Lavande 44?
You may, especially in the first half hour when the projection is strong.
What rating would you give Lavande 44?
3 out of 5.
Oud, Labdanum, Vetiver, Patchouli, Tonka Bean, Musk
Bottle Size: 50ml
Concentration: Eau de Parfum
Where to Buy: LuckyScent
*Price is subject to change.