Wild Fern fragrance notes

    • musk, oakmoss, basil, amber, woody notes, patchouli

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Latest Reviews of Wild Fern

The ultimate classic barbershop fougere, Wild Fern is the olfactory equivalent of hearing oboes and bassoon in a baroque pop song of the 60s. It needn't be complex, as it sits in the crossroads of the functional Pinaud camp and the masculine pick-me-up cologne, and for that I love it. It's that bitter burst of geranium leaves accented with basil that invigorates, with a generous vaguely wintergreen-esque amyl salicylate powdery-crunchy clover smell that, when added with anisic touches, coumarin and a bit of carnation, really does remind me of walking through the woods carpeted with fragrant ferns in New England's late summers and autumns. This is the great grandfather of Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and Azzaro Pour Homme.

Trumper seems to have preserved the je ne sais quoi of oakmoss in Wild Fern's base in spite of restrictions, which is impressive, and there is a cameo of the wonderful sandalwood as it appears in its highly-lauded Sandalwood Cologne. I have no idea why other reviewers are accusing it of mewling performance; I find quite the contrary, it lingers for several hours on my skin.

A grey and muted green beauty.
9th March 2022
Lovely, classic old school fougere. Get a fresh, woody opening and then a lovely musky drydown.
4th March 2021


Perfume lore has it that the first “fougere” or “fern” creation was the work of perfumer Paul Parquet, Fougere Royale, created for Houbigant in 1882. Wrong! The defunct house of Maubert can claim that honor with the first use of the fougere term in two creations from 1870, Fougere Doree and Fougere Ambree. Parquet created his Fougere Royale in 1875 for the house of Rimmel and later re-created it in 1882 for Houbigant.

In between we have Trumper's Wild Fern Cologne, which can now claim to be the oldest surviving example of the genre, released in 1877. Perhaps someone at Trumper experienced the 1875 Rimmel version and was impressed enough to create a version all its own.

In any case, we have a classic fougere with Wild Fern. Notes of basil, lavender, oak moss, patchouli, musk and ambergris frolic with coumarin and aroma-chemicals suggesting lemon, orange, rose, geranium, spices and herbs. I also detect in the heart and dry down a dominant tarragon/anise note, which blends so well with the lavender and basil, that the match seems made in heaven.

Wild Fern is fresh and green, not at all sharp. There is a perfect blending of the basil and lavender notes with a slight hint of rosy leather in the background. It is warm and comforting and a perfect way to start the spring or summer day. I imagine Hercule Poirot would find this perfection itself in its balance, taste and subtlety.

In the 23 Basenotes reviews to date, many compare Wild Fern to Penhaligon's English Fern (1911). Just as Penhaligon copied Trumper's Wellington for its Blenheim Bouquet, so it copies Wild Fern in its English Fern. I have compared the two and much prefer the Trumper. It is not as heavy-handed as the Penhaligon.

To sum up, this is a lovely very green, fresh celebration of aromatic herbs. A blending of lavender, basil, tarragon/anise with a warm base of patchouli, musk and oak moss. Very highly recommended for all lovers of the fougere genre.

12th May 2020
The obvious connection to make in testing WF is to compare it to the fougere genre, "fougere" well-known for meaning "fern-like". But no-one has ever smelled a fern like this scent - not that fougeres smell much like fern anyway.

Trumpers don't tend to provide atomisers for their testers, so the 1ml comes in a vial that has to be decanted into an atomiser for the purposes of application. During the decanting, the available top notes of the scent come across as exceptionally sharp and harsh, and not at all pleasant. At this stage, the connection to other toiletries or home products is unavoidable. For me, this is not a good experience and the scent comes across, early doors, like a bleach or window cleaner that has had too much money spent on its perfume.

Later in the day, the musk and patchouli come through more clearly and provide a much better balance in the dry-down. The irony is that, at cologne strength, WF has pretty much worn out by that time.

So a clean but very astringent scent that to this nose is a long way short of the high creative standards of Trumper's best lines. It avoids a negative verdict by a very narrow margin.
18th February 2019
Opening is excellent and smells very similar to English Fern by Penhaligons. The dry down however is different and much smoother in nature as opposed to sharp like the opening. I've heard some say this drys down into a shampoo smell, but I actually love this all the way through from start to finish. It does loose steam faster than I'd like it to, and when it gets into the dry down it is a very close skin scent, but it is wonderful! Definitely full bottle worthy in my book.
6th March 2018
A traditional Fougère, with a perfect accord of Lavender, Geranium and Bergamot. IFRA and the EU have caused modifications of this (I have smelled several versions ), and of course I prefer the Oakmoss- rich older formula. A little too much Anise or Tarragon now for my taste, but it still one of the best classical Fougères going. This and Penhaligans are (or were) the best of this type of thing.
3rd April 2017
Trying to wrap my head around this... It's a very old-fashioned smell, familiar but dated. There's a lot of lavender, but it doesn't really smell like lavender. Instead, it mixes with moss and mint and what I'm guessing is basil and tarragon and violet leaf to form a cohesive smell that's sort of green and leafy. But the whole thing is so drenched in white musk that it smells like scented soap more than a proper perfume.

This is pretty much the dictionary definition of a barbershop classic, though it really does bring to mind visions of a stuffy, old, fox hunting, conservative British jerk saying pompous things in a gentlemen's club somewhere back in 1910 or so. I don't know. I like Wild Fern's sense of history, but I'm just not sure I like its smell...
11th August 2016
This is so Arther... I think of dudley Moore..... Whiskey on the rocks please hobson and some trumpers wild fern
16th April 2016
A bit disappointing and finally too soapy and neutral for my full pleasure. This is a really classic gentleman fougere with its dominant oakmoss/fern and probably hints of lavender. The final implementation of amber turns anyway out the smell a bit too much "detergent" in style and effectively the aroma (really close to its more renowned cousin English Fern Penhaligon's above all in its aromatic opening) in this final phase conjures a sort of neutral medicinal pharmaceutical shampoo. The beginning is "wild" and naturally crisp with an earthy/aromatic notable feel (but in a less sparkling, citric and mild way than how happens with English Fern) but the evolution introduces a following overdosage of amber or may be balsams which produces a really smooth and balmy final mossy whiff. The final outcome is really close to the skin and with a poor longevity. An alternative for all those lovers of the fern and the traditional fougeres.
25th January 2013
A very classic fougere. Pen's English Fern is definitely my favorite from this variety, but comes across pretty sharp and harsh at times. Wild Fern is a much more subdued green scent with oakmoss accords. I didn't detect any lavender in the opening, which in my opinion a true fougere should have. Overall you can tell this is made from quality ingredients, though it is pretty weak. Longevity on me is in the 4-5 hour range. This one is very close to vintage FR (lucky enough to have a sample of this), though no where like the newly released FG (which I don't think is a fougere at all). If Pen's is too strong for you, but you like this type of scent, then Wild Fern will be perfect.
24th September 2011
It is Amazon jungle steamy forest, not English countryside with quiet, wild flowers. Not that I hate jungle steamy forest, just different. I like the shower gel too. I believe it as one of best of Trumpers alongside West Indian Extract of Limes. Better than Penhaligon's since Trumper's have less harsh notes.
21st June 2011
I'm not big into this type, but here goes: it opens with mostly wintergreen or faux-WG, with a bit of a cooler, more direct green note on top of that. Burns my nostrils unpleasantly (definitely the only Trumpers to do that!). Starts to develop a Blenheim/Wellington style sweaty herb overtone. But then all of a sudden, it smooths out dramatically (did my nose break?). Now it's a lot weaker, and more of a calm green without too much mint or dry herbs. This is acceptable. Why didn't it tell me right from the start that it was going to do this? This is much more relaxed than Pen's English Fern, making it another example, like the aforementioned pair, of Penhaligons using a jackhammer and brute force to create the same scent that Trumpers does with a precise chisel.
13th April 2011