Houbigant first released Aperçu in 1925; it was re-launched (and presumbably re-formulated) in 2000. The fragrance notes are bergamot, neroli, jasmine, tuberose, lemon, green leaf, sandalwood, oak moss, patchouli, clove, and cassis, bois de rose, geranium, cinnamon bark oil, ylang ylang, vetiver, and chypre.
Aperçu is a classic woody chypre. It starts rather heady and perfume-y, and I find the first 5 minutes rather hard to take. I would think this has aldehydes, although they aren't listed in the notes. As it starts to calm, it is a lovely blend of neroli, green notes and florals with a nice spicy kick.
It continues to develop over the next several hours, with the tuberose, sandalwood and cinnamon becoming more pronounced. The oakmoss and vetiver give it a comforting woodsy-earthy undertone as it dries down. There is no powder. I can detect the patchouli but it is not overdone (apologies to patchouli lovers).
It is a rich, deep, complex perfume, but by no means heavy or overpowering. The lasting power is excellent. I reach for it the most in the fall, but it can be worn through the winter and spring. It is probably not something you will want to spray on in hot weather.
Aperçu was almost certainly influenced by Guerlain Mitsouko, which was released six years earlier. Mitsouko is obviously an extraordinary perfume, and no doubt a better perfume. I do hope to grow into it some day, but for now, I cannot make myself love it (although I will add for anyone else trying to learn to love it: try the parfum). Aperçu is easier to wear. It is brighter, and has less of a melancholy feel.
Houbigant Aperçu is available at selected Neiman Marcus stores, and at many of the online perfume discounters.