Purr purr purr, Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir

Master Serge Lutens is the greatest icon of niche perfumery and nobody has doubts about it. Perfume lovers agree on that, however not all of them understand the complexity of his creations. I am one of those people. From the very first SL fragrance I tried I had a tough relationship with these perfumes. I already dismissed many of them but still, there are a few exceptions from the rule.

Fourreau Noir is one of my exceptions. It’s one of these perfumes in Serge Lutens range that contains less ingredients than average offering from Lutens line. To me, what is going on in this perfume is enough to keep my curiosity level high, while in other SL creations there’s too much oddity and I can’t smell individual notes. I guess some of you will roll their eyes now saying that it’s exactly what Serge Lutens fragrances are supposed to be. Maybe you’re right. I just don’t get it!

Moving on to the perfume… Fourreau Noir marks its first presence on the skin with a lovely lavender accord. You guys know me well and you’re aware I’m a freak for a good lavender perfume. This certain lavender from Master Lutens is one of those I favor the most. It starts quite pungent with its herbal, almost green, shrubby smell. This phase lasts for around 15 minutes and then a herbal aspect quiets down a little bit and floral side of lavender takes the lead. It’s beautiful, like a trip to lavender fields in Provence. It smells just like I took dried lavender and rolled it between my hands. It reveals its whole potential of flowery, herbal and green elements. Simply hard to resist if one loves this note in perfumes.

Lavender is a single player of Fourreau Noir for around half an hour on my skin. Then it becomes more and more mellow and its warmth rises. Tonka bean is magnificent here. It’s cosy, warm and mouth-watering. It smells incredibly creamy, surrounding the wearer with fluffy clouds of delight that is at the same time spicy and sweet. Generally speaking I like perfumes with tonka but here, in this very Serge Lutens, it’s super aromatic and light as a feather.

As the time flies the sweetness of Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir rises to the higher levels. The aromatic quality of tonka bean gains more power and at the same time the whole mixture gets thicker. Almonds in this fragrance smell crunchy and delicious. There’s that specific roasted-like aroma to them. In case of this perfume almonds turn it into a custardy, edible batter, pâte d’amandes. It’s soft and aromatic, combining the scent of crushed almonds, almond oil and sugar.

Great thing about this part of Fourreau Noir is the fact that tonka is still possible to notice, it appears and disappears like in some kind of a vortex. Drydown of this Serge Lutens perfume appears at around second hour. To me it smells mostly like it was made of some spices infused honey, marzipan and some kind of light and sheer smokiness of black tea. It even turns balmy at some point of development. But the other moment everything quiets down and limits to the cotton muskiness. For most perfumes I review it would be time here to say that a fragrance has reached its drydown and stayed in this form for the rest of the day, but not this time.

Once Fourreau Noir reaches its full drydown at the mark of hour 3 it doesn’t stay linear. The perfume notes take a full whirl and adventure begins again and again. After more than 3,5 hours I could once again smell the lavender accord which was then followed by custardy and spicy smell of tonka. Later almond paste and marzipan appeared again. I think it happened again for like 2 times and then it started to get a bit more linear. Which means that this SL changes its shape for like 9 hours! Then it slowly settles and with exhaustion of all the notes it becomes very transparent, much simpler, until it speaks its final words close to the 11 hour of the wear.

I’m glad I got to discover Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir. Even for me, who doesn’t like Serge Lutens fragrances, it’s a great perfume and I actually think this is the one I might want to own one of these days. Just look at that limited black cat and stars bottle! It’s adorable! This perfume is a part of non-export line, this means it’s available only in Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris. It occurs in 75ml Bell Jar bottles. Fourreau Noir is a perfume from 2009. Perfumer is Christopher Sheldrake.

[note] Credit for picture 1 goes to Jenson of The Other Scent. See original picture here.

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28 thoughts on “Purr purr purr, Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir

  1. Undina says:

    I wanted to like this perfume because of the bottle. Not that I could buy it (it was super expensive and is long gone now) but just the fact that it was released in that beautiful bottle with a cat made me like it even before I tried it. It’s fine. I even liked it on paper. But on my skin… It’s never unpleasant but it’s just OK – nothing to remember, nothing to remember it by. But it’s great that you found “your” SL. And I’m positive there will be more – let’s talk ina couple of years 😉

    • lucasai says:

      I see. All those SL limited bottles are universe expensive and impossible to get. I understand why you love that bottle so much (hello Rusty!). Sorry that unfortunately the perfume wasn’t for you. Money saved.

  2. jilliecat says:

    I love that bottle too, of course! And I wish I could buy the juice for my husband, but obviously that’s not going to happen. However, I enjoyed your review very much. Many years ago I wore Feminite de Bois (when it was first launched); apparently the new version isn’t too bad, and I enjoyed its cedar wood and plum. I am sorry to say that I don’t think I have yet tried any other SLs, but am looking forward to Santal Majuscule. Wish I could win the lottery!

  3. hajusuuri says:

    Bravo, dear Lucas. This was my Bell Jar pick when I was at the Mothership this summer. Fourreau Noir also has a semi-sheer aspect to it that makes the sweetness airy instead of clobbering you over the head with it. Also, this to me is appropriate for yearrounf wear. Great review!

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you! I know, of course the review was inspired by you getting Fourreau Noir when you were in Paris. Yup, there’s nothing cloying about its sweetness.
      I don’t see myself in it in the summer, but all other seasons – yes.

  4. Wonderful writing! So real I sniffed as I read (;

  5. Dearest Lucas
    A great and, as ever, wonderfully precise review.
    It’s a testament to Serge Lutens complexity that a scent which changes 9 or more times is among the more simple.
    I too adore the early green, herbaceous manifestation of lavender in this scent, and am even quite at home with the sweeter elements that would normally send me running.
    It’s a masterful piece of work that I’d quite forgotten about.
    Thank you so much for this elegant aide memoire.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Um, LEMMING now. It was not even on my radar Lucasz.
    Portia xx

  7. Juraj says:

    Hey Lucas,

    From what you wrote, I would like to sample that perfume to see how it works with me. I usually do not like florals, or even lavander, I’m more about woods, resins, and some more woods 🙂

    And P.S. I’ve tried every single Laboratorio 🙂 Pitti was just crazy… perfumes, perfumes, perfumes, but you can see the photos! 🙂

  8. How does it compare with our beloved Kiki, Lucas?

  9. Merlin says:

    Hi Lucas! I’m sure you have heard that this and Iris Silver Mist are to be limited exports soon (in the atomizer packaging). I have only smelled the wax sample of this – but I adore it. I also love Chergui, which is in some ways similar…

    Like you, I do not really like the majority of Lutens perfumes, but, the few that I do like bring me such pleasure!

    • lucasai says:

      I think I’ve seen the news but forgot about it, thanks for a reminder.
      You know, I don’t mind. I already had in mind that if I were to buy Fourreau Noir I would opt for vaporisateur tout noir anyway, I don’t want a bell jar.

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