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.