Not much is known about Les Liquides Imaginaires… The brand doesn’t even exist in the database of Fragrantica. What we are aware of is that the concept comes from Philippe di Meo the founder of a multidesign agency RESO. He wanted to create fragrances that evoke mystery, darkness and the alchemy practise. Recently the brand launched a trio of scents in Eau Sanguine collection, inspired by wines. Earlier they introduced 3 Eau Dela scents: Tumultu, Sancti and Fortis.
The object of my analysis today is Fortis, a perfume described as Shadowed or Dark Water – Froth of the soul, Pure water of the Phoenix, Ink of luck… Beginning of cleansing, Blotting of the unpaired, Substance of voodoo. Film of shadow, Dedication of incense, Dodge Mage. Parfum of Reincarnation. – says a tale attached to this fragrance. The juice of this perfume has a darkest color of them all, being black, purple-ish or blue-ish, depending on the lighting and the angle you look at it. In many cases a dark color of the liquid suggests a potent perfume which might turn into a monster soon after spraying. I was a little bit afraid to give it a go but for you, me readers, I will take the risk!
Fortis takes off really bold with a big dose of agarwood. Oud in this perfume is dense and dark, with a medicinal vibe that brings the rubbing alcohol to one’s mind. There’s also that kind of evil undertone of a cough syrup flavoured with cherry. After 15 minutes the oud accord is joined by nagarmotha – cypriol, with typical to this material smell of dry herbs, wine and oil. As I take a deeper whiff Fortis reminds me of some other perfume. Like it was a lighter (yes, lighter!) version of Amouage Opus VII. It has a similar structure but it’s easier to endure.
At 30 minutes mark I start to smell cumin. It’s spicy, dry, less sweaty than I expected. It kind of reminds me of curry. Then some saffron appears and I was very surprised that I found it so difficult to recognize it. Saffron lacks its usual jammy, sensual vibe. In Les Liquides Imaginaires Fortis it smells dry, like it was burning. It is also spicier than usual. The middle part of the composition is a woody galore! There’s some lignum vitae which is a gaiac wood relative and smells resinous. Cedarwood has a dry and refined smell in this perfume, of course with some sweat around it. Then we have some amyris – this one makes the composition smoother and easier to wear. Is that even possible?
After two hours the woody phase is terminated (for now!) with a vetiver accord. It also smells woody but additionally it has the undeniable rooty feeling combined with some damp soil. As the time flies Fortis loses the sharp edge it had from the start and becomes milder. A note of ambergris makes it warmer and adds a balsamic quality to the blend. Earthy patchouli brings the smell of the forest to the composition (bark, moss.) Sandalwood appears one hour later and it’s quite smooth and polished. Of course it marks its presence with power and many fragrant molecules but it’s pleasant.
In the drydown of Fortis by Les Liquides Imaginaires there’s a some vanilla too. As one could expect it’s not a bright, sweet, pudding-like vanilla but rather a dark vanilla pod. I think there’s also some coumarin blended into this accord to make it darker and more balmy. Finally there’s some musk in the base. It’s also more animalic, like the entire composition. Possible to pick are motifs of hot and sweated body, greasy hair etc. The imagery might not look too good, but when it comes to the sense of smell, it’s not that bad. In a pose like that the perfume lasts for a couple more hours.
Fortis was created by perfumer Sonia Constant from Givaudan. The other perfumer participating in the project is Jacques Huclier. This is a challenging perfume composition but not as hard to rock as I was expecting. The longevity of Fortis is good and so is the sillage. It comes in 100 ml bottles (see picture 2) – the design is simple and engravings on the cap add mystery. Fortis Eau Dela by Les Liquides Imaginaires is an eau de parfum that was launched in 2011.