Sometimes my taste in perfume makes me question my sanity. Many reviews and impressions of Fourreau Noir, a 2009 non-export Serge Lutens release, mention/lament/celebrate two accords- black smoke and a dirty animalic heart. For some of the people who tried Fourreau Noir (the loaded name translates as black sheath) these aspects made it difficult to wear. Me? My skin diffuses smoke and domesticates large beasts. I find Fourreau Noir not just soft and cuddly but also as comfortable and embracing as an old hoodie fresh from the laundry.
I mentioned laundry for a reason. The lavender note is strong in the opening and quite persistent after. It's not the first time a Serge Lutens perfume takes me there (and I'm not talking about the questionable L'Eau). Gris Clair has a facet of crisp white sheets drying outside on a cool breezy day. Fourreau Noir is fuzzy and warm as though it just left the dryer. The lavender over a sweet gourmand base supports this idea, though it's not exactly Downy Lavender-Vanilla fabric softener. Don't worry.
Fourreau Noir is musky, but to me it's a fairly clean musk with a hint of fruitiness. The tactile equivalent is of a soft silk-merino knit, kind of like the long wrap sweater with caressing kimono sleeves I'm wearing now as I'm typing this review. This coziness is helped greatly by the sweet gourmand dry-down. Tonka bean, almond cookies covered in very light powdered sugar and lots and lots of immortelle. I love immortelle on its mapley goodness, and in this case the maple smells like it was aged and smoked in old wood barrels. This is the kind of stuff I expect and enjoy from our favorite uncle.
Now, if a bell jar, preferably of the special limited edition kind with the black cat could just magically appear on my doorstep...
Fourreau Noir (120 euros, 75 ml) is one of Serge Lutens exclusive Paris-only perfumes, available at the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido. If you're a EU resident you can also order it online or by phone. The rest of us can be thankful to the Posh Peasant and the Perfumed Court that sell samples and decants.
Art: Shade Light Tulles Cuttings by Serge Lutens, 1995
Bottle of Lutens special edition etched Fourreau Noir bell jar from fragrantica.com