Blog post by Gwen

Nuit de Bakélite – green and floral and leathery



When I met Naomi Goodsir in Paris a few years ago I was struck by her style esthetic – sort of vintage/modern.  It’s a look that reflected in the brand’s website and packaging. That day we spoke of her life in Australia, her career as a milliner, her partnership with Renaud Coutaudier and their vision for the fragrances they were going to create. Fast forward, and Naomi Goodsir Parfums, with five knock-out fragrances in the line, like Cuir Velours and Bois d’Ascèse holds a top spot in niche perfumery. But it’s her latest release,Nuit de Bakélite that has me wanting to shout across the internet: “This is FABULOUS!”

Bakelite, known for being the first synthetic plastic, was created by chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907. Its heat-resistant property made it ideal for use in things like pipe stems and firearms, and the colours it could take made it popular for use in décor (drawer pulls, knobs, cutlery handles, jewelry and children’s toys. Considered ‘vintage’ Bakelite pieces still in demand and is highly collectible.

It’s no surprise that Goodsir’s love of the stuff inspired Nuit de Bakélite. Casting about for the perfect perfumer to interpret their vision, Goodsir and Coutaudier commissioned Isabelle Doyen, who is known for creating unique and original fragrances, and Doyen delivered a stunner with Nuit de Bakélite.

It opens green and sweet from a note of angelica. Violet leaf is here too. It adds more green to the opening, along with that distinctive metallic tang I love. Galbanum elongates the green, but with a bitter, bracing edge to it, that softens as the fragrance evolves to a flowery heart with tuberose at centre-stage. This is not the tuberose I was expecting. This tuberose is surrounded by a veil of green so that it smells and feels like the stem more than a flower. And it isn’t indolic; that aspect has been stripped out so that the lush, creamy aspect of tuberose becomes the star, heightened by buttery orris. Right about here in its development, I get a whiff of camphour, that aspect of tuberose that always draws me in. It may be put here to reference the plastic smell of Bakelite, but I don’t get that effect on me. And it doesn’t diminish my experience of the fragrance one iota that I don’t. When it starts to bloom, karo karounde, a scent-cousin of jasmine, amplifies the tuberose, but also warms it with its spicy aspect. Ylang-ylang, rich and floral, also supports the tuberose as aromatic davana, bitter and herbaceous, keeps that green gently humming. It is simply stunning – and it’s not finished yet! At the base, Nuit de Bakélite gets leathery, deliciously leathery, supported by rich, aromatic tobacco and with resinous, smoky, woody undertones from styrax and guaiac wood.

Nuit de Bakélite is not a tuberose I know. You can’t hide a big flower, but you can showcase other dimensions of it, which makes Nuit de Bakélite a new, exciting original interpretation of tuberose. This is one fragrance that’s not to be missed.

Check out Nuit de Bakélite in our Shop.