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1805 Tonnerre – dark and romantic and original

Tonnerre EdP -

You know those days. The ones that are defined by determination, strength and vigor - like you were going into battle. You are full of energy, see your path clearly, and act decisively in everything you do. There are no obstacles you can't overcome. You kill it at the gym, burn through challenging tasks at work with ease and crank out a restaurant-worthy family dinner when you get home. You are the victor against doubtful inner self that’s sometimes a little hesitant, a little fearful and a little overwhelmed.

I LOVE those days. In fact, I had one of those days last week. I woke up early, emptied my inbox of emails, then dusted it on the treadmill, all before breakfast. When I came home from the gym I found a box waiting for me in the mailbox. Of course knew what it was. A bottle of 1805 Tonnerre. “Perfect”, I muttered softly as I and smiled inside and out.

1805 Tonnerre is part of the ‘Come Hell or High Water’ series from indie niche line BeauFort London, which was started in 2015 by writer/performer and The Prodigy drummer Leo Crabtree. Crabtree was born in London. He studied music and history but it’s the call of the sea that’s in his DNA. In an interview he explains:   
“My dad is really obsessed with boats. My grandfather was really obsessed with boats. But also more broadly because it's a really big part of British identity . I was living in London, but then I start to realise that London is just a big port. That is why it became such an important city because it's such a key port. And because Britain is this tiny island, the meeting of the water and the land and the naval aspect was so important as part of creation of British identity…. I was born very close to the river Thames and I and my family, we lived on a boat.” Every weekend the family would go sailing.

When it came to naming his perfume house, he called it BeauFort, after the Beaufort Scale, created by Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805 to measure wind conditions on land and at sea. Crabtree says “But the key aspect for me is the wind force scale describing wind intensity which is still used around the world by sailors. It represents something invisible and powerful..." which is always changing and potentially dangerous....” Sounds like a definition of perfume to me.

“Tonnerre” means thunder in English and this EdP imagines the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, when Admiral Lord Nelson, with twenty-seven British ships defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships in a battle in the Atlantic Ocean just off the southwest coast of Spain. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships and the British lost none. But Nelson was wounded in battle and died and his body preserved in a barrel of brandy for the trip back to England and a hero's funeral.

I find all of this background and history exciting and I understand Leo Crabtree’s desire to create this scent, but it’s the smell of it that just grabs me.

1805 Tonnerre opens with a bright, citrusy note of lime – a nod to ‘limey’, the slang term for sailors in the British Navy – with curls of smoke winding through it creating a stunning smoky/fresh accord. There’s a sharp tartness here too, which must be the gunpowder listed in the notes. It gives depth to the lime and smoke combo, so that the opening is bold, yet refined. As it blooms, I smell the metallic tang of blood winding through the rich, boozy, sweet smell of brandy. It’s another striking combination that works. This pairing is smoothed with a note of salty sea water. At the base, amber carries over the sweetness of the brandy, while balsam fir makes it fresh and piney. Cedar wood, used in shipbuilding, adds its distinctive woody scent.

For all of the talk of thunder, battle, guns and blood, 1805 Tonnerre dries down to a darkly romantic scent that is more ethereal and ghostly than it is heavy and forceful. It’s like getting a whiff of the smell of the Battle of Trafalgar two hundred and thirteen years after it happened.

The niche fragrances market has exploded in the last few years, and for me has become crowded with too many copy-cat scents that are poorly made and just trying to cash in on scent trends. 1805 Tonnerre is that rare thing: original, exciting and gorgeous. And don’t even get me started on Fathom V from the same line!

1805 Tonnerre is listed as unisex and while it can fall into the 'masculine' category, I have no trouble wearing it.

I have to admit that Kay is a bit mystified by my fascination with this fragrance, but to paraphrase Emily Dickinson: the nose wants what it wants. I want more please, Mr. Crabtree.

1805 Tonnerre is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.