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Fourreau Noir – Dangerously good - December 17, 2012 New Fragrance Listing


I was lurking around a few of my favourite perfume web sites a while ago when I saw this comment about Fourreau Noir on the Serge Lutens site:

 “A fourreau in French means a sheath for a dagger as well as a form-fitting dress... ready to embrace the voluptuous contours of a widow's body.”

Huh? A widow wearing a form-fitting black dress that embraces her voluptuous contours? Is this appropriate attire for mourning? Hey, my knowledge of Catholic funeral etiquette may be a bit non-existent, but this sounds kinda blasphemous, so of course I made a note to try Fourreau Noir on my skin. Here’s what I learned: this juice is dangerous and I love it. A. Lot.

Next thing I know I’m at the counter at Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris trying to buy a bottle of Fourreau Noir.  It’s a gorgeous store and the sales staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, but I just want the juice. I approach a sales assistant and after a few pleasantries, I say that I would like to buy a bottle of Fourreau Noir. “Do you know about this fragrance?” the SA asks. I tell her I do and I’d like to buy a bottle of it. She goes to a shelf and takes a box from it. “Ah, you know the fragrance, but do you know that it comes in one of our beautiful bell jars?” she asks as she opens the box and removes the bottle of Fourreau Noir so I can see it. I comment on the beautiful bottle, tell her I’d like one and that I’ll pay cash. “Ah” she says, “but do you know that this fragrance is exclusive to Paris?”.

Agreeing with her and repeatedly telling her I want to buy the bottle doesn’t seem to be moving the sale along. I am so close to owning Fourreau Noir that I could cry (and I thought getting to Paris would be the hardest part of the transaction!). I tell her that I didn’t know that Fourreau Noir was exclusive to Paris and 45 minutes later I walk out of the store with my bottle of Fourreau Noir.

A few steps away from the store I break into a light jog and head for the chairs that ring the fountain in the garden. I grab a chair, sink into it, take a cleansing breath and then I take the box out of the bag, the bottle out of the box, the stopper out of the bottle, apply it to me wrist and smell this: a citrus note followed by a soft yet intense note of lavender. The lavender has a metallic edge to it that makes it cool and a licorice aspect that makes it divine and hints at what is to come. As it blooms, the lavender fades which allows a note of tonka bean and immortelle to come forward and from this point on, nothing is the same. Suddenly, Fourreau Noir takes and unexpected, surprising turn - it gets warm, creamy and rich with a note of not-too-sweet caramel from the immortelle. And it also gets smoky – oh my! Almond sweetens and balances the smoke as does Lutens’ signature note of rich, dark dried fruit. A whiff of herbal bitterness gives it a little sharpness. Musk at the base mellows it all out.

The drydown is deep, dark and rich – the scent of a voluptuous woman, capable of unexpected, even dangerous surprises. And while the lavender never really disappears – at least not on me - it is the interplay it has with the tonka bean and immortelle right to the drydown that makes Fourreau Noir so unique and so FBW.

Sitting by the fountain in one of Paris’ most beautiful gardens, sniffing Fourreau Noir on my wrist – what a great way to spend an afternoon!

Fourreau Noir is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 for 1 ml.