Fourreau Noir fragrance notes

    • Lavender, Incense, Patchouli, Almond, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Cedarwood, Musk

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I fondly recall a visit a few years ago to Bleu Lavande, in Magog, Quebec, where their fields of lavender are open to the public. We visited during peak season, early July, marveling at the expanse of purple, the aroma redolent in the humid air. Along with the usual essential oils and various personal care and bath items that used their crop, they served delicious treats, such as this lavender ice cream, which leads me to Fourreau Noir.

Lavender is paired with a creamy, vanillic tonka and the opening takes me back to that day, all warm and hopeful, but its comforting embrace almost makes my eyes water, feeling wistful and vulnerable. Time waits for no one, that day is just a memory, and it is that memory among many that I hold so dear, because it was with someone who I love with all my heart and I am grateful every day to have in my life. If that isn't testament to the power of scent, I don't know what is. As Fourreau Noir settles on my skin, an almond accord surfaces, at once bitter and sweet, while the spot of clean linen dihydromyrcenol subsides and smoky musk moves in like a mist at twilight, shaded with a dusky patchouli.

Fourreau Noir puts a spell on me, reminding me of how it feels during hypnagogia, that state between being awake and asleep (hynopompia being the opposite when the body awakens), where we drift in and out, see or hear—or smell things from our past, we almost hallucinate and dreams are just out of our reach. They are the dreams of Bleu Lavande, of lavender fields, ice cream, the love of one's life, and the hopes of tomorrow. 
11th January 2023
The opening bast is an incense note, which is drenched with lavender that the latter is actually an equal partner. Soon an intense soft and dark patchouli impression is added in, and the result is quite unusual and delightful.

Later on the mix turns sweeter, owing to a note of sweet almonds, which is given added strength by underlying aromas of vanilla and tonka, but the latter two are more in the background on me. Towards the end a restrained dark and musky cedar is evident, but is is not intense and expressed no strong characteristic of pencil shavings on me.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection, and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This a e delicious winter warmer, rich but not without nuances and with an original touch. Whilst the sweeter notes are rather generic, the performance of this cre
5th April 2021

I find this interesting, but ultimately not what I like.

It's essentially a fougere with lots of skanky coumarin and lavender, given more edge with bleach and smoothed with pie spices. I find this interesting in theory because most perfumes with a lot of coumarin tend to play up the hay/papyrus aspects, while burying its darkly sharp petrol ammonia funk element in musks or vanilla. Instead, Serge highlights and lifts up the extreme elements, making them even more searing with that bleach note and extremely jagged ginger and nutmeg. He also uses a very metallic lavender, which further adds to the jagged nature of this perfume. Meanwhile, Serge's signature recipe of maple, pie spices, and honey does a masterful job providing a warm, inviting pillow for the jagged elements to sit on. Indeed, the deep drydown, once the metal, bleach, and petrol are gone, is magical, a stunning honeyed brown sugar gingerbread and caramel pecan cinnamon roll smell that's probably the best gourmand smell I've experienced in ages. Unfortunately, you have to sit through a bunch of nostril-searing bleachy nonsense to get to it.

This owes a big debt to Bulgari's Blu, another bleachy pie spice fougere, which in turn owes a debt to Serge's own 5 O'Clock au Gingembre. The metallic lavender also reminds me of Polo, while the bleachy nutmeg has distinct similarities to Kenneth Cole Black.

Anyway, the delicious base lifts this from a thumbs-down to a neutral, but the bleachy fougere genre as a whole just doesn't appeal to me.

18th January 2019
Eau de Moth Ball? Sorry, but that is what it smells like
to my nose. I am not getting any of the notes others
mention in these reviews, no lavender, no tonka,
no musk, just the pungent scent of moth balls.

Mind you, these are old moth balls, not tear producing
fresh, but the scent one got decades ago, when we used
to take our winter clothes out of storage.

Mine is a freshly decanted sample from a prestigious
sample house, so I doubt I am smelling something
that has "gone off."

This is a scent one used to put up with until it wore
off, not one that is deliberately worn.
25th May 2016
It's no coincidence that Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir and Dior Privee Eau Noire are the only two lavender-forward fragrances I can stomach – they are both gourmand takes on the theme.

Eau Noire features a dark roasted coffee/licorice note set against a sun-roasted lavender, and plays off of the aromatic qualities of both. Fourreau Noir goes for contrast: the sharp smoke of the lavender rounded out and softened by a bready, almond-like tonka bean.

The overall effect, for me, is of a lavender-studded cake dripping with a lurid purple sugar glaze, left to smolder a touch too long in the oven and tasting like smoke from the grill. The deep, almost honeyed tobacco in the dry-down has an intimate, musky skin-like effect that is quite sensual (although not sexy).

As others have stated – this is not a wholly original scent. It mixes known elements from the Serge Lutens line up, most notably the electric-fire-smoked lavender from Gris Clair, the cozy hay/tobacco from the tonka-heavy Chergui, and (to me at least) the slightly urinous combination of tobacco and honey of Fumerie Turque.

But I don't care – original or not, this is a thick, satisfying fragrance that swings between fougere and gourmand, male and female, and smoke and cream. I don't mind scents that are extrapolations of others as long as the end result is good. And Fourreau Noir is more than good - it's great.
18th September 2015
Does anyone catch the similarities with Chanel's Jersey? FN is infinitely darker, and ultimately more interesting, but the lavender-vanillin-musk combo, and created by the same perfumer, recalls the Borneo-Coromandel similarities with the same circumstances.

Anyway, I love this. It's probably the easiest Lutens for me to wear. It's technically a fougere, but it lacks the typical crudeness. Although popular, I find Lutens' other lavender offerings to be a bit bland (Encens & Lavande) or too weird (Gris Clair). This has an almost edible quality, like a fine lavender chocolate (which is allegedly 'tonka' and 'almond' - gourmand illusions.)

Joins Antiheros, Caron Pour Un Homme, and Nicolai Haute Provence in my preferred lavender repertoire.

26th December 2014
Show all 16 Reviews of Fourreau Noir by Serge Lutens