Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir, 2009

Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Fourreau Noir makes me consider the possibilities of copying and repetition.  Part of a series, variation on a theme? Uninventive, deliberate, derivative?  Sequel, flanker, gender counterpart, homage?

However it has come about, Fourreau Noir smells similar to Chergui.  A little less raspy and a bit cooler and herbal from the lavender.  It’s syrupy, sweet and woody.  It’s a spin on the coumarin accord of Chergui, a range that Sheldrake and Lutens do very well.  Sadly, it holds no surprise here, but then again, I’m not a great fan of Chergui. (I should note that nobody but me thinks these two are similar.)

Sheldrake and Lutens manage to make distinctive perfumes in a small range of spicy syrup (see Arabie, Cedre, Cuir Mauresque).  But in both Chergui and here in Fourreau Noir, Lutens and Sheldrake cede the middle ground to convention and, Fourreau Noir winds up undistinguished like Chergui.  Each fits in the middle of the herd of contemporary masculine nichy, woody-resinous perfumes

Clearly, I’m not hiding my preferences, but to take a step back, how are we to view Fourreau Noir?  Lutens don’t group it with Chergui in their “Sudden Sweetness” series where Chergui is found, but the composition is similar.  The generous thing to do would be to paint the two as a Bernard Chant/Estee Lauder gender pairing such as Azurée/Aramis or Aromatics Elixir /Aramis 900.  Less generous would be to call Fourreau Noir a retread.

leave a comment