Coeur de Noir
Nose: ? (brand owner: Leo Crabtree), 2015
Notes: Rum, Ginger, Ink // Paper, Leather, Vanilla // Cedarwood, Tobacco, Birch tar
Coeur de Noir opens with a punch: a strong whiff of wooden smoke slapped on your face (or should I say, your nostrils)! You are being overloaded with dry and smouldered, burnt logs of wood, with an occasional pulsation of something like a lime zest (not much of it, just two or three small ‘pulsations’ every now and then, and that’s it). Perhaps that could be an effect of the oozy quality of the rum which is listed as one of the top notes.
As the strong first pummels soften within the next 15min, Beaufort’s perfume gets, shall I say, domesticated? If the prolegomenon (ah those wonderfully lofty words!) was a thunder of a storm, within the next 30 minutes the storm has faded away into much more ‘domicile’ fragrance composition.
I do have to admit that I like it so far: it sits (again: so far!) on a stronger burnt side of the olfactory experience, which has always been my favorite. So perhaps it is not a surprise that I find it appealing and that I feel satisfied: I get what I like. I am, however, curious, to see how it will develop, and whether Coeur de Noir will mange to stay bold and upfront. (Unfortunately, I find many perfumes that play with smoke, incense, tobacco, ink, and the like of the dark scents, to be too lighthearted and too afraid of the forceful darkness that these scented trails conceal.)
An hour on, the fragrance at this stage gets a rather pleasant, if very timid, touch of ginger, adding up to the smoke composition. It’s not deep nor significant addition that would change the smoke’s nature… It’s a rather small stone in to the garden of burnt wood, but one of the nice colour and shape.
I like how the ginger for a moment contributes to the burnt smoke in this perfume, with its subtle addition of something a little douce but not sweet, with its faintly prickly on the nose, bitter lemonade quality. However, as the sharpness gets tamed with roundness of delicacy, I am waiting for something new to happen. It seems like it’s time for the twist at the dark heart of Coeur de Noir (pardon the punch, I just couldn’t resist…). Am I correct in reading the calming of the top notes as the eye of a cyclone, before it hits again? I sure hope so!
2h later… Still awaiting for something to happen… The heart notes are not yet here, no hints of vanilla’s sweetness or leather’ly incarnations of smokiness.
Finally, the evolution begins… The burnt-wood smoke is re-construct-ed and new composition emerges from the first phase. Unfortunately, the sillage is poor, and although the initial thrust was very strong, now after 2,5h, Beaufort’s Coeur de Noir is surprisingly non-preset, abiding closely to the skin. This is disenchanting.
What seems to be emerging as this ‘second stage formulation’ is a perfume based more on tobacco and vanilla notes, than smoke and leather. So it would seem that heart and base notes get all together, without much of the distinctive phasing. What I get (and oh boy, it really is such a disappointment that I need to rub my nose in my arm to whiff anything!) is a feeling of wood more than burnt smoke (probably listed cedarwood), yet well rounded in delicately vanilla tobacco scent. All this is very airy and half imagined than really being pronounced on its own and with its own force. Feels almost as I am trying hard to get something from what is hardly there, imagining that scent more than actually smelling it. Good beginning, and poor finish, sadly said…
Other perfume reviews of Coeur de Noir by Beaufort London: