A version of this article has previously appeared on Ca Fleure Bon by Megan In Sainte Maxime.
It’s always a pleasure to experience a L’Artisan Parfumeur perfume from Bertrand Duchaufour. He has signed three of my favourites from the line – Seville à l’aube, Vanille Absolument and Traversée du Bosphore so I’m always interested in sampling his concoctions for this iconic brand. While tales of travel inspired these perfumes, for the latest installment of the L’Artisan Parfumeur collection, Duchaufour has crafted a perfume with a more intimate story centred in his home territory, France. For Noir Exquis it appears Duchaufour has been inspired by two people meeting in a French patisserie. The tale for the perfume is as follows :
“Two people meet over a coffee, hushed looks are exchanged. This delightful rendez-vous is the beginning of a new story with Noir Exquis.”
Before I’d even smelt the perfume I was intrigued. I happen to be a coffee addict and I need my morning fix or my body and mind fail to connect. Usually I succumb to a second and later in the day a third. To me coffee has a bitter quality and needs to be robust. However I still haven’t learnt to love it in its unadorned state. I require a touch of creaminess with a drop of milk. And of course living in France has provided me with ample opportunity (maybe too many) to sample the delights of the patisserie.
Noir Exquis : Nose : Bertrand Duchaufour : Year : 2015 : Notes : Top : Chestnut, Orange : Middle : Orange blossom, Coffee, Maple sap : Base : Ebony, Heliotrope, Vanilla, Tonka, Sandalwood (according to Fragrantica)
Noir Exquis delivers my daily dose of coffee and pastry in a perfume bottle. It’s the aroma of coffee smoothed and sweetened with milk and other delectable treats. Straight away the perfume has an intoxicating nutty quality that encourages my yearnings for a pain aux raisins, one of my favourite breakfast treats.
Often this gourmand style of perfume layers on the dried fruits and honey, but in Noir Exquis the texture is less dense. It’s suffused with an airy quality that releases warm puffs of deliciousness from my skin. Here the sweetness comes from a hint of orange blossom but also maple syrup that provides a sublime contrast to the darker coffee aroma.
The coffee absolute in Noir Exquis is definitely not of a dark, swirling persuasion. It’s a lighter, sweeter iteration that brushes my skin tenderly but with surprising tenacity. The perfume winds down to a tonka infused vanilla centred by macassa wood and sandalwood. Wisps of smokiness and light spices round out Noir Exquis and a woody presence is always noticeable.
The perfume’s character stays true from start to finish. There are some ebbs and flows and the dry down is softer in temperament but the cosy feeling I get from Noir Exquis remains unchanged. I imagine this perfume will be popular as it straddles that line between gourmand and woods successfully. It’s not too sweet, but not too much of a woody masculine either.
Noir Exquis will be perfect for autumn and winter when I’m looking for some warmth and comfort to cocoon me from the cold and silvered skies. It’s a snug, smoothly blended perfume that I’ll admit isn’t overly challenging (and often that’s a good thing in my book) but it’s one of those scents that I will end up reaching for on a regular basis. It reminds me of winter holiday time in my seaside town. Roasted chestnuts are sold along the waterfront and the sweet smells of churros and candy floss from the funfair saturate the air. While the locals play boules (petanque) and the children are entertained, warmth is provided by vin chaud (mulled wine) and the smell of coffee permeates the air. If I could only hear the mellifluous tones of Otis Redding wooing me with Cigarettes and Coffee then I would be truly content.
The Low Down : A delicious mix of coffee and nutty sweetness from vanilla, maple syrup and chestnut along with a healthy dose of smoky woods. A crowd pleaser and a great transitional autumn scent and winter warmer.
For where to purchase : Please see the L’Artisan Parfumeur website for further details. It’s available in a 50ml size for 88 Euro and for 112 Euro for the 100ml bottle.
Notes : Images : Featured image by Robert Doisneau : Vogue and Coffee : Mine : Winter skies : weather-forecast.com : Otis Redding : waxandwanemusic.com
Disclosure : Sample provided by L’Artisan Parfumeur, via Ca Fleure Bon opinions my own.