Perfume Directory

Fourreau Noir (2009)
by Serge Lutens


Fourreau Noir information

Year of Launch2009
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 87 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Fourreau Noir

Fourreau Noir is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 2009

Fourreau Noir fragrance notes

Reviews of Fourreau Noir

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.

26th December, 2014 (last edited: 03rd July, 2020)
Cannes Show all reviews
United States
Paris in the winter

Oh, Fourreau Noir... how I adore you. I first smelled you in the Palais Royal on a February day along with many others. It wasn't until later that night, laying in bed, staring out my window onto a Paris street that you stole my heart. I couldn't get back to the Palais Royal fast enough. And, alas, you were mine! I wear you in the winter and in the summer. I absolutely love your smokey lavender mixed with sweet vanilla amber. You stay with me all day. Reminding why I fell in love with you that winter day in Paris.

23rd September, 2013

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’s come about, Fourreau Noir smells remarkably 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. 

Worse luck, Fourreau Noir has a large helping of the same masculine contemporary notes linking ‘freshness’ (I can’t quite use that word without qualifier) and wood that Chergui has.  This capitulation is what turned Chergui for me, and it does the same to Fourreau Noir.  It fact, this is where the similarity of the two is to be found.  Sheldrake and Lutens manage to make many distinctive perfumes in what might seem a small range of spicy syrup (see Arabie, Cedre, Cuir Mauresque).  But in both Chergui and here in Fourreau Noir, the perfume makers cede the middle ground to convention and, despite Fourreau Noir’s lavender, which could be a logical entree to the world of the contempo-homo (my stage name for the state of current perfumery for men), Fourreau Noir winds up fairly faceless and undistinguished like Chergui.


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 Azuree/Aramis or Aromatics Elixir /Aramis 900.  Less generous would be to call Fourreau Noir a retread.  

19th May, 2013

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Other perfumes by Serge Lutens

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Perfumes launched in the same year as Fourreau Noir (2009)

See all launches from 2009 in the Perfume Directory

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