Ever since the introduction of oud into western modern perfumery I have been interested in how it is used in the Middle East. According to what I have read oud chips are placed in braziers and allowed to add their scent to rooms as they burn. As a perfume ingredient it is one of my favorites because of the complexity of the scent profile. I have spent years buying small vials of different sources of oud. My wooden box which contains the vials is one of my most cherished fragrant possessions. While I am pretty sure Mrs. C would frown upon me ordering some oud chips and setting them on fire in a brazier in Poodlesville. I think I’ve found the next best thing in Louis Vuitton Nuit de Feu.
In a touch over two years the luxury leather brand Louis Vuitton has jumped feet first into fragrance. Nuit de Feu is the fifteenth release of this collection. Perfumer Jacques Cavallier has been the perfumer behind all of them. This has been an uneven collection with hits and misses but more in the squishy middle of they’re okay. Until I got my hands on a sample, I expected Nuit de Feu to be one of the latter.
Nuit de Feu translates to “night of fire” I wouldn’t call this a dark style of fragrance. M. Cavallier provides a more transparent framing that the ingredients might lead you to believe. All three keynotes are pitched at a lighter level than I usually encounter them.
It opens with the smoky austere resin of Somalian incense. This always feel like tendrils of fragrant smoke whenever it shows up in a perfume. No different here. It is this which sets the idea of a brazier burning. Over the next few minutes a classic refined leather accord worthy of Louis Vuitton meshes with oud. If you’re expecting powerhouse dial it back by half. It isn’t ethereal but it isn’t bowl you over either. As these three keynotes come together it is how I imagine a brazier in the Middle East to smell. It ends with a gentle suite of animalic musks picking up on all three of the keynotes.
Nuit de Feu has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I think some will be disappointed that an incense-leather-oud fragrance isn’t a sledgehammer. If you give it a chance you might come to find the same joy in a subtler combination of the same notes. M. Cavallier does a nice job in providing an alternative. I am just happy I can imagine myself spending a night at the brazier while wearing it.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Louis Vuitton.