We live in a society which always seem to want to move at the speed of a bullet train. Consumers want everything fast and lots of it. Fragrance is as susceptible to these forces as any. The pace of releases or the double-digit collections is meant to sate the appetites of perfume lovers. As someone who smells his fair share during a year, I think the rush to market sometimes leave good ideas unfulfilled. When I try something that is almost there, I wonder what a little extra time might have wrought. It is a fanciful thought most brands just want to churn their releases. Getting it right is not part of the equation. There are outliers, Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus is one of them.
There are no more exacting creative directors than Naomi Goodsir and Renaud Coutadier. From the moment I met them in 2012 I have been a persistent correspondent asking when the next new thing is coming. They are polite in replying with a version of this, “When we think it is right?” This has been a process which has taken years. It has led to a small collection which exhibits the success of this way of making perfume.
Corpus Equus took eight years to finally get it right. Ms. Goodsir and M. Coutadier know what they are looking for. In this case they worked through every iteration with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. In the press materials there is talk about it being the spirit of an Arabian horse. What I found was a smoky leathery amber which reminds me of a leather sofa in front of a fireplace more than a horse.
This begins with that scent of woodsmoke from a chimney. Those who remember one of Ms. Goodsir’s first releases Bois D’Ascese will likely see a kinship. This is a much better-behaved smokiness. Which is good because a compelling incense pairs with it in the early going. I imagined an incense burner where a sliver of wood and a joss stick smoldered next to each other. Releasing spirals of smoke which tangle themselves together.
The leather accord comes next. This is a modernized Cuir de Russie version. A lot of birch tar is used. It simultaneously picks up on the smoke in the top accord while beginning the construction of the leather one. There is a pungent cigarette ash rubbed into the leather. Reminded me of the way my leather jacket smelled after a night of clubbing. The final piece is an animalic musk which pulls it all together into a leather accord with vitality. If there is a horse to be found here this is where it might be, I guess. It all folds into a strong amber in the base as the smoke and leather envelop it.
Corpus Equus has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
There is a lot of pleasure in finding some aspects of the first and this sixth one nine years apart. It confirms that the concept of go slow, get it right works if you let it.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.