In the hands of Christopher Sheldrake, many perfumes have becomes classics. It was his hand that helped make Feminite du Bois, the splendid Patchouli Borneo 1834, and the wonderfully dense Arabie, (which as you may recall, smells like Nigella’s recipe for Black Cake- all that rum doused fruit!) to name but a few of the many fragrant notches on his perfumer’s belt.
So here we have Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque and even in a blind test I would guess this was a Serge Lutens. Imagine a perfume that has Honey, Chamomile and Redcurrants. Like me, you would imagine something summery and sweet. However, Sheldrake has seen fit to add notes of Suede, Tobacco and Patchouli to his mix, creating a multi faceted wonder of a scent.
It has similarities to Borneo in so far as Fumerie is most certainly a dominant member of the Patchouli Club. However, it is aided and abetted with so many contrasting touches of lightness, that the Patchouli is experienced in a new light.
When I first tried this, it smelled strongly of oak aged brandy, before turning into something rich and dark, like the smoke from incense in an ancient church. A hint of honey stops it being too rich and too dark (although nothing wrong with either of those things, if you ask me) and there is even, if you’re very quiet, a whisper of Rose to give a hint of sober beauty. The finish is a manly blend of the aforementioned Suede and Tobacco, bringing to mind the hushed interior of an exclusive Gentleman’s Club, but unlike those clubs, Fumerie Turque does not exclude women.
If you like Ambre Sultan, Arabie, Borneo 1834 or even Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain, I’d be amazed if you didn’t like Fumerie Turque. It’s a bit out of season right now- this would smell incredible on warm skin chilled by snow and frost. As for gender: male, female, or whatever you feel like that day: this is a scent to be worn with gusto and passion and conviction. It would go well with a cigar and an impudent glance.