Have you come across the tag NSFW? It stands for “Not Suitable/Safe For Work” and denotes internet content that isn’t advisable viewing while at your office. The same warning could be applied to L’Ombre Fauve: Don’t apply liberally and set off for work unless you’re looking for more than a pay rise. This is seductive stuff.
Isn’t it funny how the most affecting perfumes can have the simplest compositions? While it’s clearly not conclusive, the only notes given for this Pierre Guillaume creation are amber, musk, woods, incense and patchouli. It was released in 2007 and is part of the Private Collection.
Despite the ominous name (“bestial shadow”), it’s not your usual animalic musk. It is much less scary and more subtle than that. Think warm, slightly salty skin.
The musk is modestly adorned in amenable amber, a tinge of mineral incense and an earthy patchouli. It’s a seducer in casual T-shirt and jeans rather than suave evening attire. It has a lived in quality to it; the same T-shirt and jeans have been worn for a couple of days now and retain the wearer’s scent.
We’re not talking about off-putting sweat or shocking skank here. It’s more sebaceous than anything else, like hair washed in the morning that has become a little oily at the roots by the end of the day. That may not sound attractive but somehow it is.
L’Ombre Fauve isn’t exactly dirty but it’s definitely not clean. It’s the intimate warmth of recently used bed sheets, a blanket encasing a naked body, the spot on the nape of the neck where hair meets skin.
The amber is not of the heavy, opaque variety. It’s fairly sheer labdanum -resinous, powdered and akin to feline fur. It softens the scratchy undertones of incense and patchouli. It’s what I wanted from Felanilla by the same brand and Le Labo’s Labdanum 18 but failed to get.
Longevity is excellent with the main notes shifting their balance over time rather than morphing. The musk is at its height in the beginning but it soon mellows and the amber sweetness comes through more and more. It finishes with a lovely, snuggly benzoin and vanilla base.
Projection is low to moderate but I don’t think this is a fragrance you’d feel the need to share with anyone outside of your personal space. Do I want to spray with abandon? No, but a little is enticingly good.
It’s the heady feeling of locking eyes with a magnetic stranger for a little too long. The static electricity of the not-so-accidental brushing of fingertips, the tension in the air resulting in a skip of the heartbeat, a quickening of the breath and dilation of the pupils.
Yes, I’ve found myself in thrall to this shadowy captivator, to the point where I want to get closer to it, stretch like a cat and luxuriate in the sensuality of it all.
OK I’ll just come right out and say it: L’Ombre Fauve is damn sexy.
Is there a perfume which makes you go weak at the knees?