Taking for inspiration the smell of champaca flowers just before a storm, Foudre (Eng. lightning) is a highly textured scent composed around two principal materials.
The first, extending from the head- through the heart-notes is Robertet’s Champaca Olessence: a soft extraction with natural Nerolidol (rather than the traditional concrète) whose delicate floral odour displays facets of apricot jam, lemony magnolia and honied rose. Supporting this, and apparent through the entire evaporation curve, is the spicy, musky, woody, wet-concrete scent of Cashmeran dosed at the sort of levels I’ve not noticed since Maurice Roucel’s Dans tes Bras, where it was used at a massive 25%. As the latter’s name suggests, the molecule has a certain human quality to it and in the base of Foudre this is accentuated with a blend sensuous musks.
The concept is both modern and beautiful, but to my nose the Cashmeran is just too assertive and does the champaca a real disservice. Were I able, I would reduce the former, allowing the floral accord to play a larger part. If it didn’t turn the whole composition too citrusy, I would also consider dialling up the Aldemone for its ozonic note (or look for another ozonic material) since this would better capture the sense of an impending thunderstorm. From others in the line, Guillaume has shown himself skilled at doing the ozonic thing and I wonder why he was so restrained here.
Saying all this reflects my slight disappointment in what I perceive as the disconnect between the promise extended on the inside of the sample jacket and what my nose and brain tell me; had I tested Foudre completely blind, I would certainly have perceived it differently.
Nose: Pierre Guillaume
House: Pierre Guillaume La Collection Croisière.
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Basenotes): Champaca Blossom, Vetiver, Pepper, Aldemone, Black tea absolute, Cashmeran.