An innovative gourmand fragrance with a masculine slant, Lignum Vitae by Beaufort London is something rather unexpected. And who doesn’t love a plot twist?
Black pepper, pepper tree berry oil, madeleine cake accord, juniper berry, ginger, lime, lignum vitae wood, butter, sea salt.
When the name Beaufort is raised in polite conversation, one cannot fail to imagine hipsters in their hundreds descending on their fragrances like vultures round a fresh carcass. Everything about this brand, their marketing, presentation and scents, screams waxed moustaches, fixed-gear bikes and expensive Swedish rucksacks. But look beyond that and we might find a youthful brand trying very hard to do something rather interesting and a little bit different whilst retaining wearability, and old fashioned quality. At times they strike chords which are – for us at least – not totally harmonious, but even so, the song that Beaufort is singing is definitely worth listening to.
We have also reviewed Fathom V by Beaufort which is, in contrast to Lignum Vitae, a dense, green, hot jungle of a scent. Very likeable in a completely different way.
Maybe we’ve been hoodwinked into buying their marketing guff here at The Sniff, but diving into a previously untested Beaufort always seems like an adventure to us and with Lignum Vitae it’s no different.
The first peals of scent that rise from the skin after a spritz of Lignum Vitae are very unexpected, and we believe they would be unexpected even if you had read the listed notes before wearing it (which we did not). What rises first is a beautiful cakey accord, and yes, it is identifiable as madeleines! This isn’t a soggy Victoria sponge, instead it is light, buttery, dry and even though it is a scent, there is a spongy, yielding texture to the fragrance which is just so evocative of opening the kitchen door and finding your mother cooling something delicious on a wire rack. This cakey conjuring really gets the scent off to a playful start. Beaufort seem to want to make transportive scents and Lignum Vitae definitely fits the bill in the top notes, we just are transported somewhere we really did not expect.
After the cakey accord begins to die down (and your mouth stops salivating) a bright citrus pops out next. Suddenly the cake cooling on the rack must be a lemon drizzle cake! The listed notes say lime, but we got lemon instead, and quite strongly. The citrus has a very cooling tone about it, which makes it both invigorating and strangely soothing at the same time. It’s remarkably delicious and really stops the cake being too sweet or sickly.
We found the pepper in the fragrance didn’t appear until the perfume had properly settled and really warmed up. Then it sweeps in on ribbons of sweet, calming woody notes. The heart of the fragrance has a very different temperament to the top. What started off as polite, tempting and easy, takes on a much more tempestuous feel. There is something a little bit abrasive about the pepper notes here, a roughness on the nose that is invigorating, but which could be a little annoying if it got out of control. It feels as if the scent started off quite Mr Darcy, but suddenly you realise its Pride and Prejudice with Zombies now instead.
We couldn’t have said that this was lignum vitae wood in the heart, it just smells like a rather aromatic woody note, not particularly tropical or indeed remarkable, but it is pleasant and there’s enough sweetness from that and the residual cake notes to ensure that the pepper is held in check.
The finish of the scent becomes unusually pedestrian for a fragrance that started out so boldly. There’s a hint of melted butter, a remaining touch of citrus and a warmth from the woods and the pepper. It’s not unpleasant at all, it’s clean, masculine in tone, very dry. If it was a colour it would be the golden colour of sand as the sun hits it first thing in the morning. And yet somehow we couldn’t help but feel that it had fizzled out a teeny bit. Without a doubt, the base is wearable and would be a good fit for quite a few people, but to achieve that the scent feels like it has compromised on its personality somewhat. Who knows, perhaps Mr Darcy was just a pretender all along?
The other stuff
Projection and longevity of this scent are both moderate to good. It lasted well into the afternoon without needing reapplication, and if a decent amount is applied then it does give a noticeable projection.
We could imagine this scent being really good for the transitional months of Autumn, when it is still warm but there is that little note of cool air hanging around in the evenings. The piquancy of the pepper would bring a welcome spiciness to the cooling season.
In terms of gender, although this scent does include stereotypically more feminine notes, it most comfortably sits towards the masculine end. Think Paul Hollywood fresh from the kitchen.
Lignum Vitae by Beaufort London is priced at £95 for 50ml EDP. It is available from Bloom Perfumery London and also the Beaufort website directly. A sample of this scent was gifted to us by one of our readers.