Kicking off the Revenants collection, Iron Duke aims to evoke the spirit of the Duke of Wellington. But is someone who died in 1852 relevant to today’s market? Or is this ‘gunpowder, treason and plot’ fragrance more like ‘magic and sexy, it’s not’?
Animalic notes, gunpowder, leather, tobacco, metal, woods, hay.
Irritatingly, Beaufort haven’t listed the notes on their website, so we have taken these from Bloom’s list with a few of our own thrown in.
Beaufort London are achingly hipster, so hipster in fact that one of the products they sell on their website is moustache wax. But don’t be put off by that, despite riding fixed-gear bikes and dressing in nothing but tweed, they manage to put out perfumes of significant character and quality. This is the third of their range that we have reviewed so far (the others being the softer, more cakey Lignum Vitae and the lush, green jungle of Fathom V) and we have been delighted by the distinct and nuanced nature of each one. They’re very individual fragrances, each with their own particular charm.
Iron Duke is part of the newer Revenants collection, which seems like it is going to be based around evoking the spirit of dashing gentlemen past (we really hope they do a Lord Byron scent if that’s the case).
Of the three Beauforts we have reviewed so far, in many ways this one is the most complex, the most stereotypically masculine, and the one that has taken most brain power to understand (and like?). It definitely feels like the company has grown with this scent, developed into something more sophisticated. But the question is in doing so, have they lost some of their charm?
The scent starts with a high energy, soapy kind of hay smell. It’s sweet, fizzy and energetic, a little fermented and heady. If you like those powerful scents that scour your nose as they go down with their energetic little molecules then this might be just the slap in the face you need. And boy is it invigorating.
There’s a mineral tang to the hay notes too, ever so slightly like blood, but not distressingly so, it just pings right at the back of the throat as it goes down. It’s almost a salty afterthought, but it gives a nice piquancy.
The fragrance does calm down in the heart, the vibrancy of the start is still there, but the supporting notes are allowed to come to the fore a little more.
Beaufort describe Iron Duke as a tribute to the Duke of Wellington in their blurb. Wellington was a celebrated horseman, and fittingly, there is a good dollop of horse breath in here. It comes through as the slightly fermented hay, which is evident in the top notes but builds more in the heart. This isn’t a comforting old friend of a horse pootling about in a meadow though. This horse feels like a battle charger rearing up, eyes blazing, hooves flashing. You can almost smell the sweat and adrenaline coming off it in waves.
In a good way, of course.
There’s also a moment in the heart of this scent when the fragrance goes a bit weird for a while. It’s not unpleasant, but for a moment or two the scent smells like supermarket brand cola. Yes, we do realise how off piste that sounds. There is something about the combination of sweetness with the mineral notes that, if you aren’t concentrating, somehow evokes a glass of cola that has been left in the sun and gone warm. It’s a little puzzling.
That blip aside, there’s a whole mix of the stereotypically masculine delights in here, leather, smoke, tobacco with a certain sharpness right at the back that is almost reminiscent of grapefruit. It’s not a citrus though, it’s the metal notes making their presence known. It’s not that it smells exactly like citrus, but what you get is that sour tang that notes like that can evoke, somewhere between grapefruit and licking an iron gatepost. And it doesn’t last too long before a deeper level is revealed…
The base of the scent rolls rather than fizzes like the top did. The leather and tobacco really come through here. The smoke is there but held in check, and a warm, woody quality emerges. There’s something solidly, dependably masculine about the base. It reminded us of old fashioned gentlemen – even though Beaufort’s marketing may have conditioned us to think that, actually the scent does a very good job of backing it up.
There is also a sort of shaving-soap quality here too. Whilst we wouldn’t describe the scent as smelling ‘clean’ as you would usually imagine clean to mean, there is a crispness here that sort of infers a cleanliness off the back of it. It’s quite an interesting little facet added towards the end.
The other stuff
The projection of this scent is impressive. Spray more than a couple of squirts and the whole room will definitely know that you are wearing it. If you wanted to be more discrete, a lighter application still brings a decent level of scent through, but punches people in the face a little less.
The longevity is also excellent. In numerous tests it lasted from sun up to sun down really easily. It would be a great fragrance to apply if you were heading to the office, and then out after work for drinks – you wouldn’t even need to take the bottle with you to still remain fragrant.
In terms of who this is aimed at, it sets its sights very firmly in the stereotypically masculine end of the spectrum, and it definitely makes no apology for that.
Iron Duke by Beaufort London is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £95 for 50ml EdP. Bloom kindly supplied me with a sample of this scent. You can also get Iron Duke direct from the Beaufort London website, for the same price.