Corpus Equus by Naomi Goodsir

Smoky leather on horseback. A scent to accompany you through the remainder of the winter.

Listed notes

Amber, animalic notes, birch tar, incense, leather, smoke.

Top notes

If it’s a dark, moody scent you’re craving this winter then Naomi Goodsir has you covered with latest release Corpus Equus. The scent is meant to be an interpretation of a horse smell, but not just any horse. An elegant Arabian horse is conjured here, with a proud countenance and high-stepping gait. But does the perfume actually deliver on this most noble of steeds?

A spritz of Corpus Equus immediately reveals dense clouds of smoke and a background bonfire warmth – if you like a smoky scent then you are in for a treat and that much is immediately apparent. The scent purrs with hints of shiny sweetness and a touch of something a tiny bit salty is thrown into the mix to add another facet of intrigue.

In the background, animalic notes murmur along to themselves, giving an oud-like sense at times, all scattered over a warm, woody framework – whether that is a bonfire’s pyre ready to be set aflame, or the wood-panelled interior of a stable is yet to be decided.

It’s fair to say that there is a lot going on in the emerging few minutes of the scent and if you aren’t ready for it this is the sort of fragrance which bowls the senses over a little, before it settles to reveal itself more fully. So if at first you find it too much, step back, take some air, give it a moment and then see what happens.

Heart notes

The whole tone of Corpus Equus is deep, dark and mysterious. This is lantern-light, evenings as black as coal, depths of winter, underside of a crow’s wing type stuff. Firstly because it does have a rather moody, mysteriousness about it, and secondly because of the shadowy, almost gloomy notes which make the scent up. That isn’t to say that it is depressing, not at all, just that the scent almost has a Gothic fairytale sort of feel to it. It most certainly isn’t a light and cheery scent you can just pop on before heading out for a quick coffee. This is the sort of scent you save for days when you are wanting to make a very distinct and very particular impression. Days when you want to channel the sense of this powerful and majestic beast.

Once the fragrance has settled and calmed on the skin, a leathery, sinuous element twists from it. This is the only thing within the scent which has the force to challenge the lingering smoke which is in evidence throughout the length of the wear. The leather here is well worn, but that has toughened rather than weakened it, it’s polished, cared for, but it still possesses that fulsome, leathery timbre which leather purists want to smell. It isn’t suede, it isn’t leather handbag like, this is leather which is being worked with, being bent and stretched into items for hard use: saddles, bridles and other horsey accoutrements.

The leather accord takes up space in the scent and although it goes well with the smoky facets, it feels like there is a tussle going on here for primacy. Despite wearing this scent many times now, it isn’t entirely apparent which particular element wins.

Base notes

The final phase of Corpus Equus continues in this theme of darkness which seems to travel throughout the fragrance. The smoke lingers, the leather steps back into the shadows a little, but doesn’t ever seem to fully go away either. The animalic notes calm, become a little less noticeable, but continue to whicker away to themselves. In and amongst these deepest of shadows, there is something perhaps a little fruity lurking, a forbidden fruit – something akin to a tart fig. It isn’t easy to notice in the fragrance, but it gives the composition a fleshiness, rounds out the sinew of the leather a bit, and gives the scent something a little more corporeal and a little less abstract.

Corpus Equus is a fragrance which does feel like it magics up something animal, something dark and dangerous, but the bit that was missing for me was the specific horsiness. The creature which is being conjured here is mysterious, brooding, almost threatening. If it is a horse then it is a horse which is undomesticated, grimy, and most likely charging its way back from Hell. This isn’t the horse as pet or companion, Corpus Equus is horse as foe or at least the horse as a steed for something sent from realms we don’t quite understand or can’t quite imagine.

The other stuff

The perfumer for Corpus Equus was Bertrand Duchaufour.

As you may imagine with some of the heavy-hitting notes listed, the scent lasts really well. It comfortably goes a full working day following an early morning application.

The projection of the scent is also good. With minimal sprays it will conservatively go to around handshake distance, but once it has permeated your clothes or if you spray a fair bit it will stretch it’s might beyond that easily.

The brand

Naomi Goodsir is a brand almost as enigmatic and mysterious as the creator behind it. Chic, modern and minimalist are all words we could use to describe this brand but facts about them are a little thin on the ground on their website. We do know they are based in France, however, but not much more beyond that! The fragrances, however, need no fancy frippery to make them worth sniffing out. Distinct, bold and perhaps a little challenging, each one has held a world all of its own. We’ve previously reviewed Cuir Velours, Or Du Serail, and Bois d’Ascese by Naomi Goodsir.

Buy it

Corpus Equus is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £150 for 50ml EdP. Corpus Equus is also available from the Naomi Goodsir web boutique.

We were very kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by Bloom Perfumery. Our thanks to them.

Image from Pixabay.


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