The independent perfumer’s sample for today’s Advent scent is 1805, later renamed as 1805 Tonnerre, by Beaufort London. It is one of the first three fragrances released by this niche house upon its debut in 2015, as part of the “Come Hell Or High Water” collection. Fragrantica explains:
This collection brings together elements of Britain’s history, both imagined and real, to create collages of scent embodying themes of warfare, trade and exploration.
Crabtree’s lifelong love of fragrance and a preoccupation with the darker elements of British history served as the collection’s impetus.Fragrantica
The brand’s packaging mentions the significance of the year 1805: the same year when Admiral Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar but lost his life; and the year when the “wind force scale” was invented by Sir Francis Beaufort. The scent’s composition is described as follows:
The scent imagines moments within the battle itself. Powerful accords of smoke, gunpowder, blood and brandy combine with sea spray and a penetrating citrus note.Beaufort London
More prosaically, Fragrantica lists its notes as: Top notes are lime, smoke and gunpowder; middle notes are blood, brandy and sea water; base notes are amber, balsam fir and cedar.
This is definitely a unique scent but it’s not unpleasant. Much more masculine than unisex to my nose, but is that mostly because we have learned to associate non-floral odors with men more than women? Be that as it may, I smell the top notes of smoke and gunpowder, and there is a sharp note right at the beginning that may be the “lime”. The sample I have is the actual 2015 launch 1805, not the renamed, later version, and I think that citrus top note may have gone off a bit. Blood? Brandy? There is a metallic tang in the middle phase that I think is meant to represent “blood”, but mostly what I smell is the continuing smoke, now merging with sea water. I don’t smell anything I could identify as brandy.
The opening and middle stages are challenging, but the final stage is calmer and warmer, perhaps in the way there is calm after a great naval battle or storm. The base notes are very woody; accords of fir and cedar dominate over amber. Unfortunately, this is also the stage where 1805 smells more generic, like a woody aftershave. Again, not unpleasant, but now not as interesting. Whenever the gunpowder accord wafts through, though, as it regularly does, it rekindles my nose’s interest.
I was introduced to Beaufort London at Bloom perfumery in London, several years ago, at which time they had released a couple more fragrances to join the original three. One of those, Fathom V, is actually a fragrance I like a lot, on its own merits. If you like smoky scents that are different, you may like 1805 and its other siblings, but this is definitely a fragrance where one must proceed with caution.
What scents do you find very intriguing and artistic, but you might not choose to wear them yourself or at least to wear them less often?