Lalique's Encre Noire enjoys what you might call a god-like status in the perfume community. Not long after it emerged in 2006, its uncompromising, legible structure of vetivert and musks turned it into a must-have for scentusiasts hoping to add a bold, animalic, yet polished creation to their collections. It soon achieved a cult following. And it's now something of a modern classic, as seen by the fact that it made it to Number 12 on the Basenotes Top 500 last year. In 2009, the brand gave us a female version of the scent. 2013 saw the release of a 'Sport' edition. But towards the end of 2015, Lalique decided to return to the perfume's founding principles to put together an 'Extreme' flanker. The person they recruited for the task was the composer of the original, Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich, whose many credits include Cuir 28 for Le Labo, Autoportrait for Olfactive Studio and Black Opium for YSL.
When the veteran perfumer - who has worked alongside the likes of Jean-Louis Sieuzac and the "fantastic" Sophia Grojsman - popped into London for the launch of Encre Noire À L'Extrême, I took her back to the 2006 release and asked her whether its formula really is as simple as it seems.
Nathalie Lorson: Yes, it is. Vetivert and musks. But there are different facets of the vetivert. For example, natural vetivert has a grapefruit effect. So I reinforced it with some grapefruit. I played with different facets of the vetivert.