Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus, héodore Gericault Cheval Cabré dit Tamerlan – Gericault painting ©Images d’Art, Corpus Equus bottle picture ©Studio Goodsir, montage ©Emmanuelle Varron.
“Nuit de Bakélite is somewhat of an UPO, Unidentified Perfume Object Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus is “another kind of composition”, REALLY interesting.” This is how Renaud Coutaudier, Naomi Goodsir’s co-Creative Director, introduced Editor-in-chief Michelyn Camen to Corpus Equus. And when M. Coutaudier and Naomi Goodsir described the note to me recently, I thought how they really run the gamut: leather, rose petals, horse dung, gin and cigarette ashes. So it is no surprise that they chose Bertrand Duchaufour as the perfumer (he signed 2014’s Or du Serail) for the brand’s sixth fragrance creation since the House’s debut in 2012 (Cuir Velours and Bois d’Ascèse by Julien Rasquinet, Iris Cendré and the masterpiece Nuit de Bakélite, created by Isabelle Doyen in 2017. Corpus Equus in Latin means “Body of the Horse”. But not just any horse, you will understand as you read on.
Pierre Soulages paintings in one of his Montpellier Musée Fabre dedicated room – photo ©Emmanuelle Varron
My first encounter with Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus was at the Nose Scent Bar Event that took place early September in Paris -the first IRL event dedicated to perfume in my beloved city since the partial lifting of health restrictions. It was was a great opportunity to dive back into the “the world before” and to reconnect with many brands and perfumers distributed by Nose… including Naomi Goodsir. As the place was full of people, and I was in no rush to find myself in the crowd inside, I was chatting quietly with friends across the street when one of them ran out the boutique to tell us: “Eh, guys, the new Naomi Goodsir is a bombshell! A fabulous leather!” I immediately left my colleagues in anticipation of the new perfume. I recognized Renaud Coutaudier who was presenting Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus to several guests. As I was listening to him I couldn’t help but grab the bottle and spray it on paper. I was floored and asked M. Coutaudier if I could try it on skin. “You have to, of course,” he replied. It was difficult to share my impressions with him amid such a crowd with so many other fragrances around us. We made an appointment the next day and to my delight in the presence of Naomi Goodsir whom I had missed at the event. It was an hour of fascinating discussion with two perfume lovers, who are both great connoisseurs and artists. What an honor to learn more about Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus and learn more about the entire collection and their stories.
A horse under a hail of roses, Bertrand Duchaufour Corpus Equus drawing – ©Bertrand Duchaufour
I don’t hide it: I am a Tuberose girl. And Naomi Goodsir Nuit de Bakélite has been my signature fragrance since its release, the one that I wear during the important moments of my life (a job interview, a date). It is the perfume that I consider the closest to my personality it is my scented reflection amid the numerous fragrances I own. But I am also a Leather girl, especially when they have BIG personalities intimidating and not obvious to tame, among which Pierre Guillaume Arabian Horse or Matière Première Falcon Leather. Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus was love at first spritz, just like Nuit de Bakélite: a scent both wild and mastered, fiery and elegant, dark and luminous, moving and full of complexity.
It’s not just black paint, it is art, it is Pierre Soulages Outrenoir – Zoom on “Peinture 181 x 405 12 avril 2012” at Montpellier Musée Fabre – photo ©Emmanuelle Varron
In creating Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus Naomi, Bertrand Duchaufour was inspired by the famous Pierre Soulages “Outrenoirs.” The century-old painter is one of the artists that I admire the most, and his works speak to me every time I visit the Fabre Museum in Montpellier, which has around thirty of his paintings all year long. If at first glance one might think Pierre Soulages’ compositions sluggish and repetitive, it is not: positioned close to the canvases, one can perceive the texture of the materials used, its curves and its volumes with the use of a unique black pigment. Walnut stain, gouache, ink, oil paint, acrylic paint let him play with light and create variations. This is exactly how Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus is constructed: a black scent-color present from the opening, which over minutes, then hours, nourishes a dark and intense facet of floral and balmy flashes, while keeping this canvas very close to the black and white Naomi Goodsir visual universe. At first, I dive into a woody and smoky abyss, where the incense gradually takes possession of my skin. The smoky side reminds me of childhood memories, those of our home in Normandy where we used to light a fireplace every evening after dinner. I remember how the end of combustion smelled, the extreme heat given off by the hearth, the wood almost charcoal, but not entirely consumed. And that church incense that my father loved to burn at the same time to remove smoke from the atmosphere, which gave off delicious notes of frankincense, benzoin and myrrh. When the intensity of the incense drops a notch, I imagine a delicious black tea scent (lapsang-souchong, of course) which enriches the opening addictive smoke-woody side, probably thanks to the cedar note.
Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus quote – ©Studio Goodsir
The leather facet doesn’t take long to present itself. This is the very heart of the fragrance, homage of Naomi Goodsir and the white Arabian thoroughbred that she rode for many years in competitions. Bertrand Duchaufour captures her memories of the leather saddle rubbing on the horse’s back, and the so peculiar odor once the saddle is removed. Bertrand Duchaufour could have chosen only to play of the idea of only a horse, but here it is a bold leather rubbed with rose petals, luminous, with grassy and juicy accents. These roses, I imagine them blood red, with Prosper Mérimée Carmen riding bareback behind the valiant Escamillo, riding to a passionate love. A leather-flower duo that asserts itself even more as the minutes go; I perceive the iris and its powdery facet which gives Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus even more sensuality. Slowly, amber balmy notes bring their roundness and almost a little sweetness. The trail of the fragrance does not weaken at all; it even warms up with musk and patchouli which dress this dark and wild leather with an aromatic and suave twist. With so many beautiful raw materials, known to be powerful, even invasive, Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus nevertheless remains glued to my skin -intimate, and deliciously captivating.
Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus is Bertrand Duchaufour’s tour de force (he was involved from the start nearly eight years ago). Bravo to all; they have created a perfume that is intense, powerful and deep as well as beautifully constructed so not to overwhelm. Wild but not a ‘beast’. Dark, but not gloomy. Nostalgic, but not backward-looking. Multi-faceted, unique and nuanced, which is increasingly unusual in today’s “smell alike” perfumery, perhaps Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus is its own UPO.
Official notes: birch, cedar, smoked wood, incense, leather, rose, musk, amber, patchouli.
Perceived notes: black tea, iris.
Disclaimer: A big “merci” to Naomi Goodsir for the Corpus Equus sample provided for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Emmanuelle Varron, Senior contributor
Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus 50 ml bottle ©Studio Goodsir and leather horse sculpture by Naomi Goodsir ©Studio Goodsir – photomontage ©Emmanuelle Varron
Thanks to Naomi Goodsir, we have a 50 ml bottle of Corpus Equus for one registered reader in the USA and EU. To be eligible, please leave a comment about what appeals to you about Emmanuelle’s review, where you live, and which is your favorite Naomi Goodsir fragrance. Draw closes 10/08/2021.
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