Launched in 2012, Tiziana Tirenzi’s Black Collection was the first collection created by the family run Italian house, headed by creative director Tiziana and her perfumer brother Paulo. It was quite a bold beginning, starting out with ‘Ecstasy’ and ‘XIX March’, the house continued to add to the collection year-on-year, releasing ‘Maremma’ in 2013, ‘Laudano Nero’ in 2014, ‘Al Contrario’ in 2015 and ‘Foconero’ in 2017. They quickly expanded into other collections, but the Black collection remained as a staple for people interested in darker, creative scents. Aiming to be a series of uncompromising creations, all live up to blurb for the collection as being evocative and capturing particular moments in time, but it is ‘Laudano Nero’ that found itself, several years after release, launched into near cult status.
The entire collection is presented in cubic monolithic black bottles, finished in black matte with small wooden plaques denoting the name of each fragrance on the front and capped with a black wooden cap to match the bottle. They’re heavy and classy affairs and betray very little of what to expect inside each fragrance.
So exactly what is it that has made ‘Laudano Nero’ stand out from the not only the Black collection, but from the house in general? The official blurb for the fragrance waxes poetic about rain washed, autumn, Paris streets, shots of Absinthe in Montmartre around a warm fireplace and paintings by Renoir. In truth, it is a very evocative scent and certainly smells historical. Whenever I smell this fragrance I find myself transported to a Victorian opium den in a filthy back street of East London, a dimly lit room, dark red and brown in colour, somewhat claustrophobic with the oppressive atmosphere, smoke, stale ashtrays, spilt cognac and dark, bubbling opium, vaporising over a small candle flame. In less romanticised fantasies, I can smell an antiques market, hardwood chairs, the dark, aged, wood polish, the fading, moth eaten crushed velvet cushions full of dust accumulated over a century. Renoir seems much too light for my money and if it resembles a painting from La Belle Époque, it would be Camille Pissaro’s ‘The Boulevard Montmartre at Night’ to me. It’s enrapturing and deeply complex; As much as I wear it, I feel like I’ll never be bored of the scent and never fully have smelt all that it has to offer.
When you first spray Laudano Nero, you’re instantly hit with the green, bitter herbal wormwood, alongside a boozy, rich cognac and dark tobacco that resembles the tobacco accords of scents like Black Afgano et al. It’s a fairly uncompromising approach to perfumery and the perfect introduction to the fragrance as a whole. It quickly evolves into a multi-faceted, complex blend as the sticky honey, which feels as black as the bottle that carries the scent, creeps up below the whole thing, whilst some of the stand-out staples from the heart become more and more prominent, that is, an ashy, dusty note that gives the fragrance its aged feel and a very dark, waxed, or polished hardwood. It’s this hardwood that gives Laudano Nero it’s rich, solid base and works as a backbone, holding up the complicated stack of notes that sit atop. The wood feels warm and is, to my nose, incredibly unique. It holds a very antique, mahogony sort of feel, polished over and over as the decades have worn into it’s hard, slightly matte surface. After ten minutes or so, the scent settles down from its rapid unravelling and begins to find it’s balance. The dusty, musky heart spreads out across the scent, swamping everything in it’s path and wrapping the whole in a soft, warm blanket, simultaneously muting the harsher, harder edges of the more bitter green herbal elements from the opening. Although the scent as a whole is far from linear and continues to evolve over the life of the wear, I feel like at this point, it does relax heavily and shifts become more subtle, the woods continue to grow in prominence, a soft Iris note appears, whilst the herbals drop back with the honey to provide a light streak in an otherwise pitch black fragrance. It’s heavily Gothic and utterly gorgeous.
As the wear continues into the 5-6 hour mark, the late dry down becomes all musky hardwoods, a dark, quite dry, ambery and resinous honey with a dark green herbal streak and a very slight, over-ripe, syrupy fruit and floral undercurrent. The journey of Laudano Nero is more or less at it’s destination at this point and continues on in the same vein for another several hours.
Longevity and performance are, like you might expect from a fragrance as deep and resinous as this, absolutely stella; You’ll get an entire day and night out of it with change to spare and if you happened to spray it on a scarf or jacket, be prepared to be wearing it for several days.
All of the Tiziana Terenzi scents from the Black collection are marketed as unisex, though I feel they certainly lean towards various points across the spectrum. Laudano Nero skews masculine and fairly heavily so, there is very little here to brighten or sweeten the scent and even the honey only works to thicken a resinous base with a gently sweet, but still very dark note. That’s not to say this couldn’t be pulled off by someone drawn towards more feminine scents. Wear it with confidence and I’ve little doubt that it will smell just fine on anyone.
As a fan of darker, woody scents, I absolutely love Laudano Nero. It is deeply complex, introspective and terribly Gothic, but if, like me, you often find yourself attracted to such scents, for my money this is one of the best. I’ve worn it a lot since my first introduction and I still feel excited by what it offers on each new wear. It’s complexity, resinous, musky depths, dusty ashy heart with its dark honey and iris backdrop and uncompromising, camphorous woods all work to create a truly evocative and unique fragrance that is satisfying to wear as a fragrance nerd, whilst maintaining a pleasant smell to just enjoy on a simple level. Truly top tier from tiziana Tirenzi.