New Perfume Review Beaufort London Fathom V- Open Ocean


Growing up in South Florida I spent a lot of time on boats as the captain. Powered by wind or by engine one of the most important things about steering a boat is understanding the conditions you are in. When I would set out into the Gulf of Mexico from our Florida Keys house the water was as blue as the sky on clear day. Shallower water meant less surprises from the waves and water beneath the hull. When I would head out into the Atlantic Ocean it was dramatically different. The water carried a deep dark blue color to it as the depth of it increased the further out I ventured. Once out of sight of land the swells carried the contained power of all that depth underneath. They could buck me off in a moment if I wasn’t alert to it. Despite that there was always an exhilaration to be out in the deep ocean on a sunny day. Just looking in to the dark blue water was mesmerizing. I would surmise Leo Crabtree the owner and creative director of Beaufort London has also spent time on the ocean in that same sense of engagement because his latest release Fathom V seems to capture that moment.

The Beaufort London line has been subtitled the “Hell or High Water” collection of which Fathom V is the fifth release. The title actually comes from a portion of “Ariel’s Song” from William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. Despite the bibliographic reference my experience with Fathom V calls up dark depths. Perfumers Julie Dunkley and Julie Marlow have fashioned an unusual dark aquatic.


The opening eschews the usual ozonic sea spray accord for one that evokes the ocean depths. The perfumers combine fig leaf, blackcurrant, and “earthy notes”. The latter is more of a damp soil accord but that provides the watery part. The fig leaf and blackcurrant combine for a green chord to lay on top. The green intensifies as thyme, cumin, black pepper and galbanum lead to a green lily. For the base accord the perfumers dive deeply as patchouli recapitulates the earthy notes from the beginning. Vetiver and moss do the same to the thread of green. A very prominent salt accord reminded me this was the deep seas I was sailing upon.

Fathom V has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

The five fragrances to date from Beaufort London have shown a marked willingness to stay true to Mr. Crabtree’s vision without compromising. Fathom V could have been another insipid aquatic if he was that kind of creative director. Instead he has continued to work outside the conventional. Fathom V is an example of the promise that can be found in even the most overexposed fragrance styles if you are unafraid to set sail for the open ocean.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Beaufort London at Tranoi Parfums NY 2016.

Mark Behnke