Imagine taking the darkest, most exotic rose and blending it with ingredients only improving the murky, heavy side of rose. What you receive is dark luxuriousness. Noir De Noir.
Photo by Tom Ford
I won’t lie. This fragrance was enormously hard to review. It is a welcome take on the smack-bang rose & oud combo; with little bits of awesomeness chucked in for good measure. The issue lies in the fact that it is very difficult to pick up sets of smells rather than detecting a bit of this and a bit of that. A few years ago when I first smelt the Tom Ford Private Blend Collection I remember stumbling heavily with this. For instance, the direct clarity of Tobacco Vanille or Oud Wood – name wise anyhow, meant that I could smell something with a premise to work off of and nit pick the finer notes later on.
In the case of Noir De Noir, “Black of black” it left me to expect dark indulgence, rich accords and a heavy opening. I got just that. I mean, “Noir” is such a mysterious shade – the colour of languid pessimism and the unknown. I knew I was entering unknown territory when smelling this!
Perhaps it was just naïveté, but I (at the time) never expected to get a heaviness from florals. Yet another cliché, but you can get overly accustomed to your Chanel florals (iris, Bulgarian rose and jasmine) or those cutely bottled Marc Jacobs’ fragrances: Lola, Daisy and etc… Not this!
Noir De Noir opens with very heavy/heady florals. An intoxicating brew highlighting rose in all of its glory is transported with a light dousing of gourmand truffle; naturally reminiscent of the underground with the dewey earthiness of soil.What you receive is an incredibly earthy perfume reminiscent of cocoa, boozy dry fruit, port wine and dark chocolate. The harsh clinical smell of agarwood is lost in the fray of rose and sweetness and instead pulses heavy woody notes that makes for a lovely drydown. I also receive a healthy amount of spicy saffron; the bitterness here works in tandem with the dark notes of cocoa and booze laden dried fruit.
This contrasts delightfully with the sweetness of vanilla and a hint of patchouli. A little bit of sweet ‘sugar’ enhances the flavours and helps develop newer ones too. Sweetness accentuates and indirectly makes the notes of dry fruit, cocoa and red wine come out stronger for the black gilded rose.
In the drydown oak moss and oud are very pronounced. I find in this fragrance things tend to get quieter – but not necessarily a change in detectable smells. I can’t say I like oakmoss (Drakkar Noir is like garlic to vampires for me) and it’s pleasant, but not amazing on my account. Oakmoss is a haunting and chilly fungus that gives body and an indisputable creaminess that compliments the rose wonderfully.
Noir De Noir will be a memorable fragrance. It is the antithesis of ubiquitous fragrance; boozey, heavy, a deliciously good opening with a confidant drydown that will turn heads. It’s incredibly sexy chypre focusing on the interplay between an array of notes and especially patchouli and oakmoss. Rose is the focal note here that is complex one and undergoes a series of changes.
In light of this, more woods, some leather or some incense may have made Noir De Noir a more accessible fragrance and a must buy for me. Floral-Chypres can be bland.
Suggested for nighttime wear only or strictly winter (it’s perfect for those extra cold days).
This juice isn’t refreshing, it’s an aphrodisiac, a bad-boy, a succubus.
Alternative: Black Orchid by Tom Ford
Floral, gourmand, dark, resinous and lavish; all in one. Wear at own risk.
Subjective rating : 4/5
Objective rating: 3/5