It’s the black times we live in…

Current world is fast-paced,busy and it never turns back (or so they say). Fashion is a part of us. If you want to be noticed in the crowd you need to pay attention to what you wear, keep up with actual trend-setters suggestions. All those trend-setters must be dead busy people right now… Both in the past and now perfume try to counter the influence coming from fashion industry, they try to stay one step away from it, but in this world where perfume is treated by many like a fashion accessory, it’s getting harded to keep perfume and fashionable separate.

Every perfume enthusiast had far enough time to notice that for the last few months (or longer?) things with a word noir, nuit, soir in the name became really fashionable for the perfume world. The only problem is that many of those fragrance names are irrelevant when we consider the juice hidden in the bottle. Simple black glass packagings with contrast elements really catch my attention but the content inside usually doesn’t. This year we already had Chanel Coco Noir which smells like grapefruit with sandalwood garnish. There’s also Boss Nuit Pour Femme fronted by actress Gwyneth Paltrow – this one smells of aldehydes, peach and sandalwood (again!). Third version of Guerlain La Petit Robe Noir also had it’s market release this year. And Lady Gaga Fame! There were few more but there’s no time and place to mention them now I think.

All those releases indicate that market interprets noir, nuit and soir as something comfortable, good to wear on a Friday evening cocktail party. Something that wears well with red or black dress, with suit eventually. When I think of something noir, nuit or soir I imagine something powerful, with a mysterious scent. I associate these words with sex appeal, city lights at night, seduction, dimmed light and watching into each others eyes for many long hours. Market sees it like a big banquet under crystal chandeliers, full of bling and splendor. To me bling and splendor don’t pair with nuit. They rather seem to repel each other.

To me noir smells of deep, oriental amber like in Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche. Nuit could smell of resins or light, non church style incense, mind Comme des Garcons Kyoto. Soir could effuse aroma of sexy rose with a light touch of oud (Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme). In those terms one can’t go wrong with Chanel No. 5 or it’s Premiere version which I also associate with something more mysterious and dark. Noir, nuit… could also smell of patchouli, some woods, fir balsam, musk. Even raspberry seems to have a nuit element in it, like it has in Histoires de Parfums 1889 Moulin Rouge.

I try as I might but I’ll never associate grapefruit or peach with something suitable to be titled with nuit, noir or soir. These are citrus fruits and I associate them with warm, sunny days which they need to grow. They’re not noir at all! There simply is a group of perfume ingredients that just seem impossible or futile to blend into the night dedicated perfume. When the sun sets and moon becomes a guardian of the sky, perfume need to suit this atmosphere. They need to be denser, heavier, more spicy maybe.

Trends are not easy to create and it’s not easy to follow or stay away from them. They require sacrifice from us (usually) but one day they change. It’s simple. One day they come, the other they go away. But then new trend comes. Would you dare to guess what would replace nuit, noir, soir in perfume in future? What do you think about this actual trend. If something more comes to your mind share it. No matter if it’s the word of criticism for this trend, a note you associate with nuit or your favourite noir perfume. Enjoy the weekend!

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10 thoughts on “It’s the black times we live in…

  1. poodle says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more when you say citrus has no place in a noir scent. I love darker, heavier, sexier scents and to me that says noir. If its got fruit it had better be rich and ripe. Noir to me also says elegant, not fun and flirty. Sadly they just seem to slap the name on the bottle regardless of the juice. Just like when they water down a scent and call it Eau Fraiche or Sport. I truly can’t stand the term Sport for fragrance either. I don’t know why, it just bothers me.

    • lucasai says:

      That’s a good comparison that Noir is also elegant. I agree on that! Yes, they just put that “noir” on the bottle regardless of the juice which has nothing to do with this term. And I hate sport for perfume! I associate it with “use it after gym to cover the stink”

  2. Jirish says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate, I have to say that I think that a real master should be able to put a citrus note in a suitably noir scent, as a nice counterpoint to the darkness. Maybe like a thin shaft of light cutting through a dark room, or the sparkle of stars in the night sky. For example, Onda edp has a citron note in it. Maybe that’s not suitable noir enough? And I think that the bitter facets of a grapefruit rind could work in a noir scent. I guess I think that it would be a matter of proportion. Citrus would have to be an ephemeral touch, a feather against the plush weight of the noir ingredients – patchouli, woods, resins, leathers, vanilla, honey, oak moss, etc.

    However, I agree with you that the word noir is often just a marketing gimmick and seldom matches the scent in the bottle. Which is a big disappointment, especially for those consumers who aren’t as avid about perfume as most of us commenting on blogs. I wonder how many consumers they turn off scent altogether. I know that before I started reading the blogs, I had stopped wearing perfume, because I was so disappointed with what I found at the department stores, and I didn’t yet know about the world of niche. As a chemist, can you tell me whether the more noir ingredients are more expensive than others? Perhaps that’s why so many companies skimp on them, or perhaps it’s just the fashion of the moment that’s cheating the noir out of noir.

    • lucasai says:

      Ok, I agree that true master would be able to put a citrus into a real noir fragrance. Coco Noir disappoints here…

      Yes, those ingredients like amber, leather, patchouli, they’re few times more expensive than citrus essential oils.

  3. hajusuuri says:

    So far, the name of a perfume doesn’t sway me one way or another but I do agree that some words like Noir, Nuit, Soir SELL.

    Noir to me suggests something dark, mysterious, sinister and unexpected. With these Noir associations, taking Coco Noir as an example, the gorgeous black bottle is dark, since you can’t see the contents, that makes it mysterious, patchouli makes it sinister and the citrus note was unexpected.

    I await a Coco Noir bottle to be mine next week … bwaahaaa haaahaaa…

  4. shellyw says:

    I just went to the local mall to finally smell the new Chanel Coco Noir, as this article was one more in a list mentioning it. Nice but weak. I would expect a whole lot more of something, maybe this was one designed by a committee.

    On the noir, nuit etc. – This one is so fresh, and light it could be named “early bird”. It just does not bring to mind evening, romance, really much of anything.

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