A vintage sample:
The opening introduces the narcissus very early on my skin, underpinned by a gently woven carpet of white florals, which are difficult to discern in detail. In the drydown, however, a lovely jasmines comes to the fore, and these impression more or less define the first half of this scent's development.
In the later stage a shift firm the bright floral towards the darker side occurs, with a sinister rose and wood notes heralding this change. Then an animalic note arises and gradually takes over, a civet-rich but more somber than sinister note that is never really heavy on my skin. In the end the now somewhat attenuated civet remains as the main player, mellowed by a ligh powdery background, albeit very close to my skin at that stage, and slowly fades out over that last half of this fragrance's life span.
The quality of the ingredients is without reproach, and the blending supreme. A floral turning animalic - great. The performance is good with only soft sillage, but adequate projection and an excellent longevity of eight hours. Lovely with a creative twist. 3.5/5
I remember Narcisse Noir being a huge, lush, and shockingly animalic indole-laden orange blossom composition on a sultry dark foundation of musk, woods and resins, similar in weight and character, if not actual smell, to Serge Lutens’s Fleurs d’Oranger. The sample I’m wearing today opens on spicy green neroli and incense, then quickly morphs into a woody rose accord not altogether distant from Cabaret, or even Caron’s own Parfum Sacré, though less rich and rounded than either. The drydown is soapy/powdery where it was once musky and animalic, with a hint of leather, and it arrives very, very quickly.
The Narcisse Noir of my memory was both extremely potent and extremely “perfumey” in that manner that evoked big powder puffs, dressing gowns, and hairbrushes with silver handles. I could never for one moment have imagined wearing it myself. The current version is actually pretty clean and quiet, and I think it works quite well on me. I just can’t think of it as Narcisse Noir.
Thing is, there are better neroli scents out there (Czech & Speake’s, for starters), and better woody rose and incense compositions, too. I’d recommend not only Parfum Sacré and Cabaret over this, but Paestum Rose, Czech & Speake No. 88, and several Montale fragrances as well. And if you want that sexy, animalic orange blossom, there’s always the Lutens…
This review is only for the reformulated EDT.
It opened strongly, surprisingly soapy. I wasn't expecting that. It is the soapiness of the combination of florals with the sandalwood, so it isn't offensive. Czech and Speake 88 has a similar soap accord produced by the combination of sandalwood and rose & geranium, but that one is couched in a complex myriad of notes, so the soapy note doesn't dominate, while this has been fairly linear on me - soap and floral.
It opened with a light, soft orange blossom soapy note, which faded into a less sweetly floral soapy narcissus middle note. It dried down within several hours to not so much floral as soap... though a clean and lovely soap. There is next to zero deep base. The musk if present is a white musk with somewhat the same feel it produces - clean, quiet, soft. I'm sure a clean sandalwood is contributing to that also. At the very end the soapiness leaves and I was left with a pleasant light orange flower, rose & narcissus bouquet.
I'm not sure what to think of it. I'm trying to stay away from comparisons with the original, because they seem to have no vestiges of kinship. I've never minded soapy fragrances myself, so I'm not offended by the new Narcisse Noir. I understand their clean fresh appeal and tend to like them more than clean 'aquatics' or powder. But I wasn't seduced by it and don't think I'd purchase it. For a fragrance whose original formulation was slightly naughty, this fragrance amazes in having no vestige of sexuality at all.
10th December, 2013 (last edited: 30th March, 2015)
I have tried both the vintage perfume and EDT and they are wonderful. A blend of dark animalic notes and florals. It is as far from 'fresh' as you can get - which suits me fine.
A hundred years ago they created an amazing perfume that has had a long lasting legacy. It is first of all a fragrance for women, but if you go for the darker vintage I think men can wear it as well.
I do not know if it wears well in cooler climates, but on a tropical evening you sense the intoxicating effect of a rather heavy musky floral scent. It is my kind of fragrance.
I get orange and incense, and no 'noir' at all. It gets a thumbs up, as it is lovely, but once again, I'm a bit disappointed that it's not the ballsy fragrance I expected, and would love to try the original.