I really don't know whether I should give Nocturnes a thumbs up, neutral or thumbs down: I actually think it should have one of each, as, in my opinion, there have been three different formulations of this perfume:
The first (in the original black bottle/box), released in the early 1980s was wonderful (and definitely deserved a thumbs up): it was a lovely sweet aldehydic fragrance: sweeter and deeper than Chanel No5 type perfumes, but still dominated by aldehydes. There was orange blossom in the top notes, which gave way to a very elegant mix of aldehyde and subtle spice. It was one of my favourite perfumes of the early and mid 80s. The parfum strength was particularly special, and there was a whole range of matching bath products.
I'm not sure when the parfum and bath products were discontinued, but when they were, I'm sure EDT (the only thing left in the once comprehensive range) was reformulated (this is the version sold until recently in the generic curvy Caron EDT spray). I revisited Nocturnes in this version a few years ago, and was so disappointed, as the fragrance had altered beyond recognition. It was now a very ordinary aldehydic-chypre scent, with no resemblance to the original at all. This version definitely gets a thumbs down.
The third version of Nocturnes is the new Eau de Parfum strength: I was hoping this was going to be more like the original version, and for the first few minutes after trying it I wasn't disappointed. I was thrilled to find that this smelled exactly as I remember Nocturnes (I very nearly bought a bottle straight away!). However, my delight didn't last more than about ten minutes, as after this the perfume changed, and smelled exactly like Ysatis (which I loved in the mid 80s, but now leaves me cold - perhaps that has been reformulated too?), which was a huge disappointment. I would have to give this version a neutral, as it is not unpleasant (and certainly better than the second version), but it is not Nocturnes as it originally was.
I bought a small bottle of this a few years ago. It was just oaky. I couldn't wear to much of it though. It had a clean smell which I liked but then it dried down into something powdery which I didn't. Anyway, I finished the bottle eventually. Its not something I would buy again.
Pleasant but bland melange of rose, neroli, jasmine, ylang yang, rose, tuberose and orange, supported by sandalwood and musk.
Nice for a summer splash, but not all that interesting as a scent.
Aldehydic, floral fizz. A bright, inoffensive scent for the working day. Distinctly recall my mother's '80s version being higher octane, but no great tragedy. This is a pleasant and harmless scent that can quite lift the spirits.
Wanted to try Nocturnes because it had debuted in the 80's, and although they're now somewhat old-fashioned I really like the sort of loud florals that dominated much of that era.
And I wasn't disappointed. Nocturnes opens with an intriguing blend of florals, aldehydes and spices, which are later developed together with a hint of orange and other, darker notes I couldn't name.
I wanted to give it a thumbs up, but as it developed Nocturnes became less distinctive and more like a well-made, elegant guest soap. I like it well enough, but it blends into its surroundings too well to be really interesting for me.
But it's still a pretty scent, even though it's not outstanding, so I'm rating it neutral.
Oh, Nocturnes! One of the nicer BIG eighties scents. Floral with spice is always a good thing in my book. I haven't given this a smell in years, but I hope it's doing well.