La Nuit is strong stuff. It’s also vastly more daring and sophisticated than most of today’s designer fragrance releases.
La Nuit launches on a blast of soapy aldehydes and a huge rose but, but just when I’m convinced it’s going to be another imposing 1980s rose chypre in the mold of Knowing or Paris, it lets rip unexpectedly with a dark and moderately animalic leather and tobacco accord of tremendous depth and complexity. This is no buxom rose, but a sexually ambiguous and provocative tobacco and leather chypre worthy of a place beside Bandit in the ranks of confrontational, assertive interpretations of animal hide.
La Nuit reflects the mixed heritage of Habanita, Tabac Blond, Knize Ten, and Creed’s “Vintage” Tabarôme, and presages scents like Morabito’s Or Black and Kilian’s Back to Black. It shares with these last two the rare distinction of smelling as dark as its name. La Nuit distinguishes itself from most of its leather and tobacco successors with its persistent and monumental rose note. Equally important to the composition as it unfolds is a pungent, animalic patchouli which serves to underscore La Nuit’s prevailing mood of licentious decadence. Is it the most animalic fragrance I’ve encountered? Not by a long shot. Muscs Koublaï Khan, Nuit Noire, Ungaro II – even Eau d’Hermès – all have it beat in that department. But it sure does manage to smell seductive and dangerous at once.
The drydown leans heavily on that heady patchouli note, along with lingering leather, tobacco, animalic musks, and moss. Even in its late stages La Nuit is a heavy hitter. It projects great distances and hangs in the air behind its wearer as a persistent haze of sillage. Dark, lowering, and about as far from conventionally “pretty” as could be, La Nuit also makes a perfectly acceptable scent for men, so long as it’s applied with a light hand. What a shame that it’s gone.
A great iconic dark-animalic chypre.
For the vintage Eau de Parfum: An initial blast of citrus-with-herbs sets a fresh tone, but soon a dark, brooding rose appears, adding a harsh-floral note that is later amplified by a top-quality oakmoss with a mildly sweetish--dark drydown that has more added sharpness by a sinister patchouli aroma. The latter is dark, like a mulled version of Tom Ford's Purple Patchouli but overshadowed by the superb oakmoss. I also get a musky-animalic base note on my skin. Although harsh, it is never shrill and a far cry from the bright and loud chypres like Gucci Nobile. Silage and projection are very good, and it has a monster longevity of twelve (!) hours. A great iconic chypre.
Had to try it... Turin’s candidate for the most animalic perfume. This might have been the ultimate animal at one time, but it isn’t now… not in this obviously reformulated version, anyway. This La Nuit EDT is very sexy, and gives a strong nod toward animalic, but I have smelled other chypres more animalic than this. I like this one very much – of course I do – it’s a chypre!… and an excellent one at that. At first it is rather linear and I get mostly woods, patchouli, and that animalic note… There’s a soft background rose note smoothing out the rougher elements of chypreness, and the accord is just plain delectable. It holds its linearity for an hour or more and then succumbs to the base accord, which picks up the oak moss and grows lighter. I do not get leather in this scent, for which I am grateful… I don’t even suspect it here.
On my skin La Nuit has a mild to average sillage and very good longevity – an excellent fragrance but not extremely animalic in this reformulated form. Like most of the classic chypres, it is unisex.
The leather note is promising but it falls
short due to the green note drydown but it's not merely a disappointment as it seems it becomes more warmer with the presence of amber and spiciness of rose
the drydown is almost like an homage to the 1845 release of Creed's FLEURS DE BULGARIE with it's warm amberic rose scent
but La nuit is more of a modern edgier
and yet less abuse-of-the-power of Bandit or a cigar smoked room like decadence of habanita, La nuit has an
reserved iciness an inner calm that bandit and habanita can't compare with
almost translucent of your soul and of
the namesake La Nuit.
To read other people’s impressions of La Nuit, it is a scent of nostalgia, or something symbolic of an era (the late 70s, it seems, even though it was released in 1985.) I love that scent allows us to make these connections, whether highly personal or shared. To me, La Nuit is evocative of 2007 when I first smelled it. I never got the ‘takes me back’ thing. And having come up in mid 80s New York, believe me I yearn for those good old, bad old 70s. 70s New York was arcadia to the Reagan/AIDS scary 80s.
But I don’t get any of that from La Nuit. It’s the end product of a series of olfactive associations. Start with honey and civet. Honey registers to the nose as richness and starts to smell like piss as it gets concentrated. ( I know this from the comb from the hive that grew in our ceiling last summer.) Civet smells anal and then seems spicy /floral in dilution. Turn the volume up and down on these things and you get a range of strong olfactory ideas.
Set these two on the other principal notes, rose and leather, and the whole thing starts sliding back and forth between wholesome and jaded. Honey brings out the sweet and fruity elements of the rose; civet makes rose arid, spicy and hot. Honey makes leather rich and lavish; civet gives leather the nose-feel of sandpaper.
La Nuit allows others to relish the connection to an era. To me, the associations are a little more abstract. Isn’t it great that a perfume can do this to us?
29th November, 2010 (last edited: 01st October, 2011)