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Drakkar Noir (1982)
by Guy Laroche

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Drakkar Noir information

Year of Launch1982
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 788 votes)

People and companies

HouseGuy Laroche
PerfumerPierre Wargnye
PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > Prestige & Collections

About Drakkar Noir

A classic. Drakkar is the Viking word for dragon boat.

Reviews of Drakkar Noir

Let me first start this review by saying that Zealot Crusader has done an impeccable job of breaking down the full spectrum of notes in his review, so for me to do the same would be nothing more than an exercise in redundancy. You want the proper composition analysis on this, go read his review. That said, here are my opinions on the scent.

The new formulation has certainly changed from the old, with the newer iterations losing some of the pine/moss notes, and giving way to more soapy notes, which I actually like. Not just owing to more recent restrictions on ingredients, this also seems to be a more updated take on the original, with the mossy/pine qualities being greatly toned down, causing the soapy quality to be more pronounced, giving it the feel of something more akin to the '90s or '00s, rather than the brute force of your powerhouse '80s fougeres. This greatly reduces the effect that I so vividly remember from the late '80s, where men would near-bathe in this stuff to the point that they gave off visible smell-rays. This is certainly reflected in the fact that the sillage is greatly reduced, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. I never thought I would say "you may need to spray a little more Drakkar Noir than you usually would," but here we are. The changes make this actually seem more refined to me, and I no longer immediately smell this and envision Marlboro Lights, a 1989 Mustang GT, and Z. Cavaricci pants when I catch a whiff.

That said, it's most certainly indicative of the time when it was created, yet I think it does a good job as carrying across a cool, contrived retro feel when worn. Kind of like how Polo by Ralph Lauren or Kouros by YSL smell like an "old" fragrance, but never go out of style. The fact that the mossy note has been neutered on this gives it less of the musty feel that I remember; that same mustiness you get in an old, wet basement or in a damp wooded area. That mustiness made this, for me, very much a scent that didn't fare well in warmer, more humid climates, as Drakkar Noir always seemed to me to be a fougere that people used as if it were an aquatic -- and I dare say that it borders on that line, almost --, and warmer, wetter climes would amplify the damp/mossy notes to the point where it was horribly cloying. The new iteration, I think, actually gets its strengths in the cooler months, as this scent is now a markedly more "fresh" fougere. Sillage is pretty good (it was bordering on radioactive before), and the longevity is still there, with the scent drying down to a very soft yet clean base that is not as acrid as the old formula.

This can be had online or in your local Marshalls/TJ Maxx, etc., for a reasonable price. For a younger person who was not around when this scent was so ubiquitous, I think it's something that would be quite a treat to discover, and a very accessible fougere for those who might shy away from the in-your-face fougeres of that era, but for those of us who remember this when it was out in its original form, it is a Drakkar Noir that traded the Z. Cavariccis and Air Jordans in for a comfortable pair of chinos and a pair of Bass Weejun penny loafers. It still works, and is still something I'll wear every rare once in a while, though I wonder what it would be like to smell this without being flooded by memories of days past that most certainly give me -- and many other people who were around at that time -- a slanted view of a fragrance that had such a massive impact.

A most certain thumbs up from me, as it is still a wearable scent, and just due to its history, deserves a place on the shelf. If you're a collector and into the fragrance hobby, I can't see why you shouldn't own a bottle, as this is, like Nickelback, something that everyone bought and enjoyed at one time, regardless of whether they now want to admit it or not.
25th February, 2019
Well this classic fragrance has gone downhill quick in the 30+ years since it was introduced. I bought a tester bottle on eBay for less than $18 expecting the classic scent of days gone past and that's exactly what this fragrance is now: gone past. I usually spray on a test "cloud" on my long sleeved pullover to test out purchased fragrances application, notes and eventual drydown scent. It smells great from the beginning, a little hint of Right Guard deodorant, then the "piney" notes come through. I usually spray on about 8-10 spritzes so I can really get into the scent. Less than 90 minutes later, I can barely get a whiff of it without straining.

It's too bad that manufacturers are not concentrating on the quality of their products but more on the bottom line of what their fragrances add to their revenue.

Because of the low cost and low sillage/longevity, I'll probably use this on my bed linens to get a semi-good night sleep.

Au revoir, Drakkar.
12th January, 2019
If you haven't smelled this, and your expectation of it is based on its ignominious place in popular culture, you might be surprised to discover that it smells like Christmas trees.

That's right. Drakkar Noir is primarily based around a dry (not sweet), prickly, sticky pine sap smell. Thankfully, it doesn't remind one so much of a certain household cleaning product as of actual green pine needles, freshly fallen pine cones, and the sticky, jagged limbs of a Christmas tree. It's essentially that (rather nice) smell, surrounded in a big pillowy cloud of dryer exhaust, redolent with the soapy, lavendery perfume of fabric softener. This laundry smell is due to the notoriously heavy dose of dihydromyrcenol. Pine and laundry is a weird combination, to be sure, but it's testament to Drakkar's commercial persistence that the accord somehow makes sense.

Does it smell sexy, manly, macho, horny, crude, disgusting, cheap, ridiculous? (I.e., any of the things you might expect given its status as a recurring punchline?) Nah, not really. It has a sort of whimsical old man vibe. Like something you might encounter in the presence of Dr. Seuss.

Anyway, on me it lasts all day, and so long as you don't overspray it's not too loud. As the day wears on, the pine recedes, and what remains takes on a sort of odd but fresh Gestalt. I can't see this becoming a staple of my wardrobe, but it would be fun to keep around and perhaps wear during the winter holidays.
12th November, 2018
hcr Show all reviews
United States
This sample I just got is a lot soapier and less strong than the bottle I had back in the 90s. That stuff was powerful but intoxicating. This is not the same. I give my thumbs up for the original which was, for better or worse, the cologne of my teenage years.
13th May, 2018
This and Polo Original were considered the epitome of a men's fragrance from the 80's to mid 90's...fizzling out quite a bit from the aquatics era takeover or should I say trend. The purpose behind Drakkar Noir was a black leather fragrance that gave fresh/invigorating qualities.It's dark but cool and transparent in it's sharp finesse.

Here's the notes I always detected:
Black leather,patchouli,lemon,moss,juniper,lavender,and sandalwood.

With that being said I was a little let down initially that the patchouli has been whittled down to a much lighter note in the current formula.It doesn't play that role largely as it used to since it 'drenched' the black leather in patchouli oil.It's still there giving a light twist but thankfully but took some weight from the original formula.Hints of moss and sandalwood drift in the background accenting hints of bitter-green and wood.The soapy side though is nice.Juniper and lemon channeling straight through a bar of lavender soap making a slick,refreshing,and sharp soap smell that downright adds slickness behind Drakkar Noir.

The longevity does lack versus what Drakkar Noir used to be, but I get roughly 8 hours from it at 3-4 sprays.Low projection but to me it was back then as well.Someone coming back to this fragrance will encounter that it's lighter or not quite as rich...once again...the reduction of patchouli.If Drakkar Noir still wore the $45 price tag today for a 3.4oz bottle under this current formula this would be a neutral.As a $25 fragrance today it still deserves a thumbs up because it still smells great and not different enough to snub nose this leather fragrance.

14th March, 2018 (last edited: 20th March, 2018)
I was nervously expecting a brash overly synthetic powerhouse here. I have tried about a dozen of these "old beasts" and found a couple real keepers plus plenty of rabid dog spray. I was pleasantly surprised by DNs smooth yet potent masculine manner. Lots of citrus plus a very large chorus of notes that seem to straddle the powerhouse and barbershop segments. My bottle is current.

It does smell dated although quite pleasant, if you don't overdue it. Some of the "good old stuff" where you get a lot of bang for the buck. It last quite well too. This is nothing like the modern trending frags, something I appreciate.
04th February, 2018

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