Perfume Directory

Drakkar Noir (1982)
by Guy Laroche


Drakkar Noir information

Year of Launch1982
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 759 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.

Drakkar Noir fragrance notes

Reviews of Drakkar Noir

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
I stopped wearing this fragrance in the early '90s when I discovered a few newer fragrances being worn by my peers. Recently, I decided to revisit this old friend and found a greater appreciation for its complexity. Everything about this fragrance, from its Top; Middle; and Base notes, is like dining at a 5 Star restaurant. The Top notes last a little bit longer than a good number of fragrances in this price range. In this case, about an hour. Plenty of time for an introduction. Then the Middle notes emerge making the statement, "Let's find someplace to sit and get to know one another." When the Base notes finally take center stage they say, "This is who I am." Each level of fragrance notes exquisitely compliments the next. Fragrances are very individual and communicate something about ourselves.For me, wearing this scent says, "I'm glad to be here, I'm in no hurry, I'm enjoying the moment." I personally believe that this fragrance has a place with this younger generation and their preferred fragrances. I was in my mid-twenties when I started to wear Drakkar Noir. I wore it for years. Now at 56 years old, I'm enjoying the maturity of this fragrance without the, "Gee, you smell like my grandfather's aftershave," so many people seem to assign to these '80s fragrances. I think that this is both a contemporary and nostalgic scent, and deserves its place on any cologne shelf.
02nd February, 2018
TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Used to wear it in the 80s, I have not seen it around for ages (surprised people still buy it)

How do I class it?
Not sure... Not too sweet, not too fresh, no real spice, no real character it smells like an underarm deodorant... It did not last long so I had to apply every 2-3 hours (good thing it was very cheap)

I wore it in the daytime as I felt it was classless

06th January, 2018
This isn't bad at all, and I'm testing from a current version of Drakkar. I was expecting something along the lines of Kouros and Lapidus pH, but this is lighter, fresher, sweeter...maybe a first step toward fragrances that followed in the 90's and beyond. Make no mistake though, this is very masculine.

I remember a guy I went to college with in the 90's swore by this stuff. It always smelled good on him back then, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this is still a good scent.

It does smell very familiar and more mature, so it's nothing unique or new and exciting. Just a solid masculine clean scent.
05th January, 2018
The aromatic fougère had come a long way by 1982, and was slowly transforming into the notorious "powerhouse" cologne style of the 80's, as those scents grew louder, more shrill, and further boosted by modern chemistry. It was an age of excess for the fragrance world, where technology and lack of ingredient restrictions allowed perfumers to grow increasingly audacious and ambitious, but not everything coming down the pipe at this time was an attempt at reproducing Day-Glo colors in toilette form. Drakkar Noir is the rare example of a flanker surpassing and replacing the primary line -as- the primary line itself. The original Drakkar (1972) was essentially a hybrid of aromatic citrus and barbershop sensibilities, and a long-forgotten footnote in men's perfumery, for once this "darker" variant hit the market a decade later, it was rendered wholly obsolete by the buying public. Drakkar Noir wasn't a massive commercial gangbuster like Brut or Paco Rabanne Pour Homme before it, as it remained expensive and elusive for many throughout the 1980's until it's slow uptick in popularity made it start popping up in more places. By decade's end, it's signature soapy citrus opening and balanced execution of moss, woods, and florals proved likeable enough to survive the paradigm shift away from heavy aromatics to light and vapid aquatics. It was a member of the old guard that managed to retain it's relevance in the face of stark change thanks to it's reserved nature.

Drakkar opens with those aforementioned soapy notes of lemon, lavender, verbana, and a hint of mint somewhere in there. It's a signature "soap" accord unlike that of earlier Bay Rum-based scents or soapy musks, and dries down within a few minutes to something richer with moss, patchouli, and light peppery pine all blurring together to create a dynamic baseline. The scent passes through juniper and wormwood on the way down, adding more depth and cleanliness into the mix. The whole thing taken together is a fistfight between virile green notes and astringent florals, with woods and pepper ironically adding a "bleaching" effect to what would otherwise be a dirty mix. The "noir" of Drakkar Noir isn't a darkness of mood or character, but rather an absence of light on the main accords doing battle for attention here. The disparate notes found on each level of the olfactory pyramid congeal into something that renders them all almost unrecognizable, and the truly abstract aroma that results is the trademark rich but still somehow clean smell that keeps guys of all ages coming back to this again and again. Original samples of this obviously have the most moss, and as successive reformulations kept up with the trend of male perfumery becoming increasingly ozonic over the years, the fragrance has seen it's citrus turned up and moss turned down repeatedly, consequently making it soapier as time goes on, but reducing it's projection. It's newest production now stands as a mature and formal scent, with whatever virility it may have had originally being all but stripped away.

Drakkar Noir is a success that Guy Laroche has tried to replicate without much luck over the years, with scents like Horizon (1993), Drakkar Dynamik (1999) and Drakkar Essence (2014) all trying to capitalize on the trend of the day but with a bit of that Drakkar personality in tow. My friend's father was absolutely nuts for this stuff even in the early 2000's, and was delighted that the stuff gradually slid downmarket so he could buy it at Walmart, but it hasn't slid lower than a typical CK or Ralph Lauren scent ($40usd+ at retail), as it's popularity peaked. It's still a good choice for somebody who wants something stark, clean, with a bit of sweetness in the mix without sacrificing depth or body, and represents the best possible balance between the thorny fougères it followed, and the airy barely-there fougères that came after. It's "Noir" name really is vestigial at this point, for unless Guy Laroche reissues the original, this is the de-facto Drakkar and has been for a few generations. Drakkar is still a powerhouse by construction and can be over-applied despite reformulation, so you may want to test it indoors to find the right balance for you before heading out. Overall, it's smell still divides people like all powerhouses used to, and in the 21st century it's finally starting to fall into irrelevance with younger consumers after a nearly 40 year ride, but it holds strong as an office scent for mature white-collar dudes that want to stand above the aquatic din of their colleagues' neighboring cubicles.
20th December, 2017
In my opinion, this is one of the smoother fragrances to come from the 80s.
The opening is great. It's simultaneously fresh and dark. But then it quickly turns into Lemon Pledge. Not good
It's complete Lemon Pledge for like 30 minutes, sometimes a little longer.

But then the Lemon Pledge-like smell begins to recede, and then it's more like lemon notes. The lemon seems to be there to balance out the heavier, rougher notes (leather?) that give it that fresh/heavy scent.
At this point it's very masculine and a little seductive.
As the dry down progresses it gets almost slightly smokey, like you've been out all night, while wearing a leather jacket, and smoking some cigarettes.

I can definitely see why this is both praised and criticized. At times it can come off as crude and maybe even cheap. Other times it's very bold and confident.
Not for everyone, especially considering that aquatics and sugary sweet fragrances are what's in fashion these days. The confident types who enjoy this scent though are the ones will make it work for them. If you like it but you're insecure or self-conscious, choose something else in for the time being.
The sillage on this doesn't seem to be that great, at least from what I've read about how other 80s powerhouses project, but the longevity seems to decent for me. Sometimes it's like 4-5 hours, other times I wake up in the morning and I can still smell it on me as a skin scent.
09th August, 2017 (last edited: 12th August, 2017)

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