Noir Epices (2000)
by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


Noir Epices information

Year of Launch2000
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 388 votes)

People and companies

HouseEditions de Parfums Frederic Malle
PerfumerMichel Roudnitska
PackagingFrederic Malle
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Noir Epices

The name translated to English means 'Black Spices'. The fragrance is a woody-oriental composition with notes of geranium, clove and patchouli.

Noir Epices fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Noir Epices

Wow--this is not what I expected. At all. By title and by reputation, I thought Noir Epices would be like some sort of variation of Opium, and therefore beyond my personal scope of wearability. Or one of those harsh, hyper-potpourried Diptyque compositions. Or at least like something that might have escaped from the foodier side of the Serge Lutens catalogue.

Nothing doing. Noir Epices is almost completely citrus-driven; and what a citrus it is, like those tiny squirts of oil that get on your fingers as you zest an orange. Or even those orange oil solvent cleaners--the scent of those makes my tongue go kinda numb, which also happens to me in the opening stages of of this perfume, before the underlying spices kick into gear.

Of course there are florals in here, too--a rose gradually emerges, which exerts a civilizing influence on the orange zest; and then a pleasantly peppery geranium follows. I like the way the geranium's pepper compliments the note of black peppercorn that emerges in the perfume's heart; it's clever, but not too matchy-matchy. Together, the rose and geranium put the some stuffing in an otherwise fairly stark orange spice accord.

As the perfume evolves, a subtle clove adds a slightly rich but dry touch to the florals. In its intersection of rose, orange and clove, this stage in Noir Épices' development evokes Chanel Coco, especially the EdT, albeit minus Coco's incense. Nutmeg emerges hereabouts--another clever addition, as it has a similar anasthetic quality to orange zest. The cumulative effect suggests sweetness without actually *being* sweet--quite a virtue, to this generally amber-averse reviewer

The base of Noir Epices is particularly distinguished by what it doesn't have, as Roudnitska fils resisted any temptations he may have felt to ballast the perfume with vanilla or resins. Instead, there's a dry, spicy, woody patchouli that calls to mind Elixir des Merveilles--especially since it's underneath that big, zesty orange accord. Noir Epices' orange is fresher and less candied than Elixir's, but there's a family resemblance between the two that made me feel instantly at home with Noir Epices.

So I certainly didn't expect to fall in love with Noir Epices, but that's what happened. It feels like a less demanding relative of two of my all-time favorite perfumes--a sort of Coco Eau Premiere grafted onto Elixir des Merveilles's roots, which should be quite congenial in warmer weather, particularly on those summer evenings when citrus sounds good but cologne feels too casual.
05th March, 2017
We’ve been enjoying an amazing autumn here in Ireland. Lucky enough to live in the most sheltered spot on this rain-sodden island, we spent most of October and November trawling the long, golden beaches and kicking over the leaves in castle parks. The sun never stopped shining, temperatures barely dipped below 15 degrees, and we were all in such a damn good mood. Then one day, driving back from a jaunt to Kilkenny, I made the fatal mistake of saying to my husband, “And imagine – the kids haven’t been sick even once!”


Naturally, there hasn’t been a dry tissue in the house since. There’s been the flu, chest infections, and a torn cornea that necessitated an emergency hospital visit and a hefty bill (no health insurance). More familiar with hospital waiting rooms than I’d care to be, I have developed a perfume strategy that helps a bit. I wear powerfully radiant, antiseptic fumes that march ahead of me, wiping whole rooms down with Dettol before I enter, and whisper “Do not fuck with me” to receptionists.

Yeah, so, I’m wearing a lot of Noir Epices. It is a difficult, somewhat prickly perfume - a sort of stripped-down, Vorsprung Durch Technik version of Coco. Re-engineered to remove all the sweetness and ballasting amber; it’s the perfume equivalent of whittling a comfy sofa into a Philippe Starck chair.

In the opening notes, a hot pink rose stumbles onto the scene, flushed and boozy, washed down with the metallic sheen of geranium leaf. It is intensely beautiful to me at first because I get the impression of fullness – the bitter greenness of the geranium balanced by the rose, and the dry, peppery spices are backed up by rich woods. Singed orange peel and clove burn through spices, florals, and woods, purifying the unclean air around me and excoriating the flesh around open wounds. Noir Epices is the answer to the plague.

I feel fierce when I wear this, but eventually the very things that make me feel protected wear me down. Wearing Noir Epices is like putting a pure vitamin C serum on your face – the burning feels good because you know that it is active, but at the same time, the discomfort is real. Noir Epices has all the trappings of a rich spice oriental - the acidity of spilled orange juice, dry pomander woods, black pepper, an excitable rose – but completely lacks the underpinnings. There is no amber, vanilla, or creamy, hefty woods to round this out in the base, and while I understand that its appeal comes from this woody weightlessness, I would wish for a kinder, more forgiving ending. Noir Epices is a stern judge of character.

Longevity and sillage are outstanding, 7 hours at the least. I recommend Noir Epices to anyone in need of a magic potion to ward off illnesses, and to fans of spicy, dry orange-rose pomander fragrances such as Coco and Maharanih.
16th December, 2016
A pleasant and inoffensive mix of rose and orange with a very restrained mix of clove and cinnamon to anchor it.

I get none of the extreme reactions (both good and bad) from other Basenote reviews here, no plastic, no aldehydic blasts. It most resembles for me the beautiful Piguet classic Baghari, but without the oil concentration of that beautiful oriental.

It is nice, neither great nor awful, in my opinion. If I were looking for a citrus spicy oriental, I would stick with the best, Baghari, which can be had for far less cash than the Malle equivalent.

05th March, 2016
This is too harsh for me, but I find myself wondering if I might like it 20 years from now when I have different tastes, and need something to be out of bounds to be interesting.
16th January, 2016
Christmas Spice!

This is one which I find so interesting! It reminds me a lot of the other Malle perfume Geranium pour Monsieur, in that it has cloves, cinnamon and geranium. Here the addition is also orange peel and black pepper. It is such a spicy floral mix. I can detect all spices and no sweetness. I think Roudnitska could've added some vanilla in the base, but he didn't want to... and that is what makes this one so different. It's loud, it's bold, and it's somewhat unique.

So it doesn't follow the myriad of oriental compositions by having a citrus top, spicy middle, and woody base. Here, the vanilla and any hint of sweetness is absent, so instead we get deep and pungent aromatic spices, with the dried orange zest and the minty, prominent geranium. I do like it a lot. It actually reminds me a lot of some kind of very aromatic pot-pourri, but it's also more than that, it's also an expertly crafted perfume.

I see this as a one-of-a-kind perfume that may not be on everyone's buy list, but it should be tested and experienced first. Quite unique!
26th December, 2015
Noir Epices effortlessly fills the last spot on my personal chart of Malle’s fragrances - I mean the worst spot. The bottom of the barrel. I don’t get the “black” and ultimately I don’t even get the “spices” that much as well, or not as I would assume at least. I don’t want my spices laid on a corpse, and instead that’s basically how Noir Epices smells. “Carnal”, overdosed nuances of metallic rose-geranium and a nondescript sultry musky note blended with a ridicolously loud concoction of spices and waxy floral-citrus notes, finally infused with a really bizarre and discomforting sort of sugary-watery vein, almost musty and milky. Sounds messy, eh? That’s how it smells, too. It’s loud, vile, ultimately a bit cheap as well, as besides being cacophonously blended, the materials don’t really seem that top-notch either. As hours pass it gets a bit better as it tames down a little at least, becoming slightly sweeter and smoother, but still remaining basically the same awkward and screechy mishmash of musk, soap, wax, spices, expired citronellol candles and blood-stained rusty metal bars. I’m genuinely sorry to sound so tight-butted and unable of getting the magic here, but I find this blatantly atrocious on every level.

07th December, 2015

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