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!
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.
The orange in the opening is intensive but not very bright, and it clearly dominates the spice note - this is no Orange Spice. The star of the later phases of the opening and remaining in the foreground throughout the whole drydown is a very nice geranium, which develops nicely on my skin. Initially a nutty undertone is also present, then for a couple of hours a light and not very intensive cinnamon phase, and later in the base a nice cedar is taking shape. Overall on me the floral side is dominating, but the other parties make an appearance too. I was expecting the usual vanilla-sweet incense to finish it off, but it never came, and this make this scent a lighter, elegant affair and gives it an unexpected twist. It is well blended, adequately structured, silage and projection are adequate and I get seven hours of longevity, albeit the last three very close to my skin. Good for the office on winter days, and with enough creative touches to push it over the line to a positive score.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Chalk one up for truth in advertising. Noir Epices is just that: dark and brooding, like Byron's Manfed in a particularly grim mood. The nutmeg, black pepper, and clove blend with a clean rose note to produce a melancholic heart accord that is as beautiful as it is sober.
The pepper and clove hang around to join the patchouli and woods in a rich, yet utterly sugarless drydown. I get a whiff of barbershop a few hours into the development, but it's not enough to cheapen the scent at all. Instead, it adds a tinge of nostalgia to this already moody composition.
This is a gripping fragrance, and also very formal to my nose. Malle markets it as unisex, but I think it would take a very special woman to pull this one off. Moderate sillage and projection, and reasonable staying power.
Based on the scents Catherine Deneuve lists as her favorites, as well as her own scent, Deneuve, I can see why she likes Noir Epices. It definitely opens with a dramatic flourish of rich spices and mystery that evokes a frozen frame from a Film Noire movie from the 1930's or 40's, along with the dramatic chypres that would have likely been worn back then by the movie's leading lady. However, on me, that wonderful drama doesn't sustain itself for very long and the scent quickly dries down into a soft and creamy, but mildly spicy skin scent and whatever created the chypre effect (JaimeB and PigeonMurderer seemed to have experienced the same chypre faze) has completely disappeared. In all fairness, I am experiencing this scent from dabs from a 1 ml sample. It might be that this is a scent that is best sprayed to get the full effect.