Genre: Woody Oriental
Well, they got the “noire” right, at any rate. Even within the first few minutes of wear, Serge Noire establishes itself as a dark, dark scent, with a dense blend of spices, incense, and aromatics that even suggests some of the big, burly masculines of the 1970s. The composition resolves into a bold, rasping accord of peppery spices and incense that’s held together by a huge dusty cedar note. The impression is one of simultaneous heat and darkness.
Notably absent is any of the familiar Sheldrake-Lutens stewed fruit and syrup accord, so Serge Noire is dry as well as hot. With all the spices and cedar, Serge Noire gets me thinking about Shiseido’s Basala, which I believe Sheldrake may also have worked on. The two scents are cousins, if not siblings, though I remember Basala as a somewhat richer and more rounded scent.
All of these impressions come within the first hour of wearing Serge Noire. Soon after that, the entire structure collapses like a house of cards, so that only the dry, dusty cedar remains. The development, if you can call it that, is one of the most bizarre I’ve ever encountered. The fragrance shrinks away so fast I can actually smell it imploding. It’s not clear to me whether Serge Noire’s transformation is an inherent property of the fragrance, or due to my own olfactory habituation. All I can say is that over the course of five or ten minutes all of the spices and incense that comprised Serge Noire’s heart are crammed into a cedar box and the lid slammed shut on top of them. Utterly baffling.
Wow, very refined Coca Cola smell. What can I say? I didn't expect this from this house, albeit the fact this is the first fragrance I'm smelling by them. In a way it takes some guts to wear this one, smelling like boiled coca cola.
As time passes, coca cola smell subsides a bit, but not completely, and fragrance starts to smell a bit like a burned paper/wood. It is the strong clove note, which is not listed, but clove it is and it is strong, that actually creates this "distinct" coca cola note I'm feeling.
A fireplace, letters burning in it, also a shattered glass full of cognac...and some clove. That's the best description I can come of at this moment.
Great masterpiece of Lutens. Male, dark, elegant, intimate and unique. The open may be unsettling, but just wait for the stabilization on the skin for a perfect mix of blacks woods, incense, spices, and something that is directly "from hell". Not strong but always present. A scent to have.
Usually Christopher Sheldrake's creations are very rich, dark and complex.
When you see "Noir" name in this fragrance you would expect darkest and the most challenging fragrance created by this amazing artist, but actually it's not!
It's a dark fragrance indeed, but it's not something that you would expect from the name, specially with the knowledge of his creations.
The opening of this fragrance is an exotic mix of smoky, incensy and woody notes mixed with some spices and a little bit of sweetness.
I can clearly smell a woody scent from ebony wood which has a smoky and burned wood like smell and that's because of incense.
There are some spices and you can feel them, but they are a few steps back from that smoky woody smell.
There is a little bit of sweetness but it's in the background.
It's dark and exotic, but it's smooth and inoffensive.
It's like a big demon standing a few steps far from you and you're so scared, but that demon doesn't do any harm to you!
As time goes by the smoky woody smell goes to the background and you can smell stronger sweetness which is almost syrupy but not cloying at all.
Projection is good and longevity is above average, around 5-6 hours on my skin.
A good and solid fragrance, but you can find better ones from the brand. so try to buy them first.
On my skin, this is just... wrong, from the very first sniff. The opening is a really weird and unpleasant smell of, say, burnt soup and melting tires; I detect quite a lot of aromachemicals (like safraleine), a bag of spices with cloves above all, and a warm, oily smell of something like gingerbread, so I assume there's ginger and perhaps some flowers. But the very heart and the most unpleasant of all is a central, quite prominent note, which has an odd, rancid, warm decadent feel halfway between balsamic, spicy and earthy with a strong incense vibe. I'm blind-guessing since I have really no idea of what it may be – but whatever it is, it is not well-executed for me. I only know this smells terribly wrong for the first minutes. Then it slowly gets at least "smell-able", a prominent note which I think is still cloves and other spices but with almost a dry-floral smell (like heliotrope), a nice earthy feel and crisp leafy notes (patchouli), spices again, and some slight waxy violet/orris touch. Quite in a "futuristic" way, though: there is also a massive aldehydated presence, and overall, the blend smells "angular", thin and a bit metallic – like many other recent Lutens. The overall smell, apart from the unbearable opening, is strongly medicinal/balsamic. After a while, say, one hour, it gets more light and more wearable – the smell it the same, just the volume is calmer. If you are into that type of scents then it's worth a try, for me it's surely not worth another one.
28th January, 2014 (last edited: 13th May, 2014)