As many have pointed out, this perfume has a classic feel, as though it's been in the perfume world of greats for a while, but that's not to say it's old school or vintage in effect.
The first impression is rose/patchouli, which has been done to death in the perfume world, but the main difference with Lumiere Noire is the note of heady, sensuous narcissus or daffodil. It's animalic and somehow, blended with a high quality, fairly subtle patchouli, it does indeed feel light yet dark. The rose lends a slightly fruity and elegant edge with just a hint of sweetness, with notes of pimento warming up the cooler elegant tones.
It feels to me like a film noir perfume, wearing it does make me feel glamorous, to the extent I'd rarely wear it during the day and instead save it for more dressy events. Its sillage is fairly persistent and I'd only wear a very small amount to, say, the cinema or dinner.
If it's a dressy evening event though, it's just perfect and it's no surprise that Catherine Deneuve had a hand in its making, I can absolutely see her wearing this with insouciant grace and subtle sex-appeal.
If you've tried other Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfumes you'll find this quite different from his other feminines. The others are lovely - elegant, contemporary, but they have a bright quality and utilise some quite projective musks/aroma chemicals. Lumiere Noire is strong, but deeper and darker, its sillage comfortable, especially into drydown.
Excellent, seductive and addictive!
Lumiere Noire initially promises something rich and sumptuous in the Amouage mode which is a new place for Kurkdjian to be going – his perfumes are, if nothing else, sleek as whippets. It’s the central theme of a rose ripened by patchouli paired with the greasy fullness of a quite natural smelling narcissus. Rose and narcissus aren’t blooms that pair particularly well if both are quite strong in the mix, and here it’s that central oddness of their attempted union that is beguiling. At times the juxtaposition inflects the scent towards a ripe berry smell.
However, with a little time the initial sumptuousness thins out considerably. If one were to unfairly compare the setting of the narcissus here to the many layered bed it is lain upon in a creation such as Chamade, it’s a bit like a flickering candle beside a blazing sun. Underlying the florals, is the familiar skin-like odour that is a Kurkdjian signature along with a modest sprinkle of cumin.
Ultimately, while Lumiere Noire pour homme plays up its rose-on-aldehydic-roller-skates central theme to divine effect, Lumiere Noir pour femme dwindles somewhat in the wear after a bold opening fanfare. It’s still a pleasing perfume, just not Lumiere Noir pour homme’s equal.
Like its companion scent Lumière Noire pour Homme, his work for Parfums MDCI, and Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile, Lumière Noire pour Femme shows off perfumer Francis Kurkdjian’s talent for crafting ambitious, classically inspired compositions without slipping into historical pastiche. In this case the stylistic landmark is a grand, spicy, aldehydic rose against a gamy animalic chypre background, making Lumière Noire a distant cousin to rose chypres like Knowing and Paris - perhaps by way of the more fruity and obviously animalic Amouage Lyric Woman.
Like its forebears, Lumière Noire pour Elle is an elaborate and generously scaled composition, but it displays none of the dense, opaque quality that makes the roses of the 1980s so challenging to wear today. Instead it feels as if a lantern has been set inside the old rose chypre structure, lending a diffuse brightness and revealing internal contrasts against its soft glow. How Kurkdjian accomplishes this I do not know, but I will say that here, as in Enlévement au Sérail and Promesse de l’Aube, this treatment rejuvenates and revitalizes a long-established genre.
Lumière Noire’s rich, sweet-tart fruity top notes possess a wine-like overtone that persists into its rose centered heart. The rose is redolent not only of fermenting fruit, but spice and wood as well, in a manner reminiscent of the woody, fruity rose in Femenité du Bois, with which it shares a paradoxical sense of translucency and darkness. Prominent but unobtrusive cumin contributes the same kind of knowing, animalic sensuality it does in scents like Eau d’Hermès, Rochas Femme, and Gucci Eau de Parfum, though its subtle, unobtrusive application Lunière Noire is more in accord with the Gucci than the Hermès or Rochas. The animalic overtone finds reinforcement in an earthy, green narcissus note that sidles up next to the central rose, then extends into the warm patchouli-laden drydown. Lumière Noire is potent and lasting, though again without the often overwhelming power of a Knowing or a Paris. A beautifully constructed, noble, yet suggestive scent that can stand proudly beside the masculine version.
Aldehydes, rose, woods, a slightly animalic base with vanilla and a castoreum-like note. All the richness and the dark, "opulently French" sensuality of Kurkdjian are here, a stereo triumph of sweet, musky and powdery notes. Basically Lumière Noire Pour Femme is a great contemporary chypre that harmonically blends a metallic transparent dustiness with the classic dark/animalic structure of the golden age of Germaine Cellier and Guerlain. Woody notes and perhaps a hint leather (or maybe oud). I did like Lumière Noire Pour Homme and I like this feminine version as well, but I share here the same feeling I had for the masculine counterpart: the feeling of something which "may have been" better than this, of some true goodness "on a leash", restrained, with a glossy layer of inoffensiveness and wearability enough to make this appealing to a broader audience. It's gloomy and sensual just like a glossy, well-designed fashion photoshooting. Civilized and forced to behave straight like rebel rockstars at official galas and ceremonies. This scent is undoubtedly well composed and well made, all smells great, and it has Kurkdjian's signature baroque "richness", a great blend of musky dark notes with powdery/creamy ones which smells quite like nothing else, or better said, like a tribute to French classic perfumery still with something contemporary (perhaps it's just the materials). Still you feel that this smells like the civilized, washed-down and "refined" version of something which must probably smell far more better than this. And as I wrote for the masculine one, I'd love to hear that – an "uncensored" version of it. Well however apart from that, which may be just my fantasy, this is a very good half crowd-pleasing half-niche scent.
I smell the vestiges and promise of a sexy patchouli rose with an earthy narcissus, but it is all edged with a slight dark berry fruit note that turns kind of burnt. I'm familiar with this note, as I often run afoul of it. In the case of Lumiere Noire it's influence is small, probably because it's not a large component, but it still renders the fragrance unwearable.