Stumbling on my mind...
I have a confession to make. It may reduce my already low credentials in perfume reviewing even further, but I think it's the right thing to do.
I often fall for names that ring the bell of my pagan instincts, or kickstart my primal fears of walking blind in a tenebrous dungeon.
They sometimes make me like a perfume before even smelling it. Fall in love with its concept even. And yes, I know that I should have abandoned this kind of thinking since 12, but I guess my love for the thrill of the unexpected keeps it alive all these years. But in Noir Divin's case, the unexpected was way too surprising.
If I had ever seen this baby languidly lolling somewhere in a lady's boudoir, I'd be something like "Gracious sakes lad, this must be some lady and you absolutely have to smell this on her skin!"
A name evoking the mysteries of the night, a bottle that could hold a shady and probably dangerous potion and a house whose name sounds like a secret location where witches meet.
Noir Divin had it all.
Except the perfume itself. It's still a great concept, but for a different perfume perhaps, cause this one may be a very nice lady, but it's neither Noir nor Divin. No mysteries, no danger, and the witches eventually met someplace else. Nothing to shake your world here.
It's actually a very comforting scent. It's as comforting as a cup of hot cocoa, especially when you drink it next to a vase filled with freshly cut roses and powdering your nose every now and then. But what you'd expect from something called Noir Divin wouldn't be to offer you comfort, but rather to send you seeking comfort after encountering it, possibly along with a shoulder to cry on.
I won't blame the perfume itself, neither I'll say that it failed to meet my expectations. After all, it's not its fault if my mind created a wild and mostly inconsequent image about its potential, before smelling it. To tell the truth it's started to slowly grow on me. But for completely different reasons than I initially thought it might. The question now is whether I should try to test its namesake too, a Swiss red wine, if I ever happen on it, or simply avoid the risk of yet another disappointment. Cause you can test a perfume as many times as you like without any nasty side-effects, but how many times can you test a wine before detox becomes ineluctably necessary?...
Stendhal Noir Divin is a quite spicy, candied and humid-resinous take on the rosey amber accord. There is a wet-greasy vegetal feel all around apparently accomodated down in to a sort of talky and yummy (cocoa nuanced) rosey background. Actually the note of cocoa is not properly chocolatey but, as combined with tonka, it provides a rounding and vaguely greedy/semi-gourmandish effect all around. The accord of orange blossoms, "slippery" resins, rose, balsams and spices is the main "topic" of this really sensual and erotic floral fragrance. Different types of rose (as combined with balsams) afford a sort of weirdly fruity-soapy "pink" effect. The note of cinnamon is heady, the balsams are wet, resinous and weirdly candied. Along the dry down the note of cocoa becomes more heady and dark, there is a sort of silky-rounded soft chocolatey undertone vaguely conjuring me the similar feeling enjoyed in Tom Ford Noir de Noir (which seems in this case combined with a quite resinous talkiness just in part conjuring me several creations about Cerchi Nell'Acqua and Farmacia SS Annunziata). Further scents come on mind for several of their characteristics (I think to the darker Gorilla Perfume Rose Jam for its weirdly hummy-herbal accord of rose/geranium and cocoa). I detect a moderately synthetic aura all around which does not anyway overcome the limits of tolerance. The dry down is a spicy concert of "chiaroscuro" with a velvety alternation of floral, soapy and candied nuances. Not a masterpiece but a pleasant experiment for sure.
PS: along the dry down the aroma improves significantly, cocoa recedes almost totally (as well as the humid resinous presence, amber jumps on the stage (warm, spicy, "nuanced" and refined) and I catch in the air a sort of intriguing eliotropic undertone conjuring me vaguely scents a la Reminiscence Do Re'.
07th May, 2015 (last edited: 08th May, 2015)
The opening of Noir Divin is nice, peculiar and intriguing since the very first sniff: ginger, tonka, perhaps heliotrope, a humid rose wrapped in a warm ambery aura, an overall bold "pollen" and resinous feel (on the dry-earthy side), a bit cloying at first but shady, elusive and fascinating. There is also a green note floating all over which I can't identify better, something that smells greenish but somehow "juicy", halfway carnation and red pepper, with a menthol vibe (geranium?). All mixed on a solid yet discreet woody base. Overall the "mixed soup" effect is just 'round the corner, but Noir Divin manages to step back just in time, and works quite fine – the materials smell good and so does the composition. It's somehow dark and carnal, but also much spicy and somehow playful in a way. Nonetheless I agree with a fellow reviewer on (*that other prominent competitor website*) about the "moldy" feel: what I don't enjoy about this scent is precisely its heavy, thick, a bit cloying texture, with that moldy and almost rancid nuance that comes and goes - and which is surely not that pleasant to smell on yourself. Still, I feel that Noir Divin is perhaps one of those scents that may work great on the "right" person with the right attitude, so... give it a try.
A wonderful SA at Burgins in York suggested this to me during my trip to England in September. Love it, a current favorite. I get lots of complements when I wear it. It's warm and cozy, feels kind of like Hypnotic Poison, but not so much almond. Will look out for Stendhal's other offerings.