I really don't know whether I should give Nocturnes a thumbs up, neutral or thumbs down: I actually think it should have one of each, as, in my opinion, there have been three different formulations of this perfume:
The first (in the original black bottle/box), released in the early 1980s was wonderful (and definitely deserved a thumbs up): it was a lovely sweet aldehydic fragrance: sweeter and deeper than Chanel No5 type perfumes, but still dominated by aldehydes. There was orange blossom in the top notes, which gave way to a very elegant mix of aldehyde and subtle spice. It was one of my favourite perfumes of the early and mid 80s. The parfum strength was particularly special, and there was a whole range of matching bath products.
I'm not sure when the parfum and bath products were discontinued, but when they were, I'm sure EDT (the only thing left in the once comprehensive range) was reformulated (this is the version sold until recently in the generic curvy Caron EDT spray). I revisited Nocturnes in this version a few years ago, and was so disappointed, as the fragrance had altered beyond recognition. It was now a very ordinary aldehydic-chypre scent, with no resemblance to the original at all. This version definitely gets a thumbs down.
The third version of Nocturnes is the new Eau de Parfum strength: I was hoping this was going to be more like the original version, and for the first few minutes after trying it I wasn't disappointed. I was thrilled to find that this smelled exactly as I remember Nocturnes (I very nearly bought a bottle straight away!). However, my delight didn't last more than about ten minutes, as after this the perfume changed, and smelled exactly like Ysatis (which I loved in the mid 80s, but now leaves me cold - perhaps that has been reformulated too?), which was a huge disappointment. I would have to give this version a neutral, as it is not unpleasant (and certainly better than the second version), but it is not Nocturnes as it originally was.
I bought a small bottle of this a few years ago. It was just oaky. I couldn't wear to much of it though. It had a clean smell which I liked but then it dried down into something powdery which I didn't. Anyway, I finished the bottle eventually. Its not something I would buy again.
Pleasant but bland melange of rose, neroli, jasmine, ylang yang, rose, tuberose and orange, supported by sandalwood and musk.
Nice for a summer splash, but not all that interesting as a scent.
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Wanted to try Nocturnes because it had debuted in the 80's, and although they're now somewhat old-fashioned I really like the sort of loud florals that dominated much of that era.
And I wasn't disappointed. Nocturnes opens with an intriguing blend of florals, aldehydes and spices, which are later developed together with a hint of orange and other, darker notes I couldn't name.
I wanted to give it a thumbs up, but as it developed Nocturnes became less distinctive and more like a well-made, elegant guest soap. I like it well enough, but it blends into its surroundings too well to be really interesting for me.
But it's still a pretty scent, even though it's not outstanding, so I'm rating it neutral.
San Francisco is a beautiful City
This is what i was told for years and years. Finally I ended up at a company where i supported their software package, and I was flown to San Francisco for training. I was beside myself to finally see this beautiful city for myself.
I was disappointed. SF isn't pretty at all - it's nothing but street after street of drab, dull colored row houses. There is no skyline worth mentioning and those steep streets are terrifying, not fun.
SF is only worth seeing, I now realize because I live here, from the West side of town. Golden Gate park. The Bay bridge. By boat from the bay and Baker Beach. Had I only known.
Here's what you need to know about Caron, because I've now sampled 75% of their offerings and my opinion is set. Go to their parfums. Don't piddle around with the EDTs, they're disappointing and bland, like hte row houses.
Nocturnes smells like a tray of guest soaps. Nice, sure, but not original and certainly not interesting. Caron is only interesting at full strength.
I know this comes in a parfum, and that is my next stop wiht this one.
I loved Nocturnes during the 80s, and wore it for several years. Everything about it spelled contempoary elegance; from the colourful modern art picture on the packaging to the beautiful black Parfum bottle. I remember that Nocturnes was available in an amazing Baccarat crystal bottle with lions on it's sides, exclusively from Harrods during the 80s; unfortunately I was never rich enough to afford one.
Nocturnes was a beautful and well balanced fragrance: slightly sweet, with floral (orange blossom being most noticable), subtle spice notes, tempered by subtle aldehyde.
I tried Nocturnes for the first time since the 80s a few years ago, and was very disappointed: the fragrance had changed drastically: it was far less sweet, and not nearly as full bodied; it was like Y, with added chypre. In fact, if I hadn't known what I was trying, I would not have recognised it as Nocturnes. At the same time I discovered that the beautiful original packaging, the parfum, and the wonderful bath products have all been discontinued - it has quite saddened me.
I am very unlikely to buy Nocturnes again; the fragrance has drasically changed since I last wore it in the 80s. It is by no means an unpleasant fragrance, but very different from the one I remember.
I smelled a sample of this in the 80s and always remembered it for it's lovely 'grassiness'. I bought some recently by mail order (it's hard to get hold of by any other method) and on spraying recognised it pleasantly at once. The top notes are beautiful and remind me very much of the much missed original Armani for women perfume. However Nocturnes dries down to a horrible 'dirty wang' (to borrow the brilliant phrase that another Basenoter has used (why, why???!!) to describe Agent Provocateur) on me. There's a hint of something carnation or lily like there that just spoils it for me. I'm going to try wearing this perfume again once the weather turns really cold, it may work better then.
Although the name suggests it to be a night-invoking perfume, I find it extremely summer-like and full of light.
It starts off with a citrus splash of bergamot and tangerine, backed up with a feminine floral notes of jasmine, and a more masculine eau-de-cologne like notes of orange blossoms and a hint of musk, that adds sensuality to that blast of freshness.
As the top notes start to fade, they reveal a luscious fruity note of peach supported by vanilla, which gradually pushes away the dominant orange-blossom and tangerine accord.
The dry down gradually enters with an interesting and surprising accord dominated by a fresh, woody and masculine vetiver notes, accompanied by green notes, orange blossom (softer and more subtle now), and a very modest hint of vanilla and rose.
This perfume is full of surprises, I love the way the stages fade into each other. The overall impression is of freshness and vivacity, mingled with a tad of melancholy, which brings to mind Chopin's expressive piano nocturni.
It’s surprising to see that such an old-fashioned aldehydic floral was launched in the 80’s (1981 to be exact). The perfumer behind Nocturnes is Gerard Lefort.
Top notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Mandarin, Green notes
Heart notes: Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose, Stephanotis, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Rose, Cyclamen
Base notes: Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Amber, Vanilla, Benzoin
30th October, 2005 (last edited: 22nd January, 2014)