Reviews of Nocturnes by Caron

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    Infini's avatar

    Wales Wales

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    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.

    31st July, 2014

    comerio28's avatar



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    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.

    24 May, 2014

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    29 April, 2013

    soirdelune's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Aldehydic, floral fizz. A bright, inoffensive scent for the working day. Distinctly recall my mother's '80s version being higher octane, but no great tragedy. This is a pleasant and harmless scent that can quite lift the spirits.

    03 July, 2012

    redrose's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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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.

    26 June, 2012

    Red Theodora's avatar

    United States United States

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    Oh, Nocturnes! One of the nicer BIG eighties scents. Floral with spice is always a good thing in my book. I haven't given this a smell in years, but I hope it's doing well.

    15 May, 2011

    green_clay's avatar



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    Having never quite ‘got’ the Caron line (I know - for shame!), I found Nocturnes at a tantalisingly low price and took a punt that I had evolved enough as a sniffer to appreciate this juice. A good punt indeed.

    Nocturnes scared me a bit with its initial trumpet of aldehydes (a ‘Hello Granny’ moment), but swiftly seduced with a beautiful rendition of white florals, offset with a sparkling citrus note. At this stage I was thinking ‘What’s the deal with that name? This is definitely for day...’ - but then the base came through. Oh my - Nocturnes becomes a midnight vixen, albeit a subtle one. The phrases ‘a little musty’ and ‘slightly meaty’ may not sound too sexy, but in this incarnation those down-and-dirty notes combined with the glimmering top translate to a sensual mix of Miss Prim and Lady Panther. What’s not to love about that?

    19 July, 2010

    BayKAT's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    16 July, 2010

    Jean Patou Fan's avatar



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    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.

    28 March, 2010

    's avatar



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    Nocturnes is a classical fragrance, aldehydic, flowery, and elegant and in spite of its date of birth (a child of the 80's!), it's neither loud nor vulgar. Fortunately enough, it seems to be "intact" - i.e. not yet reformulated. Nocturnes is neither exciting, nor a milestone, but I find it quite wearable and ladylike.

    23 March, 2010

    Truffles's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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.

    03 September, 2009

    Ms Rochambeau's avatar

    United States United States

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    This review is for the older (probably late 1980's) EDT. From all that I'd read, Nocturnes had been described as an aldehydic floral and when I first applied it, it did initially evoke a floral in the vein of Chanel No. 5. However, as the scent dried down I picked up on more green notes which made my mind shift to Chanel No. 19. A little later I got Guerlain's Chamade which is the way it pretty much stayed until the far drydown. If you're a Chamade fan, you'll like Nocturnes. In the end I would say that Noctures is pretty much what you'd get if you mixed the 3 scents I mentioned above, and as others have mentioned, it's the least "Caron" of all the Caron's.

    UPDATE: After acquiring a vintage parfum of Nocturmes, I feel compelled to revise my rating of it. When oh when am I going to learn that as long as there is a perfume version of a scent available, I should delay my review until I smell it? While the EDT is a beautiful floral, the parfum is much richer, deeper and creamier. The far drydown is very unexpected ( I can swear I smell hints of oakmoss) in relationship to its bright, citrus-y, greenish floral opening. I still feel like it's the least "Caron" of the Carons, but as the parfum dries down it hints at, but stops just short of, that signature Caron darkness.

    08 July, 2009 (Last Edited: 24 April, 2013)

    AnnS's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is a very "pretty" floral fragrance. Makes me think of springtime, sunrise, and fresh gardens with a bit of dew on them. The orange blossom is my favorite part of the development. It is very well blended. You can detect the light tuberose and lily of the valley, but they play a part in the overall accords. No one flower really takes center stage, except maybe orange blossom. The base is very soft, warm, and lovely. It is in the same ball park as Baghari (much richer and more sophisticated), Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle (much more confident), and Chanel No 5 eau Premier (much more exuberant), but anyone who likes these may enjoy Nocturnes. Even though aldehydes play a big part in the opening, I don't think this becomes very powdery in the overall development - not as much as Baghari for instance. Nocturnes would also make a wonderful bridal perfume b/c it is so lovely, soft, and smells like a wonderful fresh bouquet. It has a traditional romantic feel too. Very feminine.

    18 February, 2009

    DawnLady's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    This is lovely - subtle, classy and feminine. I find the perfume to be beautifully blended - no notes dominate to me - and quite linear - it just gets softer with time and the initial (very gentle) aldehydes fade. It is suitable to wear anywhere - in crowded places I don't need to worry about it overwhelming anyone, yet it feels special and romantic enough for an expensive meal out. One of my very favourites.

    17 November, 2008

    djolney's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    Oh, so beautiful.

    The orange blossom is soft; the aldehydes are voluptuous; the tuberose and ylang-ylang are striking without being overpowering; the sandalwood is subtle; the vetiver is perfect: neither being soapy or dirty; the rose is deep and a little bit spicy; and the musk is both feminine and slightly animalic.

    Nocturnes is both luxurious and sparkling, and is a pleasure to smell throughout the day.

    I agree that Nocturnes is a sweetheart rather than a femme fatale, and this is fine with me.

    Another masterpiece from Caron.

    09 October, 2008

    jacona's avatar

    United States United States

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    Being a huge Caron fan, I took a chance and bought this unsniffed. Not normally one to wear florals much, I was quite surprised how much I love it. The orange blossom lends a bright citrusy note in the opening to play off the green vetiver, both earthy and airy, bright, dries down to a soft warm beauty, although I wouldn't mind the sparkling top notes sticking around the whole time either.

    15 July, 2008

    lookingglass's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have fallen in love with this perfume. I find it perfect for spring and summer when I want to feel fresh and green. It opens with a sparkling green and dries down to a powdery earthiness, not too sweet, not too "dirty", like vetiver can do on me sometimes. DH says he loves this frag b/c it does not smell like anything else. I think it departs a bit from the Caron "feel", but a favorite of mine nonetheless!

    02 April, 2008

    lookingglass's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have fallen in love with this perfume. I find it perfect for spring and summer when I want to feel fresh and green. It opens with a sparkling green and dries down to a powdery earthiness, not too sweet, not too "dirty", like vetiver can do on me sometimes. DH says he loves this frag b/c it does not smell like anything else. I think it departs a bit from the Caron "feel", but a favorite of mine nonetheless!

    02 April, 2008

    chaelaran1008's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Nocturnes opens on my skin with a very fresh clean lemony scent which softens as it dries down. Didn't seem to change much in the drydown except become softer but then....... after about twenty minutes I get a fragrant blend of vanilla, orange and roses (as Ayala has posted in her review). No green notes on me, just a lovely delicate and 'pure' scent. Some perfumes are described as 'femme fatale', 'seductress' etc. I'd offer 'sweetheart' for Nocturnes.

    12 November, 2006

    tvlampboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    I agree with RoseAmber in that this fragrance, it seems, could well have been made in the Roaring Twenties. LOVELY use of aldehydes, and brilliant use of vetiver to tone down the tuberose.

    A freakin' masterpiece, this one.

    03 October, 2006

    lefay's avatar



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    Nocturnes (to my nose) is a complex aldehydic floral with a warm drydown and beautiful, wistful sillage. Unlike other reviewers, I don't perceive lemon, soapiness, or powder so much as creamy floral notes on a soft woods base. It is sophisticated, unusual, and emotional; one of my favorites.

    17 November, 2005

    Ayala's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    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: 22 January, 2014)

    scenteur7's avatar

    United States United States

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    Another surprise from Caron. Though slightly floral, I find this completely wearable and very light and fresh. A nice marriage of vetiver and orange blossom on my skin.

    NOTES: Vetiver, sandalwood, musk, jasmine, tuberose, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, rose.

    30th October, 2005

    VintageVogue's avatar

    United States United States

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    Okay, okay. I'm eating a bit of crow these days. Have revisted Chamade and have fallen in love. Have revisted Nocturnes and have fallen in love. What struck me as soapy months ago now strikes me as feminine and cool. I like the review below that likens Nocturnes to stepping into a forest glade at twilight. That's a beautiful image and captures the essence of this scent. I'm a big Caron fan, and for a while I thought this classic just wasn't for me. But I've changed my mind. Definitely full bottle worthy.

    07 August, 2005 (Last Edited: 20th February, 2006)

    RoseAmber's avatar



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    This fragrance is the epitome of my romantic expectations of fine French perfume. It was my first real perfume (in parfum form); given to me as a gift when I was a teenager in the 1980s. Its mysterious, elegant, and incredibly beautiful fragrance still haunts my memories, and when I wear it, I feel like a ghost of Chopin's dreams. Even though this was launched in 1981, it has a haunting, classic quality that I associate with 1920s fragrances (such as Chanel Gardenia). Notes: Orange, Aldehydes, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Rose, Tuberose, Ylang-Ylang, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Musk.

    11th June, 2005

    numbr9's avatar

    United States United States

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    Nocturnes I describe as the kind of ethereal scent that an elven lady like Arwen from Lord of the Rings might wear. I wore it on my wedding day. It has orange blossoms as a prominent note which makes it suitable for a wedding scent. It has a cool floral/green quality like stepping into a mossy forest glade at twilight. I see it as different from many Caron fragrances in that it doesn't have the weightiness of many of the urn fragrances Caron makes.

    22 December, 2004

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