Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Total Reviews: 38
This isn't bad at all, and I'm testing from a current version of Drakkar. I was expecting something along the lines of Kouros and Lapidus pH, but this is lighter, fresher, sweeter...maybe a first step toward fragrances that followed in the 90's and beyond. Make no mistake though, this is very masculine.

I remember a guy I went to college with in the 90's swore by this stuff. It always smelled good on him back then, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this is still a good scent.

It does smell very familiar and more mature, so it's nothing unique or new and exciting. Just a solid masculine clean scent.
05th January, 2018
In the old days before digital, photographers would calibrate their cameras by using a grey card, 50% black 50% white.

Drakkar Noir achieves a similar balance by mixing the dark tones of leather, patchouli and tree moss with lavender and coumarin. DN may be called black but to my synesthetic nose it smells grey, grey like fluffy mould.

The neutral tones of DN were adopted by feminists when it first came out in the eighties. The tactic of wearing traditionally male perfumes allowed women to sidestep olfactory stereotypes long before Serge Luten's Palais Royale brought crossover scents back into the mainstream.

A middle of the road fougère, sweet yet bitter, moderately heavy, opaque but nebulous, it still divides people today. Some love it. Others perhaps unsettled by its vague indeterminate nature don't like it at all.

It is easy to overdo it with DN, too much can get suffocating so moderation should be the order of the day - not too much and not too little.

I think its not bad - but not great either, just quite nice. Technically its no great shakes either, another barbershop fougère.

And the legacy of Drakkar Noir : eighties gender bender or the smell of shaving foam in a can...?


14th October, 2016 (last edited: 22nd November, 2016)
Concerning the present formulation of this one, it's nice, but I find myself never reaching for it really. I still keep the mini bottles on my shelf because they take up no room, but my normal sized bottle has gone into my closet to join my swap list. I had read a number of people compare Caesar Man to the vintage Drakkar Noir (which I have never consciously experienced), so I had to try that and it did not disappoint me. Again, current Drakkar Noir is not bad, but if like myself you found it not quite there, I recommend looking into Caesar Man instead. Again the disclaimer that my review here is of the current formulation - the vintage juice might have been a different story for me.
19th January, 2015
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Not bad! How have I missed trying this one out, with all these pine-y notes? Has a herbal-green opening, reasonably dry character with only a slight "fresh" (perhaps synthetic) aspect. A scent of the '80s but not heavy-handed. Not a lot of conifers but a little bit. The mossy-patchouli dry-down is typical of the time.
14th November, 2014
As a young person growing up in the UK, I remember this fragrance quite well. It was one of the power houses of the 80s and you were just "cool" if you wore it!
I caught up with it a little bit later than that and enjoyed the simplicity of the 'soap-clean' vibe that this scent gives out. Nice, in offensive scent (don't apply too much!), that lasts and yet smells shower-fresh right from the first spritz.
09th January, 2014
Light woody classic scent that has short longevity and average projection. This can be worn at any age.

Nice and conservative (new formulation).
25th January, 2013
I have great memories of this scent. It was my husband's date night fragrance (yes, we've been together THAT long), and I always remember it being dark and sexy with a prominent leather note. Loved it at the time.

We recently sampled it on paper in a cosmetics store and looked at each other in horror. I don't know if it's a matter of the oft-mentioned reformulation or simply maturity, but that is not how I remember it smelling.

I can't exactly give it a thumbs down because of the great nostalgia, but neither would I exactly recommend it. I am, however, tempted to buy a $7 bottle of Classic Match at WalMart for kicks. Ah, sweet memories...
27th November, 2012
Not so long ago Drakkar Noir represented an inexpensive portal back to a 1970s locker room. Clean, fresh and unfeasibly potent, it remains the weapons-grade grooming tool of choice for those intent on sillage warfare. Although it is by no means unbearable in micro-doses, this beergutted ex-jock in stone-washed jeans is probably not going to make the sort of entrance that anyone would want to make. Beyond assuaging the twin itches of curiosity and nostalgia, Drakkar seems rather unnecessary.
26th October, 2012
It is an old classic, 30 years. It opens with a bit too much lavender and spice for my liking. Reminds me of an old guy wearing a threadbare suit - genteel. Not recommended as a blind buy or for younger people. Nothing wrong with it, just not for me. Great projection and sillage, and very good longevity. It has been around forever, so it has staying power. Unlike other reviewers, it IS linear on my skin.
23rd August, 2012 (last edited: 23rd February, 2013)
Drakkar Noir original was a beast oakmoss fougere that screamed its charme, love it or hate it...
Reformulation is like a tiger with no teeth left.. a complete waste of time and money!
02nd July, 2012 (last edited: 27th July, 2016)
A classic woodsy power fragrance of the 80's.

Drakkar Noir is a mix of lemon, lavendar and patchouli (in the drydown). It is the lavendar a little bit of the lemon that will draw you into this fragrance, and why you may really like it tested on a sample card, however, because this scent is volatile, easily affected by temperature and affected heavily by body chemistry, you should test this on your skin first.

The opening is woodsy, but has that freshness and sweetness that balances the scent. However, in drydown, it becomes a really dry heavy scent. It smells heavenly when you sniff the atomizer, but when you apply it, that's a different story. At least, for me.

Strength: The projection is very strong and it has a lot of longevity, therefore it is critical that you only apply 1 or 2 sprays. I would recommend against applying it on pulse points such as the wrists, but rather in areas of your body where less heat is generated.

Seasons: Winter and Fall, maybe spring (definitely not summer)

Age Group: I'd recommend this for 30 and up, but some people can still wear this well at a younger age.

Blind Buy: I would not recommend this as a blind buy. If you are a serious collector, it wouldn't hurt to test this first, though there is no urge or rush to go out and try it.

Rating: 6.5/10

Verdict: This is a controversial scent that will offend a number of people, but some may really like it. In the woodsy category, there are much better candidates out there, though. In the end, some will wear this better than others. It depends on the person.
14th March, 2012 (last edited: 14th June, 2012)
One of the worst things that you can experience with a fragrance is smelling its scent in a cheap fragrance or a shower gel .
Drakkar Noir reminds me of an AXE shower gel I used to use.
Not a bad fragrance, but it is not special or remarkable. I don't see the dark point in this fragrance.
I have not tried the old formulation (supposedly better, as it uses to be with the majority of the 70's and 80's fragrances that have been reformulated), but this scent does not impresses me .
Longevity is great and projection nearly average .
I don't understand why Luca Turin says this stuff was popular among lesbians. Does anyone know it?
29th April, 2011
Anup Show all reviews
United States
The good.

A very aromatic scent with lots of spicy zip.
Good sillage.

The bad.

Dry down smells JUST like pine sol :(

Sorry guys, this is just a dated scent that manages to survive because of it's dedicated fanbase.
15th April, 2011
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Controversial scent, I'm anytime puzzled and uncertain in my effort to express a personal consideration about it (and about its "dated or better classic" aqueous huge lavender) and in the strange affair of clearing up my taste. Powerhouse scent, too dated, obnoxious, still modern fragrance o what else? I really don't know, what I like about this scent is the undeniable sensation of nasty, dirty, sexy, musky and postindustrial freshness that emerges when you wear it in a cool late spring afternoon before to pick up your girlfriend for going out together in the downtown or to a club (in black leather clothed and, yes, why not, may be full of grease on your hairs). The opening of DN is very citrusy, by lavender sparkling and aromatic, the lavender of the top notes plays a starring role throughout the following development of the fragrance with its splashing, watery projection. The balsamic elements of the heart and the base, I mean mainly juniper, pine and oakmoss, side by side with lavender and the further herbs, provide this scent with that nasty frozen dimension which dominates the Drakkar Noir's soul. The patchouli of the base pushes up the masculine trait which, even due to several balsamic elements, starts soaring higher and higher with its sparkling/herbal/spicy/leathery projection. Ended off the evolution I clearly smell in the aromatic air hints of musky soapiness, faint sandalwood and a gentle note of jasmine. Dry down (the best part) is virile, musky, spicy and leathery (an aromatic confident fresh leather). I would like there had been added an hint of sandalwood ( better an hint more of sandalwood) to balance the excess of balsamic, soapy/detergent and aromatic "watery/barbershop" elements which project the scent out may be somewhat dated, too much watery and anchored to an old concept of green/sporty/aqueous/soapy masculinity. This is faint my complaint.
09th July, 2010 (last edited: 22nd November, 2015)
This is my go-to scent whenever I feel like slipping on my Members Only jacket and popping in my Flock of Seagulls cassette tape. In all seriousness, this fragrance was THE thing to wear when you were going to the 8th grade dance 20yrs ago.....Currently for me, it only has sentimental value. All in all, it's certainly a masculine scent, but if there was ever a scent that evokes a period long past (the 80's) this is it. Honestly the only time I could see wearing this would be going to an "80's night" at a club or some such.
18th June, 2010
A very smoky fragrance. Unfortunately, this smell is so widely imitated and used in many common consumer products, though they are a cheap imitation, they have reduced this old fragrance to an "old-man past his prime"

Very strong, big projection, longevity is good. What I like about this however is the charred smoked wood that you get at the end, it feels warm. The top notes fail to impress me however.
22nd May, 2010
20th May, 2010
Had I been reviewing this 20 or so years ago when it was my signature scent I would given it a thumbs up. It is a very manly scent and quite refreshing and I think it's over popularity is what makes me think this is unwearable to me at the present time. Lots of copies and you can also smell this in practically any man's soap, body wash or shampoo and deodorant. This is a classic and perhaps would be a benchmark for any other men's cologne being launched or reinvented, but I just can't wear this anymore. It's everywhere. I believe people like to be distinct most of the time.
17th March, 2010
I can appreciate Drakkar Noir but it is not for me. This scent is the epitome of a 100% urban setting cologne and is a bit too blunt.
31st January, 2010
Not bad. The blend of patcholi and sweet florals is a pretty good one. Smells like Caswell-Massey's Aura of Patchouli meets Axe's Dark Temptation bodyspray. I give it a Neutral rating - but if Guy Laroche decides to add a wee touch of Mysore sandalwood to the mix, it'd have a Thumbs Up from me.
12th November, 2009
2009 and I'm reviewing Drakkar Noir, the Viking's Dragon Boat. Admitedly, it does smell old, but in a good old-fashioned way. Drakkar Noir is not for the faint hearted, nor intended to be used or treated lightly in today. Pity though, a unforgiving entrance, a commanding presence, but a disappointing act towards the end.

While the mentioned top notes tend towards suggesting a fougere type scent, it wasn't so in my experience. The fragrance was arresting, powerful and commanding with a strong citrus-herbacous wood entrance that reminded me of pencil shavings and old, wet paper cardboard. For a moment, I was surprised to find that element in something that was created in the 1980s. It seemed promising indeed.

Progressing, one finds it hard to disassociate the fragrance with an animalic nature of sweat. It was a dirty, soapy scent no different in nature from Kourous, but different in style and presentation. Kourous was definitely more sophisticated and sexy whereas Drakkar is brute and physical like a group of locker room boys or even medieval vikings. The bitterness of the juniper is outstanding, without the astringency or damp sourness that pure juniper brings along. Along with the sweatiness, Drakkar Noir develops a dark woody, muskiness that is resinous in nature.

Drakkar Noir didn't last very long on me or at least, not with the opportunity to sample the patchouli. It faded into a generic woody scene, which for me, smelled a little too similar to dryer sheets - Bounce (?), except for a slight edginess associated with male cologne.

Would I wear this? Perhaps if I'm alone with nothing much to do, just to enjoy it's history. It's probably worth keeping it in a collection for history's sake. But nothing more.
15th August, 2009
I neither love it nor hate it, Though at times it can offend. It seems to try too hard in some ways, with the a sometimes seesaw. It seems to move at two altitudes, high, kind of clean but ultimately an overall sense of washed.
21st July, 2009
I enjoy this one, and actually first discovered it by way of a cheap copy you can grab for about 8 bucks. Fake VS real aside, this frag offers a suprisingly complex, sweet-but-not-girly aroma that blends into an interesting "synthetic" feel. In this case that's not a mark against it, and I feel that it adds to the overall character. Basically, it's a cologne that anyone without an interest in frags can instantly characterize as "a cologne".

I'm a bit torn about it, though, since I rather like this scent, but doubt I'd ever actually wear it. There are a few reasons for this, the first and foremost being that it was apparently unbelievably popular around the time I was learning to toddle. No, I'm not prejudiced against that decade, just the popularity, primarily since anyone around back then who recognizes it would give me the same reaction I'd give any frat boy drowning in Axe. Call me shallow if you must.
17th May, 2009
Ah, one of my first colognes. Drakkar Noir is actually one of the first colognes I can recall, as well - my dad wore it. Revisiting it, I realized just how much of a crude fougère this is, no offense. A lot of heady moss and patchouli, with citrus notes and (mostly) lavender dancing around on top. Still a nice drydown that isn't so much outdated as it is worn-out, to me. More of a casual fragrance than a formal fragrance - it would be the same situation as trying to pull off Stetson or Brut in a tuxedo. This isn't exactly a daytime scent either, but it can work no matter what season.

Drakkar Noir, suffice to say, has unfortunately become one of those "every dad and uncle" fragrances. While I can appreciate the memories it brings me, it's too damn common, too crude, and if I wanted an old-school fougère, I'd just as soon wear Azzaro.
15th March, 2009 (last edited: 17th January, 2011)
Probably one of the first decent scents I ever owned, I'm talking high school days here. My girlfriedn (now wife) loved it and still does to this day, though I have grown out of it. Still a nice scent though. the lemony top note lasts for quite a while, then the dry down lasts even longer. Too many guys overused it though.
09th December, 2008
Begins with an orange-peel-with-sugar scent. Nothing very acid like leaves or remarkable like aldehydes. The orange keeps a lot and becomes less sweet, but something adstringent remembers me AXE or anything i tried at the drugstore. Interesting but risky to me.
01st December, 2008
This scent is not bad, but something synthetic here, not mineral, not natural.
Is a fresh experience with some bad component inside. Reminds me a little bit of Kouros, I m not sure....
I will give it a neutral because I m with good humou today.....Oldfashioned and something fresh as well. I dont know what to say, but something sure: is not for me.
15th August, 2008
This takes me back to junior high where the upcoming jocks would wear, nay, saturate themselves with this. Brings back memories of the high school prom, too close for comfort gym class changing rooms and the one time I went to a high school party.

Aside from the events from my youth, I find it particularly pleasing with its biting lemon and juniper, its mossy lavender and its longevity. You just need to wear it right. You don't need a lot for casual wear.
22nd December, 2007
Rather loud. It does not blend well with skin. Better on clothes. But not my cup of tea.
19th December, 2007
Not a bad scent, per se, but I used to wear it in 6th grade and it reminds me of. . . well, 6th grade. I'd feel like I'm regressing if I wore it
30th October, 2007