Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Total Reviews: 92
What else can be said about this masculine classic? I remember this being all the rage when I was a young teenager, it was expensive and hard to find. I haven't touched it since I was 15. So imagine my utter surprise when my Mom gives me a bottle, direct from my Grandfathers' 30+ year old stash. Intrigued, I purchased a new bottle, and then a vintage bottle from 1994. Of course they all smell very different. Is this from age, formulation, different batches? Whatever the case, the vintage is extremely powerful, and lasts forever. The 1994 smells the best to me, a bit more citrusy/pine notes in this one make it special. The newer bottle is good, but severely lacking in longevity and staying power. You can see the bottle quality has changed too, as the oldest bottle is far more substantial and the nozzle feels much more solid.
12th April, 2016
What makes a "barbershop" scent? Lavender and oakmoss? So this should be the archetypal barbershop fragrance. It's true it does have that old-fashioned, soapy feel, but the complexity of the other ingredients underneath the big 2 make me shy away from that label. And the leather adds a smoothness and richness. It's a green, herby, fresh, soapy experience, but with a sort of spicy, complicated undercurrent that makes it more interesting than you'd think and, well, really sexy.
I've read a number of reviews talking about gay/straight, male/female, particularly with reference to Drakkar Noir. To be honest I don't get that. But then again I'm crossing the "boundaries" of mens /women's scents more and more and I care less and less about what people think about it. Yes of course men would wear this, but I can imagine a cool woman wearing this too.
I was a teenager in the 80s, but weirdly I missed Drakkar Noir then, I really don't know how. So I can't comment on how it's changed or not. I'd describe sillage and longevity now as moderate. It's a great all-rounder: I've been wearing it to the office recently, but I would also wear it on an evening. If it is weaker now, who cares, it's so inexpensive just spray more and more often. I love it.
February 2016
12th February, 2016
Shield wall! Now!

Let's talk some statistics for starters. The sentences in which the word "school" is usually included in Drakkar Noir's reviews are rougly divided between the ones having "high" and the ones having "old" in front of it. But since I'm pretty sure that all these "high schoolers" are in no case under 40 years old, both adjectives conclude one thing. Drakkar Noir is by no means a modern fragrance. It's something that trend followers would ironically call an old lady fragrance and amuse themselves for belittling it even further by not associating it with men.
Dear trend followers, unfortunately I cannot pass as an old lady, cause despite having quite long hair, it's nowhere near white. Perhaps my year old beard has some part in it too. You see, bearded ladies belong to the same place where Drakkar Noir belongs too, according to your refined taste and aesthetics. Freak shows...So how would you call a man in his mid-forties who's featuring all this hair and digs old fragrances named after scandinavian battleships? Wait! Did someone say "a bloody Viking berserker"? I guess I could pass as one.

So, let the battle hymns fill the air.
(You may start running for cover now trend followers.)
Enter Led Zeppelin.
(Another much despised "old lady" thing.)

"We come from the land of the ice and snow from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow."

It actually came 10 years after the first Drakkar had already landed on the fabled western shore. It sailed from river Seine, which does not make it a Viking thing exactly. But who cares? This one was black!
I guess a matching black sail decorated with a skull and crossbones was fluttering on its mast as well. Too early for that you said? Pirates you said? I agree, but I also beg to differ. Pirates were not looting only gold coins but golden ideas too. And this rather unrefined emblem had always made gold coins jump into treasure chests by themselves upon showing up on the horizon. Let alone that Vikings actually WERE pirates!

If its intention was to terrorise its opponents and make them flee, Drakkar Noir landed a serious blow without even raising its hand. As we speak, many otherwise hard-boiled dudes are fleeing like cockroaches taken by surprise when someone hits the lights by seeing this veteran warrior approaching.
It brought the same amount of mayhem with a Viking fleet landing in the middle of a raging battle, cause this is exactly what the '80s were. A huge battlefield where ferrocious warriors were exchanging devastating blows in order to prevail and get all the maidens.

Drakkar Noir came to avenge its fallen brother who had perished under the combined attacks of Italian lancers (Gucci pour Homme), English bowmen (Halston 1-12 and Z-14) and Spanish expatriated swordsmen (Paco Rabanne pour Homme). And it routed them single-handedly, conquering their realms and dethroning them from the Kingdom of Macho overnight. For some years it was the absolute ruler of everything, gloriously daunting in its black panoply and towering over every laughable attempt made by usurpers trying to succeed it. Then it was its turn to be conquered, but only by time, and not without making a legendary last stand which is still reverberating through fragrance lore.

If there ever was a fragrance smelling oily and arid in the same time, this was the one. Like sticking your head into an old abandoned well and smell the thick darkness. Cold, dry and slippery. Like a dormant volcano surrounded by glaciers, occasionally venting its ire through fumaroles.
And I say "was" cause the current version of Drakkar Noir smells like a splash bottle being forgotten open since 1982 and smelled again in 2015. The ghost of a scent. And even the most ghastly ghosts become less frightening after a few decades.

But in its heyday Drakkar Noir was turning dimly lit discos and clubs into much feared lairs, packed with predators waiting for any unsuspecting prey to be lured and pass their gates.
Other fragrances of the era like Azzaro pour Homme and its kin were all about machinations and facades in order to trap their victims. Drakkar Noir was the adamant abettor of the good ol' proverbial clubbing on the head. Since we're talking about the Nordic pantheon, the first could be impersonated by Loki, while the latter was 100% Thor, and change clubbing with hammering. No elaborate wording or flamboyant behaviour here. Just plain dark spleen and meaning business. Just the thing to make a Viking warlord proud.

"Yeah, but it's so old school!"

Who said that? C'mon, who said that? No one said that? Right lad, stay hidden in the crowd! This was always a very "brave" thing to do!
Old school? Really? It's a drakkar for Odin's sake, not some high-end missile cutter! Drakkars are still badass and fabulous after more than 1000 years have passed since they first hit the waves. ("Launched" would be too obvious a pun here.) What are the chances of any high-end missile cutter to be remembered and admired after 1000 years? Probably the same with a fragrance launched during 2015 to be widely acknowledged and respected after almost 35 years, the way Drakkar Noir is as we speak.

So come closer to the fire brothers, and with swords held on high, let's bellow in unison.

"Odin I await thee! Your true son am I..."

And rest assured that the ancient gods reposing in the melancholic chambers of the fragrance Valhalla may be gone but by no means forgotten.
30th November, 2015
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Drakkar Noir is wonderful! I used up a bottle without even thinking about it, cause it's just such a versatile fragrance, good for day, night, winter, summer, anytime. People always compliment it without recognizing it. No one wears it anymore since it's been a meme for try-hard male sleaziness via jokes on various television shows for 20+ years. I first smelled it on a gorgeous, smartly dressed young guy and couldn't believe it when he told me it was Drakkar Noir. It smells a lot like Paloma Picasso, with a dry mossy patchouli leather and a soapy character. There is a fun gourmand movie popcorn accord in there too. People will pay so much for these allegedly daring niche animalic leather chypres when this is around, everywhere, for no money and in great shape. Would be especially good on a woman.
02nd October, 2015
Think we've all been there..temptation buying wins the day and DN became the newest recipient. More to the point I became the recipient of a fragrance that has stood the test of time and still firmly stands head and shoulders amongst some of the latest pongs. Pardon the expression! But anyway..

Sexy, sassy, clean, confident, masculine, earthy even raunchy..but equally quite mysterious in a way which is proving quite tricky to put into words..but then there lies the answer and why this gets a thumbs up from me. Ditto to a few who've got within 'nose shot' including the lovely curvaceous blonde from only a few weeks ago ...
; )

A true classic which will IMO continue to tick the right boxes and to be fair, despite some divided opinion, one for any discerning gentleman's collection or wardrobe. Very pleasurable to wear for many an occasion. Enjoy!

16th August, 2015
A very green powerhouse man's scent from the 1980s. Along with Aramis, Open and Quorum, Drakkar Noir defines the green, herbaceous chypre type.

The citrus notes of lemon and mandarin mix with the herbal green notes of basil, rosemary, bergamot, mint and verbena.

The spicy heart reveals cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, juniper, angelica, wormwood and a healthy dose of lavender.

All this rests on the dark green notes of patchouli, oak mod, cedar, balsam, vetiver and pine.

It's powerful and iconic. I do believe Drakkar Noir and Aramis were the two best selling men's scent of the 1980 decade.

LaRoche only created about a dozen scents. Drakkar Noir was his most popular men's scent, while Fidji was his most popular woman's scent.

DN is still a winner after all these years.

12th June, 2015
Guy Laroche - Drakkar Noir
This perfume, together with Caractere, got me started being excited about perfumery - this was the stuff my brothers wore when I was young. Smelling this after 20 years brings back a lot memories and makes me realize how good this perfume still is and was. Drakkar Noir made me recognize the smell of freshly crushed coniferous-leaves in it - which was a marvelous connection because I love that smell; we had them standing in our backyard. It was actually the first 'exotic' note that I could identify, other than rose- and citrus-notes. Drakkar noir always moves with a greenish flow, but always of the dirty-kind: slightly oily with a raw, gritty edge to it, and with smooth leather and tobacco 'of the spicy kind' to back it up, carried by a soft mossy cloud of oakmoss with a cederwoody-touch. Drakar Noir is an intense, focused and hot-tempered perfume with as much grip as smoothness; where lavender connects the bright and fresh peppery-citrus topnotes with the more 'weighted' base which also displays ozonic, metallic and mentholic notes. Drakkar Noir acts as a bodyguard in a tight, flashy suit - acting self-assured, cool and collected, but with a hidden alertness; ready to flex some muscles and kick some action when the moment calls for it. A masculine Masterpiece.
25th May, 2014
Just wonderful.Masculine, fresh, and just as good in the day as at night. I always buy a 200ml bottle as it goes so quickly.
19th May, 2014
I love this scent. I find that I only wear it in the fall/winter though. It seems this was made for my skin. If I put this on after work I get trace amounts the next morning . It leave such a great smell long after the dry down that is very faint and pleasant.
15th February, 2014
this is another classic one, always unique, signature, masculin as sexy, present as air, true as life, dark as night sky; i cannot recognize any notes in this one, it's just drakkar noir..Remebering it from late 80's i bought recently another bottle to re-feel the essence. Probably one of the most powerful and real men scents ever created, so well mixed ingredients that produce a stable spirit of drakkar noir. Same sence for me from the spray till many hours later, works individually and slightly different to any skin tries that, working really effective in mine, plus make women melt. One of a kind.
09th November, 2013
Classic to the point of becoming a reference

Finding Drakkar's smell alikes is fairly easy. Ceasar's and Lomani are the ones mentioned as being the best next to it, to the point a very enthusiastic reviewer and later blogger said thatthe first one was better than the original for it had what it lost in its reformulation; you can find close analogies to it in Gres' Cabaret, a now discontinued fragrance that is very enjoyable in its complexity, which I would say is better than Drakkar's; or maybe in locally manufactured versions sold by haberdashers that are, indeed, inspired by it. I imagine that this proves it is a classic, but I can't find in this argument the reason why I find Drakkar younger than it is.

Drakkar Noir smells classic, but not dated. It has a twist that provides for a contemporary feeling, a note that I associate with acquatics. Maybe many of these, a more recent group of blends, resort to dyhydromircenol, or its properties ("Powerful, thin, sweet, fresh, lavender-like, fruity, metallic, citrusy (linalyl acetate-like), clary sage-like, ambery odour." in October 25, 2013).

Let my imagination or faulty olfative capabilities aside, the dry down is the best part of the olfative journey, characterized by a subdued character and limited longevity. It leaves you craving for more, at least in the version I have, which seems it has been improved lately.

The opening is spicy and citric, turning into a stingy balmy blend in a short period of time. According to the pyramid, what follows are more spices and some floral notes, carnation and jasmine: I can't get these for the stingy combo is still prevalent. Now, the base notes smells manly and powdery. The blend revolves around this stingy / powdery leitmotiv, which does not mean it is linear.

Strong? Olfative analysis brings a slight headache. Better enjoy it with a full wear. It seems it claims to be worn punishing reviewers when disecting it.

Long lasting? Not at all. Maybe overapplying might give wearers what they are looking for.

Pros: My formulation; understated and elegant
Cons: Common, almost what an aromatic fougere a la 1980's should smell like"

26th October, 2013

well this is the classic 90's bar/club/nightlife manly powerhouse

top is a slick sharp citrus with a dark leather monster hiding underneath

this is an absolute winner IF USED IN SMALL AMOUNTS

if a splash, splash ONCE


common yes, dated yes, still a winner for all ages. JUST DONT OVERDO IT!!!!!


Pros: ULTRA longevity, hell of a manly fragrance

15th July, 2013
Gary F Show all reviews
United States
Still Sexy After All These Years

I didn't own this back in the 80's, but I know a lot of guys who did and I always thought they smelled great. Thankfully, none of them bathed in it, because overdoing it on this one is really gross. Worn in moderation, the oakmoss and lavender exude a smooth sexiness that seems to get the attention of the men and the ladies. I don't wear it often, but I thoroughly enjoy it when I do.

Pros: Smooth and sexy
Cons: Really horrible if oversprayed

20th June, 2013
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There are few juices who are quasi-immortal, a kind of "living classics" - and DN is one of them.
DN is a frag of his time - it smells, it sounds, it moves like the 80s. For the perfume lover, DN will remain a constant benchmark - but not necesarily an everyday odor. From time to time, you will remember it; you know it is here, close to you, as it allways was in your contemporary personal history.
In this bottle, both coriander & juniper makes the difference, and the moment of his glory arrives in the drydown, after one hour and a half. The rest is, as I said, history.
Overall, a deserved 8,3/10.
29th January, 2013
Tony T Show all reviews
United States
very light top notes. besides the lavender just about non existent.the the coriander kicks inand mixes well albeit strangely with the oakmoss and patchouli. for the 35 and over crowd. very pungent and animalistic but in a good way. i am not an oakmoss fan but the patchouli mellows it out some. don't judge it in the first hour. let it sette and ggive it a chance like i did. 10 years ago my uncle wore it and i hated it but am now a fan..
18th January, 2013
Classic frag, longevity is pretty bad, few hours tops. Almost Polo Green like in that the first 10-15 minutes can be a bit overwhelming for people around you. Smoothes out to a nice smell though overall and does get some compliments still. Overall can get lost though in the shuffle of more modern smelling things, to be expected when sold in mass drug stores.
24th December, 2012
Crow Show all reviews
United States
Say what you's an 80s cliche, it's a club crawler classic. Whatever. Still smells great to me. I have the remnants of a bottle I bought way back when and a new bottle, bought in 2012. Same great scent.

Love it.
17th December, 2012
My signature scent when I was in my teenage and girls used to love it.
Rediscovered after 20+years and it still rocks! Women still love it.
Very masculine, no boring oriental sweeter notes here, no acquatic aromas, just a solid and safe all day scent.
This is the scent a man should smell in my opinion.
Longevity is maybe the only low point. On my skin it seems to vanish quickly.
Highly recommend
29th November, 2012
This fragrance is a very nice mossy/woodsy cologne that has been around forever. I have never yet met a single female (of any age) that did not really like this scent. It's still as pleasant now on sale at Walgreens as it was when it was introduced at the perfume counter at Nordstrom.
24th November, 2012
Re-discovered this one and it's now my main weapon of choice. The opening makes me wanna be sick but when it dries down, a legend is born!
11th October, 2012
I am female and this scent puts me into "sex overdrive"! just does something to my senses!
20th September, 2012
ElVee Show all reviews
United States
An excellent, dark evening/casual cologne that I used a ton of back in high school and college. Unfortunately, much like my affair with Obsession, this means it has run its course in my life and not something I want to revisit today.
06th July, 2012
Kelley Show all reviews
United States
Cologne seems to last forever for me. That said, Drakkar Noir is one of the few bottles that I consumed in its entirety. Loved this in the '80 and '90's. I ought to go replace it someday but I keep finding other things that interest me more.
02nd May, 2012
Talk about a scent that takes you to a moment in time. I bet anyone over the age of 30 has a memory with this scent. For me, it was my father's signature scent.

I agree wholeheartedly with EricRico who noted missing elements to the pyramid. I'm not one to point to the scents generally, but leather is such a distinct note in this cologne. You get the floral notes right up front. Lavender for days. But the dry down leads to leather, wood, and other "green" scents with the floral notes all but disappearing.

Imagine yourself at a forest's edge, smelling flowers and then walking into the woods and breathing deeply in the piney, resiny scents while wearing your favorite leather jacket.

It's not linear, it's fairly well blended. Amazing sillage and strong longevity. It is highly potent, so it's a bit loud for people and, of course, it was the POSTER CHILD scent of the 1980s. It's a date night scent that many, many men of all walks of life used as their daily/work scent. It's far too dark and loud for work and this ruined the scent for many people.

Hard to not give it a thumbs up, though. It is well constructed and does its job. Clearly, the thing was everywhere for 10+ years.
01st May, 2012
I want to express my concern and discontent in the note pyramid above. Drakkar Noir is a true aromatic fougere - in both current and vintage formulation.

The note pyramid provided is missing very key ingredients (and adding some) that without them, Drakkar Noir would not be the classic fragrance that it is. Huge notes missing include Fir, Artemisia, Basil, Leather, Coriander, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Carnation, Jasmine, Rosemary & Cinnamon. Lemon is somewhat apparent - a nice touch along with a little bergamot to add a sparkle of citrus on top, but this is a green and aromatic fragrance with a lot of wood, florals, and GREEN notes.

I cannot even discern what would be in a bottle of fragrance from the note pyramid listed - no offense intended to this truly wonderful forum at all - but Drakkar Noir has a very rich, potent and distinct history in male fragrance. Basenotes is a marquis site in the world of fragrance and I am a highly-devoted lover of scent. I just wanted to point out that a huge amount of notes are missing for Drakkar Noir. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fragrance from Guy Laroche. Even in its reformulation, the notes are there and some even prefer it as it is now a less moss-heavy, leather-oriented throwback is actually a reformulation that I believe holds up well (definitely more lifted and "cleaner"), but is clearly different than the classic original.

My next review will cover my personal feelings of this classic, but I wanted to point out just how "off" the pyramid was so people who don't know the scent are not left in the dark. It's amazing how even current formulation is holding its value and is so highly sought-after.
21st February, 2012 (last edited: 07th May, 2013)
Drakkar Noir is one of the best male scents around even though it's an oldie. I love the juniper and lavender combo--so clean and fresh yet dirty in a weird way. The fragrance has no doubt changed since the 80's and 90's, despite an earlier post from me claiming otherwise. I know the original formula has changed because I recently purchased a vintage bottle from a local pharmacy; I figured the pharmacy had low turnover of Drakkar because they sell much higher end fragrances. I was right: the Drakkar box had a 1989 copyright and the print on the back of the bottle says it was manufactured by a different company than what's on the current bottle today. I have to say, though, that today's version of Drakkar isn't that bad and in some ways I like it better. The vintage bottle--despite what everyone claims--doesn't have better longevity and sillage than the current formula. Don't get me wrong, the older formula is different, seems mossier and more leathery and a touch richer, but it doesn't last as long as the current Drakkar. If you're looking for the vintage Drakkar, try Akthar Noir--it's pretty darn close to the vintage bottle I have. Overall, Drakkar Noir is a great fragrance, vintage or current formula.
02nd December, 2011
Just scored a bottle of the great, original Drakkar Noir. This was my first go to, gonna get noticed cologne way back when it was first introduced. I got away from it over the years but a few years ago, when I re-started my cologne collecting ways, I picked up a small bottle. I opened it, and upon sampling at first could not believe that I had so loved this scent. After another test, I realized that what I had purchased was the new, reformulated version that is, to me much thinner and far sweeter than the fragrance from twenty some years ago. The bottle I received today, however, was the full-on dark mossy, spicy beast I remembered. I tested them side by side today and I do have to say, no matter what anyone claims, this fragrance is not what it once was.
07th October, 2011 (last edited: 08th October, 2011)
Im in 8th grade and this is my second real cologne, it smells great! Everywhere I went I had girls asking me to sit near them and walk by because I smelled so good... it projects alright, and it lasts for around 8-10 hours on me.
19th September, 2011
I always scoffed at Drakkar Noir because, honestly... forgive me but I had a vendetta against colognes that are for sale at Wal-Mart. I had this superiority complex because I wore Creed. Let me tell you what though, Drakkar Noir (when sprayed on my neck) is absolutely one of the best smells I have experienced. It is warm and dark, it is comforting and soothing, it is amazing. Love it. It is now one of my top three favorites. I decided to not buy Duc de Vervins (one of my "to try" colognes) for Drakkar, and I don't regret that decision at all. Thanks Wal-Mart
11th July, 2011
This stuff used to be really potent back in the day, nothing close to the juice of today.
I'm pretty sure most of my ex-girlfriends smell of Drakkar this to this day, as does the back seat of my Toyota from that era.

Fragrance is still refreshing and masculine as it was back then.

Opinions may vary, mostly being that scent is tied so close to memory.

If this is what the jerk in a university jacket smelt like when he dunked your head in a toiled, or the whiff you got from your girlfriend some evenings and neither one of you wore Drakkar, you are probably going to hate it.

My memories were all good, as is this scent. Enjoy Gentlemen!
16th June, 2011