Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Total Reviews: 172
In my opinion, this is one of the smoother fragrances to come from the 80s.
The opening is great. It's simultaneously fresh and dark. But then it quickly turns into Lemon Pledge. Not good
It's complete Lemon Pledge for like 30 minutes, sometimes a little longer.

But then the Lemon Pledge-like smell begins to recede, and then it's more like lemon notes. The lemon seems to be there to balance out the heavier, rougher notes (leather?) that give it that fresh/heavy scent.
At this point it's very masculine and a little seductive.
As the dry down progresses it gets almost slightly smokey, like you've been out all night, while wearing a leather jacket, and smoking some cigarettes.

I can definitely see why this is both praised and criticized. At times it can come off as crude and maybe even cheap. Other times it's very bold and confident.
Not for everyone, especially considering that aquatics and sugary sweet fragrances are what's in fashion these days. The confident types who enjoy this scent though are the ones will make it work for them. If you like it but you're insecure or self-conscious, choose something else in for the time being.
The sillage on this doesn't seem to be that great, at least from what I've read about how other 80s powerhouses project, but the longevity seems to decent for me. Sometimes it's like 4-5 hours, other times I wake up in the morning and I can still smell it on me as a skin scent.
09th August, 2017 (last edited: 12th August, 2017)
JimmyP Show all reviews
United States
I just dug this up the other day from a small box in the closet where I would hide away some relegated scents like Carven Homme, Encre Noir and Dirty English. Such a classic it is indeed.

At this day and age the smell of Drakkar is somewhat ubiquitous as it seems to have been adopted in some shape or variation by so many mens care products out there. I am definitely reintroducing this back to the rotation. It is simple, clean and it makes me feel good.

While we are on the subject, the Encres and Carvins of the world are getting binned altogether.
26th July, 2017
I purchased this online and it was quite cheap as a package with the deodorant and I'm glad I did, the deodorant is quite nice.

With IFRA and reformulations I don't think this is fair to review what I smelled, but I will. What I smelled was a mosh of synthetics that combined to form a neutered masculine that is just a just a shell of the DN I know of. Was it ever a great fragrance worthy of it's notoriety? Not sure but today I don't really see why someone would purchase this....unless you get the deodorant with it.
02nd February, 2017
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Picked up a small bottle of the splash at wally world. Not impressed. Smells nice enough but even after applying very liberally its barely there after 3 hours. No longevity,. no sillage. I'm surprised after hearing how much a powerhouse its supposed to be. Its not for lack of heat either,. I work up a reasonable sweat at work and its just not there. To be fair I think my sniffer may be on the less sensitive side and I've had similar longevity disappointments with current aramis tuscany and devin formulations,. although not quite this bad. The search continues, but so far Insurrection II wild is winning.
02nd November, 2016
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)
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
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
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
Ralph Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Yes, it's a rather crude pine scent, isn't it? Nothing you'd want to smell of, really.
16th December, 2014
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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
Genre: Fougère

I realize I’m dating myself embarrassingly here, but I didn’t care for Drakkar Noir when it was new: it always smelled to me like the sleazy guy cruising the Jersey boardwalk after the bars had closed. It was crude, overbearing, and chemical even in 1982, and I don’t think time has improved it one iota. “Powerhouse” scents like Macassar, Kouros, Francesco Smalto pour Homme, and Krizia Uomo are models of refined understatement next to Drakkar Noir. Say the words “Cheap Cologne” within my earshot, and my inner nose will smell not Old Spice or Brut, but Drakkar Noir.

So what does it actually smell like? Roughly one part Pine-Sol, one part liquid ammonia, one part industrial strength lavender soap, and one part powdered nutmeg. In other words, a very bad fougère. Useful to me mostly as a reference scent for “bad fougère,” or a masochistic exercise in ‘80s nostalgia.
12th June, 2014
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
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
The original formulation was my favorite fragrance. What a powerhouse. A spritz or two and both men and women found me irresistible.If you loved the original, pass on this, it's a total letdown. Right out of the bottle it's strong and it reminds me of the original, but it quickly dries down to nothing, and within two hours it's completely gone.

Al Rehab has a knockoff oil called Dakar. I'm told its a good recreation of the original Drakkar Noir with excellent staying power and projection. And it's only $4 for a 6ml roll on. I'll post a review of it soon as it arrives.
17th December, 2013
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
It's had it's day.

I'm not going to get into the finer details on this one, I'm just going to lay it out short and bitter: Drakkar Noir smells like an older man.

It may have been worn by young people years ago, but it doesn't work with today's tastes.

26th August, 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
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
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
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