Or Black in its original formulation was a composition I had a major problem singling out individual notes with, and its 2014 iteration proves equally problematic in that respect. Instead of the typical note breakdown all I can offer are some general accords that present themselves throughout...
Or Black (2014) opens with a slightly citric bergamot, laced with an underlying peppery, near-boozy bent. As the composition makes its way to its early heart, musk-infused dusty resinous amber mixes with the remnants of the gentle pepper giving off a suede leather vibe. During the late dry-down the primary dusty leathery heart accord slowly recedes, revealing a mild natural smelling herbal woody base. Projection is below average and longevity is on the low side of average at about 7-8 hours on skin.
While note breakdowns may help some get a better feel for what the composition smells like in the case of Or Black (2014) it is all too easy to forget about the individual notes and just enjoy the symphonic overall effect. The primary heart accord is best described as a dusty suede with an almost play-dough-like undertone. While that may not sound appealing it actually is, big time. The herbal woody dry-down finishes off the fougere structure and is tremendous. I wish I could do a better job of explaining what the composition has to offer, but all I can say is it smells superb and is quite similar to the Or Black of old. This 2014 release is no cop out reformulation; it is the real deal with some minor modifications that don't detract from one's enjoyment one iota. The bottom line is the 69 Euro per 100ml bottle Or Black (2014) is a strikingly successful composition that will impress fans of the original while drawing in new converts to the fold at an extremely reasonable price point, earning an "outstanding" rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and a super-strong recommendation.
Or Black (vintage version) has a breathtaking opening of ultra-black patchouli, leather, amber, something indolic on the very base, carnation, herbal and mossy notes, tobacco, dark woods enhancing the leather accord, and a light, silky floral side which gorgeously manages to smell velvety in a "total black" way. Utterly refined darkness, modern and sophisticated, halfway the darkest Slumberhouse scents and Private Label, Norma Kamali Incense, House of Matriarch Blackbird, Puredistance M (ten times more powerful and interesting than the latter, obviously). Basically a more sophisticated, deep, intriguing, dusty version of all those scents. The very opening also reminded me of some works by O'Driù, also for a more broad sort of "industrial" mood, a general breeze comprising smoky, dark, pungent notes, also slightly medicinal. On the contrary it's really incomparable to other scents of its era – Or Black may be called a "fougère" but it escapes almost all the conventions of the genre, starting from the leather accord, which smells totally unique – softer, more elegant, sharper, more silky and more "realistic" of actual polished leather. The only vintage scents which may compare to this that come my mind may be Kouros, Krizia Moods, Krizia Uomo, Moschino pour Homme, but the similarity is really not that close. Urban elegance at its best (that is why I thought of Krizia). The only reason most of "dark leathers" of today survive on the shelves is precisely the fact that these gems are discontinued... Incredible!
My first thought after dabbing on Or Black? “Wow!” My next? “Oh, crap – now I’m going to have to track this stuff down and spend a fortune on a bottle of it.”
Or Black leaves the bottle smelling like pure rubbing alcohol, but it’s mere seconds before one of the most complex accords I can remember assembles itself like one of those Transformer toys my eight year-old nephew is so fond of. Good grief, what’s in there? Smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, dry leather, moss, a campfire, vetiver, tobacco, animalic musks, a touch of rose and frankincense? Is that even a tiny trace of oudh I smell in there? I give up. I don’t want to think about it as much as just to smell it.
Or Black sweetens ever so slightly as it ages, but the pipe tobacco, leather, and campfire notes assign it the same dry, sophisticated mood as Guerlain’s Derby or Shiseido’s Basala. Luca Turin calls Or Black a fougère, but I’d be more inclined to group it with the leather chypres, since I don’t get all that much of the classic fougère’s coumarin or lavender out of it’s composition. The smoky moss and leather drydown is a real treat, enhanced by the round, yet pungent animalic musk that blends it seamlessly with the skin. I caution against sampling Or Black, lest you too be driven to acquire this elusive masterpiece.
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While you deal with Pascal Morabito Or Black as a quality perfumes addict it can happen that the easiest thing to be involved in is the sliding in to pyrotechnical swirls of the rhetorical emphasis since this gorgeous parisian leather-chypre is still probably the finest leather founded concoction ever created. Tall, dark, commanding and saturnine this fragrance astonishes us due its ability to go beyond its obscure aura in order to stand at once out as a surprisingly daring, active, dynamic and contemporary type of olfactory character. Two souls in an unique chameleon fragrance, Jazz Club e La Sorbonne, Opera and urban Funky Beat. Tradition and modernity (especially in the new excellent reformulated 2014 version) miraculously merge in order to issue a new millennium olfactory refinement of unparalleled craftsmanship. Don't be fooled by the "complicated" opening guys since Or Black turns finally out in the most subtle and fine sort of "triple-distilled highlands scotch" you can dare to wear on a leathery coach (enjoying a smooth jazz melody) and beyond. This leather is velvety and suave, ideally arousing the atmosphere of cozy leathery ambiences full of flavoured smoke, fine leather wrapped fornitures, extra old liqueurs and seasoned woods. The beginning of this self confident aroma is utterly compelling since your nose is invested by a cloud of pepper, decadent bergamot, ghostly honey and aromatic herbs, by soon followed by an heady almost gasolinic rubbery fist rolling powerful and spicy along the top and a part of the central stage. The green aromatic, rubbery and hesperidic elements, almost boisterous for a while at the beginning, end to be wonderfully absorbed by a general musky/leathery final subtleness in a renewed olfactory entity rich of suave nuances of fine leather, furs, boots polish, resins, balsams, smooth rubber and seasoned woods. The green and initially angular elements leaves the way to a finally soft breezy cool wave over the smoothest type of leather while the initial complicacy, the welcoming strong rubbery leather, leaves gradually the stage to an ambery/benzoinic (almost balmy) bed of suede, old malt and musk. Friends please be patient, wait the end, be worthy about the real comfort and the magic will appear. For hours and hours you will feel yourself encompassed by a general sense of velvety coziness, organic warmth, silky old leather, rosey/musky breeze and unmentionable licentious "backstages". A fragrance for the warriors of voluptuary indolence, for prophets of the sin. Or Black, in its holy olfactory balance and the classiest landmark refinement, does not cage anyway its substance in the stuck mists of the conservative formalism managing on the contrary to exude an indescribable sense of sin, lived life, cultured debauchery, a sense of "The Great Beauty" you are looking for lost motion and bourgeois decadent indolence. In all of it abides its extraordinary modernity. Probably the best around.
P.S: The new 2014 version is excellent, it is not properly a new fragrance as we read on Fragrantica (in my humble opinion) but a revisiting still faithful to the original formula, probably slightly muskier, brighter, more soapy/ambery and approachable in the first stages, still holy perfection in the dry down (a concert of misty velvet, malt, moss and suede).
31st March, 2014 (last edited: 10th March, 2015)
The heart is a little soapy, dry, like a grey cashmere blanket just above your skin, it has noticeable yet gentle aura, to me it has the effect of a sandalwood note, its there but not screaming,
And prototype of classic masculine scent that appeals to every man today. It is rounded, has no sharpness, yet is bitter, its transparent as well, dark grey colour but no thickness. Only for men!
Smells like fougere leather to me, much less smokiness then knize ten, and much more transparency, no animalic s
Leather I get from beginning to end, with a green touch and in the drydown a nice amber and gentle musk. I live the great quality of the ingredients and the wonderful blending. On my skin -and I realise that I might be the exception to the rule - this is a light leather scent, and even after multiple application it is less heavy and less dark than other leathers and always remains close to my skin. Longevity about three hours.
I like this a lot, it's dark of course, and goes through some phases. At first I smell anise and powder with leathery notes and then the leather comes out more strongly, with also something rubbery like others mentioned. Then that fades too and it becomes more of a sultry, quiet scent, kind of incense-y. Overall it's very serious and kind of brooding, no sweetness at all, and a little on the quiet side. Is it really a chypre? Smells more of a fougere, if you ask me. But I have been known to confuse that issue.
It's like a distant relative of Drakkar Noir, quieter and more serious, less flashy, more handsome.
Possibly one of the darkest compositions I've ever experienced. A dense chyprey leather which is almost impossible to describe due to its multi-faceted nature. Smoky, leathery, mossy, incensey (resinous), herbal, old fashioned, modern, bitter, aromatic..OMG there's really a lot going on here.
I do apologize if I can't go through notes explaination but Or Black makes me feel positively "uneasy" and prefer to simply recommend it as the perfect example of a "fragrance for people who actually like fragrances" as diametrically opposed to the Turin's concept of "a fragrance for people who don't like fragrances".
On of the most assertive compositions ever. A masterpiece and a staple in my personal wardrobe.
14th October, 2011 (last edited: 04th March, 2012)
I've always avoided writing a review of Or Black. I feel that to write a review one should try to maintain some objectivity. And its been a defualt setting in my wardrobe for so long that I can't even pretend to be objective.
Don't know what to wear... Or Black.
Formal without being stuffy.... Or Black.
Alone on a chill winters night and wanting to feel held.... Or Black
Comfort scent.... Or Black.
And its a chameleon. Sometimes I get some notes... sometimes others. Different moods and different weathers bring out multiple facets to me.
Autumn and winter I normally get the leather. Specifically its the smell of new suede. Spring and summer I get the worlds driest rose - imagine a solitary red rose valiantly growing against the backdrop of a Sergio Leone western.
And always that smooth musk and tonka and laubdanum in the far drydown. 24 hours later I still smell it when the hot water of a shower opens my pores. And fall in love with it once again.
Perfume as an art form is about emotion, not objectivity.
Perhaps it wouldnt hang in the Louvre. But this is what would hang above my bed.
Or Black seems to have slipped off the cogs of the fragrance industry machine, and secreted itself in the darker recesses of its housing. Early accords are close enough to Knize Ten that you can clearly see Morabito doffing his cap to the old Austrian prince. Whereas Knize is allowed to become ever more expansive and indulgent, Morabito retains control with closely calibrated accords, always retaining the initial spirit and style. Even the more distant connection to Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme is afforded a cursory upward nod. That said, Or Black does plough its own furrow, seemingly intent on exemplifying a state of solitude.
Softer ingredients are introduced in the base, perhaps to alleviate any perceived fragrant austerity. I sometimes wish the perfumer had been allowed to descend further into the twisted caves of his imagination and allowed Or Black to become darker still. Melancholy, dry and decidedly bleak, Morabito have produced something for nihilists, poets and geography teachers.
This must have been what Studio 54 smelled like. Leather, musk -- and hairspray. Leather-and-musk scents are a dime-a-dozen. But that oddly synthetic chemical note, which I can only describe as hairspray, is original, adding a certain sparkle and making Or Black a great scent for an urban-chic stud enjoying himself out on the town. Not for day wear.
I approached this as a blank slate -- ie I had forgotten what it was supposed to be like, and I felt it to be a fantastic incense. (It smells similar to the Japanese style of incense/dry and well blended). There is no soft sweetness here, nor sharp citrus or herb notes. It is just a tightly-woven quality masculine. Ok...!... LEATHER..not frankincense...very well done.
smells like black leather thrown in to the black hole with handful of white florals thrown in. one cant help feel the suspended nature of the accords. whats more, it has a lovely drydown. A timeless chypre.
12th October, 2009 (last edited: 13th October, 2009)
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"The northern face of leather chypre". It’s dark, green, and bitter, extremely dry and astringent, with barely an atom of sweetness. It’s bleak, Plutonian and monomaniacally focused. The smoke is persistent but soft. It smolders the scent of liquid grey suede, but it’s a little too clean for a leather chypre, with a dusty, peppered sage and well-integrated vetiver working throughout the development. The vetiver smells Haitian, and it’s responsible for some of the smoke, because it’s not the robust smoke you get from Knize Ten and a few others. Either way, the birch tar (the leather smells like it’s from birch tar rather than isoquinolines) is putting out its share. There’s little sign of anything overtly animalic but I’m sure there’s a few drops of castoreum in there to smooth things out. Luca Turin compared elements of Or Black to Rive Gauche pour Homme, “…like triple-distilled Earl Grey, a step beyond even Rive Gauche pour Homme in its saturine glory” and I can understand it. It’s grey and aloof like any good fougere should be, and it more effervescent than the average chypre. Another reason sampling is so deceptive. Because when you actually wear it, it can be a lot more aromatic (an energetic, fougere-like aromatic) than you may have been led to believe; and along with its dry, bitter, astringent nature, you’ll probably even taste it for a while.
But classifying it doesn’t really matter. Mainly it just works its way down the road in a killer ride, smoother as it goes, a little rough at times, but mainly just delta waves and the occasional theta, until the suede’s so soft I could make love to it, or make pillows out of it so I can hold onto ‘em as I sleep on my furry bed. The evolution moves pretty fast, and even though the drydown isn’t all that interesting, it’s as clear and smooth as my girlfriend’s freshly powdered bottom. The balsamic labdanum softens everything, as a dusty oakmoss and a high quality and somewhat sensual musk hang around with woody vetiver and a drop of benzoin and amber. The stuff is seriously well blended. It’s also a decent example of the chypric balance and abstraction of bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum. Or Black has bite, and it’s a great fragrance for getting out and taking care of business. It would also smell great on women. It might even work better on them. Women can wear any masculine fragrance, and they often smell more alluring than many of the feminines. Nothing's more sexy on a woman than a leather chypre. It also smells amazing on clothes as it deepens, softens, and maintains the scent of rich suede. That's true of most leathers. They smell great on clothes.
Or Black is an excellent fragrance.
10th October, 2009 (last edited: 23rd September, 2011)
A fantastic dark leather scent. At first I smell real darkness like birch tar leather with a soft side and the similarity to Kolnisch Juchten is remarkable. Both have a nice sweet amber base to their dark tar leather notes. As it dries down it becomes smoothe and quite subtle. As the base opens a slight vetiver undernote gives the dark soft leather an earthy deep forest floor feel. Quite by accident, I happened to layer PM OR with a spritz of Outrageous and the most amazing deep leather scent with an irridescent wintergreen polish resulted - a wintergreen leather. Amazing! I will wear this Moribito OR / Outrageous combo more often. A happy accident. But, Pascal Moribito OR all by itself is magnificent.
10th February, 2009 (last edited: 18th June, 2009)
Excellent, well made scent which starts of smelling very much like a classic leathery chypre, but it soon dries down for a lovely, insency fougere. Very dark scent with rich aromatic presence. Benzoin and tonkian musk adds a nice sweet touch to it. Very masculine old school but not dated by any means.
If you find this intriguing, but find it too expensive or hard to find, then you probably should want to try Tabac Man. It shares alot similarities with this one, even the bottle of that one is colored in black and red.
I have never ben a fan of leather chypre's... I think of them as 70's macho and not particularly wearable. That has changed. This is perhaps the most wearable scents in my collection. It is eminently sophisticated and stays close to the skin. The leather note is dark and cut well by the pepper. The herbs are warm and deep but it is not too hot or dark to wear in warmer weather.
One of the better leather chypres out there. A calm and balanced scent that's not fussy, too macho or overly sweet, with just the right doses of spice, warmth and a hard edge. The leather in Or Black has a slightly chemical feel to it which sometimes brings to mind Cuir Ottoman or Santa Maria Novella's Nostalgia, but that doesn't spoil it a bit.
I love leather base scents and Morabito Or Black is wonderful; as it should be. Jean louis Sieuzac created it, the artist who also gave us Be Ami, Opium. The pepper is biting in a nice way and the leather is a dark leather that last quite well.At the end there's a lovely lingering floral note.
I love this scent.
This scent is a very rich leather chypre so modern 70's style.
A blend of bergamot, Pepper, Leather, Sage, Benjoin, Cistus, Vetiver, Amber, Tonkinian musc, Oak moss.
Think of the scent like Antaeus meets DK Fuel for men, very rich yet very unusual. It has the powdery leather/oak moss notes of Antaeus, yet it is softened and almost suede like with Tonkinian Musk.