Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Eau Noire Cologne by Christian Dior

Total Reviews: 71
A desperate shame for this to be discontinued. A blast of lavender and herbs (clary sage), the burnt sugar of immortelle, and dark woods. Please Dior, reconsider this and bring it back. Pretty please. EDIT 30 June: Have just today acquired a 250ml bottle of this at usual retail price - it will be a very treasured possession.
30th June, 2017
Being number 8 in a series of 16 reviews on critically acclaimed and noteworthy scents.

Lavender, liquorice and coffee - Yohji Homme anyone? In fact, following the Basenotes member who starts off with his "bottom line up front" or similar - a good idea that - we might say something like "Yohji Homme as put together by the people who brought you Eucris". But any comparison or analogy I can think of still stops short of characterising this wonderful scent.

What I like about EN is that it amplifies the parts of Yohji that I like and puts them front and centre. The result is a wonderfully three-dimensional, characterful scent that is always present but never in an overpowering or unwelcome way. It does not become cloying but retains the element of stark and natural greenness that we associate with a cologne.

It starts for me not with lavender but with anise or liquorice - big amounts of it, like the side-effect of being in a room at Willy Wonka's factory. In due course the lavender / coffee join in. The drydown brings in vanilla, and the burnt sugar effect of the immortelle. It's sweet, but not too much so; gourmand, without being "foody"; green, without being introspective. Cedar joins the party at the very end.

Oh, it's so clever. EN fits together like a jigsaw. It's simply impossible to be completely sure which of the parts is providing the scent at any given stage of development. So many of the accords are characteristic of so many of the ingredients (I should add, there are many good reviews on-line that do a good job of providing a full list of components). Longevity is fantastic and sillage very good.

And just when I am feeling about for my wallet - it goes and gets itself discontinued. Better start making a few calls to Selfridges in the hope that there are some leftovers out the back.

Right up my street. Terrific stuff. If you get the chance - give it a go.
24th September, 2016
Fantastic gourmand. I think it smells like gram crackers with some herbs. Price is the only thing keeping me from owning a bottle.
28th June, 2016
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

The first time I met Eau Noire (2004) I immediately and almost only smelt the Licorice and thought it was strange in an Eau de Cologne... it left me an impression of something very dark.

Actually when I use it on me - I bought it a few months ago - I smell the Lavender a lot +++. I don't really like Lavender, because you often smell bad quality of it, or synthetic - this latter even is a trigger for asthma attack to me!! - and it reminds me of an old man who just left the barber, or an old woman folding laundry.
In Eau Noire, the Lavender is really strong - like in an old man's Eau de Cologne - but excellent, like the one you can smell in Provence when the sun is burning your nose. It is combined with Sage, Thyme and also Curry herb. So the opening is like a French dish... so it IS very French (Iread the opposite somewhere).

Then you can smell the Vanilla and the Licorice - I don't smell very much the Cedar - and that's what stays on your skin for a few hours. It is not too sweet.
The overall scent is very masculine, quite classical and elegant. It can also remind you of pencil shavings!

The projection and the sillage are not that loud - less that what you could expect after the opening - and the scent remains on your skin for a few hours.

Despite all the components, Eau Noire is really comfortable to wear and is a good friend.
18th June, 2016 (last edited: 26th June, 2016)
One of the more lauded (and now discontinued) fragrances in the Christian Dior Privee line, Eau Noire is a dark, spicy entry that reminds me mainly of spiced gingerbread cookies. It strikes me as a distinctly cold weather scent, as I imagine this could be off-putting in the summer.

The licorice factors in strongly for me, which is why although unique, Eau Noire is a little off-putting. Despite the licorice, a pleasant combination of sage, cedar, and coffee compromise the rest of the experience for me. All in, a very nice winter fragrance that reminds me of the holidays. Also, the juice is strong, with robust projection and good longevity for a higher-end EDP.

Unlike Mitzah, I highly doubt it is worth the discontinued costs, but I'd be curious to sample it some more.

7 out of 10
05th April, 2016
In my review for Goutal's Sables (1985), I made note of the fenugreek scent of immortelle, which is copied here, as a unique addition to the world of gourmand scents. I gave it a thumbs up, despite not wanting to smell like I had just emerged from creating a curry in my kitchen.

In Dior's Eau Noire created 19 years later, we get the same immortelle center, this time layered with lavender, vanilla and cedar. This time it is sweeter than Sables' use, with a decided maple syrup and celery seed combo. Now one can smell like either a curry or French toast. The choice is ours.

I love both gourmand scents, but I still don't care to smell like them. A neutral rating due to lack of originality. It's decent if you love Indian spices. Of the two I prefer the original Sables.

09th December, 2015
Gourmand (first thought that came to mind was New Haarlem), coffee and a nice lavender note mixed with some vanilla and cedar. Get a nice hit of licorice in there also. More suited for cooler weather. Own a nice sized decant which should hold me down for quite a while. 7.5/10
13th March, 2015 (last edited: 24th December, 2015)
A very interesting scent, and also a very, very sweet scent. The immortelle-anis combo has potential, but the sweet facets of the immortelle combine with the vanilla for a Maple Syrup Pancake Breakfast impression.

Points for uniqueness, but I can't wear it.
15th September, 2014
Interesting take on Lavender...

The name Eau Noire relates to the Château de La Colle Noire, located in Provence in southern France, where Christian Dior spent his holidays in retirement. To put that in context, it makes use of a lot of Provençal (i.e. Mediterranean notes), namely Sage, Thyme, Lavender, Immortelle and Liqorice. Also, I read that the head of design at Dior, Hedi Slimane, wanted something that he would wear based on his lifelong signature scent, which was Pour un Homme de Caron, with it's Lavender-Vanilla combination; and what better man to do it than Francis Kurkdjian, the man who created the world famous Lavender and Vanilla bomb, "Le Male"?

Right out of the bottle I get a really aromatic thyme note (listed by Dior as 'white Spanish thyme'). Thyme as a herb can be sharp and is unmistakable, I also detect sage, which adds to the herbal build-up. The thyme, sage and lavender all play on the dry herbal aspects of one another to give Eau Noire a definite herbal quality. I would describe this fragrance as a "herbal gourmand" or "aromatic gourmand", purely because of the aromatic coffee-vanilla and herbal lavender pairing. I happen to love the smell of lavender, and the lavender here smells very much like the almost-dry lavender picked off the bush in hot summer. The herbs are then paired with a deep-roasted coffee bean note, with the leather and liquorice simmering underneath.

With regards to the infamous "curry note". I wonder if the mention of Immortelle or 'everlasting flower' is not just a trick of the mind? As it could also be the liquorice/thyme combination or the burnt vanilla-coffee mixing with the herbs and leather? On the Dior website Immortelle isn't listed in the notes. However, if the flower IS in the fragrance (and many people swear it is), it most certainly forms its backbone, the very thread which holds it together, and in this sense it completes a very Mediterranean vibe when paired with the herbal qualities of the sage, thyme and lavender.

Overall, Eau Noire may be a love or hate fragrance. It is undeniably well made and well composed, of that there is no doubt. It smells extremely natural, very much like sitting on a Mediterranean hillside in the South of France in hot summer whilst sipping an authentic espresso. It's gourmand, it's definitely interesting, and whilst it's not for everyone, and it's certainly not bad. I for one find it really unique, and not something that I come across very often in fragrances.
14th August, 2014
This is a fascinating fragrance, and one of great balance and refinement. It opens up on an almost shockingly bitter, aromatic note, like the burning smell you get when you spill coffee or sugar on a boiling hot stove. Actually, the more I wear this, the more I’ve realized that this ‘burned coffee’ note is actually lavender, which makes sense both coffee and lavender smell piercingly resinous, woody, and ‘roasted’ as if exposed to high heat for too long. It’s pretty genius of Francis Kurkdijan to pair two highly aromatic notes like this – they play off each other so that your nose smells sun-roasted lavender one moment and burned coffee grounds the next.

It is almost too “black” a smell at first. There is a coffee roasting business near my building, and in the early hours of the morning, the owner turns on the roasting machine and starts processing the coffee beans. The smell fills the entire neighborhood. But like with all good, aromatic smells, like herbs or coffee, when you take it too far, like way past burning point, the effect is almost exactly half way between nauseating and attractive. Eau Noire has that effect going on for the first half hour. I am torn between repulsion and attraction, but either way, I can’t stop smelling my wrist.

The dry down is sublime, though, no two ways about it. I can only describe it as an arid, burning cedar smell, giving the impression of dry and hot all at once, like when someone throws water on the stones in a Swedish sauna. It is so parched in effect that it feels like the air is being sucked out of the room. The dry, papery vanilla is a delight too – the more I wear it, the more it smells like fresh newspaper pages to me.

So here we have all the elements needed for total relaxation – a good cup of steaming black coffee, a touch of immortelle to provide that interesting salt-sweet twang of Scandinavian licorice, the smell of a sauna heating up, and a good fresh newspaper waiting for you to read. What more could a person want?
13th June, 2014 (last edited: 30th May, 2015)
Genre: Woody Oriental

Don’t be fooled by the name – it’s far more “noire” than eau de Cologne, and if you had any doubts, the huge immortelle and lavender top notes will settle them in a trice. While very much a full-blown, immortelle-based gourmand scent, Eau Noire is nowhere near as sweet as, say, A*Men or Le Mâle, and its natural-smelling woody component gives it more depth and balance than either of those overexposed standbys.

Cedar, sandalwood, and deep spices subdue the dominant sweet lavender/immortelle accord as the scent develops - much to its benefit, as far as I'm concerned. The spices slowly coalesce around a note that might be anise, fennel, or licorice, bringing the heart of the fragrance back around to gourmand territory in the process. Black licorice and woods is pretty much where Eau Noire stays as it dries down. The end result is elegant and sophisticated, despite all the initial sweetness, and I can imagine it being worn comfortably by either gender.
13th June, 2014
Unique, masculine, complex, fresh and warm at the same time, but not my cup of tea.

Opens with a very soapy fern and lavender note with spices such as thyme and sage. Thyme should be a sweet note (check MFK's own line of Pour le Matin) but this one has a heavy hand which makes it earthy. If anyone ever put too much dried thyme in their stews, you'll know what I am talking about... Sage gives it a anisey tinge to the smell.
The licorice note is VERY prominent and along with the sage makes this fragrance even more sour and anisey. Herb de Provence with winter spices like star anise, fennel, sage!

I don't like this combo because it reminds me of cough medicine and/or disinfectant, or chlorine in the swimming pool; no such note here, but does give me this feeling.

The coffee note peeks through around the 30 minute mark and this smells like dark coffee beans with no dairy; unlike the typical gourmands. Unfortunately the sour notes at the top makes this coffee smelt burnt, rather than enveloping. If only the top was less sour and herbal...

Immortelle is here also,and gives a hint of body to the scent and towards the 1 hour mark this and the coffee and some woods creates an enveloping scent which is actually quite good. I get a hint of coriander or tumeric here too; perhaps the infamous curry note? Its not as pronounced as what most make it out to be though and I think it complements the coffee note just fine..

This is one of the best coffee notes I have ever smelt so far, but the sour top really spoils it for me...

I understand that the spices are here for the "Noire" in this fragrance, but I would have preferred more woods and coffee and immortelle, and tone down on the anisey, licorice notes.

Perhaps a lavender, clove and bergamot opening, with similar mid and basenotes?

Could be an all year fragrance.. Probably best for fall I would say
Thumbs down for me, but thumbs up for complexity. So net-net, a neutral.
16th April, 2014
Elegant, gourmand and aromatic circus of spices. On paper I smell a blast of cumin and saffron right from the very first seconds, while on skin it tends to start (and remain) a bit more soft, somber and more dry. Quite peculiar and unique among the "heavy spicy" family. Powerful projection and everlasting persistency.

24th January, 2014 (last edited: 12th April, 2014)
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Addictively smooth spicy lavender

One of my long-time personal favorites, Eau Noire is a superior spicy/powdery lavender oriental. It is also extremely complex and multifaceted, far from discreet and very distinctive.

It features a raw and pungent, quite herbal, opening that soon gives way to a wonderfully smooth mid phase. Here, lurking under a heap of exotic spices – most notably licorice/immortelle, vanilla and a hint of coffee – the lavender note remains far from obvious. In fact, it’s quite hard to detect it the first many times you wear Eau Noire as rather than taking center stage, the lavender blends effortlessly with the herbal opening and the warm spicy accompaniment.

The drydown is again balanced, smooth and very powdery. Although I often have a problem with powdery fragrances, this one is totally different: I thoroughly enjoy Eau Noire every time I wear it. Everything is executed in a supremely elegant and balanced way – which is not to say that this is in any way a subtle or intimate fragrance. On the contrary, it might take a while to get used to and truly appreciate (some clearly never will), and you are likely to get noticed wearing this.

Eau Noire is a luxuriously deep and delicious scent, warm, comforting, and incredibly enjoyable. A full 5 stars!

Note: This review is based on the original 2004 version in the Hedi Slimane cologne trio.

20th September, 2013
What the hell just happened to my nose!?

It's like someone fired a curried crème brûlée at my face for standing too close to their cedar/lavender bonfire: I admire his boldness but I'm still not too sure how happy I am about receiving such a bizarre and pungent faceful.

I'm trying so hard to like it...
17th December, 2012
It smells like black treacle, mixed with with cheap dark rum, and flea powder.
In essence, it's awful.
24th February, 2012
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
It's all a question of degree, I suppose. I don't like Immortelle unless used sparingly, not a great fan of full-on lavender (except crushed in hand) and I can take or leave anice and deep vanilla. I have also never liked New Haarlem enough to purchase. Taking all this into account and the truly skanky, nose twisting opening notes in this fragrance, it's gonna be a thumbs down for sure. I gave it some time though and it blossomed into a fantastic amalgam of curry powder, lavender, licorice and vanilla, which works like a dream.

Stop Press -- Try and test the new Hermes exclusive addition for men -- Santal Massoia (I think) -- it's the best sandalwood scent I've experienced in ages.Ridiculously priced though.

Jo Malone is back with 4 new fragrances, best of which imo is Polemo -- a contender to Guerlain's Pamplelune. Simply stunning accord of grapefruit and lime, which lasts for ages due to a huge sparlkling dose of aldehydes.

28th December, 2011
A new favourite. Popped in to try Dior's Granville and fell head over heels for Eau Noire instead. After the initial burst of lavender which quickly dies down, it turns into a rich, wonderful scent that puts me in mind of Liquorice Humbugs and Single Malt whisky (of the luscious caramelly kind, not the peaty ones). To my nose the scent feels warm and comforting - the perfect winter's perfume. Yet reactions around me were unexpected - my husband declared it 'too dark' for his liking and my teenage daughter's independent verdict was 'gothic' . Now, gothic for me would be Etro's Messe de Minuit or Shaal Nur, not something as sweet and soft as this, which mellows beautifully as you wear it (with excellent lasting power). So I guess this is really one you need to try out before taking the plunge, but I for one am hooked on it!
16th December, 2011
Being myself an Immortelle freak I expected to dig Eau Noir but, unfortunately, that didn't happen. Where Sables pushes to the very limit the boldness of Helichrysum by introducing a massive dose of amber, Eau Noir focuses on its gourmandic/syrupy aspect adding a liqorice effect and a strong vanilla base that bring this composition towards a cloying territory that's very far from my taste. The remarkable lavender note experienced during the opening it's too volatile to properly balance the fragrance sweet heaviness while the general syrupy vibe leans somewhere between the coca-cola effect and sweetened stale coffee.

When I'm looking for a Helichrysum based composition I go for Sables, 1740 and Fareb. A semi-disappointment.
11th November, 2011
it smells like chartreuse (green)!
i mean that in a good way. it's dark & broodingly sensual, and could be pretty damn sexy (just make sure yer other half digs it - mine doesn't :(
immortelle fans (sables, chypre noir, etc) will like this a lot.
quite an astounding amber-vanilla drydown; the quality is top-drawer.
could only come from un nez francaise....
28th October, 2011
When I first smelled a sample of this, it was like nothing I had sniffed before. It didn't even smell like a fragrance to me - I got this overpowering licorice-y fenugreek blast. At the time it seemed like something I should sniff to broaden my palate, but I didn't think of it as wearable at all. Now I love it. When I bought a bottle, it was my biggest purchase to date.

Helichrysum (that fenugreek-ey note) dominates the composition throughout its development. I find it like sweetened licorice or anise, maybe. I can see the curry analogy at times, but that's not the first impression I get. At first, it comes on very strong. It's unapologetically in-your-face, with the helichrysum brightened and amplified by something else - the lavender, maybe? I'm not sure, as I've never smelled helichrysum on its own, but it's sharper and projects more at the start than it does at dry-down.

As it dries, starting after about 1-2 hours, it softens and sweetens. I think this is the effect of the vanilla, but not sure. I'm not great at picking out notes, and I think the composition in general focuses so much on the helichrysum that it's hard to pick anything else out. It lays much closer to the skin after a few hours.

It's a fairly linear composition that develops as variations on the main note, modified by the other components. It starts bright bold and loud, and ends sweet and soft, but still with a sharp edge.

On me, it lasts about 5-6 hours. It's too much a one-note composition to be a masterpiece, but it's beautifully crafted throughout.

I strongly advise against buying blind, though. It's strange enough I can easily see how many could hate this.

Rating: 9/10
23rd October, 2011
Syrupy, sweet, spicy, smoky,with a bit of wood in the backgound and very very intense. I get why some people love this fragrance but I don't want to smell like this for more than 5 minutes. Impressive but definitely not for me.
21st May, 2011
The sweetly aromatic Eau Noire smells like Caron's Pour un Homme with a massive helping of immortelle placed between the lavender and vanilla. The immortelle boasts of maple syrup, curry powder, and an inescapable (eponymous?) liquorice dimension, and Eau Noire continues in this steady way for many hours. It's not something I'd wear as I don't enjoy the burnt sugar weirdness of immortelle, but I can appreciate the artistry here nonetheless.
11th April, 2011
The opening of dry sage and cedar, garden fresh lavender, syrupy immortelle and vanilla brought me back to a time I couldn't before remember. The ingredients are so top-notch I was nearly floored with the clarity of the notes presented. Eau Noire performs well and smells naturally and indescribably fantastic, and it is certainly among the most wonderful things I've sampled this year. One sniff into the sample and the words, "I want a bottle" were already forming on my mouth. This is a rare occurrence to say the least.
02nd February, 2011
Whoa! Is that some bodily odor that I'm smelling here?

Relax. While I agree with descriptions comparing it to burnt maple syrup or leftover curry I must point out that these negative reactions are likely to occur within the first 30 minutes after heavy applications or with the nose close to the skin. I say give it time, some breathing space and you might be surprised to see how this transforms into something that's comfortingly familiar yet at the same time disconcertingly different. On my skin after 2 hours, it turns into a lightly spiced lavender-vanilla accord reminiscent of Caron pour un Homme, albeit with a sheer veil of immortelle's maple syrupy presence.

I honestly did a 180 on this one. Depending on your experience and sensitivities, EAU NOIRE could either be a simple immortelle-inspired scent or a nuanced, intriguing piece from Kurkdjian. I'm inclined to think of the latter. It may be challenging to wear but for immortelle afficionados, it is a 'must-try'.
20th December, 2010
Pungent curry. Yikes.
And I'm writing this bit because basenotes requires me to say more.
12th August, 2010
I have many plants of helichrysum (or immortelle) in my garden and I really love its smell. The “guru” Luca Turin decribes its scent «odd, fenugreek-like... halfway between curry and burnt sugar». I always read great things obout Eau Noire and I know that maybe it’s one of the best fragrances based on this note. I also know that EN is beloved by many perfume fanatics. Unfortunately, after several tests, I have to admit that I can’t like it. In fact, I finally realized that it’s too strong, too intense, rather overwelming on my skin. (I had the same experience with other helichrysum-based perfumes, e.g. Annick Goutal Sables, Guerlain Cologne du 68, Histoires de Parfums 1740-Marquis de sade). I still love the natural, summer, mediterranean smell of Immortelle, but I am more and more convinced that is a scent very difficult to wear.
03rd July, 2010
Is that mulch in my taffy? Delicious!
29th April, 2010
orrisboy Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Parisian Winter in a bottle, gloomy, dark and brooding, a little stand-offish, but irresistibly elegant and unforgettable. Bought quite a few bottles of EN, the thick viscous sensation of cedar, vanilla and the oh so moreish licorice/immortelle note just suits me. I like it's 'blackness', its scented despair. There is a void to it, a bitter echo that wraps around the wearer. Melancholy is rare today in scent, but the Hedi Slimane inspired Eau Noire is an exercise in Proustian melancholia. We all have days when we crave our own company, the comfort of self-indulgent sadness, to be lost in memories, to touch away a tear in a stricken eye. Eau Noire is the glowering sky above us, the fevered brow, the closing door. Wear with an ache in your heart.
13th April, 2010

Eew ... that is this?! It's like liquid curry!

I so wanted to love these three colognes,
but the two I have tryed out, has both been
huge disappointments. Maybe they're just
too refined for me? I don't know!
The last one I need to try out is Bois d'Argent.

Forgive me Lord for being so disloyal towards
the House of Dior, but I just can't stand this!

08th April, 2010