Reviews of Eau Noire Cologne by Christian Dior

    Find out more about Eau Noire Cologne by Christian Dior in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    tempest moon's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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.

    14 August, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    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. It is almost too roasted, too intense, too "black" a smell. 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. I think it is wonderful. Very inventive and interesting. Immortelle is not an easy note to deal with, because it tends to ride roughshod over all other notes, but here, beyond a certain dry, smokey, burned-sugar sweetness that occupies a place in the lower register, it plays nicely with the lavender and thyme.

    13 June, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    13 June, 2014

    spirit966's avatar

    Hong Kong Hong Kong

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    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.

    16 April, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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.

    7,5/10

    24 January, 2014 (Last Edited: 12 April, 2014)

    Dane77's avatar

    Denmark Denmark

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    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

    voodoodanny's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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...

    17 December, 2012

    ross_evans's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    It smells like black treacle, mixed with with cheap dark rum, and flea powder.
    In essence, it's awful.

    24 February, 2012

    Kaern's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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.

    28 December, 2011

    lemur178's avatar



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    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!

    16 December, 2011

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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

    tymanski's avatar



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    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....
    8/10

    28 October, 2011

    rubegon's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    23 October, 2011

    alexbiteme13's avatar

    Greece Greece

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    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

    Oh_Hedgehog's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    Shifty Bat's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    02 February, 2011

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    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

    hester's avatar

    South Africa South Africa

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    Pungent curry. Yikes.
    And I'm writing this bit because basenotes requires me to say more.

    12 August, 2010

    alberto's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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.

    03 July, 2010

    Cedarmoth's avatar

    United States United States

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    Is that mulch in my taffy? Delicious!

    29 April, 2010

    orrisboy's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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.

    13 April, 2010

    Le Grand Duc's avatar

    Denmark Denmark

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    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!



    08 April, 2010

    Narguile's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is all curry and maple syrup on me. I wanted to love this, but after waiting a terrible 45 minutes for something, anything different to happen, I am sad to say that I just don't think this is going to work for me.

    10th February, 2010

    trojanhorse's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    This a very delicate oriental spicy cologne, reminding my of Persian food with Basmati rice. I love its warmth and decent elegance - perfect if you like the dark notes of Youth-Dew but want something drier and lighter.

    03 October, 2009

    evinick's avatar

    Greece Greece

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    GROUP. Oriental-fougere. GENDER. Ladies you can try it (please dont forget to put the bottle back into his closet). CREATIVITY. Walks in the path of Caron's 1934 hit ''Pour Un Homme'' but finally it has its own character. Certainly the most memorable fragrance from the trio range (Bois d' Argent, Cologne Blance, Eau Noire) created under the guidance of Hedi Slimane (the talented, skinny trousers former designer of Dior Homme). DAY OR NIGHT? I was tempted several times to try it at daytime but naahhh. It is definitely an evening one. Just dont waste it with a jeans & t-shirt outfit. LONGEVITY. Amazing longevity (at least on me) so be cautious and spray only twice. COMMENTS. The powerfull and complex sweet opening where Spices come first : immortelle and ouzo (greek aperitif) with a touch of curry and cedar notes, might discourage you but please wait...the party just began. Herbals (dried sage), florals (lavender) more spices (vanilla) a little smoke and gourmand notes (burnt caramel and vanilla creme brulee) take over to drive you to a more safe path. The middle notes are more calm and relaxed and have an amazing longevity. As base notes I can detect just lavender and vanilla pod, but in a much more powdery and refined way than the middle ones. It is definitely an ingenious fragrance but its neither for everyone nor for everywhere. It is heavy, deep, black in a sweet way, and if you are not in a mood to dig hard you wont find the treasure.

    21st September, 2009 (Last Edited: 22 September, 2009)

    qxtc07's avatar

    United States United States

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    Curry and maple syrup. I have no problem with harshness in fragrances per se, but it doesn't work for me here. The base is less objectionable than the top, but it's not worth the wait.

    24 July, 2009

    Sugandaraja's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    The top notes of Eau Noire are quite sharp: a nose-pinching bite of herbal lavender that is a charming introduction. Within a few minutes it fades abruptly, leaving a light, powdery immortelle touched with vanilla. If there was a Sables Light, it would smell like this.

    All in all it's nice, but unremarkable. Average longevity, but very much a skin scent once the top-notes fade.

    If you like this, try Annick Goutal's Sables and Parfum D'Empire's Fougere Bengale.

    20th July, 2009

    L'Aventurier's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Cedar cabin, black licorice, maple syrup (in reality this is immortelle flower), herbal spices, lots of lavender, coffee, slightly smokey vanilla and leather. Dark, mysterious, sensual and spicy, this is my fall and winter holy grail. Longevity is perfect, verging on 24 hours, with sillage that is just right. Never becomes too sweet, too woody or too gourmand. I whole heartily agree that this is pretty much bottled perfection. Quite simply the finest creation by Francis Kurkdjian that I've smelled to date.

    10/10

    10th July, 2009 (Last Edited: 15 December, 2009)

    Merlino's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Oh dear Lord, how exactly is this wearable? Annick Goutal Sables meets Bond No. 9 New Haarlem makes for top notes from H.E.L.L! Very, very loud and after the immortelle settles what remains is pleasant and clearly of high quality but comparatively weak. This is probably a love it or hate it frag, and this reviewer hates it. Only positive aspect of this I see is that it is a very avantgarde frag for a designer scent.

    07 July, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Christian Dior Eau Noire

    In 2004 Christian Dior creative design head Hedi Slimane commissioned a trio of colognes for the Dior Homme line. They were Cologne Blanche, Bois D'Argent and Eau Noire. Eau Noire was designed by Francis Kurkdjian and was to be a scent, like Annick Goutal Sables, which used immortelle as the central core to build this cologne around. Immortelle has, to my nose, a powerful and distinct maple syrup accord and it can be that loud talker in the room that doesn't let another note get a word in to the conversation. That makes it a tricky note to work with as a perfumer and a tricky note to appreciate as a colognoisseur because if you don't like it its hard to get away from it. The top of this is immortelle barging into the room in all of its powerful glory but wisely M. Kurkdjian has chosen to allow clary sage to arrive at the olfactory party at the same time. I found this to be an interesting choice as it makes the immortelle feel more incense-like than sweet and it is a good partner to immortelle because it does accentuate a different facet of the dominant note. The shift into the heart comes as the sage moves over to a corner and lavender joins the conversation. In much the same way that sage accentuated the incense quality of immortelle, the floral lavender brings out the more floral quality of immortelle and makes this feel, almost, like a debate of equals. Finally the lavender is exhausted by the everlasting immortelle and in the base vanilla enters the fray and here allows immortelle to be what it is most commonly, the maple syrup sweet over some vanilla flavored pancakes. Here is where immortelle finally arrives at what we expect and immortelle finds a conversational partner that can hold its own against it. Many perfumers realize when you have a central note to be the center of conversation it is important to find partners that allow the listeners to appreciate different aspects of the thesis. M. Kurkdjian has done this in such a way that as you close the door on this olfactory party you don't even mind that the loud talker was in the room.

    14 June, 2009

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