Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Encre Noire by Lalique

Total Reviews: 193
Have to join the minority here and go with thumbs down. This is an Iso E Super bomb, with so much "lifting" on display that it calls to mind artificial peppermint flavoring of the sort that gets up your nose and creates a sensation of "chilled." The vetiver escapes me entirely, as does any other aromatic component. A scrubber for me and not just that -- I felt compelled to take the tester strip outside for disposal because it was strong enough to fill a room. Not my thing, clearly. Normally when I don't care for fragrance I can understand how someone else might like it but that doesn't seem to be the case for Encre Noire.
04th September, 2016
It's well realised, technically. A woody, nutty power-vetiver. The fragrance stays strong and linear for a long time, longer than I could bear for the 3-4 wears I have attempted so far. Because I bought the bottle, because it is an amazing bottle, as could be expected from THE name in glassware, an extraordinary masterpiece of minimalism, proportions and colours (or a study in the lack thereof) and it's my favourite paperweight.

Nevertheless, I could never get past the screechy turpentine feel (is it the Iso E Super? or just whatever they used to replicate a woody vetiver?) and always end up feeling a bit sick whilst wearing this.

If your introduction to vetiver was Malle or the original Givenchy or even Guerlain, this could disappoint. It's not an expensive mistake and the bottle alone is probably worth the current market price.
03rd August, 2016
Encre noir was a blind buy for me due to my love of vetiver plus reviews saying is was a dark and smoky blend that was potentially overpowering for lovers of the more traditional/ cleaner vetiver fragrances. Sounded right up my alley.

Being fairly new to the fragrance game, but having a wide experience with a variety of essential oils, particularly vetiver, take my opinion with a grain of salt, but this fragrance does not do justice to vetiver in anyway shape or form. The opening, as others have stated, does have a wonderful burnt, damp woodiness to it, but this dissapates fairly quickly to a what smells suspiciously like a heavy, slightly woody, floral accord of some kind.

The natural warm, smokey characteristics of vetiver are disguised during the dry down rather than enhanced. I like it for what it is, a wonderful opening which leads onto a dark floral base with woods fairly quickly, but as for being of interest to lovers of vetiver, as far as the characteristics of smokiness or woodiness go, I would not recommend encre noir at all.

This is easily remedied however. A couple of drops of vetiver essential oil, along with a couple of drops each of amber absolute and oakmoss absolute transform the otherwise incredibly beige drydown into something with the actual smoky woody earthy character this fragrance promised while retaining the interesting opening
18th May, 2016
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A very good scent to continue a fragrance education. The contrast with something like Guerlain's Vetiver really does show, as many have written here, the spectrum that vetiver scents can take. This one represents the rooty, wet, earthy side of vetiver.

I don't find much in the way of development of here; more that elements of the scent come and go (that could be the iso-e-super). Variously, it is a dense woody accord, sometimes a fairly stark and lean effect, sometimes overlaid with a kind of almost savoury-umami effect that works to emphasise the wild and outdoorsy aspect of vetiver. Not elast due to this "pulsating" effect, I experience good longevity and sillage. It also adds to the "inky" nature of the marketing and packaging aspects of the scent.

In short, rather different to the kinds of things you might get on the average high street. I find this good for casual wear, not so much for formal. At the price, definitely worth considering.
14th May, 2016
This was purchased for a man in my life but I wear it more than he does. Not a typical man's fragrance. More nuanced and warmer. Nothing "blue" about it - thank g-d - but lots of sexy skin and depth.
06th May, 2016
i just bought this. and therein lies the problem. i'm a vetiver fan and have been wearing the best vetiver scents for decades. so coming back down to earth with this was the wrong direction. perhaps this is better suited as a starter vetiver.

because i get very little vetiver here. instead it is a chemical-laden woodsy iso-e-super bomb. very minimalist and a tad industrial. the only vetiver shows up in the dry down, but it's a very bleak and downtrodden vetiver. almost stoic and/or depressed in its presentation. not bright and stringent like i am used to in some of the better niche offering. nor is it paired to any kind of complimentary fruit or floral accord. this is a goth scent whose character is perfectly summed up by the plain black square bottle it comes in.

not a scrubber, though. and alas, at $30, i'm not beating myself up. but if i had to do over again, i'd save that $30 for a vetiver cologne that lifts my spirits and makes me actually smell good.
26th April, 2016
The low prices this celebrated perfume commands raised my suspicions even before testing the juice. Once bitten, twice shy: I had once too often been disappointed by popular fragrances smelling rough and ready; works-in-progress marketed long before they were ready.

Anyway, my suspicions were justified because Encre Noir smells half-backed, sharp, thin, lacking depth. Compairing it to decent vetiverts like Guerlain's or even Tom Ford's is a bit of an insult to the latter two. I bought 100ml of EN "for reference sake" and never feel masochistic enough to wear it. Won't recommend it, unless you're suffering from anosmia.
15th April, 2016
BLUF: Fantastic vetiver scent, masculine and fresh. Unlike most folks, I have longevity and sillage problems with this one. In my top 3 inexpensive men’s fragrances and quite possibly #1 based on price and quality of scent.

Slightly smoky vetiver and a healthy dose of well-placed Iso E Super make one hell of a team here. I’m not sure if the name planted a mental seed or not, but I absolutely get a hint of a wet ink (encre noire = black ink, for those unaware). I’m in the minority here apparently, but I think it’s a great summer scent. I was surprised to see how many folks suggest the opposite. How different we all are…one thing I love about the online community.

I don’t really have anything new to add, EN speaks for itself and is one of the best values out there. Unfortunately for me, it becomes a skin scent fairly quickly (1-2hrs) and doesn’t project well. Maybe I got a bad/old batch/bottle? (my batch code doesn’t register on checkcosmetic.net…) but chance are pretty much zero of anyone faking it though.

If the only other vetiver you know is Guerlain's Vetiver, be ready for a much earthier, smokier, less bright affair with zero tobacco. If Guerlain's offering is grassy, this is rooty.

I would recommend this as a blind buy more so than any other male fragrance. Huge thumbs up.
04th March, 2016
Encre Noire by Lalique was another blind buy due to popular review and it's another hit, a smoky tobacco/leather mix that bluntly rings masculine without being too harsh. I don't get cypress or bourbon or some of the other notes mentioned in several sources, but it certainly has a woody character--it strikes me as more of tobacco woodiness than cypress, spruce, cedar, etc. And I'm not detecting much of a liquor aspect, myself.

I liken it to Banana Republic's Black Walnut with less citrus and more smoke and leather, preserving the same tobacco aspect but more in a bitter / nighttime / cold weather-friendly sense, with Black Walnut being a great daytime / lighter / warmer weather partner. I'm sure most wouldn't regard the scents as similar, but the analogy rings true to me.

Another steal in the men's fragrance world ($25 for 100ml on FragranceNet), projection and longevity aren't strong but for the price, you can spray as liberally as you need to. I opted for 2 on each wrist and 3 on the neck. It fades quickly after the opening but holds on for decent longevity for an EDT. I imagine I'd limit this to cold weather situations exclusively, as this could be quite cloying and unpleasant in extreme heat.

6 out of 10
15th February, 2016 (last edited: 02nd March, 2016)
I want to like this more than I do right now but I think this will grow on me. I get "orange peel" or "orange zest" when I smell it, which comes off as very fresh but not in the traditional aqua or powdery feel. Wife said I smell like the inside of a high end salon, whatever that smell is. I do like getting whiffs of this throughout the day, just not sure if others do too.
24th December, 2015
As so many others have said, there is a distinct family resemblance between Encre Noire and Chanel's Sycomore; some say they are identical twins, but to my nose they are more like fraternal twins or first cousins. Sycomore is smoky but sparkling, like a campfire on a crisp cold morning - Encre Noire adds a layer of inky darkness, as its name suggests, that seems more like the forest at midnight, mysterious and almost menacing. And Encre Noire lasts and lasts, with great sillage. It's wonderful.
18th November, 2015
With so many reviews, I guess I don't have much to add, except that Encre Noire is a near-perfect mix of vetiver, rose geranium, and smoky, piney iso e super. The geranium does most of the work, but the vetiver gets the credit.

It's worth noting that, if you like this, you should really check out the CDG Incense series, which has a similar smoky pine spirit. At the discounted prices available online, I think this is one of the best deals in perfumery.
10th November, 2015
Loving this one! Smells like an unsweetened version of Le Labo Ylang 49.
29th October, 2015
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Great vetiver. Better than guerlain. love it
14th October, 2015
Tried it today through a Decant which I bought recently and first thing which I notice is the Smokiness in Vetiver ( more pronounced to my nose as for the past week or so I was wearing Guerlain homme l'eau boisee which is a master-piece / classic for Vetiver --clean Fresh Vetiver with touch of lime ) ..this on the other hand is smoky from the start and stays linear through-out.
This is not fresh Vetiver but inky / smoky and to me its more appropriate for a cold weather...is a bit heavy to wear
It last 4 to 5 hrs on my skin and projection is above avg.
My Problem with this is that it stays linear through-out the wear and I couldn't notice the top / middle / base notes in a very pronounced way ..there is definitely woodiness but everything is overshadowed by the heavy smoky inky vetiver ...
Its value for the money for the marked retail price.
I recommend it for a fall / winter weather.
14th August, 2015
One of the most solid contemporary mainstream fragrances which doesn’t really need my (or anyone else’s) endorsement. It is extremely popular, but finally for a good reason: because it is unmistakably, undeniably really good for the price. If you’re on a budget and you want a good vetiver for even the most sophisticated situation, I can’t think of anything better than Encre Noire. Most of others in the same price range couldn’t really compete with this. A dark and crisp smoky vetiver, as much synthetic as able to disguise it under a genius “inky”, wet-paint look – it has some cheap nuances indeed, but none will notice them. There is cypress, there is Nathalie Lorson’s trademark love for clean, angular, futuristic dusty-woody shapes, and there’s a ton of vetiver and Iso E. You can easily guess what to expect, dark oily woods with a really pleasant sort of “transparent” texture which is able to keep the darkness, but without any thickness or heaviness. Which is probably one of the key strengths of this perfume – it’s dark, but an easy-going, versatile, even “bright” kind of dark (compare this to Jovoy’s Private Label to get my point about dark vetivers). A classy, cleverly modern crowdpleaser good for all seasons. If it was just a bit more persistent though... well anyway, recommended!

7,5-8/10
12th August, 2015
Tried this via a 3ml sample - 100ml is now on its way! My (amateur) thoughts:
I absolutely LOVE it, as a serial slave to Grey Flannel, Encre Noir is the most interesting thing I've come across in a long time. The honest truth, my very first reaction: oh no, it reminds me of my lovely old Nan (I guess she must have worn vetiver at some point), but once I was over that, the association hasn't returned. To me it's dark, cold, dank, with a perversely attractive bitterness and harshness. To me there's nothing nice, warm, sexy, wholesome or happy about it, but it's intoxicatingly interesting. An autumn night, a sinister man in a long dark coat walking through a Northern European churchyard. Wearing this I feel like "The Count" himself.
I applied 3 sprays at 7am - at 4pm I was still sitting in its thrall in the office feeling dark, sinister and powerful. Just keep the crucifixes and garlic out of my way until it wears off!
25th June, 2015
I find Encre Noire to be a slightly woody variant of the chemical Iso-E super.

That is the most complemented cologne I have ever used (but not my favorite).

I don't think it should be a blind buy, It should be tested at first.
You might love it and you might not.
Some people can't stand that note. Some love it and some (like me) love it only some of the time.
I can use it only once in a while. when It is appropriate – I LOVE IT!
when it's not .... I have to wash it off.

Longevity – more than 12 hours
Sillage – very strong
01st June, 2015
What a complicated fragrance is this!! Not dark, not sinister. Just an overdose on Iso E super. Top notes and the first hour is amazing, really coal smell with full vetiver. But then the drydown is the overdose of the hyper chemical smell of ISO E, wich means too much. It's kind of Terre, but overwhelming. Where Terre is a reasonable use of ISO, Encre is the no necessary excess. Easy on the trigger, then, and you'll get good results.
25th May, 2015
Encre Noire has a fantastic smoky opening- captivating and enjoyable. I guess iso e-super plays an important part here. As the great burst subsides, a deeply woody fragrance emerges. The cypress note is initially prominent, and is quite similar to the one in Eau des Baux. Cashmere woods contribute to the woodiness, while the vetiver holds together the composition. The vetiver in Encre Noire is earthy without being muddy or dirty, and has a hint of smokiness. It lends the fragrance a vague green vibe. On my skin Encre Noire dies down quickly and the dry down starts too quickly, which is unfortunate. The woodiness subsides as musk note peeps out and the vetiver continues to hum along.

Encre Noire is a very good and distinguished composition and perfectly unisex. It is definitely recommended to lovers of woods, smoky fragrances and vetivers. If you dislike iso e-super, you might want to avoid it.
30th April, 2015
Finally I tried Encre Noire as I have heard so much comparison to it of other vetivers. My first impression is that EN is simply a very strong linear vetiver fragrance. Dirty is a good description, but not in a bad or offensive way. It departs from the traditional vetiver fragrances I am used to that are blended with lavender or citrus. This must be what pure vetiver smells like. I don't get any recognizable other scent, such as the cypress, musk or vetiver. This is just plain grassy and earthy. A vetiver for the cold weather. I like it, but living in hot and humid Florida I would stray more toward a sweeter interpretation, such as Guerlain or Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver.
23rd March, 2015 (last edited: 08th September, 2015)
A monumental release. People are predisposed by the name and bottle and find this dark. It is not that dark but rather green and fresh. The cypress top note is fantastic followed by a strong vetiver heart and a musky dry down. Surely a synthetic composition (mainly ISO E Super) which stands among the best of the last years. It's bottle is also magnificent although this doesn't add to the scent and the prices so low that any vetiver lover must have a good reason for not having it. I've been wearing this all year around and have received compliments by both men and women. I would love to smell this on women too.
21st February, 2015
Amazing scent. Just purchased and WOW! The best blend of vetiver I have ever owned. Spray, wait 5 minutes and enjoy. I have had it on for a few hours now and the scent I smell from my chest is a cross between the well blended vetivers and the woods of the scent (cypres and cashmere) which smell like a freshly cut christmas tree. You won't be disappointed if you are in the market for a great Vetiver scent. Enjoy!
11th February, 2015 (last edited: 03rd December, 2015)
I'm having difficulty with this. From the listed notes in the pyramid, it appears that the educated nose can not only discern predominant vetiver in this fragrance, but pinpoint its origin to two distinct sources: Haiti, and Reunion Island.

I'm baffled.

All I smell is a whacking great bucket load of Iso E Super, with a trace of Cashmeran.
09th February, 2015
So I just got my much anticipated Encre Noire after a long wait due to postal issues and all I can say is am bewildered and dumbfounded by this unbelievable amazing juice. It all I want and need in a fragrance, its classic in a sophisticated cosmopolitan kind of composition... the vetiver in this juice is excellently blended to give off this smooth and rich aura that's just out of this world. These are only my first impression thoughts but I can easily see this cologne replacing my signature scent Terre d'Hermes because its smoother and the quality of its composition is exceptional.

10/10!!!!
31st January, 2015
Very strong vetiver that almost reminds me of the smell of matches or wet cobblestones. I'm tired of vetiver and this one did me in. Wear this with a black turtleneck sweater in winter and it will be apropos.
23rd November, 2014
The opening is a cedar log by a fireplace, not ashy at all but warm. I can see where people say this smells like ink, but not so much for me. Soon drys down to notes I find synthetic and all too familiar. If you like Hermes you may like this.
04th November, 2014
Picture Romania, then walking through a very dark forest on your way to Dracula's Castle. Burning leaves and wood surround you, the night howling of werewolves get closer. This stuff is what the undead would wear, the vampire would be at home smelling like this. Dark, evil, burning with no end in sight. This is potent juice, best left for those who suck blood and want to smell like a overflowing ashtray.
13th October, 2014 (last edited: 14th October, 2014)
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
With fevered brow I dip my fountain pen in the desk-set black inkwell and begin to write: 'Dark clouds swirl ominously around Frankenstein's Castle...' Several chapters later it all turns a bit sour, with smoking firebrands etc, but getting there is such a thrill-ride. I especially liked that bit where the doctor screams 'it's alive!' as electricity crackles through the air, and that touching scene where the young girl ends up taking an impromptu dip in the local pond. A good scent when you're in the mood for a bit of light-hearted morbidity.
04th October, 2014
In my hobbyist study of scent vetiver has proved to be among the highest mountains to scale. It was hard to place, inextricable yet ephemeral. Finding that there exist vetivers of differing profiles did not surprise me but it did lend me some clarity. The type to which I am better inclined is implemented wonderfully in the older vintages of Carven's Vetiver- a rootsy, earthen smell with hints of salted licorice and ginseng. The other prominent type is the smoky vetiver, which to me evokes memories of ivy leaves, dried, smoked meats, and bonfires. This kind is less friendly but vastly more fascinating, and is the foundation for Encre Noire.
Here are a few reasons I have grown to enjoy this scent despite my apprehension for the smoky vetiver: The sillage is gentler and more ephemeral than smelling it at skin level. This took me some time to realize. Most people I've come across like it enough to vocalize their appreciation. The blending is superb, using 'kissing cousin scents' to bolster the many facets of the star ingredients which never overshadow the main player. It employs a vanilla devoid of sweetness, a true rarity in today's market.
I would not usually condone layering designer fragrances because it obscures the original intent and because the blended bases more often than not become a mess, but I have found that combining Encre Noire with Yardley's Citrus & Wood yields an incredible and utterly charming effect, like Terre d'Hermes lit aflame.
04th September, 2014