Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels

A perfume story: Review of Midnight in Paris
Four minutes till midnight © 2016 Frankie Chocolate
(For Tracy my office manager)

The klaxon is screaming out Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa and its frying me. It’s four minute till midnight and the end of world. I’m sitting at the console in the dense pack hardened bunker and there are a thousand blinking lights. In the center of all those lights is a huge slammer button shaped like a mushroom with a steady red light. Next to it is another slammer of black. We just passed Defcon 4 and are rising fast.

My chargé d'affaires Tracy has gone thorough all the paperwork and she knows what the Rooskies think. She’s so good she knows what Chinese think. She knows what they had for breakfast. She knows what they’ll have for breakfast tomorrow—if there is a tomorrow.

I sign some papers. She shuffles more in front of me and I sign those too.
She looks at me calmly and says, “ Ok. I think that about does it.”
She doesn’t think that does it. She knows that does it.

“Now sir, there’s just one more thing. You must choose the proper scent.”

“How was that Tracy?”

“You must choose the proper scent. Chose the right one and all will be well.”

We moved to Defcon 3 and I am as near to redlining as I’ve ever been in my entire life.

“And if choose the wrong one?”

“You love Jesus don’t you sir?”

“Yes of course I love Jesus. What’s that goy to do with anything?”

“It’ll be ok. You love God you go to heaven. Isn’t that what you believe sir?”

“Yes I love God but I got 300 million fellow Americans plus the almost seven billion other people on the planet to consider and I can’t have a come to Jesus moment with each of them in four minutes.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Boy I’m relieved to hear that. I mean just the thought of…
“You don’t have to because you only have three minutes now.”
Ahh—ooo—gaaa, Ahh—ooo—gaaa. Ahh—ooo—gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

“That’s not helping. Tracy will you turn that off.”


“That’s much better. Thanks T.”

“I didn’t do it sir.”

“Who did?”

“The computer does it automatically when we move to Defcon 2 sir.”

“Defcon 2. What does that mean again?”

“Either the pistol is loaded or…”

“Or what Tracy? Or what?”

“Or sayonara Charlie.”

“Do we got another Defcon to go?”

“I think so sir.”

“Okay. Then lets all just take a deep breath and sort this out. How did I get in this situation anyway T?”

“It’s your story sir…”

“I know it’s my story but I need a little help.”

“Very well sir.” And she sat down and explained it all to me.

“You see the world powers decided if someone could discern the proper scent to wear at a time like this they’d also be able to decide whether to push the button or not.

“That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“And yet you posted it here on Basenotes sir.”

“I narrowed my eyes at her but had nothing snappy so I let it go.”

“So I have to choose which scent to wear to stop the end of the world. Is that about right?”

“Exactamundo Brainiac!”

“Mm Tracy, not to put too fine a point on it but I usually say that line.”

“Sorry. Exactamundo sir. You say the right perfume and you push the black button and if you’re right then it’s all good.”

“And if I choose the wrong one?”

“You love Jesus right sir?”

“YOU’RE NOT HELPING!” Oh, bye the bye, what if I push the red button?”
“The floor falls out from under us and we’re standing over a pit of half starved crocodiles sir.”

“Got it,” I say. Then my hand, my right button pushing hand starts to shake and of its own accord begins to inch its way towards the panel that will end the world. My other hand shoots out and grabs the rouge agent by the wrist but he’s too powerful. The treacherous hand drags both of them and the rest of the world to the absolute brink of absolute annihilation.

Three millimeters from the surface the bad hand stops. I am quivering uncontrollably from head to foot, soaked with sweat, shaking with terror and relief at what I just avoided.

I turn to Tracy with a crazy look of desperation in my eyes, crying and laughing at the same time. I start to laugh hysterically drained of all energy and emotions.

“Yes! Sir you did it. You did not push the black button. I knew you had it in you. Now if you’ll just pick the right cologne…”

I blurted out, “ARAMIS,” then my bad hand shot out and mashed the black button as hard as it could. I stare wide-eyed in horror and disbelief not believing what I just did. I have a full bottle of Aramis on the shelf I can’t give away.

The ground shook with the roar of ICBM missiles. Earthquakes rent the land, tsunamis the sea. The sun and the moon were darkened and as smoke from the bottomless pit arose around us. From the smoke came a plague of lawyers, locust, infomercials and carpet cleaners.

Walls cracked and fell, people screamed and ran in the streets.
It’s not my fault I shouted but no one was there. They were all gone. There is only me and the lonely radioactive wind left.

I stumble down the stairs to my office and Tracy my office manager was somehow there and I only imagined it. It’s Friday and she’s got the paperwork and checkbook out and ready.

Sign here. Initial there. Sign this form. Date that one. It goes on and on and on. We finally finish. I drag myself out the door to get some Sushi as my consolation price for getting through the worst part of my job. Just before I pass though the door I tell her,
“If I had to do it all over again I’d choose Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels because it yummy. It starts out with leather and almonds and has a touch of burnt rubber but dries to a yummy soft velvety suede. Very calming, soothing and cheery but you have to let the tires burn down first. And somehow the name just fits for this story don’t you think?

Tracy just looked at me and went back to work because she had no idea what I was babbling about.

I thought I heard someone say, “Go back on your meds,” but it mighta just been my imagination—maybe. The end.

02nd February, 2016
My Lady ordered this because it is really inexpensive and the bottle is cool. Neither of us thought for a moment it is actually a men's fragrance beforehand. Either way, she tried and enjoyed it, as did I the next day. I would say MiP is decidedly unisex, as evidenced by the fact that it is very nearly the same fragrance as Hermes' 'feminine' release, l'Ambre des Merveilles, right down to the vanilla-incense-leather ending and terrific performance, and l'Ambre came out two years later to decent fanfare. So, where was the love for this smoky gem? I think it's great for anyone at all who is looking for a good smoldering amber.
08th January, 2016
This one is dead in the middle for me... It would be a thumbs down if the dry down didn't cover for the opening. Not sure what it is that I don't like... I like all of the listed elements of the opening but in this combination or formulation it's not working for me. After an hour or so the scent does become smoother and enjoyable.
08th December, 2015
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This does smell like Bulgari Black but sweeter. I love all of my Van Cleef scents.
12th November, 2015
Absolutely love MiP, complex and long lasting with a quality well above the modest price tag.

I'm not someone who's fussy about the right fragrance for the right occasion but for me this is certainly an evening/cooler weather fragrance.

Mysterious and bold... I will certainly replace the bottle once finished.
19th October, 2015
Even seeing numerous prior descriptions didn't prepare me exactly for Midnight in Paris (EDT), but "powdery leather" probably is the best quick-reference descriptor that could be applied to it. In that respect, MIP scores high on uniqueness, since such a boldly unisex take on a men's fragrance usually is in more of a floral direction. The tonka adds some sweetness to an otherwise pungent composition but the powderiness is all-consuming to me. Not even the leather aspect really holds a candle to the styrax/benzoin/incense trio that I believe to be mainly responsible for the powdery vibe, though the note list is considerable longer (I don't get much citrus here, though listed).

I don't love it; I kind of like it, yet some hours in, I remain so puzzled by it that I'm not sure under what circumstances I would wear it. Surely it's preferable for cold weather, but at night? Formal? Date? I don't believe it's flattering enough on me to wear for formal occasions so this would probably remain an odd option to wear casually in cold-weather days or nights. Projection is very strong and longevity is very good, especially at the price (this came to $23 for 100ml on FragranceNet).

Perhaps the EDP takes a different direction but I admit I'm not eager to try it after experiencing the EDT. It's just not my preferred genre of fragrance--perhaps if it were a little sweeter it would come off as more balanced and less offensive. Very interesting and unique composition, though, as far as I'm concerned.

7 out of 10
07th October, 2015
Germ in a bottle!!
I am not experienced picking up notes, but can sense the citrus in the opening and leather in the middle phase..

Longevity is good, I get 7-8 hours, it projects the first few hours moderately..
Once I sprayed this fragrance in the morning and it lasted the usual 8 hours, and at about 9pm I entered the bathroom for a hot shower and from no where I started smelling it again..

Smelling this fragrance I feel the notes are pretty soft, no obvious dominance.. It might do better with strong dominant note..
Smell 9/10
Longevity 7
Projection 5
Overall 9/10 because I love this fragrance so much..
17th July, 2015

A man's scent for the ladies to enjoy.MIDNIGHT in PARIS EDP will intoxicate even the most discriminant females sense of smell, she'll definitely remember you long after you're finished with your date.It is not an ovepowering scent,just enough to get the female hormones raging.a man wearing the fragrance shows that he knows what he wants in life,and knows exactly how to get it. Warm,Romantic,Magnetic,Smoky,Sweet and Charming.

The fresh and sweet scent of amalfi lemon,bergamot and rosemary over leathery notes and inviting benzoin,tonka bean, incense and something like vanilla for an edgy and sophisticated perfume who it has the ability to mix with female chemistry and blend superbly with the flowery notes.This EDP might be the perfect scent for a cold winter gives you feel great during parties.the bottle looks cute. anyway a great scent for a cheap price.try it,you will not be disappointed.


Longevity?Very Good on my skin(EDP).

29th May, 2015
I cannot fathom how anyone would think this smells like 'lemon bug spray'. Boggles my mind, truly.

This is one of the most pleasant smelling colognes I've laid nose on. Not everyone might enjoy the smell of a woman's makeup bag, but I do and I have no problem smelling like that all day every day.

Soft, warm, sweet, powdery, gives off that vanilla essence due to the tonka bean I guess. Comforting and relaxed. Just perfect.

Also, the best projection of my entire collection so far. I bought most of my collection due to good reviews but none of them project very well at all. I can smell this one on my arms while sitting at my desk or driving hours after applying it.
28th March, 2015 (last edited: 02nd April, 2015)
I have to agree with all those reviewers that consider MiP VC&A somewhat feminine. As it dries down it becomes more leathery and masculine but there is a persisting sweetness that prevents it to become fully masculine.
But it is a nice scent regardless
27th March, 2015
Bought a 4.2 oz of this one for under $30 shipped. And with rumors of discontinuation floating around for a fragrance this good, I have to say: If you like powdery men's orientals, buy this. NOW.

Personally, I think this fragrance is a true masculine sister scent to Guerlain's legendary Shalimar. (Habit Rouge just never cut it for me.) The vanillic musky incense drydown, the citrus at the top, and the leather all give it a Shalimar vibe without some of the more feminine aspects of Shalimar. Some similarities to Bvlgari Black are apparent in the topnotes, but without the screechy rubber that makes the Bvlgari only wearable if you're in the automotive or auto part manufacturing professions.

Note: this review is for the EdT. And with longevity and sillage as good as it is, I see no reason to buy the EdP.
27th March, 2015
Someone said this is a combo of Dior Homme Intense and Armani Code both are great scents but this scent is Just plain bad...
25th March, 2015 (last edited: 12th July, 2015)
Midnight in Paris falls within that category of scents which start just wrong, but then become more than remarkable. I mean, most of the times it’s rather the contrary – scents which are good and rich at first, then easily lose the magic soon. The first minutes here are a blast of almost nauseating sweet and kind of “bread-ish” Oriental notes comprising powdery resins, almond, something like hay, a generic “clean-smoky” synthetic wood (I guess the “incense” note) and something musky-floral, with rubbery suede lying underneath. I also get the “tea” especially on the drydown, which is quite similar to the tea in Gucci pour Homme II or Tea for Two by L’Artisan. Also if you know Equistrius by Parfum d’Empire, Midnight reminded me that a bit (I guess because of hay, suede and powdery notes). But at the beginning, all of that is quite loud, quite more on the sweeter-edible side, and overall not exactly the most elegant smell around. Still, as minutes pass Midnight in Paris tames down and “tilts back” to a more pleasant balance, becoming more and more enjoyable and finally reaching a truly remarkable drydown. At this final stage – which luckily arrives quite soon – the blend focuses on a really sophisticated sort of velvety, rubbery suede-woody base with a sprinkle of Oriental powdery-gourmand notes – just a sprinkle, now. A couple of key nuances make this quite distinctive and really pleasant: suede, hay and powder (I call it “powder” but actually think more of almond and tonka; it just smells really dusty, slightly floral and kind of “feminine” as if there was some orris - precisely like powder, shortly). Classy, really “velvety”, warm and cozy, basically a sort of hybrid between Bulgari Black and Dior Homme; sweeter and brighter than Black, but darker, drier and more “grey” than the Dior’s. Give it a chance!

24th March, 2015 (last edited: 22nd April, 2015)
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Soak a sugar cube in good bourbon, wrap it in a cloud of cotton balls sprinkled with baby powder, and this is what I get when I wear this out at night to dinner with my woman in the winter.
11th March, 2015
I've not read every single review yet, but has nobody mentioned the similarity to Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin? Which I guess is liquorice and vanilla, in essence. Maybe a bit of smoke.

I don't have a super-sensitive sense of smell, so I am probably not picking up any small differences that others may find.

I need to do a more precise side-by-side comparison, but I think LL just wins by a nose - no pun intended.

As for Bulgari Black comparisons, my BB spray mech jammed (the twiest and spray thing) so I can't remember tat oen too well.

The vanilla - or should I say tonka? - means it lasts a good while and 'clings' to clothes, so bear in mind.
07th March, 2015
Many have compared Midnight in Paris to Bulgari Black, which is one of my all time favourites.

I can see the resemblance, but for those of you who dislike the smoky rubber notes of Black, you'll probably prefer the softer, more rounded feel of Midnight in Paris. I find the drydown slightly more masculine and detect a hint of tobacco (not cigarettes, more like loose tobacco in a pouch). It's sweet though, with a warm tonka, and overall it seems to rest somewhere between Bulgari Black and Chergui, slightly sweeter than Chergui I'd say.

I like Black for evening in winter, but Midnight in Paris is a comfortable wear on winter days too. I've spent a few evenings in Paris in winter and this could indeed be the scent of a back street lined with cosy, traditional restaurants. It's a perfume well suited to low key artsy evening events, or maybe sitting around with friends at one of those hookah cafes! Warm, snuggly on a woolen scarf.

Great on men or women - whoever likes warm vanilla leather perfumes
12th February, 2015
This review is of the EdT.
I am really impressed with the quality of fragrances from the house of Van Cleef and Arpels. Midnight in Paris is their latest release for men, and is a great release to boot. I detect some citrus with hints of chocolate, and a very smooth leather note. Perfect for a date, perfect on evening outs and for dinners. I can imagine one wearing this in the daytime as well, but not in summer. Perfect for evenings and nights in all seasons. I can also very well imagine this on a woman. The performance of the EdT is very good on my skin.
A great fragrance. I can hardly wait to try the EdT.
30th January, 2015
(EDT) Elegant and sophisticated! Midnight In Paris is a true masterpiece by Olivier Polge. I can smell the leather, benzoin and incense. It is sweet, powdery and very pleasant. Perfect for the office and daytime wear. I also own the EDP and I use this one for night time.
17th December, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Legend has it that MiP was created when Olivier Polge dropped a teabag into a flacon of Shalimar. Whatever the truth of that apocryphal tale, it sticks in the memory because it gives a reasonable approximation of the smell. Excellent longevity from 3 sprays of the EdT.
11th November, 2014
Now when I first bought MIP I really liked the scent, however now it gives of a very strange smell I can't describe and it is actually quite off putting. to me it just smells stale and to powdery. I find it funny how I can turn on it like that but i on first spray I never smelt what I smell now. It's weird and instead of the scent growing on me, it has done the complete opposite.
05th August, 2014
Really disappointing. I had heard so many good things about this fragrance but im pretty deflated. I shall give it a few tries but im not impressed.
17th April, 2014
Fragrance in this day and age is simply not 'juice in a bottle'. It has to be a catchy name, slick bottle and packaging and of course the infamous marketing has to be there too... This fragrance is all of that. But the juice inside is just simply not quite what I'd hoped. There is a lot going on - I get a lot of smoke (bitter smoke I might add), perhaps some vetiver and a tea note. There is also a very distinctive smell of burnt rubber that simply holds me back from getting a full bottle. Granted, it does progress quite a lot throughout the day but for me it is quite uninteresting.
I think VC&A deserve a lot of praise for the marketing behind this scent - the name and bottle have been put together very cleverly, but the scent just simply does not appeal to me.
09th January, 2014
Powdery and musky.
02nd October, 2013 (last edited: 15th September, 2014)

i am glad that i ordered sample before purchase. Its too sweet and perfectly suitable for women.

Cons: Smells like women's cologne"

13th July, 2013
I'm reviewing the EDT, not the EDP. I like this scent, but I can't honestly put my finger on why. It definitely smells unisex, I could see a woman wearing it (I got Shalimar with it today, and while the opening is more feminine the drydown of that supposedly women's fragrance is much more masculine than this is). That's not a bad thing. I often (though not always) find overly masculine fragrances not to be my style.

Having said that I feel like this almost smells generic. I hate to say that because this smells REALLY GOOD but I can't pick out any prominent notes. Honestly, if you asked me what it smells like, I'd probably tell you "Uhhh... cologne?" I get some vanilla, which is odd since that's not a note. I get a little bit of leather. I get some kind fo aquatic almost beachiness in the opening. But I can't really put my finger on WHAT it smells like. Ergo, it's kind of generic.

Having said THAT, this is the best executed fragrance for the money I've ever owned. For less than $40 (4.2 OZ) there isn't a better deal than the EDT on the market to my knowledge. It smells high class, almost like a niche as opposed to a designer. Any guy can wear it because it's so generic, because that makes it a bit versatile. And I'd be remiss not to mention the gorgeous bottle.

Overall, I'd say it's worth a buy. It's a safe and affordable blind buy option.
01st May, 2013
Great fragrance!!! This fragrance is very uplifting. MiP draws you in and compels you to search and search and seacrh for every note found in this wonderful fragrance. I really smell the bergamot, lemon, and leather. Such a wonderful fragrance!!! I have the toilette and have not smelled the Parfum version. really would love to so that I can determine a difference if any. I easliy get a days worth as it relates to longevity. My wife the other day said, as we were going to smell good. I sprayed this on in the morning and this was close to midnight when we were going to bed.
16th March, 2013
FISS80 Show all reviews
United States
Smells like lemon bug spray!! Synthetic, headache inducing nastiness. Made me extremely nauseous. Cannot understand how anyone would find this remotely appealing.
03rd March, 2013
I really smell the bergamot and lemon. After 30 minutes to an hour this citrus gives way to the leather and green tea.. which gradually is infused, then dominated by sweeter (but not overly sweet) and warm vanilla and benzoin aromas.... Here in the temperate cool climes of Australia, MiP works well on cooler days (15 Celsius or below) and also in winter in evenings. I find it a little astringent on my skin in the warmer months (over 20 Celsius) over the first hour or so. (It's just a personal thing. I don't eat Thai food with lemon grass in it... My palate/olfactory senses are very sensitive to some lemon oils). That being the case, I don't wear MiP at work where air con dictates around 20 Celsius. It lasts over 8 hours of an evening on a cooler night or a weekend daytime (under 15 Celsius). Not my favourite scent, because I have to be selective, rather than impulsive in it's use. But it does stand out from the crowd. I have used about 2/3rds of a 125ml bottle over 2 winters and use it over the cooler months (5 to 6 months of the year) . I am glad I bought it. The bottle is to die for. Will I buy it again? I have about 4 or 5 months to find another scent to replace it. Any suggestions on a replacement? I already us Idole de Lubin and Amouage Jubilation XXV and CDG2 in an evening (and at work too) and can use these 3 scents year round.
06th January, 2013
It's kind of Bvlgari Black with a bit of Dior Homme. The best of both without any of their weaknesses, ie without checking out the excess rubber or iris (for those who do not like that note, I love) XD.
22nd December, 2012
This gets a thumbs up because it has a really nice bottle, and the fragrance itself is very warm and nice. But on me, this is is too much vanilla. I really don't get any of the other notes except there is a smoky vanilla in the opening which I really like.

I get the comparisons to BB, but I find that a little more interesting and more masculine with the rubber top note. MiP is still a very nice scent, and smells rather warm and cozy on this chilly December day. (This review is for the EdT)
14th December, 2012