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    Encre Noire by Lalique

    I admit to thinking previous reviewers were a little too imaginative in their likening of this fragrance to ink, but it is a surprisingly accurate description of one of the more prominent notes--that is, if we are talking about the sort of ink commonly available in inkpots in the 1980s (and perhaps now--fountain pen aficionados should weigh in). But ink is not the only thing going on here. The other, dirtier aspects of vetiver are also prominent (quite likely vetiver is the source of the “ink,” but I’ve not before experienced vetiver in such a way).

    Woods are also prominent in the form of a cypress that expresses closely to cedar. Later I pick up a something that reminds me of processed olive wood. I often associate “woods” with “warmth,” but these woods are cool, sharp/bitter, and as others have said, dark. In the dry down I begin to pick up a rose-like note, which threw me at first, but now quite like; as well as a peppery note, and hints of something metallic. I also get little-to-no musk, for which I am grateful.

    Many have noted smoke, but I don’t sense much overall, and admit to have hoped for more. That said, as a child, I used to burn dried magnolia leaves with a magnifying glass, and this evokes that memory (whether or not Encre Noire _actually_ smells that way, I can’t now say). Overall, I find the scent to be dark and sleek, more post-industrial than of the forest. This is perfectly expressed by the bottle, which also strongly resembles an ink pot. In my opinion, it is one of the nicest bottles around, well matched to its contents.

    While likable, the scent is a strange choice for a personal fragrance. Strange, but good. Two sprays last an entire work day for me, and I enjoy following the fragrance’s slow morph throughout a wearing. I don’t think this could ever be my signature, but I will absolutely look forward to it in a weekly rotation.

    26 February, 2013