I may not be able to fully answer your questions relating to Noir Epices, but will be glad to tell how I got into the habit of wearing it. From the whole edition I had considered four colognes, perfumes in my view. I kind of like difficult, but otherwise pleasing scents, and that usually starts with a shock! NE was number 4 and very much like not for me at the start of it! The way I was introduced to the edition, it never occured to me that Musk Ravageur, my No.1 of those and NE could be considered anything but masculine, but obviously they are. I grew out of MR in a period of twelve months and began liking Noir Epices in that process more and more. If you compare just these two, I find NE easier in the summer, and more versatile than MR which is more suited for the special evening and night. MR is for the heart and soul, NE inspires your mind, another homme sage, so to speak. I have not found a specific occasion for NE. It gives me strength and accompanies doing buisiness sometimes (use very discretely, just noticebale maybe for yourself). It is wonderful for a wedding, I would imagine, but I did not attend any recently. And in between: anything is possible, I would think. Apply more or less of it, as you feel fit. It has obviously good sillage too.
Whenever metallic notes are discussed, I first think of NE, not just in its top notes! 'Bright and shiny', I would offer in addition to Manderleys immediate & uncompromising. The name, I feel, is a bit misleading. I find NE neither dark, nor very spicy. But maybe Villoresi has irrevocably shaped my ideas of spice and herbs. Mitsouko? Thats so rich in fruit and flowers (I detect more than have been published), that the overall impression is completely different, I think. Its red velvet seductive quality is close to that of MR. NE is maybe sexy, not very erotic though. I love it for its lack of sweetness. But the devil lures on the bottom of the bottle, be assured! A city guy, alone in a coffee shop, under Edzard Harper neon light - that's NE for me!