Perfume Directory

Narcisse Noir (1911)
by Caron


Narcisse Noir information

Year of Launch1911
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 217 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerErnest Daltroff
PackagingFélicie Bergaud
Parent CompanyAles Group

About Narcisse Noir

Narcisse Noir is a feminine perfume by Caron. The scent was launched in 1911 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Ernest Daltroff. The bottle was designed by Félicie Bergaud

Narcisse Noir fragrance notes

Reviews of Narcisse Noir

Narcisse Noir by Caron (1911) is a creamy, sweet, powdery floral that seems almost as a presage to Guerlain L'Huere Bleue (1912) in style, but with narcissus and neroli leading the charge over incense and light musky animalics instead of a heliotrope-led semi-fougère musk accord like the Guerlain. Ernest Daltroff was indeed a peer of Jacques Guerlain in talent, but had a less-fussy style that didn't use the kitchen sink note pyramids Jacques became famous for (and modern luxury perfumers like Roja Dove try to emulate). This difference in approach is evident on Narcisse Noir, which reaches much the same conclusion albeit with less dynamism due to having less "sides" to the composition. While I won't fool anyone by calling this a simple perfume, it certainly was operating with a level of economy not seen in most other French houses of the time.

Bergamot, petitgrain, and lemon flank a sweet orange blossom in the beginning, but this is no fresh neroli eau since that musky base is evident right away. Rose and heavily-indolic jasmine flank the starring narcissus, affording that rounded daffodil smell which comes across like a darker heliotrope without the powdery aspects, hence the scent's name, further accentuated by the musk and light civet dusting in the base. Creamy and slight sandalwood appears under the darkened florals, with olibanum and a bit of vetiver to keep the composition from being too sweet, plus a tiny dollop of coumarin to smooth out the woody incense. This is not a horny toad despite the animalics, and the whole composition only really hints at scandal, making it a romantic perfume for the "proper women" of the time period. Wear time is long with acceptable sillage, and like L'Huere Bleue, Narcisse Noir is no monster in performance even in extrait. Something this painfully period-correct is hard to pitch a context for in the 21st century, so wear in median temperatures for any occasion you feel suited.

Narcisse Noir is just too "pretty" for even genderbending CISHET perfume wearing men, but women and anyone less-defined by the double standards of masculine tropes in patriarchal Western culture will find Narcisse Noir nice, if a bit quaint. This one often gets called a must-sample rose perfume but I honestly don't get much rose around the narcissus, neroli, and the fattening base notes, so I'd only seek this out if you're a lover of prim, well-blended, and semi-powdery vintage perfumes for the sexually-repressed upper classes of the era, because those not cultivating an appreciation of this baroque period of perfumery will label Narcisse Noir a "grandma's perfume". Brilliant genre-defining effort from Caron, but only a worthwhile venture for the hardcore due to Caron only offering most of their antique lines as pricey extraits outside also-pricey vintage examples. Thumbs up!
06th May, 2019 (last edited: 07th May, 2019)
Really? Maybe it's just a drastic difference between the vintage and the current version that I'm sampling, but all I smell is grape Kool Aid, very obviously "inspired" by Dior's Poison.

With a gun held to my head, I could barely make out a smudge of sandalwood under the Kool Aid, but not a single pinch of indolic orange blossom or anything else everyone is talking about.

Judged as a modern fruity floral that smells like Kool Aid, it's not terrible, though it's quite thin and totally unnecessary. Anyone want to share a sample of the vintage?
19th December, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A vintage sample:
The opening introduces the narcissus very early on my skin, underpinned by a gently woven carpet of white florals, which are difficult to discern in detail. In the drydown, however, a lovely jasmines comes to the fore, and these impression more or less define the first half of this scent's development.

In the later stage a shift firm the bright floral towards the darker side occurs, with a sinister rose and wood notes heralding this change. Then an animalic note arises and gradually takes over, a civet-rich but more somber than sinister note that is never really heavy on my skin. In the end the now somewhat attenuated civet remains as the main player, mellowed by a ligh powdery background, albeit very close to my skin at that stage, and slowly fades out over that last half of this fragrance's life span.

The quality of the ingredients is without reproach, and the blending supreme. A floral turning animalic - great. The performance is good with only soft sillage, but adequate projection and an excellent longevity of eight hours. Lovely with a creative twist. 3.5/5
18th August, 2015
Genre: Floral

I remember Narcisse Noir being a huge, lush, and shockingly animalic indole-laden orange blossom composition on a sultry dark foundation of musk, woods and resins, similar in weight and character, if not actual smell, to Serge Lutens’s Fleurs d’Oranger. The sample I’m wearing today opens on spicy green neroli and incense, then quickly morphs into a woody rose accord not altogether distant from Cabaret, or even Caron’s own Parfum Sacré, though less rich and rounded than either. The drydown is soapy/powdery where it was once musky and animalic, with a hint of leather, and it arrives very, very quickly.

The Narcisse Noir of my memory was both extremely potent and extremely “perfumey” in that manner that evoked big powder puffs, dressing gowns, and hairbrushes with silver handles. I could never for one moment have imagined wearing it myself. The current version is actually pretty clean and quiet, and I think it works quite well on me. I just can’t think of it as Narcisse Noir.

Thing is, there are better neroli scents out there (Czech & Speake’s, for starters), and better woody rose and incense compositions, too. I’d recommend not only Parfum Sacré and Cabaret over this, but Paestum Rose, Czech & Speake No. 88, and several Montale fragrances as well. And if you want that sexy, animalic orange blossom, there’s always the Lutens…
21st June, 2014
This review is only for the reformulated EDT.
It opened strongly, surprisingly soapy. I wasn't expecting that. It is the soapiness of the combination of florals with the sandalwood, so it isn't offensive. Czech and Speake 88 has a similar soap accord produced by the combination of sandalwood and rose & geranium, but that one is couched in a complex myriad of notes, so the soapy note doesn't dominate, while this has been fairly linear on me - soap and floral.
It opened with a light, soft orange blossom soapy note, which faded into a less sweetly floral soapy narcissus middle note. It dried down within several hours to not so much floral as soap... though a clean and lovely soap. There is next to zero deep base. The musk if present is a white musk with somewhat the same feel it produces - clean, quiet, soft. I'm sure a clean sandalwood is contributing to that also. At the very end the soapiness leaves and I was left with a pleasant light orange flower, rose & narcissus bouquet.
I'm not sure what to think of it. I'm trying to stay away from comparisons with the original, because they seem to have no vestiges of kinship. I've never minded soapy fragrances myself, so I'm not offended by the new Narcisse Noir. I understand their clean fresh appeal and tend to like them more than clean 'aquatics' or powder. But I wasn't seduced by it and don't think I'd purchase it. For a fragrance whose original formulation was slightly naughty, this fragrance amazes in having no vestige of sexuality at all.
10th December, 2013 (last edited: 30th March, 2015)
I have tried both the vintage perfume and EDT and they are wonderful. A blend of dark animalic notes and florals. It is as far from 'fresh' as you can get - which suits me fine.

A hundred years ago they created an amazing perfume that has had a long lasting legacy. It is first of all a fragrance for women, but if you go for the darker vintage I think men can wear it as well.

I do not know if it wears well in cooler climates, but on a tropical evening you sense the intoxicating effect of a rather heavy musky floral scent. It is my kind of fragrance.

16th January, 2013

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Narcisse Noir, by Caron

US • Buy it now: USD 475.00.

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