Perfume Directory

Or Black (1982)
by Pascal Morabito

Advertisement

Or Black information

Year of Launch1982
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 154 votes)

People and companies

HousePascal Morabito
PerfumerJean-Louis Sieuzac

About Or Black

A leather chypre fragrance with notes of pepper, leather, vetiver and amber.

This was once discontinued but is now available once again.

The company say:

In his reference book Perfumes : The Guide, Luca Turin gives it the 5 stars optimal grade, “Or Black is an extreme fougère, smoky, dark, bitter, resinous-green, like triple-distilled Earl Grey, a step beyond even Rive Gauche pour Homme in its saturnine glory. Sensational”. In order to constitute the Parfum Couple with its predecessor Or Noir, Or Black was created in 1981. The new version is a subtle mix of ephemeral bergamot and pepper’s hints to which is added precious woody aromatics heart’s notes. Or Black suits self-confident and well-grounded man who makes the most of the male and sensual character of the perfume as well as its animalized notes. Or Black can be enhanced by the skin of a woman.

Or Black fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Or Black

I was moved to buy a miniature of this by Luca Turin's assessment quoted above. Having said that I dislike almost all the fragrances he extols the virtues of, so my reaction to this is probably going to be neutral or worse.

The particular sample I tested paired a smoky violet aspect alongside a very familiar earthy odour I couldn't place at first, but then I got it. Verdoracine. No doubt about it, once smelled that earthy rootiness is not forgotten.

With that realisation, some of the intriguing fascination of the perfume was dispelled, so I probably won't bother searching for a big bottle.

23rd June, 2020
Opens up fizzy and heavy on the anise, a bit like carbonated absinthe. The heart skews toward juicy violet (shades of Lalique Hommage a L'Homme) paired with leather, along with a smooth blend of green/herbal notes that can sometimes give off a shaving cream feel.

It's light and easy to wear, dark in tone but very refreshing and relatively timeless in character. Justly celebrated.
21st March, 2020
This review is for the 2014 version:

If you're a fan of Rive Gauche, Fou d'Absinthe, Azzaro Pour Homme, or Drakkar Noir you may very well enjoy Or Black 2014. I was pleasantly surprised by this, a very darkish green herbal fougere with an anisic, licorice like quality accenting its central accord. Or Black is piquant to some extent, its aromatic herbal notes catching the nose with a crisp, cooling spiciness. And it's fairly light. For some reason I was expecting Or Black to feel a bit heavy and stuffed, but it is not. It's more diffusive and bouyant, with a vibrant bite, a sparkling quality to its dark green hue rather than any kind of smokiness or leathery qualities. It can be described as fresh, spicy, herbal and aromatic with a Barbasol, shaving cream aroma. Projection is moderate but nice and solid, and longevity is about 6 to 8 hours. Overall this is a very nice offering from Pascal Morabito and available for a very fair price on eBay from sellers in France (about $50). Recommended as a blind buy if you enjoy the above mentioned scents, otherwise, it's completely worth sampling. Thumbs up.
13th August, 2019
Here we have a strange creature made by a fairly strange designer. The name Morabito first became associated with leather and jewelry in 1905 with Jean-Baptiste Morabito, and although Pascal is in that family (even sharing the same logotype in his brand), he broke off on his own initially as an architect and engineer, only to eventually bring those skills to bear on the family trade in the 1970's under his own separate house. Pascal was fascinated with obvious industrial construction, including visible bolt heads and cubical shapes, exercising this fascination by suspending jewels inside hollow rod cubes to make his earliest jewelry creations. Or Noir (1980) was the first "Perfume Jewel" from the house of Pascal Morabito, showcasing a green chypre fragrance inside such a trademark glass and steel container in place of a diamond. Or Black (1982) followed a few years later, originally also in a chrome metal-sandwiched glass bottle with exposed screw heads, but eventually moved to plain bottles featuring the diamond-in-a-cube logo of Pascal Morabito. Or Black became discontinued for a long count of years until the house ressurected it in 2014, being contained once again in a modified version of the original sandwich bottle Pascal designed himself. Or Black is as murky and mysterious to smell as it is odd to visually behold, combining green leather chypre and classic fougère elements into a bitter, dark, chewy oakmoss fragrance with just a hint of tonka sweetness. I like Or Black a lot, and feel the only reason it wasn't bigger when launched had to do with so many juggernauts of masculine perfumery being released the year prior, meaning the dark beauty of Or Black was submerged in a cloud of powerhouses.

Jean-Louis Sieuzac came on board to compose after assisting with the Yves Saint Laurent Opium (1977), but he was completely on his own here. Aromatic fougères were extremely popular for men at the time, while green-hued leather chypres had become popular for both sexes, so it's kind of interesting to see the genres merge here in Or Black. Bergamot and sharp pepper combine in the top with leather, which is exceedingly rare as leather usually forms the base of a composition. With Or Black, this bitter peppery bergamot and petrol leather introduces the greener and slightly rounder ingredients later on, mostly fading from awareness once clary sage shows up to share the heart with two more elements typically found in the base of a perfume: Benzoin and cistus labdanum. The benzoin has traces of styrax for a slight animalic feel when joined by the leather top, but otherwise is of the rounded green variety. Labdanum helps smooth over what would otherwise be a shrieky introduction, and moves into a hefty oakmoss bite laced with tonka, musk, trace powdery notes, and a hearty vetiver reminiscent of Guerlain. Or Black wears darkly dense and completely serious, with its green fougère inflections only acting as a softener for what would become a pretty bleak composition without them. Or Black is also no powerhouse despite its year of creation, being of moderate sillage but performing admirably for hours on end, making it good for formal office use and day wear in colder months outside when something that's practically all base notes is needed to cut the chill air.

Or Black is a phenomenal creation by Jean-Louis Sieuzac, and the 2014 reissue compares well to vintage batches from what my samples of both told me, which compelled me to save money and get the newer version instead of deep vintage. The only noticeable difference between them for me is the slight increase in the leather top and benzoin middle, while vintage had a tiny bit more longevity with more oakmoss and musk, even if the oakmoss is still miraculously very present in the newer formula, meaning Pascal Morabito must have sprung for the low-atranol variety instead of using crappy fillers like most designers do with reforms of classics. I mean sure, hunt down vintage if you're that much of a collector or just stubborn, but the modern is about as faithful as one could ask for, and nobody is going to mistake this for a new release on you. The closest comparison I can make here is a cross between Dior Jules (1980) and Fougère Royale (1882), and even that is something of a stretch as Or Black is just so unique and in its own little spooky world. Or Black would also not have stood out among people wearing Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981), Chanel Antaeus (1981), or Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui (1981) due to a lack of stiff animalics favored at the time, which was a similar problem faced by Dior Jules. Still, in a 21st century world where this was available once more (but now no more again), Or Black found itself given a brief new lease on life against an array of super-sweet ambroxan-powered chemical bombs which sit diametrically-opposed to the style it showcases. If you were able to snag yourself a bottle, spritz it on, step out, and stand out now in ways it probably couldn't back then. If not, don't overpay for vintage because stuff like Jules is still out there. Thumbs up.
22nd October, 2018 (last edited: 23rd July, 2020)
I came, I read, I blind-bought. After much testing, I have to say - I don't really get it.

You can forgive the burnt rubber / plasticine accord if it settles down to something more recognisably perfumey. On my skin, though, Or Black never goes through those gears. It's a little like spending a night in the woods without proper camping equipment. This is savage stuff. On paper, it dries down to something quite nice in the space of about three days, but that's not really a prospect for skin use.

It's been educational, though. I've figured out that personally, the idea is to smell good, or at least feel as though I smell good. Edginess can come later. Rive Gauche carries me as far in this direction as I need.

Other notes: available direct from France with a very affordable price tag. I like the colour of the juice - deep herbal green - but I find the bottle poor, with a loose cap.
16th August, 2017 (last edited: 21st August, 2017)
Another fan. The earlier reference to Kolnisch Juchten rings true. I also sense a lot of overlap with the sour green petrol bits in Dior's Fahrenheit. Good longevity.
09th July, 2017

Add your review of Or Black

You need to be logged in to add a review

Shop for Or Black products online

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Shop for Or Black at online perfumeries

Search on eBay


Member images of Or Black

You need to log in or register to upload images

Private Notes

You need to be logged in (or register here) to use Private Notes.

Advertisement

Advertisement