Friday, 25 September 2009
Back to Black - fragrance reviews
Black is the colour of the season when it comes to cosmetics, but the idea of it in perfumes, especially for autumn/winter, has been popular for a few years now. I am reviewing three of my favourite (well, okay, my only three) Noir(e) perfumes in this post. Pictured above, left to right, Serge Noire, Orris Noir and Pomegranate Noir.
Serge Noire by Serge Lutens
Serge Lutens likes cumin. In a perfume, this can give an almost sweaty note, and you either love it or hate it - and that sweaty note is what hits me when I first apply this fragrance. Once I get through the first thirty minutes, this scent morphs into a rich warm dark oriental that stays with you all day long - this perfume has longevity and sillage by the bucketload - it's one of the haute concentration blends.
The other notes in it are Incense, Camphor, Patchouli, Cinnamon and Dark woods. I find the camphor in this quite comforting - it reminds me a bit of the smell of the Vicks Vapour Rub my mum used to apply when I had a cold.
This perfume is a black leather pants wearing, spent three days at a rock festival, type of scent. I have to be in absolutely the right mood to wear it.
Orris Noir by Ormonde Jayne
If Serge Noire is sweaty and a bit oily, Orris Noir is very dry. This is more of a classic black dress of a scent. It's dark, but it isn't shouty like the Serge Noire, and I can wear this for work - to me it's a serious and somber sniff.
Coriander and Bergamot are the top notes, with a heart of Black Iris. The base notes are Patchouli, Incense, Myrhh, Gaiac wood and Chinese Cedar. This is probably my favourite of the three; it has that Ormonde Jayne 'dusty manor house' note, and I love how she puts a perfume together; her scents are interesting and unusual without being unaccessible or tricky to wear.
Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone
This was the first of the recent "Noir" perfumes, and was introduced while Jo Malone herself was still involved with the line. I get more fruitiness with a hit of incense and wood underpinning it, and this perfume is not overly Noir to me - it's more of a deep blackened red. (Jo herself said she was inspired by a red silk dress.)
Pomegranate Noir is probably the most accessible of the three fragrances, and it's the one that you could wear all year round (although you'd definitely need to cut it with a citrus on the hottest days of summer.)
To compare each of these three scents to one of the dark lipshades that are all the rage this season, Pomegranate Noir is like Chanel's Rouge Noir, Orris Noir is Linda Mason's sheer black Earth Gloss, and Serge Noire is MAC's full-on-black-lips Black Knight.
Jo Malone and Serge Noir can be purchased from various department stores in London; Selfridges stocks both of these. Ormonde Jayne is only available at the Ormonde Jayne boutique in The Royal Arcade, Old Bond Street, but there is also an online shop here.