I have become extremely weary of perfumes that feature the adjective “noir” in their names… For some strange reason most “black” perfumes are fussy, sweet concoctions that try to hide layers of troubled nuances under tons of thick, opaque, gourmand, ambery bases. Reviews of Limière Noire pour Homme tend to carry this theme and most reviewers smell an imaginary black rose, full of spices and darkness. My experience with this scent however was very different. This is definitely a rose, a big one, unapologetic, pink, in full bloom. It’s dewy, soft and creamy. It wraps you with huge cashmere wings and lifts you in the air in a swirl of sensational, velvety glory. The first time I tried it I decided that I had to have it, right there, on the spot. If there is one perfume that manages to imitate the the sensation of sipping champagne, then this is definitely it! I don’t get a lot of development from it. Rose comes first, middle and last. In the beginning it is coupled with a gorgeous peachy fuzz, but many roses out there come with a hint of fruit in their natural bouquet. As it progresses it fizzes and rises, the same way champagne is pushed to the rim of the glass by the oomph of its bubbles. At that point Lumière Noire is a little intimidating. I have never come across a “pour homme” fragrance smell so unabashedly feminine. This is pink, pink, pink all the way, trumpeting loud the joy of life, holding nothing back. The fact that the sprayer explodes a huge rain of scented drops on the skin with the slightest touch will not encourage those who are weak at heart to wear it. It is not an easy perfume to wear. It’s sillage is a monstrous fleshy rose. In terms of longevity it can only be compared with Balck Aoud. Even if sprayed directly on skin it will scent all your clothes till after the next wash. I rarely wear it when I go out for fear of eclipsing any other smell in the vicinity and all life form in it. What makes it even less politically correct is that in the end it is nothing but a chypre. Reading the official note listing I cannot really understand where the chypre genes come from. There is patchouli in it, but it is the kind of elegant, muted patchouli found in Tom Ford White Patchouli. Nothing earthy or remotely resinous. There is no oakmoss but maybe artemisia does the trick when coupled with a bit of cumin. There is cinnamon listed but I cannot say I have ever been able to single it out from the rest of the ingredients. I can’t resist wearing it at home however because this is simply the scent of joie de vivre, a life force and forceful declaration of happiness.
In a sense what surprised me and made me buy this bottle is announced by the name itself. Lumière Noire is french for black light. And this makes perfect sense. This is a club scent that has survived the passage from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. It parties hard and never sleeps until the sun starts burning the skin. It’s Bianca Jagger riding a horse while Halston throws his head back and Liza Minelli stares feverishly. It is an “all in” declaration, no scruples, no remorse. There is no tomorrow because tomorrow we will still be here.
Notes from Parfumo: Mugwort, Cumin, Patchouli, Rose, Cinnamon
Notes from my nose: rose, chypre, party sweat