Aimed at a younger age group than 1993's original scent. A similar bottle, but black with gothic style lettering.

Black XS fragrance notes

  • Head

    • lemon, sage, marigold
  • Heart

    • cinnamon, praline
  • Base

    • ebony wood, black amber

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Black XS

Black XS by Paco Rabanne (2005) comes before the feminine market version of Black XS for Her (2007) by a few years, and all signs indicate it wasn't initially meant to have a feminine counterpart since it doesn't have a "pour Homme" to designate it like the original XS pour Homme by Paco Rabanne (1993) did. Beyond that mostly-useless tidbit of information, the other apparent difference between this and the OG that started this range, is the jumping on the "black" flanker bandwagon that ran through men's perfumery in the designer and (dying) drugstore segment throughout the 2000's. Everything from Stetson by Coty (1981) and English Leather by MEM (1949) - by then a Dana product - had a "black" flanker, as did a lot of evergreen men's lines such as Polo by Ralph Lauren (1977). As with the others, the "black" iteration of XS pour Homme was meant to be a youthful, edgy alternative to court younger guys who shopped at Hot Topic, listened to music on their iPods, and watched non-musical MTV shows like Jackass, all while sporting similarly-gothic Affliction apparel. Funny how only a few years later, an economic recession that removed an entire generation's hopes and dreams of a stable life proved that angst as foreshadowing. Real fragrance for the impending fall this was. Rosendo Mateu and Olivier Cresp had their work cut out.

So after you've cranked up your Donnie Darko DVDs and settled down with your JNCO Jeans, what you're left with here isn't really gothic at all, at least not in smell per se. This is no gloomy Van Cleef & Arpel pour Homme (1978) or brooding Salvadore Dali pour Homme (1987), and instead proves to be something of a precursor to the coming of Creed Aventus (2010), in much the same way Ralph Lauren Purple Label (2003) was also touted to be. By that I don't mean Creed gleaned Paco Rabanne's laboratory notes any more than they did Ralph Lauren's (it was actually Pierre Bourdon and his student Jean-Christophe Hérault that really contributed to the "Aventus DNA" the most), but you can tell that Black XS foreshadowed the style, in the same way the teenage angst of its wearers foreshadowed their own income and housing insecurities in coming decades. The opening has a similarly fruity profile, which for some (including myself) comes across like strawberry, a novel opening for a men's fragrance to be sure. The real cause is of course an assemblage of chemicals that the note pyramid calls praline and lemon. The rest is dry spice and sheer musks like ambroxan, with patchouli, timbersilk, and a sliver of oakmoss in older bottles since removed. You could wear this among today's "blue fragrances" and not feel out of place. Performance is just okay, and longevity is fine.

Older bottles were a bit punchier up front, and had a bit more woodiness in the finish, and lasted a bit longer than it does now; but Black XS was never a strong fragrance, always made to be sprayed with abandon by young guys looking to cruise the mall or car meet after school, etc. Of course, this stuff exploded in popularity in a way the original XS pour Homme never did, hence all the limited Black XS flankers trying to capitalize on the impulse spending of those same guys as they came into their 20's and beyond. All told, this sits somewhere in between Polo Black by Ralph Lauren (2005) and the aforementioned Purple Label, except a tad sweeter and spicier than either, drying down a bit more gourmand-ish than them; although I would strain to call Black XS a proper gourmand beyond the fruit top. To me, this still feels modern even in 2023 when I'm finally reviewing it, and I must have smelled it in the air hundreds of times as a twenty-something in 2005, without ever knowing what it was I had been smelling. I assumed it was some Ed Hardy or maybe a store-brand Hot Topic scent, as some of those also had fruity semi-gourmand woody-sheer ambroxan and came with gothic roses on the bottles just like this does. It's only the packaging that really hasn't aged well, as even in the updated bottle, the gothic font just screams "I religiously listen to Attack Attack, but I'm over it". Thumbs up
21st June 2023
A beautiful fruity gourmand fragrance for men. Very different from the other masculine fragrances on the market. Fresh and sexy. I would use it, and I like it better than its feminine counterpart.
11th November 2018

Sweet pineapple is what I mostly get , smells a bit like club nuit intense but without the woodsy birch note..great performance and overall a very pleasing fruity gourmand. The packaging and design are of a futuristic punk nature and I fully buy into that, the scent feels very full bodied and way out there in terms of creativity. It would be very easy to write this off as a sweet mess but for me this is very calculated and deliberate, great stuff.
16th September 2018
This was a shocker for me. IMO it has the feeling of synthetic candy. I picture this to be the scent that would go along with all those mdma parties: synthetic, bright overstimulation. It doesn't smell bad, that's why I give it a neutral rating. So if your thing is to take a pill and go raving this is the scent for you.
21st February 2018
After I've tried and tested other scents... I have to say Black XS is not that bad after all...
It's not the best of Paco Rabanne.. but it is an acceptable scent

19th December 2017
Starts out sweet and fruity, then dries down to sweet and powdery.

The opening lasts for an hour or two and then you get the powdery drydown for 5-6 hours. Seems best suited for casual wear and because of the sweetness, might be best in colder weather.
29th June 2017
I love this fragrance! This smells so good it's a 10 out of 10 scent! Women love this! Gets lots of compliments! Perfect!
20th June 2015
And now BLACK is one of the most interesting modern fragrances in my opens fresh and sweet like strawberry with cream!

The style is NICE but not in an innocent way.the scent is charming,masculine. it is so my opinion is sweet without being cloying and spicy without giving you a headache.truly i can sense cinnamon in middle notes.

Good for any age specially if you are around 30/35 years old.not quite everyday wear.perfect for intimate mood in cold nights.good sillage and longevity was around 8 hours on my skin.
11th May 2015
It starts with delicious fruit smell, sour and sweet at the same time which reminds me of pineapple/kiwifruit. Longevity and projection is average. Scent itself doesn't morph too much after spray. It stays pleasant and it seems to mingle with skin's natural sourness. It is very easy to use and very approachable. It is almost surprising that it was marketed as men's perfume. Exactly same juice in feminine bottle can be sold as ladies' perfume as well.

I chose this for my husband who used Aramis for a year. Aramis is very assertive and strong perfume so that I wanted him to try light and playful one. He enjoyed it for about two months, and then he got tired of it. From Aramis to Black XS might prove to be too much of leap in terms of the complexity and depth. Now it is in my 14yo son's hand.
2nd April 2015
Amazing scent. Easily a top ten in my collection. I get the cinnamon and praline with some sage at the start which is awesome. The best part of the scent is the sweet woody dry down. I often layer this with Purple Label (Another top ten for me).
6th November 2014
I really dislike this fragrance. It smells cheap and far too sweet for my tastes. I defiantly wouldn't consider blind buying this cologne as I know it will be very much 50/50. Its not a safe scent at all. I would say this scent would be for a child not evan a teenager for that matter. just smells like cheap strawberry and sweets. I wouldn't even want to rate this one.
5th August 2014
Genre: Woods

This is the smell of my kitchen when I'm making strawberry jam. More precisely, its what you'd get if you tried to recreate the smell of my kitchen when I'm making strawberry jam in a lab. The first smells good, but this does not. Unrelievedly sweet, one-dimensional, and blatantly artificial, Black XS is a loud, clumsy scent that would be crude in a scented lip gloss. As a personal fragrance, it is simply unconscionable.
9th June 2014