Bought this fragrance as a sample, more or less out of curiosity. I have been attempting (once again) to expand my very limited "go-to," must have fragrance wardrobe. I was recently intrigued by a few mocha-coffee scented body cremes that I purchased for moisturizing, etc. Saw a few reviews about Cafe Noir and thought I'd give it a try.
This is a very interesting and different fragrance with opening notes of coffee, as others have stated but not your fresh brewed cup o' coffee aroma...more of a coffier or a gourmet coffee shop scent. I agree with all the comments made prior. The opening coffee note is strong and impressive. The following smoky, floral, spicy, creamy and woody notes blast through in a bit of a confusing swirl. My nose did not detect a lot of lavender, normally a note that I love when mixed with something else-woody or earthy (otherwise, lavender is waaay too medicinal for my tastes). Somehow, it all works out and Cafe Noir is a rather intriguing fragrance.
As stated by others, this is not at all a gourmand scent but a dark, mysterious, smoky, spicy & nutty (like in coffee bean) fragrance. Would I wear this? No. Do I like it? It's okay but something I'd never ever purchase or wear...would rather smell it as a candle or a room fragrance versus a perfume. Just doesn't quite hit the "parfum" mark, IMHO. Not the signature scent I'd prefer to wear.
Notes:Top: Black coffee bean, Allspice Berries, Cardamom, French LavenderMiddle: Attar of Roses, Cedar, Patchouli, Vanilla, MochaBase: Sandalwood, Siam Benzoin, Ambrette seeds.Ava Luxe's Cafes Noir (CN) is not only one of the best coffee scents on the market, its also a top notch gourmand. CN is Serge Lutens doing a coffee scent..and doing it right. Not only is it better than most Lutens orientals, never descending into an overwhelming sugary-spicy oriental, its also as good or better in the quality of materials used. CN is cleverly bookended by two coffee materials in the top and basenotes. You get a full coffee experience with this one, not just a deceptive blink-and-you-miss top notes "ghost note". CN opens with a bracing lavender (no citrus) immediately followed by a top notch roasted coffee aroma. This opening accord is lent more complexity by a hint of sweet berries, and then CN really blooms...the fragrance expands into that oh-so-characteristic wide panoramic and somewhat intimidating Lutens oriental landscape. A dense, vanilla-spicy-floral oriental showcase with light hints of the roasted coffee blast from the top notes. But before it starts to get overbearing, yet another transformation takes place...the intensity gradually (and thankfully) starts to recede, giving way to yet another coffee note variant, this time a lactones-infused milky mocha aroma, mixed with a top notch sumatra benzoin note possessing that typical smoky-vanilla quality expected of good grade benzoin. CN never gets overwhelming yet has a strong presence ..it lasts a good 7-8 hours.CN shares some similarities with Bond no.9s New Haarlem in that both feature a lavender and roasted coffee note in the top. But CN outdoes both of Maurice Roucels offerings (New Haarlem and Rochas Man) interms of its overall complexity. Compared to CN, Jo Malone's Black Vetyver Cafe is a different beast...its a cologne-splash on type of fragrance which CN is a full on oriental coffee beast. I still prefer New Haarlem because it provides a nice compromise between Vetyver Cafe's lightness and CN's oriental forcefulness, but I can understand coffee/gourmand lovers if they are snared by Ava Luxe's best-in-class composition.Rating: 9.0/10.0
I love coffee scents and Cafe Noir is my favorite of the bunch. The opening is a strong blast of rich, unroasted coffee with particularly potent spices. The strength of the coffee does subside as woody and lavender notes soften it in the heart/base, but coffee is present throughout the composition. There is mild sweetness to Cafe Noir (or else coffee this strong would be unbearable), but compared to fragrances like Pure Coffee and CSP Vanille Mokha Cafe Noir is very dry. I like this because the fragrance is less gourmand and more of a wood/lavender. Like most Ava Luxes the EdP strength is very potent and I get 10-12 hours of longevity from it. I prefer the extrait, with its concentrated punch of notes and 16-20 hour longevity.
When I put this on, I instantly feel as if I've spent an evening sitting in an English Victorian-era coffee bar with a man who's met me there after a trip to an opium den. As others have noted, the coffee scent here is darker than in other coffee fragrances. To my nose, it smells less like fresh espresso, more like too-strong regular coffee that's been sitting around a while. I also smell tobacco in the first moments. As it dries down, lavender comes forward -- ordinarily a scent I don't love, but here it's quite nice, not overly strong. The whole is under-girded by patchouli. If you're not a fan of patchouli, don't be put off; it's not strong here, even though it's present at each stage. The dry-down blend of lavender and patchouli gives a very licorice-like effect. This isn't my favorite fragrance, not even my favorite coffee scent, but I still really like it because it so clearly evokes a particular mood for me. I would prefer this on a cool autumnal evening, not on a hot summer day. Very Lauren Bacall.
Being a coffee (beverage) fanatic, I enjoy sampling coffee fragrances and own a few, though I rarely find myself wearing any of them. This is the best of the many I've tried. I've only tried the extrait version, and it starts with a powerful, dark coffee note mated to warm, winteresque spices. Lavender mellows out the power of the coffee/spice accord as it dries down, but it remains on the stronger side throughout. Most coffee fragrances are creamy and gourmand... Cafe Noir has enough punch that one could say it presents coffee as a note in a non-gourmand way. If you think of it, coffee itself has a very woody aroma and this is as much a spicy/woody/lavender as it is a gourmand. Very good and highly recommended.