The lemon opening on the top notes is quite bright and agreeable. Not super-bright, but a bit uplifting nonetheless.
The heart notes add a very light Darjeeling-style tea impression, and I mean very light: this one makes the gentle tea note in Tom Ford's Gucci Pour Homme II appear like a powerhouse experience. Additionally, I get some white florals thrown it.
The base in constituted of a nonspecific woodsy impression that is rather thin and bloodless.
I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.
A nice summery creation, with the start being not bad at all but somewhat unexciting, whilst the rest is too generic and synthetically bland to entice. 2.75/5
A nice fresh lemon peel/rind. To me it doesn't smell like cleaning spray and it's not overly sweet or synthetic. I agree with other reviewers that it's very linear with no smokey depth or the tea I was really hoping for. It probably works well in summer but for me Sel Marin takes that spot every time - it's just more interesting, like smelling fresh citrus but at the end of a jetty with the sea spray below and the breeze making all the notes more etherial, coming and going in different combinations. It wins every time.
This opens with a beautiful natural smelling mix of sour citrus fruits (to my nose, lemon, lime, and citron) along with some sort of salty accord to it. It's like a glass of lemon-lime-citron-ade with some salt added. I don't really smell any smoke (as in for instance Maison Margiela's At the Fireplace, or Amouage's Interlude Man). Maybe my nose is interpreting this 'salt' note as smoke. I quite enjoy the note in any case. It's a very unique and interesting opening for a citrus fragrance. However projection and longevity are both weak so not thrilled by this.
Move on, nothing much to see here. An excellent citric opening is followed not by the promised "smoky woods" of the marketing, but by an ambery accord of low duration. All in all, there's little to like and less to recommend it.
For quite a while now Union Fragrance has had a perfume with a Marmite note in it, but its only now that Christine Nagel has come up with what the English would call a marmite perfume; like the salty yeast extract spread, you will either love it or hate it - there can be no inbetween with something like this.
Citron Noir is a highly stylised update of the lemon / vetiver version of the Eau de Cologne, which also draws heavily on the sensibility of Tommy Girl's bitter black tea and synthetic fruit. With an absolute bare minimum of sweetness, this raw and uncompromising scent comprises a pin sharp citrus with a tonic water fizz, set over a bitter, brown smoky, woody amber base.
Because the structure is nothing special the profile must rely on the detailing to carry it through, and it does. For such a minimalist composition the subtlety of the citrus accord - made of unusual naturals and (I am guessing) cutting edge isolates is surprising. The woody base cannot by its nature be so intricate but it is still no slouch. The overall effect; a crystalline, freeze dried woody cologne.
The stark power of CN is astonishing; acid citrus and woody amber - there can rarely have been a perfume this brutal.
Going against the trend for more sweetness which is now creeping into masculine frags, CN's audacity is laudable and Hermès should be congratulated for holding their nerve - and not their nose - with this new uber-sharp direction the Eaux are taking.
I suspect CN is going to be widely unpopular with the public, but highly praised by (some) afficionado's. Divisive as well as impressive; try it first.