Magie Noire fragrance notes

  • Head

    • bulgarian rose, Hyacinth, Bergamot, Raspberry, blackcurrant bud, Galbanum
  • Heart

    • jasmine, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, Tuberose, Narcissus, Orris, Rose, Honey
  • Base

    • amber, sandalwood, patchouli, Castoreum, Civet, Vetiver, Musk, Oakmoss, Benzoin

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Latest Reviews of Magie Noire

The mystique in older formulation Magie Noire EDT is in its refusal to be reduced to its density. It is no assault to the nostrils, weaving an invisible tapestry of incantations around me as I wear it. For those who obsess over immediate gratification and a big block of a fragrance pummeling you into submission for the sake of performance, it may seem a bit lost in the shuffle. Fear not, my conditioned fragheads, scents that are nuanced and sly tend to be the ones that most enchant the wearer over time. There is no argument on whether Magie Noire 'performs,' because it transcends that. It's better than that.

Magie Noire can be the seducer or the seductress, whatever you prefer. The point is there is seduction. As it first hits the skin, we have the high timbre of galbanum and hyacinth shaded with a dusky panoply of spices, woods and musk that are the hallmark of the scent. There is a tint of raspberry tartness that also contrasts in the top notes, but it is the slightest touch, there is nothing sweet about Magie, I assure you. There is zero gourmand going on, and for that, I am happy. After all, gooey desserts, caramel, and maltol were not a "thing" for fragrance in the late 70s. This is the truest chypre in that it comports itself as confident, mature, wise, and not to be played around with.

The bracing opening transitions to a heart of an abandoned garden of flowers: narcissus that have been flanked with wildflowers and weeds, overgrown tuberose, a carpet of muguet that swallowed the more delicate flowers of the courtyard. This is no cacophony, but nor is it a Wagner drama....maybe its more a flute solo in minor key that builds as it dries down and we enter further into the deep, dark forest, with moss-smothered ancient trees and honeyed distant rays of the setting sun lending what little light that allows us to see in front of our face.

That's it, that's the dark magic of Magie Noire. I suppose that it was aptly named!
9th March 2022
Dusky, spicy, dry, chypre oriental hybrid, razor slash of green top to bottom. Unsettling and bewitching.
10th September 2021

In 1978 Yves Tanguy composed Silences, a rich green* composition of galbanum and hyacinth; unsweet and rather sombre. In the same year, along with Jean-Charles Niel and Gerard Goupy he signed off Magie Noire - which deploys the green gum and the thin flower in a different type of scent.

Magie Noire is a crisp woody oriental*, with a rosy & fruity top, a spicy heart bouquet and a powdery base. It's more buoyant than Silences and the colours are warm, but it still has the green skeleton of hyacinth and galbanum - which later emerge in the base.

Could it be that Goupy and Niel took Tanguy's formula and used it for the groundwork of something more feminine? something more like Opium - which came out the previous year?

Magie Noire is not bad. The initial stage is fine, if not brilliant, and the spicy heart bouquet is good, but the combination of green notes and Powdery Amber# tends to get dusty by the end.

It's a good effort overall but not outstanding, especially compared to Silences on the one hand and Opium on the other.

[Vintage sample]

* Michael Edwards – Fragrances of the World
# Powdery Oriental
11th March 2021
My all time favorite. I have vintage and I have the new one. I find the vintage more intense and the new one slightly lighter. This scent is interpreted differently by everyone. I even saw someone classify it as clean/fresh. that doesn't come to mind for me. This is my favorite kind of fragrance "chypre floral". 80s shoulder pads boss. My mom and my aunt wore this so the memories are all around. This may be my most perfect scent. It's what I compare all other to. It's got a warmth that some chypres don't have and the nice green note rounds it out nice so that it isn't too warm. I instantly gravitate towards this in the winter; however, it's an all season scent for me. It's what fragrance is supposed to smell like. I think you could wear this for a day at a a formal a night on the work. it's just stunning.
22nd July 2020
A review of the original vintage version

The opening, an intrinsicate mix of flowers and fruits, is delightful. A rich rose note, smooth and velvety, combines with a nice hyacinth and whiffs of muguet supply the floral potpourri. The fruity component is mainly a mix of raspberry and blackcurrant. At the tail end of the top notes a gala NUM impression leads into the drydown.

The heart notes continue the rose-Centre's theme by adding additional florals over time. A fresh jasmine impression appears whilst the muguet becomes stronger in the central stage of the development of this creation, and a touch of a honeyed narcissus is present too. Further into the drydown this mix becomes headier and creamier, courtesy of a well-made ylang-ylang note that is enhance by a lovely tuberose. This tuberose is on the restrained side and it is quite a slim tuberose, lacking any significant indolic, raisinous or waxy component.

The base notes enter a darker realm, with an edgier and slightly sharp castoreum and a dark civet resulting in muskier character. A lovely oakmoss enhances the sharper side, although not overly so; this is no Gucci Nobile. An ambery note sandalwood struggles to make its word heard next to the oakmoss and the castoreum, whilst this darker phase is given some rays brightness by the addition of touches of vetiver and benzoin towards the end. The base is, nonetheless, the darkest part in the development of this creation.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

A complex and rich scents for elegant nights out in spring or autumn, with delightfully layered texure and constituted of ingredients of a very high quality. One of Lancôme's finest. 3.75/5.
13th October 2019
I never would've imagined falling in love with this scent, but that's exactly what happened. I received a sample of this and randomly selected it out of my "mountain" and had no idea what to expect because I hadn't looked at reviews or notes or anything, I just knew that this was a vintage scent and had no idea of if mine was the older formulation or not.

After the wearing I have reason to believe that it is the reformulated version and here is why: It's considered a chypre and heavy on the animalics/oakmoss. On my skin it's a lovely soapy floral. It's like rive gauche with it's heady green roses but take away the aldehydes. I get a hint of sweetness but I'd never have guessed honey. It's way too subtle, like the natural sweetness of flowers. They lie on a bed of woods, no green oakmoss. I would've guessed sandalwood or cedar as there's a touch of creaminess in there and nothing sharp about it. I didn't really get much of a development from top to bottom notes, and that could mean that it's either a vintage with it's top notes evaporated or that it's the newer formulation that they simplified to make it mass pleasing.

Either way, it manages to be wearable with a vintage charm. Old school but not so much that I wouldn't wear it in modern times, but I might feel a bit self conscious wearing it out in public. I would be paranoid that someone else would think I smell too "mature" or dated. This is a scent I would wear for myself cozied up at home maybe a hot cup of tea or coffee and a mystery book. It might be dark and storming outside. For some reason for a scent that is so pleasant and sweet (feeling) this evokes a dark nature. Like a beautiful rose bush deep in the forest where beasts and monsters might be lurking. Like the temptation that led Aurora to prick her finger on the spinning wheel.

This scent is so pure and precious yet contains an elusive darkness that calls to me. This scent doesn't feel as though it's entirely meant for me and yet I know that I will yearn for and seek her out anyways. Maybe when I am older and wiser, and "riper" if you will, the scent may feel more like it belongs on my skin. But regardless I would still like to seek a small bottle to own in the meantime, brought out and worn on special and specific occasions. Whether I wear it or it wears me...

I might need to seek a newer bottle in store (though I can't imagine where they would stock this over the 500 LVEB flankers) to compare and see if this matches my sample. If not, I will start hunting for a vintage bottle reasonably priced. Hoping the oakmoss isn't a standout in either; The one I have is perfect as it is.
10th April 2019
Was looking for a sniff of Cuir but they don't carry it
Took a couple of spritzes of "Black Magic"on the arm. Soft memories of Incense of the 70's. Myrrh purr purr. The latest EDT is quite enjoyable as it lacks the Low-Fat Hi Sugar content of most of the Standard Feminines on the shelf and presents a neutral Floral.
7th October 2016
I was too young to wear this when it first came out, so my first experience with Magie Noire came last month with an Ebay sample that was annoyingly unmarked. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I became infatuated with my sample and had to have a full bottle. After some rather costly experimentation, I discovered that the version I fell in love with is the vintage Huile. For me, this is the concentration/version that is genuinely magical. The top notes produce the exact smell of a green, unshelled walnut when you run your fingernail across its skin. It then becomes a deeper, spicier, more mysterious scent involving patchouli, oak moss and civet. Beautiful and quite unlike anything else!

I'm not quite as much a fan of the vintage parfum. For me, it is missing that amazing green top that makes me want to sink my teeth into something. It's a bit too bottom-heavy for me, although I appreciate its deep and strange exoticism.
6th September 2016
This fragrance has undergone several reformulations over the years, and not for the best. However, it seems that the EDT has now been restored to something closely approximating the original: a bottle I recently purchased at TJMaxx smells wonderful, almost indistinguishable from my vintage EDT.

To me, Magie Noire smells like a cross between Bandit and Azuree - you might not need Magie Noire if you have one or the other of those, but it can't hurt! This is a reasonably priced chypre with excellent longevity and sillage.
17th November 2015
I may be alone here, but in Magie Noire I smell a sister to Caron's wonderful Yatagan. There is the same vegetal quality (which I generally do not like) that evokes decomposing pine needles in Yatagan although it is handled very differently in Magie Noire. Both go completely against the grain of current trends and are all the more compelling for it. Far and away the best scent that Lancome has ever produced, it has all the mysticism of an oriental but is really a chypre, festooned with fruits, flowers and honey and with a serious line up of basenotes: Patchouli, Castoreum, Civet, Vetiver, Musk, Oakmoss and Benzoin. While it is totally unlike Sortilege, they both do share a bewitching quality and are both aptly named.
12th June 2015
Magie Noire is difficult to talk about for several reasons:

1) It's so weird that you're unsure if it's actually supposed to smell like that or if your sample has gone off.

2) There's a good chance that it has gone off, because it's not a fragrance that seems to preserve well.

3) It was reformulated so many times even before the real heavy-hitting IFRA restrictions of the 00s that each iteration of it smells wildly different.

That said, I've owned roughly seven different bottles of Magie Noire over the years from many different eras, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on it. The really good stuff, that preserves the best and smells the most expensive, comes in the original orange and black bottle. It is a mind-blowing trip and should be smelled in 3-D under the influence of marijuana for maximum effect. It smells evil, and it's not just the marketing. It is disturbingly vegetal in the way that Yatagan is, but draped in feminine opulence-- stewing vegetables in an evening gown. Every real animalic in the book is present in large quantities, creating a rude honeyed dog foot effect. There is an addictive industrial gasoline cast to it all, like something it's unhealthy for you to be smelling.

Magie Noire wasn't considered that glamorous or highbrow a fragrance in its day, which seems unbelievable to us now. It was common for suburban mothers to smell like this (what I'd give to go back and inhale that air...). It was sort of a knock-off less expensive Opium that places the resins and spices and musty mystery of that fragrance on the framework of the more prevalent sour green chypres of the 70s. It borrowed Opium's image of oriental languor and added to it a satanic angle, with dark, ghoulish, wonderful advertisements and a package design that incorporated foreboding hieroglyphs. Considering the recent ubiquitous popularity of putting satanic imagery and goats and pentagrams on everything, even clothing for unremarkable hipster good girls, Lancome was ahead.

The subsequent formulation with the black plastic mushroom cap is still excellent but seems slimmed down and cheapened. It is more peppery and conventionally woody, but still disturbing in its vegetable sourness. There is also a weird formulation packaged in a black plastic flask; do not buy this. Because of the cheap packaging, none of them have kept and they have all gone completely off. You will see reports of this anywhere there is talk of vintage Magie Noire.

After this it was briefly discontinued and brought back in a still-interesting version in a clear bottle that smells not unpleasantly like a drugstore knock-off. It's all sneezy black pepper and sour rose and, like everything else from the 80s that's still in production, doesn't have base notes to speak of. This version is still easy to come by and gives you a hint of what the real stuff was like, and it can be appreciated as a sort of "If you like Magie Noire, you'll love Sexy Magic" body spray.

As with Aromatics, I once thought Magie Noire was my signature scent. I spent untold dollars amassing vintage bottles of it on eBay to wear for the rest of my life. I quit wearing it cause I smelled like a lunatic. It makes an exciting appearance in Working Girl, the perfume-lover's dream movie. Melanie Griffith is sitting at Sigourney Weaver's vanity and applies extrait from the black and orange bottle.

Edit 10/2/15: This is the most beautiful thing I've smelled in my life. I'm talking about the current one.

Have they improved it or was I just ungrateful 6 years ago? Did I receive a "French formula" bottle? This was manufactured March 2014 and says "L'Eau de Toilette" instead of "Eau de Toilette." It smells exactly as I remember all the old bottles I had smelling. There is nothing else that smells like Magie Noire. There are other rose chypres, other orientals, other animalics, but none smell like Magie Noire, and this is it.

Don't bother paying for "vintage"--MN doesn't keep well and needs fresh top notes. The current stuff is wonderful.
22nd January 2015