Gucci (1988)


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Reviews of Nobile by Gucci

There are 67 reviews of Nobile by Gucci.

I've owned this for about 8 months now and I feel I'm ready to set down my thoughts.

In short, it's a mossy, deep green, masculine, somewhat understated, and wildly overpriced trip to the aromas of yesteryear. For a more in-depth review…well, strap in, it's going to be a long and bumpy ride…


From first application it is obvious this is classical. Lots of alcohol in the first few moments. It's like an aftershave/cologne of yesteryear…but don't write it off just yet. It would be far, far too easy to compare it to just about any and all fougeres – from the much maligned Brut, my first fragrance, to Drakkar Noir – and while, of course, it is in this realm it's not going to help to ‘think' of these scents other than as vaguely similar. It's green, masculine, and packed full of a musty oakmoss: most men know this smell in one way or another.

Nobile starts off bright and mossy. And fresh: yes there's heft because of the moss but there's a fresh greenery to it. It's nice though. It's fairly smooth with a plasticky sandalwood accord and crisp vetiver note coming through, too. The bergamot is soft, fresh, smooth, and clean, and fundamental to the fragrance, though it melds in to the moss from the start - and in terms of the greenery, the moss isn't leathery or stagnant. It has depth but it doesn't feel like a heavy or sweaty base of moss as some vintage masculine scents do. I get a decent amount of fir - lovely note, underused for the rather awful pine in my opinion - and lavender offsets this coniferous aroma by sitting on top of a much more subtle 'bouquet' that includes a decent dash of heat from rosemary; I'd also very much say there is a noticeable floral element in the top notes, too. Geranium for sure - carnation and rose, too? Why not. I think they're present. I detect ‘florals', at least. As I say, a bouquet of sorts without really knowing precisely ‘what' is in it. I'm also not really a fan of the lemon note in this - I don't know why but this kind of lemon fact, no, I do know why, it's a note synonymous with all manner of cleaning products. That's why it's not too pleasant. Thankfully much less prominent than bergamot.

I get an intriguing, fleeting note right at the very start as well. To me, it smells somewhat like elemi so I'm mildly surprised to see it not listed in the notes. Amber would definitely equate for this, though - it's subtle but a nice balsamic twist right at the very start and comes out at times in the base notes if you reaaaally dig your nose in but not quite in that ‘tacky' fresh-balsamic way elemi can/does. No doubt the lemon is also adding to the balsamic notes to trick my mind here in to ‘reading' elemi. I wouldn't call this balsamic - though it does have more than a small amount of the chypre to the drydown, certainly, without smelling full on like an 70s oriental (definitely not in the realm of the original Gucci Pour Homme from 1976). In many ways this categorical flexibility perhaps sums up that it's a fragrance caught between worlds – which is both to its gain and its detriment.

The opening seems to last all of about 90 seconds – certainly, the more subtle florals don't hang around for more than a few minutes – perhaps in part because this juice has been sat around slowly decaying over the years or perhaps simply this was by design. Either way, the note-dense opening doesn't last long at all, and by and large you get two or three main overtones: moss, bergamot, and perhaps a lavender and fir accord. The other elements are all much softer by comparison.

I don't particularly like the middle stage of Nobile. It has a plastic-like and powdery sandalwood that - whisper it quietly(!) - reminds me of the dry, chalky-woody sensation of modern 'amberwood' (which you will find dominates fragrances like Bleu de Chanel), without smelling identical to that modern aromachemical. Both seem to share a 'texture' rather than an aroma, if that makes sense, although they're not a million miles away when it comes to smell as well given that they're both synthetic 'woods'. You'll find the same amberwood-sandalwood ‘texture' in Tam Dao EDP, too. There are definitely similarities between BdC and Nobile in my mind based largely on that accord - yes, one is 'blue' and the other 'green' according to their respective semi-naturalistic concepts, and in other ways, yes, they are starkly different - but Chanel's fusion of citrus to a chalky type of 'sandalwood', as well as their attempt to make an understated yet classical everyman fragrance, means there are clear similarities to my mind and nose that go beyond this one type of woody smell. Which is by no means a bad thing - I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all, in fact, it's a positive in my view. However, the 'sense' this sandalwood note gives to Nobile does leave it feeling a tad on the cheap side as perfumery has obviously come a long way since this was created. It doesn't smell like real sandalwood in any sort of way - but then what does, even in 2020? The mids are also where I get a fleeting nutmeg for the first time. And quite a lot of musk, too. These new notes seem to come and go – they're not prominent, and this is still mostly a moss-based fragrance.

By now the oakmoss is truly dominating. While the rosemary is trying to add heat and ‘weight' to the fragrance, as well as some complexity, I really get the sense that the moss is doing most of the leg work on that front. It's good; it's classical. There's definitely a richness that offsets it - a depth that stems from the other notes that have, to me, settled down to soft supporting roles which still have their say in how the fragrance 'is'. The fir is doing wonders, I think. It makes this much more naturalistic and and more of a 'true' forest floor type of scent – hopefully without being too crudely poetic it adds a 'height' to the fragrance that it might otherwise not with this different kind of greenery in it. If the oakmoss is the musty forest floor then the fir is certainly the breath of fresh air that keeps it from becoming a musty mess. At the very least, it adds a pleasing sharpness and fresh greenery that lasts well in to the mids. Lavender and bergamot are still hanging around, too, but they're really settling down now and smell somewhat ‘dried' or muted. Throughout, in fact, the lavender is interesting: it's never really prominent, it's well placed and does a neat job of supporting and, because this is so dominated by moss, it's well ‘hidden' in the blend. During the mids is when I finally smell tarragon - I don't get it off the top - and that adds its own kind of herbaceousness. It's not quite bitter but there's a nice earthiness to it.

And earthiness is where this is heading. Because as much as the tarragon is earthy, and the rosemary warming, there's a big old dose of patchouli that crops up around about the 15-to-30-minute mark on my skin: and at this point I want to say we're already heading towards the base.

At this stage the citrus is definitely taking a back seat - in fact, it might have got off at the last stop and be halfway home. Nobile swiftly becomes even more deep, earthy, and green - and surprisingly smoky. There's loads of patchouli, really quite a lot of it. I'm surprised to see it so low down the ratings but then I suppose everyone is testing from fragrances in varying degrees of wear/degradation so perhaps there is slight differences for everyone. It certainly adds weight to the oakmoss as it becomes richer, darker, more leather-like without ever becoming foul. And, yes, it's very much in the base, as an undertone rather than an overtone within th main body of the scent, which is where the oakmoss sits; but it's there, adding earth, heft, and another element that conjures 'smoke'.

The base is good. The 'smoky' sensation this has it what makes it different - it's not too dark or overbearing, but it's this kind of...dare I say it, vaguely herbal incense-like quality. Like burning rosemary and sage in a damp, wet northern forest. I would suggest there's a lovely, mild tobacco-type note in here (EDIT: I see others now mention that, too, which is good) that could account for some smokiness but it's never pungent nor particularly obvious. This is good stuff but it's not great. The brown woods/grasses - sandalwood, cedar, vetiver - are fine at best and a bit tacky at worst. For all its subtle nuances this is not a scent where you're going to really enjoy all these elements unless you're sniffing up close - as is the case with most scents of course, but particularly so here. From a distance this is, still, mostly moss with a few accents like 'smoke' (patchouli) or 'fresh' (lavander and fir). The blend is 'subtle', certainly, but from the start and particularly by the point it dries down it simply feels like an enjoyable yet clearly dated period piece of a fragrance.

Around the hour mark is where I feel we've definitively entered the final iteration and where some of the more awkward elements finally begin to smooth out. From here, it really is moss + support. The rather chalky-plastic sandalwood has retreated. It now feels tangy, green, smooth, and smoky. I'd go so far to say that the base becomes chypre-esque in that its smoky richness has wafts of balsamic notes: not enough for me to definitively say ‘amber' (though it may as well be that, it's just difficult ‘dissecting' it), nor the ‘elemi' I smell at the top (in hindsight I reckon it's just lemon, amber, and tonka playing tricks on me), but tonka and other sweet resinous notes could perhaps be adding a subtle, oriental sweetness at this stage which would explain the chypre associations.

Undoubtedly, this is a dated scent. There's no two ways about that. The 'balance' I'm talking about to offset the oakmoss is mostly - if not entirely - subtle, and my own review comes from having worn it many times along with a more thorough 'dissection' of the scent. It's not akin to a modern scent like Beau de Jour where the amber drydown completely engulfs and morphs the fragrance in another direction: for the most part this is a nuanced oakmoss blend that smells 'of its time' – which is clearly part of the appeal to many contemporary fans and wearers of Nobile. After a while, without fail, I grow tired of it, even if it does blend fairly well with the skin. It's the persistence of it, the use of oakmoss front and centre: it's all a bit monolithic – but, again, no doubt others see this as appealing. Perhaps the transitions have become tarnished over the years - but then I don't particularly like the middle section of the scent, either, so I'm not sure what elongating certain notes would bring in terms of 'improving' its enjoyability for me. I like the late drydown well enough as it's more subtle but, as I say, it tends to feel a bit ‘oppressive' after a while. I'd perhaps put that down to vetiver, too, of which I am generally no fan for physiological reasons (although I think this is finding excuses for the fact it is an overbearing fragrance - I don't think it's just one note that is responsible, it's just 'the fragrance'). At times some more freshness comes back through as the fir/tree note pops back up to my nose, and it's also in the drydown where I feel I finally smell the cedar, though it's subtle. It leaves a nice green skin scent after about 7-8 hours though projects well for the first 4-5 or so. Longevity in total is always a good 12+ hours. Sillage is beastly, it lingers far longer than the vast majority of modern fragrances, and with a density that even the modern 'beast mode' scents lack due to the type of aroma. The performance is a reminder why this type of fragrance went out of fashion when smoking in public places declined.

In trying to give this a ‘proper' review, it's impossible not to mention the mythology of Nobile and Gucci as a house.

There is a ‘hype' around the discontinued Guccis – intertwined with Tom Ford's time at Gucci as a whole, i.e. M7 (and more recently Rive Gauche) by YSL – that conjures a literary reference to my mind…bear with me.

In Don Delillo's White Noise (1985) – a study in postmodernity, respresentation, and the idea of ‘realness' (the use of mass panic and an airborne toxic event is never more prescient than in our present state with coronavirus!) – there is a precursor to the internet age, and particularly Instagram, with the notion of The Most Photographed Barn In America.

Without getting too off track, it is basically a famous barn that becomes a tourist attraction for photographic opportunities (if what follows doesn't make sense it may help to look this reference up elsewhere on the internet). In essence, the barn is so frequently photographed, and so commonly seen in photographic form, and so ‘known' and preconfigured by these terms that it becomes a simulacrum. Or, in other words, people have an idea, a perception, and certain feelings about the barn long before they see the barn itself. This barn isn't just the barn - the wooden slats, the fields behind it, the roof. It is 'seen' and experienced just as much through the signs and the mythology surrounding its commercial and cultural standing (which, in this sense, is people recreating photographs that have been taken of the barn) than it is by experiencing the barn ‘as it is'. In part, it is basically playing on the idea of authentic experience and perception: how can we see something real, or experience authenticity, when an object has such significant preconceived ideas surrounding it, as well as several ‘steps' that are necessary to take in order to experience it in the first place? As I say, very much like any beauty spot on Instagram!

If all of that sounds a bit overwhelming then the simple point is this: I read a lot about this fragrance before I tried it. It obviously has a lengthy cultural history given its age, and some of that translated to the internet on forums and review pages, until a different type of reputation was formed, and recreated, by other people who 'join the party', so to speak. I suppose the point I would ask is - how much of that reputation and online 'culture' surrounding Nobile has any relation to the actual fragrance? It's hard to say.

As for Nobile-the-fragrance in all of this? It seems quite simple to me: what are we really reviewing, what are we experiencing, when we smell (or buy) this (and any other mythologised fragrance)? It's practically impossible to disregard the aforementioned mythology – though I have tried my level best to do both that at crucial times, to attempt to judge it ‘on its own terms', so to speak – particularly when one of the ‘steps' taken in order to experience/review it includes being lucky enough to find a bottle online, on an auction site, often for a high price. We all know what scarcity and luxury pricing has on perception of worth and value, so I see no reason why this hasn't coloured much of the fanfare around Nobile. In any case, the 'steps' one is required to take to procure Nobile in the present day leads to practical dissonance when it comes to reviewing or evaluating the scent; at least at first - at least for me - it creates a mental deliberation that goes as follows:

“Ok, this is nice.”
“Nice?! What do you mean, ‘nice'…!? This is great!”
“Hmmm, I'm not sure, I think it's just pretty good.”
“Wrong! Look how expensive it is!”
“Yeah, but –“
“…and how many people declare this a masterpiece!”
“I know, but I'm just saying, it seems pretty good but not worth the –“
“But you're wrong, you're going against the grain.”
“Well yeah but it's an opin-“
“…and we've all agreed that this is a masterpiece and well worth 10-20% of the median monthly income that people pay for it.”

Et cetera, et cetera…that critical voice is the 'received wisdom', I suppose, of years and now decades of contributions to the internet that have cultivated a mythology around Nobile. This seems to happen to all fragrances, and indeed all facets of culture as far as I can tell, but in some ways Nobile is the perfect example of this phenomenon, in part because of how rare and expensive it now is, contrasted with how cheap and widely available it was due to being a big designer fragrance was prior to discontinuation. How can you really get to grips with a scent like this; when a mythology seems to be swelling its reputation in to loftier realms as stocks dwindle and prices skyrocket? I've tried my best, but…man…it's hard. This is different to branding and it's different to the modern trend of 'astroturfing'. It's different to something like the hype surrounding Aventus or other, newer niche fragrances because it's discontinued. It's…'organic'. It appears to be a people-led reconfiguring and ‘re-mythologising' of a fragrance that is vastly different to how it was perceived while it was still in production: it is a form of branding that doesn't actually benefit the creator. I suppose, in many ways, this is the beauty of fragrance, right? What price do you put on emotions and memories that are tied to a good quality scent? Well, *maybe* that's the beauty, and price elevation is just a side effect…I'm not so sure…but for some, it would appear there is no price limit given the fact that Nobile now sells for 10 to 20 times what it once did.

The cynic in me would suggest that people who were savvy enough to buy out the stocks of Nobile sitting in bargain basement stores back in the mid-2000s are playing their part in the hype. But I don't think it's that. I do think it's a case of collective...overindulgence? A desire to capture (or recapture) this fragrance for all the reasons I'll detail below (and above, as per the scent itself and its nice nuances, as this is a decent fragrance in its own right). I just can't help but feel the mythology of this thing – the signposting – is impossible to ignore or pretend doesn't exist; and, thus, whenever I have worn it I have been painfully aware of the ‘price' (literal and otherwise) of doing so. I have tried my level best to push past it when reviewing, which is partly why it's taken so long – and will say more about this below, in terms of application, suitability etc – yet it is the omnipresent mythology of this scent, as with all Guccis, that I come back to time and time again when I'm left with the feeling ‘yeah, this is pretty good, but…'.

This reference to the barn makes for an interesting comparison to reviewing/conceiving of fragrances in general – particularly in the age of influencer hype, but no doubt it relates to other ‘cult favourites' among the fragrance community as well. Almost every single ‘biggest disappointment' fragrance seems to stem from hype: none moreso than Aventus, of course. And ultimately, fragrances which are selling around the £2-3/ml mark suggest something impressive to the uninitiated; what they tend to deliver is diminishing or even negative returns on any expenditure compared to something much more affordable.

In short, I suppose I'm saying – proceed with caution if you seek out a bottle.


In terms of Gucci as a house, to me I would say this is a buffer fragrance as well as something that stands alone – between Tom Ford's attempt to ‘sex up' this profile with ginger, tobacco, and more obviously synthetic woods in Envy, and the much more leathery-oakmoss of the original Gucci Pour Homme from the 70s (a true chypre which differs from the treatment of oakmoss in Nobile). Each subsequent scent seems to lean on the next so there is a ‘lineage' through the house that we may or may not see repeated in the near future given where the house is going (I'm sure many people would love to see this).

It also feels relevant that so much changed in that intervening decade between Envy and Nobile. The Cold War was over, we had the rebirth of Disney, alt rock came and swept away the pseudo-macho bravado in the music scene, mobile phones had gone from Gordon Gecko's brick on the beach to the nearly-ubiquitous Nokia. A lot changed in a short space of time. And for fragrances, crucially, people were stopping smoking as the realities of tobacco use and nicotine addiction were ravaging the older population with cancers. Thus, the world changed - from one of rigidity and tension as the geopolitics suggests turmoil and trauma, to one of openness, rapid economic growth, hope, and breaching new shores. Now excuse the pun - of course the 90s was the decade of aquatics - but, in Envy, we had an idea of a smoky-green-fougere that was largely transformed from what had been the norm when Nobile was released. If Envy was Tom Ford's romanticised pastiche of fragrances from the 70s and 80s then Nobile was, as I say, 'the real deal' - one of the last words before green fragrances became self-referential and 'retro'.

Finally on Gucci, in spite of there being what feels like tonal similarities within the house, Nobile lacks the punch of Gucci's other fragrances – in fact, the name suggests the tonal approach. It's noble and understated despite its rich, thick, mossy aroma. Given how polarising powerhouse fragrances can be, this is the aforementioned 'everyman' fragrance that had an air of sophistication and deftness built in to it. And I think it achieves those things fairly well in spite of the passage of time eroding such nuances. It feels like workmanlike luxury, something that would have appealed to men irrespective of earning or social standing - much like the recent 'dark blue' trend that Chanel gave birth to.

So, inevitably, on to the price. Whatever you think about the ‘aura' this has, it's impossible to avoid the cost issue for a fragrance that sells for £250+ (up to £500 in some cases) for a 120ml bottle when it was selling for £20 in bargain basement bins back in the mid-2000s. Current prices are almost painfully bad: in all honesty, it is atrocious value for money and the epitome of scarcity and nostalgia mingling with mystique and brand name to create a massively overinflated discontinued product. I think I know why.

Wearing Nobile feels like dipping back in to a world that ended in the mid 90s: around the time a cultural and generational revolution occurred. The smells of the old world were literally embedded in to carpets and the wallpaper from the patchwork refurbishing of previous decades; of demountable office buildings with musty ring binders and wood panelling; of the old boys in the pub, mingling with warm ale and cigarette smoke. It was designed to cut through a very different aromatic world to the one that exists today and, for me, the sharp decline in public smoking in the 90s and 00s explains quite why mossy, dank fragrances – which would otherwise smell fresh and vibrant in a smoke-filled room – have fallen by the wayside. But then that world practically disappeared over the course of a decade as refurnishing and cultural recalibration occurred – and so, too, did tastes in fragrance. While Gucci Envy, released in 1998, feels like the now well-founded Tom Ford model of romanticised pastiche that draws from something like Nobile, the latter feels, as I said, like the 'real' thing: of something with a legacy stretching back to the 70s and indeed before. In short, Nobile smells like a scent now largely ‘gone' from the world, of being one of the last entries in the book of the powerhouse era. But I'm not sure it's a masterpiece even if it is the ‘real thing' – good, but not exactly stunning. The question I would ask is – how has this desire for authenticity, for the ‘real thing', led to the current prices?

I sense the reason behind this is partly the men who grew up or came of age wearing this scent reaching their peak earning potential in the 2000s/2010s and thus not settling for anything other than the scent they value the most – for emotional, nostalgic reasons as much as anything else. Because *who* or *what* are you wearing this for uness you have the emotional bond that occurs through years and years of wearing a fragrance? Nobile is absolutely not winning any awards in the now-fabled sexiness category; nor does the price difference between Nobile and other ‘not too heavy oakmoss' vintages of the era justify what people are paying, even if those alternatives aren't all that common or capture the same tastefulness of a non-powerhouse fougere from the same period (I think the fact that Nobile was discontinued before reformulations of vintage perfumes became common may play to its favour, too, given how many of its contemporaries are now shadows of their former selves). I don't doubt this has a hold of the heartstrings of some or even many men who wore this in the late 80s and 90s. However, I also believe it's partly ‘expensive through association' with the Gucci fragrances released during its heyday (Envy, Rush, Pour Homme 03 etc) – which surely had/has a larger 'user base' and more cultural and brand appeal/resonance than Nobile given their close proximity to each other in terms of release (and discontinuation) date (and the fact they arrived at a time when Gucci was much more desirable and commercially successful as a brand). In short: *this* discontinued scent, Nobile, is expensive because *those* discontinued scents are expensive. Which is something that's happened to Gucci Pour Homme 2 almost overnight when it was axed last year (from £30-50 prior, to £80-100+ as it stands). I'm unsure quite *when* prices started going crazy for something that was only discontinued circa 2006 having been a bargain basement scent for years (!) but either way it is obviously relatively recently in the grand scheme of things.

Even accounting for the nostalgia of wealthy, quinquagenarian men, I don't think that quite explains the market for this given the high prices. I think, partly, it's simply expensive because there has been a collective desire and congruence of factors that have resulted in the second hand market to decide this scent is to become a 'barn' of the fragrance world: and massively overpriced at that.

I ‘get' why certain people wear Aventus the way they wear it. Or BR540. Or Parfums de Marly, Xerjoff etc. They're loud, proud, and – at the moment – attractive enough to women/other people to warrant praise/sex appeal, as well as offering a psychological sense of ‘specialness' and luxury to young-ish men who don't really know any better given the price those scents cost. And so eventhough I genuinely try to ignore price when assessing the actual scent, I cannot see how you can ignore it when it comes to assessing wearability. There's something admirable about the wise, older man who is past the peak of his physical powers - having traded them for wisdom and experience ; which in turn grants them the ‘short cuts' to understanding when it comes to something like taste and fragrance. Sure, Nobile lacks the immediate appeal of certain modern scents – either in the fabled ‘pantydropping' or in a sense of benign cleanliness – but it has appeal of a different kind. It's not going to help ‘pull' any of your wannabe Love Island lasses but a 50-or-60-something woman looking for a man of less virile, more sophisticated charms? I see and 'get' the niche demographic for Nobile and its wearer; it undercuts the preening and the posturing of present boutique niche brand wearers who douse themselves in Creed and MFK and think 'nuclear first impressions' are all that matter.

This is an ‘oh, you smell really nice' from an older woman kind of fragrance – not the ‘lick your skin then feel guilty afterwards' kind of scent you might call one of the above. It has a sober appeal to it. That's good, we need fragrances like that.

A really lovely £30 bottle of something that smells classical, smart, masculine, and mature – without the appeal of the aforementioned and other modern releases that charge £3+/ml – would absolutely suit a crafty, wise man who gives a "knowing wink" towards the bros peacocking with a £300 fragrance…yet if you're also paying £300 for this then that element of guile and understated elegance completely disappears. The tasteful, wily, knowing, and less ostentatious reasons for enjoying this ‘for what it is' practically disappear when you're paying silly money for it. It avoids a fundamental part of the ‘point' of opting for a scent like this when it costs as much as it does: you're spending over the odds to almost prove a point that, at best, is tenuous to start with: the world has moved on, women do enjoy the developments in fragrance that have occurred in the last 30 years, and this doesn't grant you 'extra' masculinity or wisdom just by virtue of the fact it smells like it does. As I say, it's the opposite - and completely inverts the appeal - when you pay stupid money for it.

I'm not just judging this solely as a ‘scent', nor as a cultural artefact, despite spending so much time discussing the elements surrounding Nobile – it's a perfume. It's a fragrance: it's meant to be worn, and to be smelled by other people. I can see the merit of an older man wearing this; I can see the appeal of having this as a signature scent. I cannot see the value unless money is no object and you wore and loved this years ago.

Overall I think Nobile is fine. It's good. But it's ridiculous to think this is garnering the prices it is, in my opinion. Of course I'm sure those who had the foresight to buy 15 sealed bottles in 2007 may think differently…!


Scent 8/10: I don't like the woody elements here, they smells cheap. Often it feels like the fragrance is wearing me than the other way around. And that's not because of its strength: it's strong but that's not the issue. I think it is the synthetic sandalwood (EDIT: I wonder if this was reformulated/had real sandalwood removed, and my bottle was a later edition/release? I doubt it but it's possible), moreso than any of the other supporting notes. The oakmoss never gets too ‘dirty' or pungent yet it is still a type of fragrance that has largely been forgotten for a reason: it *isn't* the most versatile fragrance in the modern world and it *can* be overbearing when wearing on a daily basis. I enjoy the blending and the depth of notes yet, equally, I feel I have to really ‘work' to smell these – perhaps a facet of its dulled nature as a vintage? On skin, as a beauty product not an ‘idea' or a mythology, it's pretty good...but has its issues.

The greenery is enjoyable though, which comprise the main body of the fragrance. The fir and oakmoss pair together very nicely before patchouli adds even more earth without feeling leather-like or overly stagnant. It creates a nice drydown even if it takes a rough sideroad to get there. I do admire its naturalistic attempt at fragrance. It does feel like it's aiming for a ‘true' forest effect and in some ways it's probably a good achievement for the time, much like Cool Water was considered ‘aquatic'. Subsequent forest fragrances perhaps owe a debt of gratitude to what was achieved here, eschewing spice or other strong masculine notes (other than a dust of nutmeg) to keep it lean, green, mossy, and smoky, and more akin to an atmospheric or naturalistic scene than many other contemporary fougeres.

Performance: 9/10 – Very good. Strong without being obnoxiously loud for the first few hours, exceptional longevity. As you'd expect from the scent profile, it hangs around.

Versatility: 3/10 – I think most men under 40, perhaps 50, will struggle to pull this off unless they've transcended beyond time and culture and put little value in how they are perceived by others. At its time I can see this being a super versatile, very good ‘one bottle man' kind of fragrance. Today? Well, it's still versatile but the clientele (on scent alone) this appeals to is much smaller than it once was. Som poor versatility but for those it suits they may consider it to be excellent – price is the main issue preventing it from being a signature, daily scent for an older gent, I'd imagine. Unfortunately it loses even more points for not being particularly appropriate to warmer climates, either. Not something you want to wear in the summer, this feels strictly suited to late autumn, winter, and early spring.

Value: 0.5/10: Think I've said enough on that front. At the time of release, or when discounted, it was great. Now? Not so good.

Overall: 7/10 – I've tried to put my own personal sensibilities to the side and give it a fair score based primarily on its aroma and *not* anything else. Nobile definitely has its charms and its successes; and – as I've said – it's very hard to ‘see' or smell it as it truly is without asking the question “is this it? and is this really worth it?”. Putting price aside I feel like there is still too much enthusiasm due to scarcity and nostalgia which leads to uncritical praise yet at the same time I do understand it: it's obviously loved for the nuances, and if you cannot find those nuances in another, similar fragrance, or if you find Nobile to be your ‘sweet spot' fragrance, then of course you may well gush over it and stump up the cash accordingly. I think I ‘get' what other people love about Nobile: it shares elements with other fougeres from the period yet is by no means a powerhouse. It's far too fresh, light, and tasteful for that. And this is what I mean when I say it's caught between worlds: in many ways it feels like a precursor to something like Aventus – both ‘of its time' but certainly leaning back on classical templates. And Bleu de Chanel, too: this could easily be seen, conceptually speaking, as a precursor to today's market as a scent trying to achieve several things all at once; of trying to (unsuccessfully) maximise its market share to be the scent of ‘all men'. Was it ahead of its time in this sense, while also too late given how the perfume world changed so dramatically in the early 90s? And if they failed at the time of release in commercial terms, the used market has stepped in to the breach to show that – in many ways – they *did* succeed in creating something of a 'refined everyman' fragrance, at least in some men's minds and noses. It's green and laden with moss, yet is neither cloyingly sharp nor leathery. It's herbal, yet smoky. It's mossy, yet fresh. Although perhaps that's also one of its failings? Like the much maligned ‘versatile' fragrances today is it the case that this fougere isn't quite fresh enough for the modern day nor heavy enough for the 80s, and both these slight failings count against it? Probably. To my mind I like it well enough and would consider it an altogether more refined alternative to a similar sort of template you'd find men of a certain vintage still wearing 10-15 years ago. I don't think too many men can be found wearing this style of fragrance anymore in all honesty due to age, at least not because they've stuck with it from the 80s and earlier and still like the way such fragrances smell. Current prices simply prohibit Nobile being used as it ought to be, which is as a signature scent...unless you are incredibly wealthy or indulgent. The scent doesn't really lend itself to infrequent or 'special occasion' wearing due to how strong it is - even if the price practically demands it. And the fact time is against it means that anyone under the age of 50, or perhaps 60 these days, is likely to be indulging in aromatic fancy dress - which is fine, I suppose, as many people us perfume in this way. But we're back to questions about authenticity, aren't we...

That said, I've tried to largely ignore price when it comes to my final numerical voting – I've been generous and probably only removed half or a full point for price where I could easily take off several based on ‘value' and the ability to replenish your personal stock (an oft neglected part of vintage/discontinued hunting is the effort required to find it on ebay etc – who has time for the stress that brings?). It's good; no, in fact very good. But not quite great.

Ultimately, I don't think Nobile is a lost great any more than many other discontinued scents are a sad loss to those who wore and loved them. It's good, enjoyable, feels 'easy' to wear for something so vintage, and has some personable charm to it. But if you want a smooth oakmoss-centric retro or vintage scent, you can find that in this day and age without spending £2/ml and upwards for something that has likely suffered at the hands of Old Man Time (don't forget, production ceased in 2006 at the latest, so at the very least any bottle you buy today will be 14 years old in who knows what state). If this were £30-60 ($40-75ish) I would think no more (nor, indeed, less) of it as a scent but I would fully endorse those who were keeping the spirit of the 80s alive: perms, shoulder pads, no minimum wage, the AIDs pandemic, threats of nuclear Armageddon and everything! Now, it's on the much more tasteful end of its era than those stereotypes, but still, it's impossible to overlook the nostalgia at play in its current status – not least as ‘real' oakmoss retreats ever further from the market due to regulations. You *can* find oakmoss-heavy scents though. Companies such as Rouge Perfumery brand themselves on such grounds, and Fougere Bengale, released in 2007, offers a spicy, smoky, rich mossy experience that some fans of Nobile will surely enjoy (though it also has a heavy dose of cumin). Failing that, if you prefer the coniferous elements of Nobile then forest-fougeres have come a long way since, with the likes of Slumberhouse's Norne and Strangers Parfumerie's Scotch Peat creating far more realistic aromas in the theme. I don't believe the experience and aroma offered by Nobile is irreplaceable in the present day.

For all its charms, Nobile remains aromatic time travel to the past for a price from the future. It's good but you can buy a more cost-effective ticket by looking elsewhere.
Feb 17, 2021

Smells more like Drakkar Noir than Drakkar Noir. OK if you want to smell like a thousand other functional products for men, since this scent has become so generic.
Jun 25, 2020

The tale of Gucci's perfume efforts is one of tragedy if you ask vintage colognoisseurs, as the house has been bought and sold over the years and had its perfume catalog wiped and restarted twice, resulting in three distinct periods of style (so far). The initial period which began in the 70's and ran into the 90's saw the house mostly stick to traditional Italian motifs for its perfumes, and Gucci Nobile (1988) falls into that category. Then there was the Tom Ford era where he piloted not just Gucci, but Yves Saint Laurent from his chair at LVMH until his departure in 2005. The decade or so of perfumes made under his watch were certainly more in the retro-romanticism vein, but weren't really as honest as the initial offerings. Then Gucci was sold again and the perfume division landed in the hands of Coty Prestige, who rebooted the house a second time to follow a far more-mainstream and commercialized route which synergized better with the flashy logo-obsessed culture which was buying into the brand by that point. None of this really relates to the smell of Gucci Nobile, but all of it relates to why it is so revered by vintage colognoisseurs, with surviving bottles placed on a pedestal so high as to challenge the retail prices of Creed and Xerjoff in the aftermarket. What's fascinating is Gucci Nobile really was the start of the "Guccicorn" phenomenon of making "unicorns" (vastly over-hyped and over-valued trophy pieces among discontinued scents that can serve as a measure of a collector's legitimacy upon acquisition) out of discontinued Gucci perfumes, that has come to affect all future discontinued Gucci perfumes and retroactively ones that had been axed before Gucci Nobile was, and I'm going to try answering why while also helping you wrap your head around the smell of it. Gucci Nobile is really just another 1980's aromatic fougère that anyone could easily live without, even if it does tiptoe over the line into another genre and has that same unrepentant moss-heavy construction that both dates the stuff for modern noses not raised in the pre-IFRA era, and exalts it in the eyes of hobbyists who could literally snort lines of oakmoss off a tree and be happy. You remove all these very-specific contexts, and it's easy to wonder what all the big deal is about.

On the surface, Gucci Nobile looks and even initially smells like your standard green office fougère, coming across with the expected 80's soapy tones of citrus, florals, orris, and tonka on a bitey oakmoss base, comparable to any number of contemporaries at the time. A deeper inspection after the initial opening reveals something altogether different, more stately, mature, and complex. For starters, Gucci Nobile doesn't directly stay in the fougère lane during its drydown phases, wandering in and out of chypre bitterness throughout. The bergamot, lemon, and lavender opening is certainly fougère enough, but rosemary, tarragon, and spicy mace bring in a piquant sharpness altogether on a level beyond your standard Drakkar Noir (1984), or Houbigant Duc de Vervins (1985). The heart is densely packed with florals of all kinds, including rose, jasmine, cyclamen, and geranium, but alongside the usual orris they are balanced with bitter fir and dry cedar to keep the soap factor to a minimum, and help introduce that chypre-like base. Tonka, musk, and of course oakmoss are here to make the expected fougère foundation, but with sandalwood, vetiver, and patchouli teasing out the sharp green chypre-like aspects of the oakmoss present, we end up with a sort of amalgam hybrid base similar to that of Pascal Morabito Or Black (1982) but minus any leather. The densely mossy-green chypre feeling of R de Capucci by Roberto Capucci (1986) and Gianfranco Ferré for Man (1986) are also recalled, both brutally Italian in their zest I might add, to sit alongside the clean and neat fougère finish. The conclusion of this development implies a construction that was meant to be everything appealing to men who loved aromatic tones in the 1980's, which now means this scent is everything appealing to men who love 80's-style aromatic fragrances in one bottle. In short: this stuff is very classy-smelling catnip for powerhouse lovers, and that alongside the tumultuous history of House Gucci and increasing scarcity has shot this stuff to the moon both in price and prestige among collectors. This still isn't the best fougère from the decade in my opinion, especially not with contenders like Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981), Lapidus Pour Homme (1987), or Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels (1989), but it does something none of the others from this period do, and it's really hard being unique in the fougère realm, so I'm impressed.

Gucci Nobile is clearly well-behaved despite having a literal forest worth of aromatics in its note pyramid, because with a name like that, it almost has to be polite. What I find most interesting about the smell of Nobile is how it pretty much goes against everything Gucci has stood for as a fashion brand, as it isn't brash, overly sweet, or pulsing with virility and machismo like one might expect from a Gucci masculine from the 80's. You get a bucket of herbs and spices over barbershop florals and a mega-dense aromatic base that wants to be both a fougère and a chypre, with sillage for miles and longevity until the end of time. This stuff was made in an age of smoking inside public buildings, so there is no real way to lightly wear Nobile, especially since it never survived long enough to see reformulation into softer-spoken versions like most of its 80's kin, but that doesn't mean it isn't a lovely wear for fans of the style. Wear this anywhere you'd use a fougère or chypre, but keep it in moderate weather because there isn't anything refreshing about it, and it might be a tad over the top in summer. I can't recommend Nobile with prices higher than Willie Nelson after a performance in Amsterdam, but I understand the "holy grail" aspect of its desirability because you could own bottles of R de Capucci, Duc de Vervins, Drakkar Noir, Or Black, and everything else I've named to cover all the bases handled by just a single bottle of Gucci Nobile, which really does make it a one-stop-shop of aromatic 80's goodness. When you factor in the mythos created by a house that just keeps killing off anything anyone seems to like (to the point of fans suspecting it when they stop seeing a favorite Gucci scent in stores), and you can see why the reverence is through the roof on Gucci Nobile. This really is great stuff, and although I don't think it's blood of the Gods, I can truly respect why this one is loved and sorely missed so much. If you want to ignore all the animalic and musky floral dandy masculines of the 1980's, Gucci Nobile is practically your reference scent for fans of this decade in men's perfumery, which makes it all the more tragic that it is unobtainable to the vast majority of us anymore. Thumbs up.
May 12, 2019

Gucci Nobile is a scent I first became familiar with in the early 2000's when I saw it at discount retailer TJ Maxx. You could easily find 60ml bottles for under $20 at that time. The same 60ml bottle is selling for 20 times that price on eBay in 2019!

Nobile is a familiar soapy green scent that opens with citrus (bergamot and lemon) a medley of herbal notes, and a base of lots of oakmoss and vetiver and a lovely sandalwood/musk/tobacco dry-down. There are some light floral accords - jasmine, rose, carnation - that I can somewhat pick apart in the mid notes. The complexity of this fragrance is stunning, and impressive that no single note jumps out and dominates the composition. Ingredients are high quality. I enjoy the many natural essences of Nobile.

Performance in terms of projection and longevity are above average. The last few times I've worn it I've noticed my bottle might not be quite as potent as I remember older bottles of Nobile. It's been off the market for a fairly long time now.

One style of Nobile has a grey bottle with the sprayer built into the cap and another has a removable grey cap with a silver spray. I much prefer the latter, as it puts out a better stream and is, frankly, less tacky.

There's a bit of an 80's vibe to Nobile (1988), for sure. Some of the comparisons have been quite accurate, though Nobile is its own character. For someone who is looking to approach the 80's powerhouse genre, Nobile might be one of the more approachable, less challenging scents to start with. It's brighter in its theme to many of the 80's beasts, and I don't think Nobile is a fragrance that would easily offend those around you.

Nobile is such a pleasant "fresh" fragrance, though I would prefer to say it evokes "clean", and certainly masculine. I find it to be comforting and casual and something I would wear in the spring.

I don't do Nobile as a SOTD too often, but it's nice to have a bottle in my wardrobe. This is - by far - my favorite Gucci fragrance. It might also be my favorite in its genre of "green" 80's powerhouses because it's soft-spoken and approachable. 5 stars out of 5 for me!
Mar 25, 2019

Tbis is what a man should smell like! Not too much oakmoss, blended perfectly with my skin chemistry, and lasted dawn till dusk!

Way better than Polo Green of any vintage, with a freshness to boot. Man I sure miss this frag, too much for summer, or even a Texas Spring, but absolutely Perfect for Fall and Winter.

Nothing made today can compare, this is pure classly manliness!
Jan 27, 2019

Stonking great 80's fougère with the kind of sillage you can cut with a knife.

Sep 24, 2018

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