Noir Exquis 
L'Artisan Parfumeur (2015)

Average Rating:  21 User Reviews

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Noir Exquis by L'Artisan Parfumeur

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About Noir Exquis by L'Artisan Parfumeur

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L'Artisan Parfumeur
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The inspiration for Noir Exquis is an unexpected rendez-vous in a French patisserie:

Two people meet over a coffee. In this delicious atmosphere of patisserie and coffee, hushed looks are exchanged. This delightful rendez-vous is the beginning of a new story with Noir Exquis.

Fragrance notes.

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Reviews of Noir Exquis by L'Artisan Parfumeur

There are 21 reviews of Noir Exquis by L'Artisan Parfumeur.

If you like vanilla Yankee Candles, you'll /love/ Noir Exquis.

Maybe if I had smelled this first, I would feel the YC candle was an effin steal, but no, the candle came first and I didn't take to it. They both smell not quite of vanilla, but near-vanilla, of cotton candy, of the optimism of the first semester of freshman year in a college dorm, of an easily breakable lock on a diary and the wince at the bubbly handwriting within, of a wet stack of bleached cafeteria trays, of a dancing chorus of Snuggle plush-toys, of a golden retriever just home from the groomer, running to a child--in slow motion.

In an alternate dimension there is a precious wood that has a remarkable aroma of chestnuts, heliotrope, and bourbon vanilla; a cosmic wood, if you will, highly coveted but protected from the ravages of over-harvesting.

I imagine Noir Exquis to be the scent of this fantastical wood from another realm.

An opening blast of liqueur quickly subsides to receding autumn leaves, distant bonfires, and dark shadowy woods at dusk. The base gets ever nuttier, woodier, with just a dusting of powder and pastry. Sweet, pensive and charming.

Perfect to wear as we reach the precipice of winter.

Noir Exquis absolutely a gourmand fragrance, but it never forgets that it’s a perfume, not a holiday candle. The gourmand elements, such as coffee, chestnut, vanilla, and maple syrup, are front-and-center in the blend, but they’re cocooned with florals and woods and employed in such a way that they’re never too much – never too sweet, never too vanillic, never too juvenile or crass.

In line with L’Artisan’s long history, this is an exquisitely blended perfume created with a sense of elegance, sophistication, and care.

The opening is a broadside of juicy orange, powdery heliotrope and orange blossom, chestnut, and a deep, rich, almost boozy vanilla, reminiscent of real vanilla extract. Soon, though, everything starts to come into focus.

The orange fades, and the coffee starts to bubble up from beneath a golden haze of maple. This is not a harsh, bitter coffee like in By Kilian’s Intoxicated or Sebastiane’s Espresso Royale, but more like the pleasing wafts you might get when you come down for breakfast and a fresh pot of coffee has just been brewed. This coffee blends seamlessly with the chestnut and the thick, boozy, and slightly smoky vanilla.

As time goes on, the ebony wood comes more to the fore, and overall the fragrance becomes drier and less sweet. The heliotrope and orange blossom provide a lush, velveteen texture. Where other gourmand fragrances might eschew floral notes altogether, these flowers are used skillfully to add a suppleness to the fragrance that elevates it from a simple vanilla to something more complex and balanced.

What you’re left with for hours and hours after initial application is a warm, sensual vanilla flecked with coffee beans, white flowers, a drizzle (not too much) of maple syrup, and dry woods.

Performs exactly like an EDP, so good longevity and not-so-good projection and sillage. But I'm okay with that.


Noir Exquis was released the same year as Carlisle, Noir Extreme, Spicebomb Extreme, By The Fireplace, and many others in a smoky tonka gourmand style. Noir Exquis very much belongs in that family, but it's also the best of that particular pack by virtue of compositional refinement and raw quality.

If Noir Exquis finds perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour operating in a fairly mass-appealing mode, there's still some welcome nuance in this multi-faceted creation. The bitterness and woodiness of the chestnut and coffee notes help balance out some of the sweetness, wrapped in a smoky darkness that avoids any aromachemical harshness. A maple booziness that drifts in and out, adding the autumnal feeling.

Given what prices this can be found at from discounters, Noir Exquis is a no-brainer pickup for anyone who wants a thoughtfully composed contemporary gourmand for the autumn months (especially if any of the scents mentioned at the start of my review were under consideration).

The maple syrup and the chestnut combine in the opening to a pleasantly sweet and discreet aroma.

The drydown adds a milky coffee aroma, with whiffs of caramel also present. The base adds a darker wood note, at times presenting as a bony and at times as dark teakwood, with a very restrained soft smoky touch at a later stage, which is underlined by whiffs of raisin muffins.

Interestingly, whilst initially a bit thin, it gains strength with time, peaking in the heart notes before tapering out very gradually towards the end.

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

A lovely winter gourmand with a slight nudge in the direction of Christmas, a bit nonspecific at times and done quite well. Still, not enough to score positive. 2.75/5

It took me quite a while to actually figure out why I wasn't enamoured with the opening of this perfume, but I think something clicked when I got to smell Martin Margiela's By The Fireplace. Chestnut. My brain simply won't allow my sense of smell to recognise chestnut as a desirable aroma, and i really think that the omission of this particular note would have made me like this perfume a whole lot more.

The chestnut opens with the sweet tang of orange, which I found a dissonant pairing, and definitely had a negative impact on how i perceived the rest of the perfume's development. Like having the aftertaste of medicine in your mouth just before you eat a lovely dessert.

From that point, the scent plays out very safely using the old firm of vanilla and tonka, solidified with some dark woods (i guess something was needed for the Noir). I wish the coffee was accentuated on my skin, but i only got the haunting of some distant powdery bitterness. Maple sap was also missing in action, but that could have been me assuming it would smell like the stuff I pour on pancakes.

The thing is, it smells nice on me after the first 10 minutes and I know a few people who genuinely have this perfume as one of their loves. So like all reviews, you need to take my opinion in the context of my personal tastes of the time, and right now gourmands in general are not my, well, jam.

There is one thing, it is the type of scent I really enjoy smelling off clothing. I wore it with a scarf the other day and really enjoyed nuzzling my cold nose into it 8 hours later. It hangs around, but won't really intrude anyone's personal space unless they are close enough to intrude yours.

Now if you are a gourmand fan, then I will always recommend you try this. Just because I am a chestnutaphobe, doesn't mean you won't love it. But somewhat sadly, Noir Exquis will be finding a new home with someone that can show it more love than I can. It's not you, it's me.

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