Nombre Noir 
Shiseido (1981)


Average Rating:  18 User Reviews

Your ratings



Nombre Noir by Shiseido

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Nombre Noir by Shiseido

People & Companies

Fragrance House

Nombre Noir was a fragrance that used perfume maker Serge Lutens as image creator. Lutens' idea was that black is the ultimate color because it concentrates all other colors, and so the design was based entirely on black. Both cap and glass bottle were black, the latter sandblast etched with the lettering, creating a contrast between gloss and matte areas that highlighted the appeal of black to the very core.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Nombre Noir

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Reviews of Nombre Noir by Shiseido

There are 18 reviews of Nombre Noir by Shiseido.

Tackling a sacred cow like this is no easy job, especially when it has a damage note in the top.
But when it all settles down, Nombre Noir is a blackcurrant jasmin-rose with a base of biscuit and woody-musk. An unusual member of the eighties coriander - rose chypre clan.

I imagine that, originally, the rosy facet would have had more of a stained glass feel, but the molecules responsible are fragile, and for example, alpha-damascone (rose, apple, blackcurrant and mint with a rich plum undertone) is now sold with a stabiliser.

When the purple fruity rose is paired with a light brown woody-oily-musky base - with a sawdust feel up close, it makes for an interesting colour scheme, as well as a vibrant contrast.

NoNo develops the fruity and musky pairing of Mûre et Musc (1978) and it also draws on other Shiseido works like Murasaki from the 1980's (in the original fruity - praline version) and the 'woody rose' of Zen (1964) - as Luca Turin described it.

Now, thanks to Turin's assessment, NoNo has legendary status. Just like Grain de musc with her Iris Gris, I'm lucky - I found a sample on a flea market. So I can say, this tart-fruity and woody purple rose is very nice; but I wouldn't pay exorbitant prices for it. Nombre Noir is not unique enough to warrant that kind of expense, and there are other things - which are there or there abouts - that are better value for money in my opinion.
It's good, but it's not the Holy Grail...

Nombre Noir is a haunted gothic rose that smells *exactly* like the early 80's. It deepens with jammy notes of blackberry, osmanthus, and flux capacitor. ( I'm not sure how else this can smell so exactly like the 80's! They put *something* in the water during the Cold War.)

Nombre Noir is an 80's fragrance without any of the 80's fragrance PTSD. It didn't permeate every mall and magazine like Giorgio. It wasn't worn in the high school hallways and locker rooms like Poison. And yet Nombre Noir feels like it was actually there. Nombre Noir is the atmosphere of my own dark, perfect, alternate past.

Nombre Noir smells like the deepest velvety purple rose, a rose so dark it's almost black. It's a rose with blackberry jam and carnations (maybe just one carnation, this isn't Ho Hang Club). No soap, no sugar, some spice. It is sad somehow, but it's not depressing or tedious. It's the fragrance that a smart goth girl would wear.

Or at least it was. Nowadays, Nombre Noir is so insanely expensive that it's probably just the smell of bad judgement.

Nombre Noir is uniquely beautiful. It is worthy of praise. But I think it has probably been a bit overpraised and over promoted. There are other rose fragrances out there. There are better rose fragrances out there. Still, if you are lucky enough to own a bottle of this... I guess I should be brave enough to admit that I'm terribly, terribly jealous.

Nombre Noir opens with nose tingling aldehydes and smooth rosewood with just a hint of slightly sharp, citric lemony orange bergamot before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart fine white floral jasmine takes the fore with slightly dark rose, slightly powdery carnation and smooth yellow floral ylang-ylang in support. Additional support is provided by an ever-so slightly waxy orris butter and lemony-green geranium with a tinge of mildly sweet honey. During the late dry-down the florals all gradually recede with the rose now most prominent, turning slightly powdery as it joins a very subtle natural woody accord through the finish. Projection is average, as is longevity at around 8 hours on skin.

The elusive Nombre Noir has taken on near-legendary status over the years, being touted by some prominent names in perfume (one in particular) placing it as one of the all-time greats. I always wanted to try the perfume, but alas, the price of admission reached stratospheric levels in relative terms, making obtaining even a small sample a decent sized investment. Well, I finally "bit the bullet" and got my hands on a decant to try out, and here we are... This is one of the rare instances where I hoped I would dislike the composition due to its lofty cost, but alas, it really is *incredible* smelling. The first thing that grabbed me was the jasmine. This is some very good quality stuff that is not unlike the fine jasmine used in X for Men by Clive Christian, but even higher quality. The rose, which ultimately becomes the focal note in the perfume transitions so seamlessly from the jasmine I barely realized what had happened. In fact, the entire composition is about class, finesse, restraint and most of all balance. It is the balance of an amalgamation of its laundry list of high quality materials that makes Nombre Noir such an absolute marvel. I barely mention even a small fraction of the ingredients primarliy because they all complement each other so well and just meld together perfectly. So in the end, instead a hopeful pan, I ended up with an immediate hunt for my own admittedly crazy expensive bottle. The bottom line is the extremely rare and long since discontinued $1350 per 60 ml bottle on the aftermarket Nombre Noir is a near-perfect chypre from the great, late perfumer Jean-Yves Leroy that approaches a "masterpiece" rating of 4.5 to 5 stars out of 5 and an easy recommendation to at least secure a small sample. Everyone needs to at least sniff Nombre Noir once in their lifetime.

A very beautiful dark elegant rose scent. Anyone smelled La Fille de Berlin? The rose note I feel is quite similar for both however there's a lot more complexity going on with Nombre Noir. For one there's a definite aldehyde note that fortunately works really well with the rose. Then there's the wood and chypre notes at the base which I enjoy in a rose based scent. Although a dark rose, it's very airy as well. I think this is a rose that would definitely appeal for someone like me. Yes it's very rare and its going for a high premium on eBay. L'Arte di Gucci also offers both the same quality and complexity that fulfills my expectations in a rose scent but it's almost a dead tie between the two. Both of these I enjoy more than YSL Rive Gauche and Coty la rose Jacqueminot that I've sampled from PL's retro Rose Sample Pass.

The one, the only, the infamous unobtainium! Luca's first love! Etc.!

To my admittedly-limited and utterly subjective nose this is Luten's Rose de Nuit mixed with Poison. And because I adore Rose de Nuit and deplore Poison, I have very mixed feelings about this perfume-unicorn. Which is wonderful, since I could never afford to buy it in the first place. YAY! One lemming down!

Also, it goes on forever with almost nuclear silage. In fact, it gets stronger and oddly more potent as you wear it.

I tried to put all expectations aside and approach this like smelling any other sample...the first 30 seconds or so hit my nose like the vinegary aldehyde opening of Balenciaga pour Homme...I then get a steady buildup of rose with the rooty/bitterish/herby smell from a blending of carnation and orris root...seems to straddle two worlds...a classic smelling fragrance with a timeless quality...not a powerhouse by any means , but smooth and suave and laid my nose, about as perfectly unisex as you can get...does pull you in and makes you want to stay glued to the back of your hand to marvel at the subtle developments....very well blended and has an air of quality ingredients...i have to agree with a couple of other reviews i've read that this is somewhat similar to Acteur...the rose in this does ring that bell for me, but in a good way...has an all-around woody ambience...ever so slightly powdery...overall, a very pleasing and enjoyable rose fragrance, but I don't think it's something I personally would be adding to my wardrobe , even at a reasonable price...

Show more reviews of Nombre Noir...

Add your review of Nombre Noir

You need to be logged in to add a review.

Log in here, or register


in the Community

From the forums

Recently Viewed on this device

Whatever your taste in perfume, we've got you covered...

catalogue your collection, keep track of your perfume wish-list, log your daily fragrance wears, review your latest finds, seek out long-lost scented loves, keep track of the latest perfume news, find your new favourite fragrance, and discuss perfume with like-minded people from all over the world...