Reviews of Nombre Noir 
Shiseido (1981)


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Nombre Noir by Shiseido

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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...

BLUF: A humid dark rose chypre. A compelling rose note, damp and dewy with some subtle red & orange colored spices (like in Egoiste). Pretty scent, ugly asking price.

Nombre Noir is charming. I find it downright pretty. I don't think it is off-the-charts amazing or innovative in terms of structure, but I do think it is a skillfully balanced and pleasing fragrance. In the opening I mostly detect a mossy dark rose/patchouli mix. Considering the year it was released (1981), the restraint of all three main notes is admirable. In fact I'd even call it delicate. It has plenty of substance but is never close to heavy or overbearing. It has a rounded, smooth texture that agrees with my tastes very much.

After about an hour, I start to pick up on an airy, mildly sweet tannic red wine vibe. Presumably from the rose and woods, maybe the light clove-spiced carnation too. A sandalwood/rosewood base lightly supports everything in a complimentary fashion. Unlike my vintage-loving cohort, I do not find much of a connection to Ho Hang Club. Then again, I don't find a HHC/Antaeus commonality either.

Nombre Noir seems to be famous for two reasons. Reason one, and probably the lesser, is that it's the first commercial perfume that Serge Lutens helped breathe life into, as far as I know. The second, and likely the reason it now goes for $2000/15ml on eBay is that Luca Turin basically creamed his pants over Nombre Noir…is what some lesser, cruder, truly classless person might say. He fawned, prices rose.

I like Nombre Noir perfectly well. If I were able to find a 10ml decant for say $40, I'd be all over it. But in this dark rose chypre genre of yesteryear, I'll take L'Arte di Gucci over this any day.

In fact, if I were to break it down into a single, do-no-justice sentence, I'd say, “A woodier, softer, lighter, less rosey, L'Arte di Gucci”.

Recommended sniffing if you can do so for a reasonable price.

Where have I scented this before? Certainly this is a refined and polite, still boozy, Ho Hang Club. However it also shares some resemblance to By Kilian Criminal of Love in a "Comet" cleaner sort of way. It is an accord that pairs Carnation and Patchouli Camphour. Rose seems a shaping ingredient.
Where Ho Hang Club wins the day is in the over the top Animalic, Honeyed Piss accord and it's availability, price.
For my most Feminine wife I prefer the quieter and tender touch of Patchouli surrounded by Peony, of Divine L'inspiratrice.
The attraction of Nombre Noir is that it is
a beautiful period piece, inspiring a number of other wonderful 80's Feminines and Masculines.
The rarity and therefore it's asking price puts it outside my field of vision.

Stardate 20170306:

A great rose, patch and something else. Could not figure out what it was till I saw Bavard's review. Carnations from Ho Hang Club.
I can see why people love Nombre Noir. It is a good fragrance to own but not at the current astronomical prices.

Layer HoHangClub with some old rose soliflore and you will have achieved same effect at 1/10th the cost.

Get it if you are the 0.1%

A big thumbs up for this one: an impressive dark rose and carnation fragrance, a little like Balenciaga Ho Hang Club: a rich, bold, pleasing scent, but also a little like Chanel No. 19 after it's had some time to develop and become more rose dominant.

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.

Yet another dark rose chypre. Someone said Turin considers this one of the five greatest scents ever - I'd never hire him based on that outrageous statement, if it's true.

Notes are posted above in Cheryl's review, so I won't repeat them here. I get strong, rosewood, sandalwood, vetiver and rose. I can't imagine a woman wearing this unless she's Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons. It is typical of a powerhouse men's scent from the 1980s but without the power. Subtle it is, but in no way outstanding or even significant to my nose.

This was Shiseido's first western scent and Serge Lutens' first as well. Lutens got better, Shiseido has always remained mediocre or just plain bad to my nose.

A waste of money, as it is so rare that fortunes are being charged for small decants. I give it a neutral in that of its type it is not awful, just derivative and insignificant.

I'm usually not a fan of rose-scented perfumes, and I didn't expect to be impressed by this fragrance. Therefore, I was dumbstruck when I finally uncapped my sample. It is one of the most exquisite scents I've ever encountered. It opens with a rush of rich and complex florals, which are quickly followed by woodier tannin scents and an undertone that is almost fusty, like heavy red wine. The perfume settles into a complex and provocative scent with the dominant scent being that of attar of roses. It doesn't last very long, about six hours. I am sorry I didn't order a larger sample of this one.

Delicious and addictiveLet me start by saying my expectation of NN was stratospheric so when I finally got my hands on some I was expecting a chorus of angels to sway rhythmically around me, singing a beautiful (never heard by humans before) song. And to be honest, I wanted to dislike it and put the small fortune I just spent on it down to experience. However it's beautiful. The opening is sour and sharp and should not work but moments into the personality of the perfume, waves of wood, spice, flowers appear and do their magic. I would say this is a perfume like no other, but that would be a lie..... Yes it's beautiful And yes it is unique but it's rarity and hefty price tag prohibit so many from experiencing it. It's not THE one, its one of many excellent frags on the market and I include old and new frags in that. To me, it smells like a cross between Envol by ted Lapidus and magie noire by Lancôme with a hint if serge lutens magic in the mix. My advice would be - if someone is handing it out for you to sniff - go for it but if you fall in love, start the ball rolling in the remortgage because its going to remain one of this mythical perfumes that command silly prices. I am glad I tried it, the hype has a lot to answer for tho.Pros: Terrific perfumeCons: Discontinued and hard to find unless you fork out silly money

After a slightly nondescript opening, the beautiful rose arises and shines throughout. One of the purest and convincing rose scents I have come across, with an elegant-boozy note, not particularly sweet and in the base underlined by a gentle woody-fougere base. On my skin it is not especially dark or brooding, yet deep and saturated. This is an iconic fragrance. The EdP has a longevity of about four hours on me.

If you expect Nombre Noir to be a fragrance from another world, considering the amazing reviews available elsewhere, you may get disappointed after paying considerably for a small mini of the edp or even a sample of the parfum. My advice is to approach Nombre Noir considering that it`s a fragrance aligned with the tastes of that era - the beginning of eighties, with big, dramatic aromas and the late aldeihidic florals of the 70`s. Nombre Noir seems to have something of both worlds. What amazes me in Nombre Noire is how classical it`s and how true to the lutens expression the fragrance remains. It`s a complex fragrance, with several layers, starting with a sparkling-candle aldehidic aroma, going to the rose phase and ending in a woody-chypre base. The aldehidic floral aroma makes it remember classical fragrances, like the original Madame Rochas. But Lutens twist the structure by doing the saturation of notes that would be his signature to the other fragrances he would create. There is an intense amount of rose and osmanthus, which gives the fragrance a dark, winey and dramatic aroma.
The edp and parfum have difference on this interpretation; the edp seems more classical, less intense on the dark rose aspects, while the parfum seems more saturated, with a galbanum-like beginning and the base more in evidence to hold the wine intense rose accord.
Nombre noir will probably live up the expectations if you are a fragrance coinosseur or like fragrances in this vein. It`s, with Feminite du Bois, a good way of understand the characters of lutens' style that would be explored in his fragrances. If it`s a legend, well, i`m not capable of judge it, but if it`s a solid and elegant classic fragrance that i`m happy to had a chance of try it and that i would wear if it were still produced today.

The notes according to Yesterday's Perfume:TOP NOTES: Aldehydes, Coriander, Bergamot, Marjoram, RosewoodHEART NOTES: Rose, Geranium, Orris, Jasmine, Ylang-ylang, Carnation, Lily of the Valley, OsmanthusBASE NOTES: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Honey, Amber, Musk, Benzoin, TonkaThis is exactly what I consider to be "perfume" as opposed to "smells like something" or a "scent". It is beautiful. Smooth and mysterious. I think I get the coriander and the rosewood. I think it is based on a deep dark bed of roses...and all those basenotes keep rolling by like waves. If this were a colour it would be a dark inky blue. I don't know why. (I now read another blogwriter saying "purple" which is close to my impression.) It is wholly sensual yet somehow austere. Sigh. I wish I could roll around in this.

it's a legend! i dont have the chance to meet it, but i can see how amazing and impressed it was through all the actticles on this scent!

Nombre noir: the nights of wine and roses, and precious wood. Gothic and nocturnal, yet clear and sophisticated. Sadly discontinued, I treasure my bottle of eau de parfum I managed to find last summer in France. A gem of a fragrance!

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