Open Black fragrance notes

  • Head

    • bergamot, lemon, mandarin, lavender, cardamom
  • Heart

    • sage, thyme
  • Base

    • tobacco, patchouli, vetiver

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Latest Reviews of Open Black

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While this fragrance may work for some people and has an old-school vibe, it's not for me. It's a bit confusing that it was released in 2016, as it smells like something from the 80s. I would recommend reading Varanis Ridari's review for a detailed explanation, but ultimately, I'm glad that this scent is working for other Basenoters.
2nd March 2023
Whomever claims time travel hasn't been invented has yet to experience the glorious new vintage of "OPEN Black".

Released the same year as well behaved clubbers Eros and Invictus (2013), this one flaunts a flagrant middle finger right in their faces, having more in common with long gone discontinued cousins Van Cleef & Arpels Tsar and Lapidus Pour Homme.

Door Man: "You're not on the list."

Open Black: "Good story, but in what chapter do you shut the f*ck up?"

4 stars.
22nd October 2020

Open Black by Roger & Gallet is a cheaply priced work of art that smells like it costs 5 times what it does. If you liked the sadly discontinued Gianfranco Ferre For Man, which is getting harder and harder to find and very expensive, today is your lucky day. This old-school frag smells about 90% identical. Very natural smelling and drop-dead gorgeous! And for $20? Simply amazing. I will definitely be looking into Roger & Gallet more in the near future.
18th April 2020
I feel like the folks at Roger & Gallet sat around a table, maybe after work one night, and had a little talk about IFRA and oakmoss. They likely reminisced about older male powerhouse scents like Roger & Gallet L'Homme (1982) or the original Open (1985) and somebody said "you know what, I bet we can still do stuff like that even with only zero-point-whatever allowable oakmoss", and some anonymous perfumer within the Roger & Gallet fold took up that impossible challenge. Hell, even if that little romanticized tale is the furthest thing from the truth about how Roger & Gallet Open Black (2012) came to pass, it's mere existence is proof of concept that a rich powerhouse fragrance for men in the old style still can be made in modern times, even if it probably shouldn't be from a marketing perspective. The original Open contracted "flankeritis" in the 2010's because it's been a popular dark horse globally for over three decades, even here in the US where literally none of the other Roger & Gallet fragrances can be easily had without paying double-retail for imports from overseas eBay sellers (including L'Homme), but after Open Black came Open White (2013) and Open Gold (2014) so something must be going on. The truth is Open Black is trying to follow the "black/noir" flanker theme and thus is only coincidentally a throwback powerhouse, because when you take a tobacco scent and shoot olfactory 'roids like bergamot, lavender, patchouli, and tonka into the mix while also upping the vetiver smoke of the original, you're just gonna end up with something like Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) or Drakkar Noir (1982), it's inevitable. Fans of those, or to a lesser extent Jacomo Eau Cendrée (1974) and Guerlain Vetiver (1961) really need to swing by Open Black and give it a big ol' fat sniff, as it's very anachronistic for a 2012 release, to say the least.

The scent opens with bergamot, lemon, lavender, and clary sage, very sharp, rich, dark, and massively similar to the aforementioned Jacomo de Jacomo. This is pure early 80's people, and if I hadn't told you different, you'd have thought so yourself. Shades of Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui (1982) are also recalled, but without the rose and orris savon. From this very classic and masculine beginning develops a barbershop tone joined by cardamom, thyme, clove, and a rubbery tar-like note that might be black tea or birch but it's hard to say. This is no Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003) however, and the barbershop is soon left behind for a base of very smoky vetiver, patchouli, musk, coumarin, a sliver of moss, and of course, that tobacco note carried over from the original Open. This iteration is a bit more synthetic than the original (of course), and doesn't have the "beastmode" projection of a true vintage 80's powerhouse, but if choking out your office mates in a cloud of scent is what you're after, going heavy on the sprays will do it, at your own risk of anosmia of course. The whole thing feels like a smoother, richer Jacomo de Jacomo, as if to stand between it and Eau Cendrée, with a drop of Ted Lapidus Pour Homme (1978) leather ghost note near the very end, but using modern ingredients to temper the delivery. Longevity is good at 8+ hours and sillage without over-spraying is more than sufficient. Open Black is indeed the darker, more serious, and sober brother to the original, not just because it lacks a boozy top note, but also because it is such a stern, business-like wear perfectly matched to a black suit and tie meeting where you might want to impose a little more than usual.

My only question is who was this made for? Young trend-conscious guys are too busy making mushroom clouds of Dior Sauvage (2015) in an office elevator near you, or chasing down the perfect batch of Aventus (2010) to impress Nancy from Accounting with their "upward mobility", so they'd never want a tobacco scent presented this way, if they even want a tobacco scent period. Hardcore vintage guys would also likely sling mud at this for smelling old-school without actually being old, and lacking the animalic accords, myassissore or oakmoss (the latter which I feel that rubbery note stands in for), they endlessly claim are the only proper base notes for any fragrance ever, and I get it guys, but "they're dead Jim", and that's that. Who else then might actually enjoy Open Black? Well, I honestly don't know, but I like it. If you want a close-enough guilt-free "vintage experience" you can use, abuse, and replace for pennies, this is your new darling. Fans of the original Open should at least sniff a sample of this, and folks who enjoy really dark smoky vetivers and worship at the alter of Encre Noire (2006) should also pay attention to this, as I feel this may be the closest thing to a patchouli-laden 80's style take on it. Fall and winter prove best for tobacco and vetiver heavy petting such as Open Black, and office or personal use are best, since you're not getting anyone's phone number at the club wearing this unless you're at a bear bar or like dating cougars. Thumbs up for such an obscure late-coming flanker to the classic Roger & Gallet Open, and if you haven't smelled that one first, come back to this only afterward. For anyone else curious about how the classic 80's powerhouse style might be if made in the post-IFRA landscape, this is the answer to that question, and of low risk due to the nice price. Open Black is quite the little under-the-radar time machine!
6th October 2018