Dark and sweet fragrance without vanilla?

absolutesauvage

Basenotes Member
Jul 17, 2016
Just picked a bottle of Silver Factory and it's absolutely amazing, truly a fragrance that's more than the sum of it's parts. Without the plum the smoky woods notes would be nice but a little dull. Without the acrid smoke the plum would be too fruity and feminine. The interplay and balance is superb and I don't know why people didn't rave about this scent before it was discontinued.



I want more like that. Dark, woody, fruity. Alot of times when people say dark and sweet vanilla plays a big part and I'm just not a big fan anymore. What else should I look for? Budget is wide open.
 

L'Aventurier

Basenotes Dependent
May 8, 2008
Silver Factory used to be one of my favorites. I wish I would have picked up a bottle before it was discontinued but I didn't like the way the owner of Bond No. 9 threatened everyone and their mother with lawsuits some years back, and also the shameless rip-offs of classics with exorbitant pricing.

Some dark scents that aren't vanillic, all by Serge Lutens, a master of dark, fruity, incense and amber fragrances:

Chergui: Sweet hay and honey, powder, tobacco
La Couche du Diable: Candied fruit/orange liqueur, Mulled wine, copper/blood, frankincense, snuffed candle / smoke
Vetiver Oriental: A nutty, sweet and dark vetiver given the Guerlain / oriental fougere treatment

More on the dry side:

Ambre Sultan: (a dry, herbal, incense-like amber that goes really light on the vanilla ingredients and peru balsam)
Borneo 1834: Patchouli, bitter cocoa and amber
 

absolutesauvage

Basenotes Member
Jul 17, 2016
Black Afgano by Nasomatto (just look at that juice colour!)
Chergui by SL

Not very sweet but has some sweetness:
Etui Noir by ML
Hermessence Vetiver Tonka by Hermes
I actually have Black Afgano and love it but it's not very sweet on my skin, more creamy/malty. Excellent fragrance, love it and Laundano Nero, but they aren't quite what I'm looking for.

I need to try Chergui again, good call.
 

absolutesauvage

Basenotes Member
Jul 17, 2016
Silver Factory used to be one of my favorites. I wish I would have picked up a bottle before it was discontinued but I didn't like the way the owner of Bond No. 9 threatened everyone and their mother with lawsuits some years back, and also the shameless rip-offs of classics with exorbitant pricing.

Some dark scents that aren't vanillic, all by Serge Lutens, a master of dark, fruity, incense and amber fragrances:

Chergui: Sweet hay and honey, powder, tobacco
La Couche du Diable: Candied fruit/orange liqueur, Mulled wine, copper/blood, frankincense, snuffed candle / smoke
Vetiver Oriental: A nutty, sweet and dark vetiver given the Guerlain / oriental fougere treatment

More on the dry side:

Ambre Sultan: (a dry, herbal, incense-like amber that goes really light on the vanilla ingredients and peru balsam)
Borneo 1834: Patchouli, bitter cocoa and amber
Funny enough I just got a bottle of Ambre Sultan, I'm not sure how I feel.

I owned a bottle from the first year it was released, loved it. Best amber for me, because it was so herbal and dry. Now I own a bottle from some sort of anniversary edition and it is not the same. The amber is more dense, chewy and well...bland. The quality is evident but I could swing a cat and hit a dozen other similar ambers.

La Couche du Diable sounds perfect though, I was looking at that and Fille et Anguilles since Fille seemed to be fruity too.
 

Ken_Russell

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2006
Many great recommendations already, also adding current Creed Tabarome Millesime, Mystique Homme EDP by Al Haramain, Molecule No. 8 by Zarkoperfume among several others
 

L'Aventurier

Basenotes Dependent
May 8, 2008
Funny enough I just got a bottle of Ambre Sultan, I'm not sure how I feel.

I owned a bottle from the first year it was released, loved it. Best amber for me, because it was so herbal and dry. Now I own a bottle from some sort of anniversary edition and it is not the same. The amber is more dense, chewy and well...bland. The quality is evident but I could swing a cat and hit a dozen other similar ambers.

La Couche du Diable sounds perfect though, I was looking at that and Fille et Anguilles since Fille seemed to be fruity too.
Yeah the brand has gone through some unfortunate reformulations over the years. I still like the new formulation of Ambre Sultan, that's actually what I wear the most these days, it's a bit easier to wear day-to-day than the original formulation. But I'd spring for the original in a heartbeat.

La Couche is really weird and wonderful. One of the most unique fragrances I've had to the chance to own and wear. If you get to sample it, I think you'll at least think it's fun, even if it's not your kind of thing. The copper accord is really intriguing and fits in well with the mulled wine, frankincense and snuffed candle.

Filles en Aiguilles has the exact same mulled wine accord as La Couche, but it's way more foresty and with more amber. It reminds me of some 80s power house chypres for the first hour or so, because of its big-boned synthetic pine note up front. On the drydown it's all about frankincense and balsam fir.
 

cacio

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 5, 2010
I was going to suggest Lutens as L'aventurier, but I see you know the line already. He is really the master of woody-sweet but without vanilla. Tossing in Boxeuses, but there are really several in the line.

Another approach you could follow is immortelle. Immortelle is both sweet and spicy. Histoires de Parfum 1740 would be an example.
 

naylor

Basenotes Institution
Oct 24, 2011
I remember incense being a dominant player in Silver Factory. Are you maybe looking for something that incensy and resinous in a similar way? I'm just wondering if your misattributing some of the notes, which might not lead you to exactly what you're looking for.
 

ImaFedec

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 12, 2019
Dies Aurorae by Antonio Alessandria

Just tried today, thought of this thread. The vanilla in the note pyramid is invisible.
Quite sweet (but not too sweet) through its caramel - honey. But maintains certain darkness from incense and patchouli
 

ccdan

Basenotes Junkie
May 7, 2017
Dior Oud Ispahan
Micallef Emir
Robert Piguet Casbah
Puredistance M (has vanilla in theory, but not perceptible)
Armani Myrrhe Imperiale
Amouage Interlude Man
 

Dane77

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 30, 2011
Dark, sweet, no discernible vanilla?.... hmm... How about...

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier - Ambre Doré
The Different Company - Oud for Love
Profumum - Ambra Aurea
Guerlain - Tonka Impériale
Dior - Ambre Nuit
Parfum d'Empire - Ambre Russe
Chanel - Coromandel
 

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