Niche Fragrance Magazine

Serge Noire: The Night-Air Before Christmas.

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Normally I’m not a very festive person, but this year I said what the hell and went for it, I could be festive. Honestly.

I think.

So I asked around the fragrance forums and listened to what people had to say. I really had no idea about what Christmas should smell like.

Fat-men in red suits?
Crown Royal with a drop of eggnog?

No, no, and..the eggnog, well…in my family, that’s a tradition. But I didn’t want to smell like a drunkard.

So I called on old Uncle Serge. I can always trust the Italians.

Fille en Aiguilles…ehh. Beautiful, but not me.

Five O’Clock Au Gingimbre…no. Definite no. I am not the gingerbread man.

Noire? Yes, oh yes.


Noire is so rich, so beautiful, so festive I actually felt like putting up the Christmas Tree. Keyword, “FELT”. I’m still working on it. It’s sitting behind me as I write this review instead.

Anyways, on to Noire.

Released 2008 by Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake; Noire is classified as a warm spicey, woody, balsamic. Notes are in the modern fashion, not in a pyramid, and thus create a fairly linear scent. Patchouli, Cinnamon, Amber, Woods, Incense, Clove, Spices and Ebony wood.

Which means basically nothing to me, as you can’t ever tell from notes how a fragrance is going to smell on skin.

On mine, I get smooth clove tamed by subtle spices, and darkness that I imagine to be the ebony wood coupled with incense. Noire brings to mind the true beauty of this time of year. The dark holiday nights, cold and clear, snow is falling calmly. You can smell the smoke of chimneys, and feel the richness of the feelings that holidays bring to your heart. There is a forest of white wooded trees under snow, the stars are cold bright. Noire, it’s a tranquil scent. It’s so, so tranquil.


The incense never turns soapy or weird, more like Holy incense burnt during meditation. The woods are pure and clean, the spices are that of Christmas cake, but subdued and blended in perfectly. It’s neither heavy, nor weak on my skin, it’s balanced. Sillage is normal, Noire holds it’s own without being in your face. It hangs around you reminding you about what this time of year means.

Family, friends, happiness, gratitude, joy, serenity.

Lasting power? Very good. It has a beautiful dry down, keeping it’s sillage for quite awhile. With a light application, three sprays, it’s a strong skin scent at about the six hour mark. By this time, the clove has faded and the incense is clear and shining.

Is it full bottle worthy? Definitely. I could wear this all day in the cold, morning, noon, night. For me, it’s the perfect scent of the season. I unhesitatingly give it five out of five Christmas stars.

Don’t take my word for it though. Try it out. See for yourself.



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