Group: Oriental vanilla
I have a soft spot for niche perfumer, Serge Lutens and I'm happy to enlargen my collection with any of its offerings if I find it affordable enough on eBay. I recently won a half-full bottle of Datura Noir and was looking forward to wearing this suggestively dangerous and intoxicating white floral so talked about on perfumista forums.
The sleek, fine bottle and the iridescent brown stopper design are shared across all 50ml Serge Lutens perfumes which I find elegant, simple and refined. With some exceptions, the outer box is a classic beige colour surrounded by a thin black edge.
Fragance notes: coconut, tuberose, tonka bean, lemon blossom, almond, mandarin orange, musk, osmanthus, heliotrope, myrrh, vanilla, peach
Datura Noir opens up slightly bitter and green similar to unopened jasmine or hyacinth but quickly rounds out to a clean and powdery white floral aroma with a somewhat medicinal edge that immediately reminded me of the tropics and its vegetation. The sweetness is subdued as well as the projection and the accord is already quite close to the skin and does not diffuse in the air most perfumes do when sprayed.
In the next hour, the white floral aroma of the fragrance progressively turns creamier and balmier due to the buttery and almondy facets it develop together with a certain bitterness that meanders along with the laundry-detergent, powdery musk. I'm increasingly getting the impression I'm wearing Monoi oil, which is Tiare flower (tropical gardenia) infused in coconut oil. The coconut gives a certain warmth and creaminess to the composition akin to suntan lotion without being too obvious.
From about three hours onwards, a plush, soft, powdery and clean vanilla note blends in with the heart evening out the remaining edges or bitterness the florals retained. I found this a shame as if Datura Noir had lost that little bit of personality it had earlier. What stays is a well-tempered, smooth, and very low profile slightly bitter creamy vanilla aroma with a hint of suntan lotion close to the skin in the final few hours.
All in all, Datura Noir is something entirely different I expected and is sadly lacking the richness, opulence of natural tuberose and if I wanted to be mean, I'd say I've seen better in a suntan lotion. The fragrance is beautiful, soft and enchanting, there's no question about it, but it just doesn't live up to its name, a plant which along wth classic "witches' weeds" such as deadly nightshade and henbane, is just as hallucinogenec and poisonous.
I had the chance to smell the datura plant during my trip on Reunion Island, and the heavy, dark, syrupy scent it exhales after dark is truly narcotic (repulsive when smelling the flower close though). It goes without saying that fragrances named after a poisonous plant is to rouse interest and desire and are employed in a figurative sense where the scent is assembled from various raw materials to give the illusion of the fascinating, poisonous and mythical herb.
Having said that, its closest smelling innocent sister, tuberose the fragrance is supposed to be based around is weak and underdeveloped and sadly smothered by clean musk to a stripped down, abstract version of itself that's just too thin and soulless to my liking. At worst, I expected a distant connection to Mahora, a rich, natural white floral tuberose ylang blend, but again, a huge disappointment.
To sum up, Dautra Noir is a well-constructed and high quality, modern niche white floral fragrance with low sillage let down by surprisingly poor longevity; in about 6 hours it's all gone bar a barely detectable skin scent even with a really generous application in the morning. The fresh, clean aspect of the fragrance is evident throughout, following the aseptic, bleached beyond recognition trend of modern perfumery. The noir moniker is completely irrelevant, why everything boring and bland is called noir nowadays is beyond me. It seems Serge Lutens have thought out his unisex orientals better so in the future I'll concentrate on those. Thus the exotic and sometimes animalic and intoxicatingly rich aroma of natural white flowers as they appear in nature remains a fantasy.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The full RRP is £69 / 50ml Eau de Parfum in department stores throughout the UK.
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