Like all of the Serge Lutens fragrance copy, this one is esoteric. Serge Noire claims to be “An ode to everlasting beauty under cover of night’s rich plumage”. Um, OK. If that wasn’t a good enough description then maybe this will help you more:
“A phoenix, the mythical bird of legend burns at the height of its splendour before emerging triumphant, reborn from the ashes in a choreography of flame, conjuring the shapes of yesterday in a dance of ashes. The swirls of oriental grey enrich the twilight with depth and intensity while windswept memories hint at the beauty of transformation”
Oh, now I get it! As with any Serge Lutens fragrance, we have a wonderful marketing campaign that strives for weirdness and exoticism. This fragrance has many “haters”, read Kevin’s review on Now Smell This blog. Ouch, but a very entertaining read and why I got my hands on a sample vial to begin with. I find this fragrance odd but not horrible. Actually, I find it quite intriguing. The dry down isn’t as odd as initial spritz, actually it is very “pretty” and very “Serge”, think a woodsy-amber scent (heavy on dry cedar) but with a hint of dental office anesthesia. That can be pretty, right? Well, I like it.
The top notes are what are so strange. It’s citrus but it comes across like Listerine. It’s a medicinal odor mixed with lemon zest. That is odd. Smelling like you just gargled is weird. It is heavy on cinnamon. It almost makes me sneeze. The cedar is what takes over on me. It smells like a cedar hope chest in a stale, mildewy basement or attic. Hell, the odor of the Pacific Northwest: mildew and evergreens! After the medicinal cedar begins to wear down, you pick up half-rounded bits of resiny amber. This adds some beauty to this strange scent. But, I am a fan of amber, that’s why I like Serge Lutens fragrances. The cedar still is there. So think cedar with amber with a strange medicinal vibe. Seriously, it reminds me of having my teeth cleaned by a nice hygienist that wears a resinous fragrance. It smells “clean” and “uncomfortable”, a lot like having your teeth cleaned. Yep, it feels good, getting all the gunk out but it hurts and there is always the sound of drilling going on in the background even if your experience is pleasant. That is how I would describe Serge Noir, not like a mythical Phoenix bathing in ashes or whatever. I think going to a dentist’s office in early summer. Why early summer? Because the fragrance is “cool” in a synthetic way but still “warm”, it smells like there is a hint of mildew there like from the initial blast of an air conditioner that hasn’t been used in some time. And you feel like you are on goofy gas trying to break this fragrance apart.
I know this fragrance isn’t for everyone. But, what is?
Serge Noire is available at discounters like Perfume.com.