(nose: Michel Roudnitska ). Fruity/Floral/Leather.
This scent is pure, extroverted joy in a bottle! A dazzling, champagne-like head of sparkling fruit... fragrant peaches, luscious nectarines, juicy citrus fizzes on the skin with first spray... tangy and alluringly fruit-sweet, but not sucré, kissed by a bell-like, waxy tilleul or osmanthus... gradually settles down to reveal an enormous spicy, perfect rose... I visualize it as orange-red... All the facets of rose are romantically here: lemon, powder, spice, floral. All supported on a delicate, nearly transparent base of woods and spices, and just maybe a soft layer of suede. This is your most perfect day in June, brought to vivid life. Fills you full of joie-de-vivre and a lusty desire for festivity and happiness. C'est une merveille.
NOIR EPICES might be thought of as a very modern, Ultra-High-Res salute to the FEMME created by Michel Roudnitska's father, the legendary Edmond Roudnitska... if the elder perfumer had had access to the dazzlingly vivid oils available to the modern perfumer... the rose, breathily vivid... the iris, silvery... the peach here not an olfactory "symbol" of a peach... but rather a high-res 1080p marvel of a real peach dripping with juice. Within NOIR EPICES, there is no trace of "skank"--- slightly fetid musks or gamey oudh or sweaty cumin--- though it would've been easy to do in a fruity floral this exuberant; If I may say so, I think Michel is making a point--- this is classic, impeccable French perfumery... the total absence of vulgarity. Highly recommended.
I see that NOIR EPICES is elsewhere described as an Oriental. If so, it is one in which the head and heart notes of fruit and flower are bold and brilliant... while the basenotes are smooth, transparent and discreet.
The spices are short-lived. NE quickly develops into a stripped-down version of Mitsouko on me. Excellent.
Really 3.5 lippies. Despite spending an INORDINATE amount of time at the FM stores on several continents, and having owned most of the offerings from the line, Noir Epices has never made it home with me. Weird, too, because the very intelligent and knowledgeable blond SA at the Paris store on Rue de Grenelle has always pinned that one on me. It *should* fit. The chypre-likeness, the rose, the dry, stand-offishness of it. But somehow it doesn't. I blame geranium, but the overwhelming sense I get with NE is of something sour and sharp. It never really wants to warm and settle into my skin, instead remaining on top of it with that insistent orange/rose thin juiciness. I have to say that there have been one or two occasions when I spritzed it ( I keep trying) and thought "hey! wait a minute! I love this!". Both times have been when I am walking outside in very cold temperatures. It is definitely something for cold weather only, and preferably mingled with the scent of wool coats, maybe some cigarette smoke mixed in there. Paris in winter, if you will. It's funny, but NE reminds me of some biodynamic wines, the unfiltered ones. My experience is that in the same case, you can have a bottle that is just sublime, and the next one is thin/sour plonk. There is an instability to the process that builds in this chance effect (which is why food and drink processed to the bejeesus is what we're usually offered. Who wants a non-predictable product?). NE falls into that category. If the stars align, it's a very sophisticated, atypical chypre/oriental. But if anything is off, it's a no-go.
I may eventually spring for the travel set and just spritz it on crispy cold winter nights.
This is my less heady, more touchable alternative to Opium -- I've worn the YSL for many years -- one of my great loves. The Malle by Michel Roudnitska isn't an Opium dupe, NE is more rosy, dry and aldehydic, but when I wear one I often think of the other, hence the comparison.
Noir Epices is more approachable. It's intimacy more than glamour. Initially this struck me as odd because, reading the notes, it seems like an austere and stand-offish perfume. But on my skin, it's comforting and slightly dusty, minus the bombshell incense-y sweetness of the Saint Laurent (which I prefer in extrait and eau de toilette -- the eau de parfum is 'muddy' on me).
A couple of adverts for Opium defined it for me. The first stars Linda Evangelista in a dazzling white power suit, buying a man in a marketplace -- but only after dabbing Opium on her wrists. She examines the goods and buys him with a nod. The second, directed by David Lynch (with some very familiar camera angles and ambience!) oozes sex: a woman slinks up a flight of stairs, falls back onto a chaise longue and touches herself with Opium. The first summed up Opium's potency, and both advertisements sold the idea of mysterious, powerful sex appeal, and a woman's sexual power. I love these adverts -- it's the type of mature glamour that appeals to me. ( I don't understand Daisy. Tom Ford's crotch bottles and D&G's gang rape advertisements puzzle me, and YSL Elle is saved only by Karen-O's vocals...eh...I could go on...although occasionally companies hire directors like Wong Kar-wai or Luc Besson, and I love their work...).
Noir Epices is a more dry and less resinous oriental scent than Opium. For me the difference reminds me of Rachael from Blade Runner at the beginning of the film, with her hair immaculately styled and pinned, and later -- the Noir Epices Rachael -- with her messy hair, being kissed by Deckard in his apartment.
Her Opium persona wears a suit with razor sharp lines, breathtakingly chic. Her silhouette, walk, and red lips -- are precise, a perfected sexuality. Everything about that scene -- the sound of her in Dr Eldon Tyrell's offices, the way her figure dims as the floor to ceiling window darkens -- is powerful, controlled and sexy. When she sits across from Deckard answering questions and smoking in the half light, while he monitors her reactions -- she's the object of the gaze, but still in control. And she's still Opium in the retro-glamorous fur coat, walking down Ridley Scott's dystopian streets -- and later when she runs away after shooting Leon. She's too well turned out to be anything but Opium, and at the start of the film it's easy to think there's no more to her character.
The Roudnitska has spices, but also rose and (for me) carnation, although I'm unsure whether this is in the official 'notes'. There's a dry note which smells like geranium. Geranium's serene; it's subtle, it doesn't give much away and nearly always fades into the background but keeps a coat of dust on everything, softening it up a little (see my review of Moschino, I *love* the geranium-like note in that one!). The orange is lovely -- sharp at first but later mellowing into the carnation, rose, spices and patchouli. The floral is not that sweet -- and this is most interesting aspect for me. I wonder how Roudnitska kept his creation so dry and unsweet but user-friendly? When I think of carnation or rose, Spellbound, Paris and Malmaison come to mind -- voluptuous, juicy -- obvious florals with sweetened bases.
It's steady, easy -- and after dry down -- a soft, dark wave of spices and florals gently warmed by nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. A piquant, dry scent, that becomes wonderfully fuzzy. I can see how this might be perceived as masculine: people associate 'sweet' with 'feminine', but there is much more to Noir Epices than sweetness. It avoids sweetness in favour of darkness and depth, keeping it complex but unisex. I admire the skill required to construct a deep oriental without a heavy vanilla accord. Although it's spicy, it's miles away from the spices in Lutens perfumes. No dried or candied fruit in the Roudnitska. All the ingredients are dried, powdered and then blown out in a puff of incense dust which softens beautifully with time.
For me, it's the best, true oriental scent in the Malle Collection. The Noir Epices soundtrack is, of course, one of the most hauntingly beautiful soundtracks ever composed: Blade Runner by Vangelis.
I feel that inside, Rachel is the soft dry down of Noir Epices. There's a scene Deckard's apartment - Rachel has no where else to go. She plays the piano, pauses to unpin her hair, and smooths it into a soft halo of curls, framing her face. Her hard-edges are a distant memories, she exudes vulnerability and she looks too young to be anything but lovely.
Noir Epices reminds me of that unpretentious, pared down, dark-haired beauty. Gone is the aloofness, gone is the high fashion and artifice. What remains is a real, touchable woman who falls in love. The orange and rose notes are the blush in her cheek, and when they kiss -- well, that's the dark wave of Roudnitska's spices.
The dry down is gentle, with no power games or power suits.
Noir Epices is Deckard and Rachael as they truly are; complex and beautiful in each other's eyes.
Aw man. All i get from this is carnation/geranium...both of which I hate hate hate. Actually florals in general are just not my thing. I adore tea, incense, cinnamon, vanilla, amber, etc. so I was intrigued by the idea of the cinnamon and the spicier notes of this which I sadly, do not smell at all. So happy that I got a smaple of this prior to shelling out some big bucks.
I had been wanting to sample Noir Epices for some time as I love spicy woody oriental fragrances. Sadly I am not getting spice from this at all. My skin amps up the orange, geranium and rose and it mostly smells like a fresh peeled orange (more peel than fruit). Seems fairly linear too. Too bad-I was hoping it would be FBW. As fragrances go, it is nice, but not what I was looking for personally.
Soap! Okay, hold that thought... we'll get back to that in a moment. First sniff on my arm and I'm in love, or at least I think I am... it comes off warm and sultry, an oriental feeling without the scream of many of the 80's offerings like Opium. Lots of spice, lots of richness, and I'm getting seduced. There is also an almost salty note, which is interesting. Then...
Then comes along what I can only describe as an elegant european soap smell. Soapy sudsy soapness coming at me. It is still lovely, but the combined effect of soap and spice is a bit too much. I kept wanting to find a note or three that offset all that richness. I think this is an outstanding and very unique perfume. You just really have to want unrelenting warmth and spice. I loved the idea of it, the first smells of it, and then, I just got tired of it. It isn't one that makes me keep coming back and back for more sniffs throughout the day. Maybe it is like a "nice guy"...know what I mean? This perfume taught me a bit about myself - I like a little more contrast/contradiction in my perfumes. I like a bit of "bad" mixed into my orientals. This one is a bit too much of a good thing.
I really really DISlike this scent ... it reminds me of rotten meat.. awful on me !!
i love it, very masculine and powerful. it's very spicey and unique, have a very good sillage and lasting power.
I used to wear mitsuoko as my one and only. But I hate the reformulation. I was reccomened this by the rep at Frederic Malle. At first I wasn't sure it this was really me- it smelled a little like pie and christmas with all the cloves and oranges. Mitsouko used to make me feel beautiful and mysterious but aloof. Kind of like an untouchable princess. With noir epices I feel mysterious too- but much more down to earth and sensual- almost cuddly. It has really grown on me. I like it even better layer with a tiny bit of une rose. Then I feel like a princess but the kind of princess that mixes freely and happily with whom ever she pleases.