Wait for the drydown - good advice for perfume-sampling, but how often do we really heed it? At first sniff, Michel Morsetti's rose-laden creation Or et Noir might seem impossibly big, dramatic, diva-like - an imposing, oily, chocolatey (in a very abstract sense - this is no gourmand) rose bouquet. But wait - as time passes, the scent becomes softer, powdery, sweet, and creamy. The diva singing Carmen has become a soprano singing one of Schubert's happier Lieder! This transformation is hardly a letdown. It just demonstrates the brilliance of Or et Noir in capturing all the facets of the rose. It's expensive, but you can smell the high quality of the ingredients. If you're a rose lover, do try this!
I am mystified by the "dark rose" descriptions. To me, dark rose equals... well... "Dark Rose" by Czech & Speake: rose with leather and oud wood and incense and other "dark" ingredients. Or et Noir is, in contrast, a very Caron-like rose: saturated and pink and dewy and very much like the creamy-turning-to-powdery rose in Bellodgia, cranked up to 11 and lacking the throbbing bassline of carnation for which Bellodgia is known. Or et Noir dries down to a sweet and almost "chewy" rose, like rosewater fondant. Colorwise it evokes a rich dusty pink, feminine and luscious and completely free of the disturbing-yet-alluring dissonance of, say, Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit or People of the Labyrinths A*Maze. Then again, when I first bought Rose de Nuit, it too struck me as an innocent rose--and then I read the reviews. I guess my roses have to commit some serious crime for me to consider them "dark." The rose in Or et Noir, despite her best intentions and the effrontery of her initial and short-lived geranium blast, remains innocent.
What to say about Or et Noir? I think this might be my absolute favorite fragrance! I have only worn it about a half dozen times upon recently receiving a decant, and have found myself addicted to this dark and unusual scent. At first, I was disappointed and thought how over rated Or et Noir was. But, almost immediately, I found I couldn't stop smelling my wrist. The drydown is heavenly. Interestingly, I can barely detect the rose, in fact it's blended in such a way that nothing in particular stands out. I have other fragrances that I love - but I find I have to force myself to wear them instead of Or et Noir which I crave... I wonder if I'll feel the same about it in a year?
Each new discovery reaffirms my impression, possibly shared by many, that most of our beloved Caron perfumes are noted for - shall we say - CHALLENGING top notes. Pick up the gauntlet, and you're in for an interesting duel, the results to be determined by the terms of a possible truce; ignore it, and you might miss out on a potential Holy Grail that was predestined to grace your collection forever.
My initial encounter with Or & Noir was no exception, and marked particularly by a blast of geranium that nearly knocked me sideways.
I could smell nothing else, frowned, dug in my heels, and waited for further developments. As the heart notes were revealed, the geranium onslaught slowly retreated into the background, leaving centre stage for one of the prettiest rose bouquets ever, interlaced with lilac, carnation, and a whisper of incense. What followed was a lovely creamy rose, which in turn morphed from deep mysterious burgundy to opaque, then semi-transparent pink. Much as I love Parfum Sacré, it now seems that I prefer Or & Noir, historically its model and predecessor, finding it more perfectly rounded, gentler, easier to wear. It's a very warm, outgoing beauty, and please do not let the name throw you off track. There is nothing metallically golden about it, as in Or, nor menacingly dark, as in Noir. If I were on speaking terms with Ernest Daltroff, just a short phonecall away, I might suggest another name, such as, for instance, La Beauté de La Rose Éternelle - only because it's proving to be my all-time favourite rose.
But then again, maybe not.
Who says a name must be a reflection on a scent, or vice-versa?
The name/scent juxtaposition in this case, incongruous though it may be, has already inspired some of your most expressive prose.
To wit, see reviews below.
We are all in the guessing game here, aren't we?
Indeed, keeping us guessing is an aspect of the perfumer's art; certainly part of the fascination, no less than making us feel happy wearing it.
Or & Noir achieves either, with flying colours.
Try it a few times! I almost gave this sample away, Way too heavy & diva dramatic I thought, not my idea of rose.. That was how it smelled the 1st 2 tries, but I gave it one more chance and now I love it. Those Carons.. slow to show their true character. Now this is the lovely beauty described so well in the reviews before me.. velvety & special.
Or et Noir starts out tea rose, soft soapy on my skin, then turns into a sweet
berry-amber rose -dark and mysterious.
Or et Noir starts off rather heavy and musty, but then it morphs into a gorgeous purple rose, incense, carnation and woods blend with just a touch of something sweet. This is definitely a rose I'd wear at night, and I love how light it is despite its richness - it draws you in, and does not suffocate you or those around. Notes: Bulgarian rose, centifolia rose, geranium, Anatolian rose, lilac, carnation, oakmoss, woody amber.
This is the second Caron fragrance I have tried that actually gives me the creeps (Narcisse Noir is the other.) I think it is mainly the opening note - the geranium is just so overwhelmingly strong and gives Or et Noir such an intensely dark character. The rose never really comes out of its shadow on me. I was surprised to see some reviewers liken it to Ce Soir ou Jamais, which I find a much more vivacious, romantic rose. This rose is sombre and brooding - I would describe it as more of a geranium and carnation fragrance with rose as a secondary note. Even when Or et Noir dries down and becomes slightly more powdery, it still retains that dark, brooding aspect. I was fascinated to try it (((Min))) but it's really not for me!
One of the classiest rose perfumes ever!
Imagine the goddess Venus bathing in her black marble temple, climbing into a gilt tub filled with warm Turkish rosewater. The surface is strewn with leaves of the Scented Geranium, Carnation petals and Lilac blossoms. She bathes, arises, dries herself, takes up a swans-down puff and dusts herself all over with Cupid's own precious baby powder! The fragrance left on the Goddess of Love and Beauty's skin is what Or et Noir smells like to me. Roses, roses, roses, then geranium and other brilliant pink florals, THEN that rich, LUSCIOUS powder note that Caron is so justly famous for.
Decent lasting power for a floral, on my skin. Extremely pretty, comforting, refined, rather than 'sexy'. This is the perfume that turned me on to the House of Caron.
I love feysparrow's review below and agree totally. As much as I admire Caron's urn fragrances, I am sorry to admit that Or et Noir does not work well with my chemistry. Epithets like musty, fusty and dusty come to mind. It's like a clash of a musty green note jostling against a dusty rose with old powder sprinkled in the background, and it doesn't particularly work for me. I will say, though, that a while into the drydown the rose begins to sparkle, and that's the part I look forward to. Many of the reviews here are so complimentary of this parfum that I wish Or et Noir were more successful with my chemistry. Its daughter, Parfum Sacre, is one of my favorites, though.