Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir

Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir
Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir

3.7

49 reviews

65% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$$

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Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I have been familiar with Estee Lauder classic fragrances for decades now, but I am unfamiliar with the newer ones such as Sensuous, Sensuous Nude, Sensuous Noir, etc. As Sensuous Noir has been discontinued, I decided to purchase a bottle of it as I love Orientals, and I love deep, dark, sensual fragrances.

My first thought upon initial application was "this is very light for a fragrance called 'Sensuous Noir.'" I expected something of an Oriental bomb along the lines of Chanel Coco or Shalimar to name but two legendary Orientals. My second thought turned to the notes. I do detect a lovely pine note, but I hasten to add that SN is in no way a copy of Lutens Fille en Aiguilles as some reviewers have suggested. They both share a pine note, but the resemblance begins and ends there. I also detect a good bit of well mannered patchouli, so if you fear patchouli in general, you need not fear the patchouli in SN. Aside from the pine and patchouli notes, I can detect a very mild mannered oud and a smidgen each of both warm amber and sweetly resinous benzoin mainly in the deeper dry down. There also seems to be a shy, sweet frankincense note in SN. I cannot distinctly pick out any of the other notes.

Overall SN is a quite nice fragrance. It is both gentle and warm, and softly sweet. It could be worn both day and night. Projection and sillage are moderate at best, so I believe it could be worn in an office environment without offending anyone. Longevity is also moderate at best. It wears close to the skin on me, and it is readily detectable for three to four hours. I think it would be perceived as sensuous and feminine on a woman, but I also think a man could wear it, too.

All in all, SN is a quite lovely fragrance, but there is absolutely nothing about it that makes it "extraordinary" or "legendary" in the way that Chanel Coco is both extraordinary and legendary (in my opinion), and I am somewhat disappointed in this fact as Estee Lauder has produced one of my most beloved fragrances of all times, Private Collection, as well as another much admired fragrance, Cinnabar. SN does not compare with these two classic Estee Lauder fragrances, but for anyone who likes SN's notes and who prefers a relatively light fragrance that is unlikely to offend bystanders, then SN could be for her/him. I truly do like it, and I am happy to have it in my collection.

As for the value to price ratio, I feel SN is over priced at $69 for a 50ml bottle just as Lutens Fille en Aiguilles is over priced at $150 a bottle. Even at half the price, I feel SN is still a bit overpriced for my money. There are several vintage chemist shop Oriental fragrances that are equally as impressive SN, e.g. vintage Ciara, Chantilly, and Emeraude. I also have some vintage Avon fragrances that I find equally as impressive as SN, e.g. Rare Rubies, Timeless, Charisma, and Rare Gold to name a few. As for performance, once again my chemist shop, Avon, and even some of my B&BW fragrances perform every bit as well as SN for a much lower price point. I wanted SN to be deeper, richer, and to have better performance, but I can say the same of many contemporary fragrances, including many that retail for far more than SN.

In the end, I can say that SN is a very pleasant fragrance indeed, but it is not the stuff of which legends are made, and for those who insist upon comparing it to Lutens Fille en Aiguilles, I think the Lutens is more impressive even if more expensive, but Fille en Aiguilles also has moderate performance at best. Test before you buy if at all possible. If you enjoy this type of fragrance, and if you love these notes, I think you will like SN very much indeed. Just do not expect SN to be in the same league as Chanel Coco, Guerlain Shalimar, Piguet Alameda, or Chanel Allure Sensuelle.

Fragrance: 6/10
Projection: 4/10
Sillage: 4/10
Longevity: 4/10

3 of 5 people found this helpful.



on 8/4/2016 7:08:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Skip the poetics, I `ll get straight to the point. I get more compliments on this then any other fragrance I own, including better quality niche scents. It just works for me. Some reviewers have noted a similarity in style or feel to SL FdB, and I would agree, though SN is sweeter. I also find it similar in a softer, less edgier way to YSL Nu, another favorite of mine. Both exude a cool/warm sensation that , at least for me, is purely addictive.

7 of 8 people found this helpful.


on 1/11/2015 4:31:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I have an absurd, bordering on obscene amount of perfume but when I got a whiff of this scent at Marshalls (thanks anonymous customer who decided to tear apart a box of this!), I just had to get it. The fact that it was a mere $30 didn't hurt either.

When I got this home and finally spritzed it on myself, I was highly disappointed and almost sure that I got yet another nasty perfume because the initial scent is quite masculine and almost nauseating. I can't recall which cologne this actually reminds me of, but it's not one that I like. I was ready to chalk this up to yet another blind(ish) buy that would be relegated to my "Unusable Perfumes/Makeup/Beauty Product" drawer (What? You don't have one?) but then it began to dry down. I've no idea what happens between the first spritz and the dry down but whatever it is, it's a miracle. The dry down is much softer but, predictably, a little dark with a tinge of spicy sharpness. I think the draw for me with this scent is the patchouli as I seem to like fragrances with that note. There's also a mingling of vanilla and pine that make it a little more interesting. I tried the original Sensuous years ago but something about it bugged me. Whatever that something was, I don't sense it in the Noir version.

As others have said, this probably isn't the most original fragrance out there but I like it. I'm not a perfume snob by any means, but who wants to smell like every other person out there? I think it's just unusual enough to be unique but still "normal" enough to be mainstream. As for staying power, this baby lasts. I fell asleep while wearing this and, being the bum I am, did so before taking a shower. I woke up the next day and could still smell it. I think that's how all perfumes should be considering most of them are crazy expensive.

Now, the negatives - I loath the name. For whatever reason, the word "sensuous" gives me the willies. There's something decidedly unsexy about that word despite it being almost universally accepted as being sexy. While we're at it, "noir" is also a tad cheesy. I think the smallest bottle is about $60 but that's rather typical of high end line scents these days. I likely wouldn't have tried this at its regular price but I tend to be a cheap-o.

All that said, Sensuous Noir is not a perfume I will be wearing daily. I like it but I definitely have to be in the mood for it. As it is a darker scent, I think it lends itself better to cold weather and since I live in the jungle, those days are few and far between. It's not a purchase I regret but I would recommend that anyone interested in it first get a sample to see how it reacts to your body chemistry.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.


on 9/28/2014 10:20:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I have other scents that cover this area already. I also find it relatively safe and generic.

Est�e Lauder rendition of a niche type scent, specifically serge lutens. Sensuous Noire is a cross between serge lutens filles et aiguilles (think cheery Christmas pine) and shiseido feminite de bois/lutens feminitie de bois (honeyed dried fruit and warm wood) (Lutens was the creative director of the Lutens and Shiseido scents). The original Feminitie du bois, I think, was released in 1992.

I consider both filles et aiguilles and feminitie de bois to be relatively easy mainstream niche in terms of wearability, provided one likes pine, wood and honeyed fruit accords. If you want a great pine from the EL collection, I also adore the original private collection which can be had for a song on eBay.

Since I own FBs of the latter two, there is no need for me to buy a FB of sensuous noir.

I have great respect for Est�e Lauder fragrances, especially vintage azuree, aliage, youth dew, Clinique aromatics elixir, private collection etc. it never occurred to me to wear EL when I was younger, so these are new discoveries. I don't think sensuous noire is in that league because somehow it's distinctly mainstream, but SN is certainly much easier to wear than the more challenging vintage ELs.


on 4/4/2015 12:14:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Usually when I think of Estee Lauder scents in the past, I have remembered they are quite floral and not usually my taste. The tide began to change in 2008 when Sensuous came out (the original). I was thrilled that there was a warmer scent available! Then, Sensuous Noir came out a couple years later. Usually I am suspicious of flankers, but this one is worth it. This is a very sexy scent. Very warm and spicy. I remember testing it when it came out and I sprayed some on my coat by accident. It was a cool winter evening. It stayed and stayed on my coat for days I noticed. In the winter air, it seemed to just come alive. I think this is their sexiest scent. Very interesting!

5 of 5 people found this helpful.


on 2/15/2016 7:09:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Grey

This is for brave women...only. i just adore it.


on 5/13/2014 8:54:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I am trying this today and oh dear....it's another one for the want shelf! It is a beautiful mix of spice and wood, slightly masculine but I don't mind that. I am wearing the original sensuous on my other wrist and that is a pale whisper compared to the noir, even though the noir is heavier I actually find it more feminine and 100x sexier! I do get the comparisons to dior midnight poison but i find this softer and prettier, less patchouli perhaps? I think this may oust shalimar from my favourites shelf! Definitely a cold weather fragrance.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


on 9/6/2013 11:48:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

Sensuous Noir is a cross between Midnight Poison and Belle d`Opium with a smidge of Feminite du Bois and the original Sensuous infused with pine needles. I can picture a woman with an Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo suit wearing this. And yes, I find it a little androgynous.

Opens with an almost medicinal spicy blast of pine and pepper as strongly as the original Lolita Lempicka opens with ivy and anise. I like this part because it's quite unusual and cooling/ burning - almost like peppery mint. It remains spicy until the very end and there is definitely some clean patchouli in the middle. I can also detect benzoin which makes it a little more incensey but does not add any sweetness. The drydown after several hours is deliciously soft with whispering amber but I don't get any floral elements.

Where the original is creamy this one is smokey.

Therefore although Sensuous Noir is a perfectly enjoyable woody peppery perfume it lacks an interesting twist beyond the opening. I'd prefer it to be a little more edgy but I still like it.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


on 3/7/2013 7:18:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Sensuous Noir by Este Lauder is not a ground breaking fragrance by any stretch of the imagination; however, when compared to other designer fragrances, SN is a breath of fresh air. Basically, it is a sweet, woody oriental with a crowd pleasing pine/patchouli/vanilla-dessert note combo. Do yourself a favor during your next visit to your local department store: walk past Coco Noir and continue straight to SNyou will not be disappointed. Actually, stay at the EL counter and continue sniffing your way through the entire line. Be sure to stop at Cinnabar and Private Collection. If you find the two aforementioned fragrances too vintage for your taste, check out Bronze Goddess and Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia; there should be something for everyone.

Longevity and Projection: Good
Overall 3.5/5

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


on 10/3/2013 4:12:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Being a guy, I never wear women's fragrances. Not because I feel like I have to stick to gendered fragrances, they just don't smell great on me. This is not one of them. I love this scent SO much, like you wouldn't believe. I sprayed it at work and instantly fell in love. It smells strikingly similar to another favourite, Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium, of which I cannot wear because it turns on me. But this is more woody, with lightness given by the rose and jasmine top notes that skilfully disappear as the day goes on. The base of vanilla really makes a difference in lasting power, as this lasts a good 6-8 hours. This is particularly good for me considering fragrance wicks away from me and I have to re-apply multiple times in a day. A stunning fragrance, for men and women.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


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