Tag: narcissus

Narcisse Noir by Caron

Narcisse Noir creates an illusion of a non-existent flower which is quite convincing. The dry green bitterness with oil-paint like nuance evokes the image of narcissus. And the animalic darkness of civet in the base does paint it black. Although reading about this fragrance makes me to think that the original version of this perfume was much heavier on civet than its modern interpretations. But to me Narcisse Noir is mostly about the orange blossom. It represents an interesting aspect of the orange flower which I perceive as a slow thickening of sunlight during a sunset. The color changes from a warm orange glow to a dark orange and almost brown before it falls into the darkness. Warm, sultry, heady and definitely fatal.

Pyramid according to H&R Fragrance Guide:

Top notes: Fresh, Flowery
Main: Bergamot
Supported by: Mandarin, Petitgrain, Lemon

Heart notes: Dry, Floral
Main: Narcissus, Jasmin
Supported by: Jonquil, Orange Blossom

Base notes: Floral, Sensual
Main:  –
Supported by: Civet, Musk, Sandal

Perfumer: Ernest Daltroff

Year of creation: 1912 (or 1911)

Classification by H&R Genealogy:
Feminine, Oriental, Sweet (1985 version)
Feminine, Oriental (end 2000’s version)

Classification by Symrise Genealogy: Feminine, Oriental, Woody, Animalic

Classification by SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs): B1f-09 – Floral, soliflore, Narcissus

Fragrance Wheel (by Michael Edwards) classification: Floral, Rich/Profond, orange blossom, feminine

Luca Turin Guide verdict: ** 2 stars of 5 calling it “woody jasmine”. In her review Tania Sanchez shares her regrets on reformulations of this great classic and describes the modern version as followed: “Fragrance Wheel (by Michael Edwards) classification: Floral, Rich/Profond, orange blossom, feminine.”

Smelling a modern version can raise a question about the placing this scent inside an oriental family. I guess the key here is the reformulation Tania Sanchez is complaining about. I think the animalic note of civet was much more pronounced in original and made it much closer to those animalic musk attars from the East. But it’s in the past. And nowadays Michael Edwards describes it as a floral perfume with a predominant orange blossom note.

Interesting facts:

Barbara Herman in her “Scent and Subversion” mentions that Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel N5 described Narcisse Noir as “a perfume of the most striking vulgarity.”

Ostrom, Lizzie in her “Perfume: A Century of Scents calls” it “a lawsuit perfume” as “Caron lawyered up against several firms, including Du Moiret for their Moon-Glo Narcissus, and Henri Muraour & Cie for their Narcisse Bleu. […]
Caron, holding the trademark for the complete phrase ‘Narcisse Noir’, argued that any use of the word ‘narcisse’ in fragrance from a competitor should be disallowed.”

The new (for the time of creation) aromachemicals para-cresol and its esters were used in Narcisse Noir for the first time (according to Perfumer&Flavorist, Vol. 15, November/December 1990). Para-cresol and its esters (like para-cresyl acetate) possess a harsh phenolic smell with heavy floral nuances (when diluted) resembling the smell of narcissus, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, lily and animalic accents.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu – review


For notes and facts, please, read a perfume dossier on Eau de Narcisse Bleu.

After smelling Eau de Narcisse Bleu for the first time I’ve got an idea to create a picture of a blue narcissus flower. After several attempts I finally came with a satisfying result about a year ago. I use it now to illustrate this text. But it took me another year to find the words to describe the scent.

When trying to find Narcissus in Eau de Narcisse Bleu, it’s important to forget everything you know about the narcissus note in perfumery and switch the reference point to the natural narcissus absolue. A Russian blogger Ekaterina Khmelevskaya in her aromablog.ru has perfectly described that smell, so let me cite her here: “The real narcissus absolue doesn’t smell like tight honeyed yellow and white gramophone shaped flowers. But rather like hay, a little bit of soap and small blue flowers.” Fleur de Narcisse by L’Artisan Parfumeur is good reference for the natural narcissus note.

Another interesting point about Eau de Narcisse Bleu is its translunary character. While smelling it I don’t get a clear visual impression, but rather a sequence of gleaming illusions overflowing into each other. First I percept a simple sketch of white and blue hyacinths painted by the green galbanum note. But in a moment that vision falls apart into thousands white snowflakes of powdery musk. I feel the citrus nuance of the scent touching my skin like a white magnolia petal, but it easily melts under the lukewarm rays of winter sun. Eau de Narcisse Bleu could perfectly express the smell of snowdrops as it’s all about early spring, melting snow, frosted grass and narcissus flowers went blue with cold.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès


Name: Eau de Narcisse Bleu

Brand: Hermes

Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena

Year of creation: 2013

Pyramid according to Osmoz:

Top notes: Orange Blossom, Galbanum
Heart notes: Narcissus
Base notes: Woody Notes, Powdery Notes

Notes mentioned by Parfumo/Fragrantica/Basenotes: Narcissus and Woody Notes (all three), Galbanum and Orange Blossom (Parfumo only).

Impression of the scent by Hermès:
An ode to a raw material endlessly reflected back by playing on its salient features, Eau de narcisse bleu pays an unusual homage to freshness. This exercise in style tackles the sense of touch, given depth with orange blossom and galbanum. A novella with contemporary, very individual writing, creating a muted contrast between the dense textured notes of narcissi and the delicacy of a woody accord.

“A completely free-spirited creation in which I particularly wanted to express the tactile aspect of the raw material.”
Jean-Claude Ellena

Visual impression by Hermès:


Classification by Osmoz: Floral woody musk

Fragrance Wheel (by Michael Edwards) classification: Floral, Fresh/Frais, Citrus Fruity, unisex

This fragrance is compared to: Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès, Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene.

For my personal impression of this scent, please, read my review here.