Caron Narcisse Noir was exactly what I was looking for today. I wanted something retro, not modern. Floral but not too sweet. Something with a hint of Spice for Autumn. Narcisse Noir met all my needs and left me wanting more.
Narcisse Noir is perhaps not aptly named. Black Narcissus suggests something dark, tempting and edgy, when in fact what I got was a sort of smoky version of Jean Patou Joy, with even more Jasmine, if that’s possible. This is in no way A Bad Thing, but I found nothing dark in it, only a wonderfully smoky Autumn scent.
Narcisse Noir opens with flowers: armfuls of them. The yellow Narcissus gives it a honeyed sort of glow, but it’s the Jasmine that really blooms and blooms and generally shows off a bit. There’s Orange Blossom in spades, but sadly the important Orange note was not in when I dropped by, despite promising to be there.
Longevity is excellent. I first applied it eight hours ago and I can still smell it close to skin. It’s more Yellow Flowers than White Flowers and the Sandalwood in the base gives it the smokiness I mentioned earlier, as if someone lit Sandalwood joss sticks next to a bouquet of Roses, and an enormous bucket of Jasmine.
Caron packaging is so attractive that it invokes nothing less than covetousness. Its pretty bottles with the raised polka dots and the white and gold boxes are just adorable and I wouldn’t turn down any bottle from the esteemed range of Carons. (Santa, if you’re reading this, you know what to do).
It is almost unsurprising that Narcisse Noir was created in 1911. It is a timeless classic, which to my taste, just has the edge over the legendary Joy, which, although I like it, can sometimes smell a bit twee on me. Narcisse Noir has its own stories to tell too. It was reputedly sprayed around the set of Sunset Boulevard at the behest of its Star, Gloria Swanson. It is rumoured that Diaghilev insisted that his ballerinas wore it when dancing. With such whimsical vignettes behind its name, how can you ever lose?