Scent Bar to pick up a birthday gift for my brother, Laura and Steven have given me a few samples – 2 of them being of patchouli scents with which I’d like to close the patchouli series.
Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums is a more of a study in dry chypre than it is a patchouli per se. It opens with a very perfumey, old-world blast of blushed, rosy cheeks and fatty aldehydes, bringing to mind floral chypres of the caliber of Aromatics Elixir. Yet, there is a dry spiciness to it all that stops it from being cloying.
Coriander and aldehydes are the dominant first notes, underlined by a honeyed, lush rose absolute. The dry patchouli layer underneath it all is always apparent yet not exactly obvious as you’d expect from a perfume of that title. There is also a hint of tobacco leaf, or vetiver, or both; as well as hints of jasmine and indole – giving it an earthy, bitter tonality that at firstshifts its balance from smelling muddy and overcrowded to intriguingly light and well-composed, until it settles on the latter, once a dry musk takes the reins and disperses the rose into like dust particles that lift up from an unused leather seat that’s finally been claimed by its absent owner.
While I do find the initial blast of aldehyes more than a tad overbearing, it is worth trying it on for what’s to become of Noir Patchouli later on: a modern take on the patchouli-rose of yesteryear, updated with contemporary musks and acrid leather-woody notes that both complement the patchouli and bring the rose its due respect. It brings to mind other favourites from the musk-rose-faux-chypre genre, namely Agent Provocateur; yet while the latter demands to be worn by a lady, Noir Patchouli could be quite easily pulled off by a man, as long as they can handle a few mintues of oily aldehydes.
Top notes: Aldehydes, Coriander
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine
Base notes: Patchouli, Tobacco, Vetiver, Musk