There are unexpected encounters that take your breath away and you can't believe they're happening right to you. Olfactory speaking it happens when suddenly you find a rare gem on a forgotten shelf that was waiting just for you, you just come over there almost hearing it calling your name.
No need to mention how trembling her hands were while trying to open the bottle still untouched after decades. So I took the initiative: I was myself moved by the overwhelming emotion hearing the click of the stopper under my fingers. Few seconds later there was silence while sniffing the marvel of the perfume still undamaged after the journey through time. Perfect from top to bottom.
Nombre Noir was born in 1981 when Shiseido wanted to launch her first western style fragrance. At that time the artistic directors Serge Lutens and Yusui Kumai developed the fragrance in collaboration with a Shiseido in-house perfumer Jean-Yves Leroy and the packaging with Shuichi Ikeda e Masataka Matsubara that for the parfum was an hyperbolic luxurious zen packaging where the pure octagonal geometry of the glass bottle war nested in exquisitely folded black origami.
Lutens chose for the fragrance a top quality natural osmanthus absolute overdosed in synthetic damascones. These latters capture the most winey aspects of a rose, with facets of red berries, plum, woods and tobacco just like a good full-bodied red wine. After having been fascinated years before, Luca Turin wrote to have lost the magic of this scented cabal after discovering with some analysis that the main components were four types of damascone and hedione. This magic synthetic molecule, discovered in the Firmenich labs in 1959 gives a shiny aura like a jasmin-like dew to everything it touches as it happens in Odeur 53 (1998) by Comme des Garcons where the overdose of hedione does the magic on a aldehydes and synthetic musks base you could exchange for laundry detergent otherwise.
|Origami dress by Dior Haute Couture|
The pyramid states as topnotes: aldehydes, coriander, bergamot, marjorain, rosewood. Heartnotes: rose, geranium, orris, jasmin, ylang-ylang, carnation, muguet, osmanthus. Basenotes: sandalwood, vetiver, honey, amber, musk, benzoin, tonka, cedars.
Notes are seamlessly joined together, in a wonderful balance, briefly introduced by an opening with aldehides and green notes enforcing the fruity sensation of redcurrant and light underbrush foliage. Fortunately the topnotes perfectly preserved shine in all their freshness, almost like the glossy berries would shine like rubies in the shade. Slowly blooms then the beautiful drunken heart in all its dry somptuousness to reveal later a solid base, like a basso continuo for cello and contrabass with their warm woods and their resinous crescendo wrapped in light smoked swirls.
For sure we will never know whether they discontinued this rare beauty for the high presence of photosensible damascones therefore highly instable or because of the expensive packaging or for the too expensive osmanthus absolute or again for the unlucky commercial destiny to be too ahead to be understood for what, nowadays looks for sure like a prophetic perfume that anticipated by decades olfactive trends reissued later also by Serge Lutens himself. That's truly a number one.