Post by Liam
Sarrasins: A severe perfume.
There are a lot of noir scents on the market. Or better put, there are a lot of noir flankers on the market. Tom Ford’s Noir, Chanel’s Coco Noir, and Van Cleef and Arpels’ Cologne Noire to name a few fumes.
The word noir, whether it’s used to mod a title or used as a title on its own really fascinates me.
On one hand, noir and nuit go hand-in-hand and evoke feelings of a cool and steely midnight in winter. On another, noir seems to be a term impetuously placed on labels as it suggests a darkened fragrance that is largely more severe.
Unfortunately, this is not the usual case. Coco Noir is described as a ‘nocturnal baroque scent’ … with grapefruit?! No no no. That’s not noir. That’s a flirtatious teen girl late at night.
Sarrasins by Serge Lutens 2007
Sarrasins by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Heart: Carnation, jasmine
Sarrasins is noir. True noir. Sarrasins wraps me in its beauty and then strangles me gently. A metallic note opens floating ephemerally at the top of the overdosing of rich moreish jasmine. I suspect a drop of aldehydes lifts the fragrance and adds some initial space in the beginning, as the narcotic flower begins to bloom on the skin. This effect, a floral dipped in a touch of something artificial, reminds me of Serge Luten’s masterful Tuberuse Criminelle where a scene plays out on the skin as a murder occurs in a room full of tuberose flowers. This almost bloody accord is further tweaked with something undeniably clean – a Luten’s style musk note; camphoraceous and cool.
From here, the jasmine reveals itself emerging like a spike from the skin. It poses danger but never cuts as it is placated with its innate white floral creaminess. Thus its sweet and indolic moments are to be expected and these are spiced with a carnation note that recalls many early vintage scents I have smelled before. Despite the linear nature of the scent, the jasmine note pulls itself down into darker regions. It sways between dead and alive like flowers limply wilting and wrinkling like old leather.
‘Warm’ is best used to describe this stage, underscored with a majestic leatheriness and animalics as the jasmine showcases its green facet – here we find resolution between two clashes that learn to exist together in harmony. The sweetness now comes off as fruity and herbal, yet it appears to forever colour itself nostalgically purple and melancholically grey with its impossibly dusty undertones.
So, a noir scent like Sarrasins recalls something tender, tragic and emotionally palpable. Longing but not obtainable. It’s everything you expect from the Serge Lutens’ aesthetic and the noir labelling, a style of fragrance possessed only by truly the most exhaled scents. Anyway, evil is not a bad descriptor at all…
Photo Stolen Pixabay
In terms of longevity and sillage, Sarrasins trails me like a spectre. Close, intimate, and radiating energy and a cold stately mood. Moderate.
So! What do you think a true noir perfume is?
-Liam (turning 18 soon – how should I spoil myself?)