Une Voix Noire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

Hey there APJ,

This is what I wrote about Une Voix Noire in a mini review. With more wear my views have changed, not hugely but a bit.

Une Voix Noire by Serge Lutens: Gardenia done with a berry intro and a dark breathy dry down. A boozy gardenia that sits quietly on my skin, extremely beautiful, sensual, exotic and alluring but a close set beauty that has good sillage but not too strong projection. Excellent movie or theatre choice.

Une Voix Noire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica


The stars rise in chorus. The night sky is filled with the light of the moon.

Une voix noire : jazz, drinks and the night, and, beyond all that, a troubling line of white, gardenia-scented smoke.

GOSH! This is an extremely polarising fragrance. Made in honour of Billie Holiday, the sultry voiced chanteuse whose life was grim, grim and tortured. She was abused, a drug addict who came from very little and ended up with tragedy. Yes, her voice was velvet and she sang so heartbreakingly because her life was what it was and so she could sell her pain and angst in song. How does Une Voix Noire bring this life and voice alive?

Hairspray, booze and white flowers to open, that fabulous old fashioned hairspray that they called Lacquer. It is still used by Drag Queens to hold our wigs firm for months. The white flower is not at all Gardenia to me but a mix & match of all the white flowers and there’s a plastic/make up feel like the swipe of an expensive lipstick over a heavily powdered greasepaint and pan-stick. These smells are a Drag Queens stock in trade, so beautifully woven together in Une Voix Noire. I can imagine this being a part of how Billie Holiday would smell after a performance, there is something very lived in about Une Voix Noire.

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens Billie_Holiday 1946 WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

The heart feels sweaty and floral, white flowers and some wet-ish lily of the valley or peony perhaps. I’m getting a herbal back beat but no idea what it or they are, it’s sweet green and a little spicy and I think some buttery ylang goodness floating through too. Sweet white flowers, not sugared but like marzipan is both sweet and not sweet, actually there is a mintiness and the whole heart has a very interesting smell that reminds me of those fake teeth you used to get, remember? They were so fun to pretend you had these glamorous buck teeth in ultra white.

Sadly I miss out on most of the smokiness and Une Voix Noire stays pretty linear after the heart merely warming through with some sweet resinous vanilla/amber but still over the top is this white flower, not living Gardenia but kind of a drug store fragrance simile to it, and hairspray.

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens Sydney Queens WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

From my description it reads like I don’t care for Une Voix Noire, you couldn’t be more wrong. I freaking LOVE it. The lasting power is not so great for me though so I rarely reach for it to leave the house for work or play. Maybe I’ve used four or five of my 10ml decant that I bought in a split from AndreaW ages ago. When I do wear it I love it sick though.

Further reading: Now Smell This and
Une Voix Noire is available in the Exclusives line from Paris, Barney’s New York (I think) and online at Serge Lutens
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

How do you feel about Une Voix Noire? Is it one of your Serge Lutens favourites?
Portia xx

8 thoughts on “Une Voix Noire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

  1. Hey Portia,
    I remember the smell of those fake teeth! Fake white flowers, fake white teeth, plastic hair spray, booze…I should at least try it. I loved the smell of those teeth…
    Azar xx


    • Thanks laurelS,
      I will have a look at that on Weednesday when I have some spare time.
      Billie was a star,
      Portia xx


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