Perfume Review: Lalique Encre Noir
Dragging behind the whole enlightened perfumanity, I finally tried Lalique's fairly recent masculine release, Encre Noir. (Many thanks to Robin for sharing this marvel with me!) So good is this deceptively simple, elegantly earthy creation, that it might just revive my passion for vetiver. When I say that it is deceptively simple, I mean that it appears relatively straightforward: vetiver and more vetiver. The supporting notes (cypress, musk, grapefruit, licorice) are wonderfully discreet. And yet, the fragrance constantly changes ...but "spatially" rather than "temporally". In other words, I don't perceive any drastic transformations from top to middle to base notes, however, strangely, the scent smells different when inhaled very closely (nose-to-wrist), from a short distance and as "sillage" wafting subtly with one's movements.
Up close, it is rooty-green, pungent, although not sharp, and possessing the quality I love so much about vetiver- an enjoyable sourness of sorts, not unlike that of sorrel. From a short distance - hand snatched away from nose, the molecules hanging for a millisecond suspended in the air between nose and hand - it smells like dirt. Clean dirt, to be oxymoronic. There is nothing animalic and sensual about the earthiness of Encre Noir. The scent is smooth white stones on dry gray earth... pristine, virginal almost-sterility of primeval landscape. The sillage has a sublimely elegant leathery undertone, an unexpected touch of chic urbanity in this strangely "natural" blend. The leathery undertone aside, Encre Noir makes me feel, to quote Neruda, as if "I am this naked mineral: echo of underneath." The perfume is nothing short of exquisite and absolutely unisex. I recommend it highly to those who, like me, were enamored with the "mineral" aspect of Terre d'Hermes and Sel de Vetiver and were looking for a vetiver scent that would be even more like a "substance that is neither vegetable nor animal".
Encre Noir is available at Aedes, $100.00 for 3.3oz.
The painting, Man with Stones, is by Steven Kenny, stevenkenny.com.