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Monday, October 15, 2007

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,

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Blogger Divina said...

I looove this one. I do perceive it as earthy indeed, but also deeply resinous.

6:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's such a beauty!

7:16 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I love this, too! And the bottle (which I just got for 41.00 at Parfum1) is really beautiful! My only complaint is that it is very short-lived on me (not true for Robin, apparently). Oh well, I will just have to keep spraying! (I have heard the EdP lasts longer, but it only seems to come in a fancy bottle for $700).

7:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is quite long-lasting on me and quite sillage-full...but in a subtle way :-)

7:17 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Sniffed this on Saturday in Roja Dove, Harrods whilst on a sniffage with Silvia. I liked it ALOT. Beautifully elegant vetivert and yes, I could detect the resin which Divina speaks of. Actually, Marina we did think of you because we preceded the sniffage with the Couture exhibition at the V&A which featured some beautiful Dior bottles in their "glorifiers"!

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oooh, Dior bottles!! :-D

7:30 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I've been wavering on this one. Do I *need* it? You've convinced me that I do. Your review, the great bottle and the brilliant price. Yes. I do need it. Wandering off to Parfum 1 now for a little fragrance purchasing therapy.

7:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am feelin' the need...

7:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely review, Marina. Enough to make me wonder again whether or not I like vetiver. I will certainly sniff this next trip to Aedes. I've been talking to a guy scent afficionado lately about boy scents he might like. I'm going to suggest this one to him.

7:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy to read this review, because since Saturday's first sniff with Nicola, I keep thinking about this fragrance. I am definitely going to buy it for my DH, with the clear intent to use it myself. Can I wait until X-mas ?
And yes, at the Couture exhibition we thought you'd be crushing the glass case to get your hands on those vintage bottles, hehehehe.

8:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Must! Have!

Wonderful review... you have confirmed everything I hoped about this one. I am definitely going to have to try this one.

I'm have a vetiver thirst that can't be slaked right now, and this one sounds perfect. I love that mineral aspect you mentioned in Sel de Vetiver.

9:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a coincidence! I just tested this one on Saturday and you basically wrote my thoughts word for word, and the picture you've included says it all! I get a lot of the soily root, almost too much "soft soil" effect for me to stomach, like a stem that's been sitting in water too long. But the sharpness is great. I almost bought this but I saw so many similarities with CdG2 (one I recently acquired) that I went with something else. This fragrance really does paint a picture and how cool that they didn't just call it vetiver!

10:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, I must correct myself... CdG2 MAN... hahaha... big difference... oops. Man has that smokey, sharp, sour dirty vetiver (with a whole lot more thrown in)... I basically sense Encre Noire as a cleaner CdG2 MAN.

10:32 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Yep, smells like dirt -- what more could you want??

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

And meant to add: PERFUMANITY!! Great word, and much needed.

11:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

My best impulse buy in a while. Encre Noir is dressy if I want him dressy, but I prefer him brawny 'n' bold in some vintage flannel and denim. And he's quite happy to indulge me in my phantasy. Genie in a bottle, for sure.

12:47 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

But don't you think it smells like ink? :-P

I find it simultaneously kind of offputting and compelling. When I have it on I can't stop sniffing it, even though I can't say I particularly like the smell. Weird.

3:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I am a vetiver lover, and your description made me hungry to try this one. It sounds so very Zen and I found myself wanting the company of a cool running river and soft wet stones to skip!

3:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Must try this. Now.
The painting is brilliant too!
Is it only available in the Haute Parfumerie? I live within a reasonable distance from London nowadays (2h) but I would never dare to go there! In fact, I didn't like Harrods at all, no test strips, only SAs asking if you would like to be sprayed... I so prefer the wonderful Liberty where you can sniff in peace! Selfridges was nice too, I got a sniff of Prada Cuir ambré (Tabac Blond ripoff, anyone?). I passed by SMN and Diptyque and didn't dare to go inside these tiny, empty, über-designed little shops... Wanted to go to Angela Flanders since I was there on a Sunday, but went to a cheap screening of Hairspray instead (perfume-indifferent travel companion with a cold)...

6:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you will definitely like if not love it. Anyway, it is a bargain :-)

8:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The needs are there to be fulfilled...

8:40 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Please do suggested it to him. More men should smell like this :-)

8:40 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

ladies, you clearly had a lot of fun. If I say I wasn't envious, I would be lying :-0

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Please do try and then share your thoughts with us!

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
OK, I have got to revisit CdG 2 Man, because, if you compare it to this, it must be great!

8:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is so strange, it doesn't smell like dirt when I sniff my wrist, but if I wave my hand in the does :-)

8:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Definitely a genie!!

8:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Soviet ink (the last time I smelled ink from a bottle was back then :-)) might have smelled differently...or else I don't remember. Because it didn't really make me think of ink at all. :-O

8:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Zen would be a perfect description for it!

8:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

London! I envy you so much...:-)

8:47 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Sounds great- I am on a vetiver tear recently as you know. I'll have to try this one..

9:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You'll love it, I think!

9:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ink spilled on a very old wood table and left to dry outdoors?
Anyway, this one actually lives up to the word Noir in its name.
In France they say "nuit d' encre" to mean the darkest night and EN smells kind of nocturnal to me.
Very beautiful indeed.

6:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

nuit d' encre - wonderful expression!

8:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Aldo said...

I just got it....!
not sure about this scent .. usually a fragrance either grabs me and I love it ...
and I MUST wear it ..
others I despise and
this one ....
I guess I have to let it sit .. and muse over it for awhile..
before I can really I want to keep it or sell it on ...

its smell conjures a walk in a forest after a rain fall...
the image of dark, wet wood accompanied with dense green grass and spicy smoke.

11:54 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is this review for Pour Elle or just the straight Encre Noir?

5:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Aldo said...

Encre Noir!

1:17 AM EDT  

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