Thursday, October 25, 2012

Serge Lutens Datura Noir: fragrance review

Datura Noir is rather schizophrenic, even for a Serge Lutens fragrance, aiming at pushing several buttons at once, much like the hallucinogenic datura plant is famous for; this Lutens fragrance is a kaleidoscope which changes perceptibly every time you give it a slight shake, but one can't help but get a slight case of the shivers while attempting it.

It has the almond nuance of cyanide we read about in novels, yet dressed in edible apricot and tropical fruit and floral notes (candied tuberose clearly present) as if trying to belie its purpose, while at the same time it gives the impression of coconut-laced suntan lotion smelled from afar; as if set at a posh resort in a 1950s film noir where women are promiscuous and men armed to the teeth beneath their grey suits and there's a swamp nearby for dumbing bodies in the night...
The noir moniker is perfect for a night-blooming blossom, but also for something dangerous and off- kilter just like a classic cinemascope of the era. Datura after all is a blossom (in the family Solanacae that consists of 9 species) which opens and blooms in the evening. What better foil for dark natures? The deadly poisonous plant, known both as Angel’s Trumpet and the Devil’s Weed, can be beneficial only in homeopathic dosages.

Medieval as the source of inspiration sounds like, Datura Noir is a modern fragrance, very much with its feet in the here and now. The apricot nuance in Datura Noir is due to both apricot pits used in making amaretto liqueur (which smells and tastes of bitter almonds oddly enough) and to osmanthus flowers, a blossom that smells like an hybrid between apricot and peach. The effect is sweet, narcotic, perhaps a tad too buttery sweet thanks to the profuse and clearly discernible coconut note which smothers the more carnal aspects of the tuberose in the heart.

Datura Noir is among the fragrances I can't really wear in the Lutens. It comes on as subtly as a ton of bricks and as sweet as a generous piece of baklava a la mode...Gaia at the Non Blonde shares the puzzlement. But you might disagree.

Notes for Serge Lutens Datura Noir: bitter almond , heliotrope, myrrh, tuberose and vanilla.

film clip collage from Fran├žois Ozon's film 5X2 which is all the same neither loud, nor sweet


  1. I wore Datura Noir for several summers. I prefer to wear it in summer because it smells on me mostly like aromatic coconut. In the winter smells mostly like bitter almond and myrrhe. It's a really peculiar fragrance smelling so differently according to the weather. But it's elements seem rare enough to make it interesting, repulsive, intoxicating, puzling, narcotic, in the end almost addictive. If i wasn't so curious about other perfumes, i'd wear only that. It's the most strange perfume among those that Serge Lutens has made and i didn't find something similar, not nearly, in any other brand, niche or mainstream. I wish i could find it again. Because of the recession stores didn't bring new bottles of it, at least in Greece. Well, it isn't a digestable scent.

  2. I disagree! Datura Noir is a warm, cozy floral on me-almondy and not very tropical. It was my second Lutens, after Ambre Sultan, and signaled my entry into niche perfumes. I wore it so much when my son was young that he called it "Eau de Maman". I rarely wear it now, but still admire it.

  3. Miss Heliotrope00:58

    What a great description - and that even if it isn't your thing, you still make it sound interesting.

  4. efi,

    it's as you say!! Great description.
    It's on a par with Mandarine Mandarin on strangeness.

  5. Louise,

    oh that's so touching that I can't possibly say anything now!! (how cute of your son)

  6. C,

    aw, thanks. But it is interesting, indeed. In a strange way, granted. :)

  7. I do like this one but think of it strictly as a fun summer sunshine fragrance a la Bronze Goddess, not at all "noir" -- who is he kidding!

  8. E,

    well, we have ascertained by now that "noir" is synonym for "please take me seriously and imagine I'm a dangerous mantle to take you out of your daily routine". Hey, it worked for Batman!


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