Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pascal Morabito Or Noir: fragrance review

There's a wondrous line in Sherlock BBC S2E1 (A Scandal in Belgravia) when Irene Adler marvels at the height of the cheekbones of our eponymous hero, saying "Look at those cheekbones, I could cut myself slapping that face... would you like me to try?". This is in essence the, well, essence of Or Noir, the vintage fragrance by French jeweller Pascal Morabito; a fragrance so sharp and juttingly beautiful, one could cut themselves trying to slap it into submission.

Morabito is famous for his "free floating diamond" launched in 1970, a cube that contained a simple, clear cut diamond, that looked as if it was not suspended, but floating in space. Ten years later he launched the perfume equivalent in Or Noir, the fragrance. Diamonds are sharp and all, and scents do float in space, get it?

Or Noir the fragrance oozes with urban elegance. It's a man-made scent, it's impossible to imagine this aroma in the countryside, or coming from a natural source that you can put your finger on. The mix  of notes, with blackcurrant bud in the top notes to give that tangy feeling and the inky impression of bitter oak moss in the base, is not unheard of, but its aloofness speaks of supreme confidence in wielding those slaps expertly. It's the scent of a professional. The heart of the Morabito's Or Noir is comprised of womanly notes, green florals like narcissus and lily of the valley with budding gardenia, notes which pair supremely with chypre perfumes and leather fragrances.

The magic of the perfume comes from delineating its lineage. This owes a heavy debt to iconoclast Germaine Cellier's infamous Bandit perfume for Piguet from the 1940s, as well as Bernard Chant's masterpieces for Lauder and for Madame Grès in the 1960s and 1970s. But it's not a copy, rather the end of a prodigious line. If you ever happen upon a vintage bottle, don't let it pass you by; getting a cut pounding on this prey is very worth trying.


  1. mmm, you had me at chypre and narcissus... i've never smelled this one, and i'd like to. wondering how the vintage compares to the new?

    1. Hi there, thanks for asking!
      The newest is more aldehydic floral, while the older one is sharp chypre, the difference is perceptible, but both are very good perfumes. I do prefer the vintage version (despite the plainer container which belies the jeweller's reputation), but that's just me.

      Yup, a good chypre narcissus is never to be dismissed, they're so good; this also has a pronounced blackcurrant bud touch, which I find mighty interesting as well.

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