Histoires de Parfums Noir Patchouli, 2000

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(image, hdimagelab.com)

Perfumer Gérald Ghislain

I was turned onto Noir Patchouli by my friend Steve at ScentBar who knows that I love Clinique Aromatics Elixir. With no other intro other than a laugh and a smile he said, “You have to try this.”

I’ve always wondered why no one copied Aromatics Elixir. Aromatics Elixir is a huge patchouli perfume, but you would never mistake it for a hippie patch. It is the standard bearer for the rose chypre, one of the greatest genres from 1970s, yet no one imitates it.

Noir Patchouli is a great homage to the old gal. It doesn’t have the emphasis on rose and it lacks AE’s mountain of moss, but it is the same loving take on patchouli. Bernard Chant, who composed Aromatics Elixir, recognized that the patchouli doesn’t need to be formed, molded or altered. All it needs is the right context, proper lighting and a little space. In the same way that Bernard Chant let Aromatics Elixir speak its own mind, Gerard Ghislain of Histoires de Parfums simply hands the mic over to patchouil. Where Aromatics Elixir is earthy, Noir Patchouli is smoky. Noir Patchouli is just as deliberate as Aromatics Elixir but it replaces forcefulness with transparency.

Noir Patchouli presents an interesting option for the former-wearers of Givenchy Gentleman, who were fucked when a car-wreck of a reformulation deprived them of their fix. Noir Patchouli also holds its own in a competition among niche patchoulis. In fact, it beats most of them. It has a straightforwardness that ‘clean’ patch lovers would like but the gravitas that most patch enthusiasts seek.

If you’re into a real twisted scene, get together with some fumie friends and sample back to back: Aromatics Elixir, Aramis A900, Chanel Coromandel, PG Intrigant Patchouli & l’Ombre Fauve and Noir Patchouli. If you get out of the room alive you’ll have some stories to tell.

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