Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian
Back it up.
If we go in reverse I can end on a positive note. Lumière Noire pour Homme winds up a tidy, sweet musky rose. If you like it, you’ll recognize that it comes from thoughtfully designed succinctness. If you don’t, it’s a bit matter-of-fact. I won’t say that this fragrance loses steam or loses track, but it loses me. To Francis Kurkdjian’s credit, the ride from the beginning to the end is wonderfully designed, and like a well worded short sentence. One idea, clearly stated, perfectly understood. It’s just that everything I love about this fragrance is up front and fades by the quick-to-arrive drydown.
But, oh, that beginning. There are countless patchouli roses out there. This ain’t like any of them. The rose smells like wine, the patchouli smells mineral, and the cumin smells like cumin. This cumin is not a replacement for animal-based ingredients. Not that pouty-growl, wanna-be animalic cumin. It smells like freshly ground roasted seeds and perfectly inflects the rose/patchouli pairing. The three pieces together feel like hot, dusty sandpaper, and smell like temptation. I smell this opening and think, this could be a solution to the chypre/oakmoss dilemma that’s haunting us. This accord is that good.
I just wish I could run Lumière Noir pour Homme in reverse. But unfulfilled expectation is classic disappointment.