Chanel Coco Noir : Perfume Review

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“Why does all I do become Byzantine?” mused Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The silhouettes of her garments might have been streamlined and paired down, but the embellishments would be sumptuous: baroque jewels, ornate camellias, richly textured embroideries. Byzantine may not be the first association with Chanel fragrances, which tend to be polished and understated. Yet, if you look closer, you will find plenty of intricate details that make each perfume memorable: the luscious ylang-ylang of No 5, the smoky incense of No 22 or even the vivid technicolor jasmine of Coco MademoiselleCoco Noir, the latest addition to Chanel’s collection, promises to take Byzantine a notch further.

With Venetian fabrics and colors inspiring perfumer Jacques Polge, how can Coco Noir be anything but Byzantine! In order to weave his perfume story, Polge looked to the time Coco Chanel spent in Venice in 1919. She fell in love with the city, which she visited in an attempt to ease the pain of the sudden death of her lover, Boy Capel. The exquisite beauty of Venice seduces her and its Byzanthine influences stayed with Chanel for the rest of her life.

I don’t think that I anticipated another fragrance with quite the same impatience. I stalked my local Chanel counter and dreamed of Venetian lions and brocades. One spritz of Coco Noir, and my face falls–from the outset I smelled the fruity patchouli that is the mainstay of most feminine fragrances today. I recognize the elegance of the composition, but its timidity disappoints me. I set my sample aside.

As days go by, I cannot stop thinking about Coco Noir and I revisit it again and again, liking it a bit more each time. It unfolds on my skin in sparkling layers of bergamot, grapefruit and sweet orange. Right underneath the shimmering and crisp top, there is a soft glow of sandalwood and patchouli. Sweetened by the same cotton candy as in Coco Mademoiselle, it’s nevertheless creamy and tender.

The warm sandalwood, vanilla and musk give the perfume richness and depth. In contrast to both Coco and Coco Mademoiselle, the perfume is more understated and mellow. It won’t be a dramatic adornment like Coco, but it also won’t stay behind in the room after you leave the way Coco Mademoiselle does. Coco Noir clings to the skin like warm silk, creating a distinctive, but intimate aura.

Coco Noir feels contemporary and polished. I can see a woman wearing it to the office and reapplying with a heavier hand when she’s ready to go out. It’s not a challenging perfume, but its eagerness to please is what puts me off a bit. Some of the elements–the fruity-crisp citrus opening, the sweet patchouli, the white musk–are familiar and perhaps too much so. On the other hand, it has quality and finesse that are rare to find in big brand fragrances today. I mostly wish that Coco Noir were closer to Coco with its baroque spices than to Coco Mademoiselle with its gourmand patchouli. I crave more Byzantine than what it offers.

What I have no doubts about is the packaging. The obsidian black bottle in the classical Chanel faceted mold is even more stunning when you hold it in your hand. I’m not a perfume bottle collector, but I’m tempted to buy Coco Noir just to put it on my vanity table alongside No 19 and Cuir de Russie. Meanwhile, I reach for Coromandel and satisfy my noir cravings with its decadent, sultry patchouli.

Chanel Coco Noir includes notes of bergamot, grapefruit, rose, jasmine, narcissus, geranium, tonka bean, Indonesian patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, incense, and  white musk. The fragrance  is available from Chanel counters and boutiques (some US stores already carry it, others have testers).

Sample: my own acquisition

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108 Comments

  • Zubi d’Nova / Melissa de Blok: Your review is much more positive than the first little description I read on Basenotes!

    However, I think – due to its price – I won’t be too eager to get a sample of this. Had really high hopes for the “Noir” part. :(

    Great review, as always :) August 1, 2012 at 7:37am Reply

  • Suzanna: Hmmmm…perhaps better off with the Coco Mademoiselle dry oil. However, I am more curious now to try Coco Noir not because it will be stunning, but because it continues the skein of the “modern” Chanel with that same patch/vanilla that bothered me in the “younger” Chanel compositions–and which is a successful formula for the house, just not for my nose! August 1, 2012 at 7:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I definitely recommend trying it. It’s just not a breakthrough fragrance. Coco Mademoiselle was probably more distinctive when it first came out.

      But the bottle is to die for! Gosh, if I had any spare money, I would buy Coco Noir just for the bottle. August 1, 2012 at 10:38am Reply

  • Wendy: oh gosh!! better be prepared to be let down then … is this an edt or an edp, and would you know if there will also be an extrait at some point? Cheers Wendy August 1, 2012 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried the Eau de Parfum. That was the only concentration the store had. I imagine that the extrait might be richer and plusher, and I would love to smell it. Chanel extraits are wonderful, even for fragrances I don’t care for in other concentrations like Coco Mademoiselle. August 1, 2012 at 10:40am Reply

  • Barbara: Darn! I hoped for more Noir and less Coco Mad. August 1, 2012 at 10:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too, Barbara! August 1, 2012 at 10:40am Reply

    • solanace: Yep. They wasted that bottle. Sigh… August 1, 2012 at 3:54pm Reply

      • Victoria: That bottle is just too beautiful for the nice, but timid perfume they put in it. August 1, 2012 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Marika: I smelled it the other day at my local Macy’s (they are taking pre-orders, if anyone’s interested) and I agree, it’s nice. But why does every single new perfume has to have this dreaded fruitychouli?? August 1, 2012 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Marika, sigh… I know what you mean. I’m tired of the fruity patchouli perfumes. August 1, 2012 at 11:21am Reply

  • Anna Minis: Great expectations are often not forfilled. That’s life! ”sparkling layers” and ”quality and finesse” sounds not bad. I am curious what you will say when you revisit the perfume in the future. August 1, 2012 at 11:05am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s true, the expectations are never met, but in this case, the perfume smells like I expected a big fragrance launch would smell–fruity patchouli and sweet citrus. But it’s nicely done, that’s without any doubt. August 1, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Very helpful review, Victoria. I was hoping for a bit more “Noir” as well, but maybe if I go into it as an individual Chanel fragrance rather than a Coco flanker, I can give it more of a fair shake. Still sad that it doesn’t sound like it’s what I’d hoped, though. If I want a good fruitchouli, I’ll wear NR for Her. :( August 1, 2012 at 11:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Narciso Rodgriguez for Her is my favorite soft patchouli-musk still, even after so many copycats. Coco Noir, like all Chanel perfumes, is beautifully crafted, but it won’t offer any surprises. A contemporary, fashionable, easy to wear perfume. I think that it will sell really well. August 1, 2012 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Daisy: Oh, that is so disappointing to hear! From the looks of the bottle (which I love) and the talk of Venice, I was hoping for something really lush. Well-done is great, but feels like wasted potential that it isn’t more memorable. August 1, 2012 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: I want to buy Coco Noir for the bottle. The sales lady at the store herself couldn’t stop sighing over the packaging. It looks so dramatic! August 1, 2012 at 12:26pm Reply

      • Daisy: Would it be gauche to dump the contents and refill the gorgeous bottle with something that is more appropriate?

        If I had a million dollars, I would consider it . . .

        ;-) August 1, 2012 at 8:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: In principle, why not! :)

          It’s just that the bottle might be hard to open, since it’s a spray atomizer. August 2, 2012 at 5:31am Reply

          • Mimi: Opening a spray can be done.

            I like fragrances in smaller roll-on bottles (which can now be bought at various on-line sites). I can carry these in my purse.

            I use garden clippers with a small head and slowly work the spray apparatus off. I then use a pipe to fill the small roll-on and cap the fragrance with a rubber stopper.

            This also gives me a splash which I prefer. Both the splash and the roll-on give me more control when applying the fragrance. August 2, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you very much, Mimi! This is very helpful guide. I’ve always been scared that I might break a bottle. I will practice on my empty, inexpensive spray atomizers. August 2, 2012 at 1:02pm Reply

              • Daisy: First thought:

                Darn you, Chanel! (insert futile fist-shaking here)

                Second thought after reading that the sprayer can be removed: Heh heh! Occupy perfume!!!

                :-) August 2, 2012 at 1:13pm Reply

                • Victoria: Occupy perfume! That’s a good one. :) August 2, 2012 at 2:21pm Reply

              • Mimi: You can use scissors, too; obviously just being careful with your fingers. Just slowly cut into the spray mechanism and then begin to peel it back, away from your face, almost like peeling back petals. You get it to a point where you can cut the circle, so to speak.

                I have trouble with some bottles–having to get past a fancy cap to the spray.

                Of course, this ruins the beauty of the bottle, but if you love splashes and having the fragrance in your purse, this is ideal.

                The rubber stoppers can be found on e-bay and in some hardware stores.

                I have on rare occasion (Nude) had the top of the bottle crack some, but the rubber stopper still fit, though a larger one. And, I caught the glass. August 5, 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hmm…I’m ruminating on this review. Chanel Noir sounds a bit mainstream or I’m trying too hard to appeal to you. Chanel’s launch on the men’s Bleue appealed to many by its formulation and by virtue of the name Chanel. Again, I’m curious to sniff, but not going out of my way to test. Now, 28 Rue La Pausa was allegedly created for Mme. Coco’s homage to her Italian villa and the profound quality of iris in this fragrance is a new fav. August 1, 2012 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Mainstream, yes, that’s it. Bleu is probably a good comparison, because it’s another fragrance that does everything by the book–familiar fragrance, excellent packaging, memorable ad campaign. Not a surprise that it was a huge seller (plus, since if Chanel is does anything, it’s quality all the way).

      I would be curious to see how well Coco Noir would do. August 1, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Tatiana: :-(
    After lusting after that bottle, I was so hoping for a rich, sophisticated, dark perfume to match. I too thought the bottle would look stunning next to my Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie bottles. So many times the use of white musk renders the perfume undetectable for me. Something in it just blocks me from being able to smell it. So tired of fruitchouli. I will still go in search of this to sniff for myself. August 1, 2012 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: That was my vision as well! I can just picture it next to my Chanel perfumes, green tinted No 19 and ambery Cuir de Russie or Bois des Iles.

      Tatiana, please let me know what you think! I would love to hear. August 1, 2012 at 6:58pm Reply

      • Tatiana: Well, I stopped in at Nordstrom’s as I was walking home from my morning run. (Living within a walking 5 minutes from a Nordstrom has it’s plusses and minuses.) The girl at the Chanel counter went in back to get the tester for me. This is just too young and mass market for my tastes. Well done, yes, but I was hoping for something deep, rich and spicy. Closer to Coco and closer to Noir. This just struck me as very bright and sunny. And my lingering memory as I walked home was that the bottle didn’t look nearly as stunning in person, especially with all the smudgy fingerprints on it. Ah well, money saved to spend on something else. Perhaps a Serge Lutens or Malle. August 2, 2012 at 3:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds like we agree. I also wanted more Coco and more Noir, or at least, less fruity patchouli!

          Smudgy fingerprints can ruin the most beautiful bottle. At my local perfumery the SAs don’t allow anyone to touch the bottles. They make a big show of picking them up gingerly and spraying themselves. And then wiping the bottles as if they were pieces of jewelry. So, I try visiting a place where I can smell on my own. August 2, 2012 at 3:44pm Reply

  • Alyssa: *sigh*

    Wish they’d saved the bottle for a limited edition release of Coco extrait. :-) August 1, 2012 at 1:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that’s a great idea! :) August 1, 2012 at 6:59pm Reply

    • Undina: That was exactly my thought! August 2, 2012 at 2:29am Reply

  • Yulya: Victoria, thank you, as always, for an excellent review. Well, it looks like market rules! Alas! I admit, I had my reservations about this fragrance, now even more so… August 1, 2012 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yulya, you put it well, the market rules. Obviously, this sort of genre is popular, so the perfume companies keep on producing more fragrances along these lines. August 1, 2012 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Annie: Oh dear . . . all that expectation, and now another “ho hum.” Perhaps on my crazy skin it will shine like stars (big dreamer!); but then again, I’m tired of the ‘same ole’, and like all of you, wanted more “Noir” from Noir. There is always the hope that Chanel/Polge is listening to these earnest yearnings . . . August 1, 2012 at 2:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that it does, Annie!

      And I agree, if you call something Noir, it should be noir. :) August 1, 2012 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Cybele: Thank you for the review. Would you say it is really closer to Mademoiselle than Coco? and I hope it stays away from Allure Sensuelle territory?! August 1, 2012 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, definitely closer to Coco Mademoiselle than to Coco, but it’s more subtle. Allure Sensuelle is very sweet and sticky by comparison, whereas Coco Noir is fresher, crispher, with lighter fruity notes. There is a lot of musk in the drydown, which gives it a soft effect. August 1, 2012 at 7:01pm Reply

      • Cybele: oh no, I can’t stand Coco Madmoiselle- that fruit patchouli combination smells catchy but not really wonderful. I had hoped it would be a drier Coco. Thank you for the answer Victoria. August 2, 2012 at 1:22am Reply

        • Victoria: You’re welcome! I also wish that it were drier. The sweet cotton candy-vanilla notes really make it hard for me to wear, but still, it’s much much better than Coco Mademoiselle or Chance. August 2, 2012 at 6:26am Reply

  • minette: waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

    oh, well. will still try it. but it does not sound promising.

    sigh. August 1, 2012 at 3:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Of course, try it! It’s a nicely done fragrance. But I just don’t want more fruity patchoulis. August 1, 2012 at 7:03pm Reply

  • solanace: I guess I’m not that fond of Polge, in the end. August 1, 2012 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: The latest big Chanel launches have been just too commercial, but overall I like his style. 31 Rue Cambon, 28 La Pausa, Coromandel–I could live in those. August 1, 2012 at 7:05pm Reply

      • solanace: I guess he is too subtle for me (except for Coco Mademoiselle, which I loathe). 28 La Pausa and Bel Respiro might be good if you can afford full bottles, but they are useless in small decants. I love 31 Rue Cambon. But even though I enjoy Coromandel, I always tend to prefer Fumerie Turque over it, and the other exclusifs I really fall for are the Beaux ones: Cuir de Russie, Bois de Iles, No. 22. Of course they are reorchestrated, and beautifully at that, but I’m pretty sure I’d prefer them in stronger incarnations… Lovely review, as usual, V! August 2, 2012 at 6:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, A!
          It’s fun to compare all of these fragrances, from classic No 22 to Coco Mad. Immediately you see that Chanel perfumes have gotten sweeter and sweeter. Well, like everything else on the perfume counters, I guess.

          And I totally agree with you that Bel Respiro is useless in a small decant. You go through it within days. August 2, 2012 at 7:02am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: As always, Victoria, your writing transported me- you are a joy to read! I will have to give this a sniff for myself- your initial description of fruitiness raises some suspicions, but you have indicated that the scent does not reveal itself all at once and may need to be experienced more than once to be fully comprehended. Kind of like reading ‘The Wasteland” or tasting caviar, your first impression may need time to mature. Anyway, as previously posted, the idea of Venice sends me into raptures- I forgot to mention that ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley” also has some amazing sequences filmed in Venice- and I think I may fall in love with this scent, too. August 1, 2012 at 6:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Lynn. I look forward to your thoughts on Coco Noir.

      Yes! Venice does that to me too. Thank you for reminding me of all those Venice themed books and movies. “The Talented Mr. Ripley” does have some stunning scenes. I’m tempted to watch it again. August 1, 2012 at 7:08pm Reply

  • Elena: I happened to be at the mall today but it was not out at my local Chanel counter. Read this when I came home, and I don’t think I’ll make a special trip just to sample this. Speaking of The Talented Mr. Ripley, I think Gwyneth Paltrow’s character would have worn no. 19… (?) But what would Mr. Ripley have worn? Something complex and multifaceted for sure. August 1, 2012 at 8:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Definitely something complex, with a dark undercurrent! Maybe, M7? August 2, 2012 at 6:59am Reply

  • Parfumista: Havn’t sniffed Coco Noir and this review was of course a bit dissapointing as my expections was high probably because it’s a Chanel-launch, a Coco-variation and the stunning bottle. I’m hoping this will undergo the same transformation as No 19 Poudre did to me. First I was dissapointed but then I slowly grew to like it very much. August 2, 2012 at 6:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I liked No 19 Poudre too, very easy to wear and elegant. Hope that Coco Noir works for you! August 2, 2012 at 6:58am Reply

  • annemariec: Is the grapefruit very grapefruity? It sounds odd to mix grapefruit with those warmer, sweeter notes. I like grapefruit, but am having trouble imagining it outside of a citrus cologne. This does not sound like a breakfast fragrance. August 2, 2012 at 6:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Not really. In perfumery in general, most grapefruit notes don’t smell the way a real grapefruit does, but more like a tart orange. So, it’s used often just to give a zesty lift. August 2, 2012 at 6:32am Reply

  • Lucas: Great review Victoria! Hope to try it when it appeares in Poland, hopefully it will be soon! I love the bottle too! I’m also not a bottle collector, but I have high aesthetics and this bottle is a nice piece of art August 2, 2012 at 6:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I bet that it will be soon enough, because it promises to be a big launch. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. August 2, 2012 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Natasha: *sigh* I knew i was not meant to be. So the only thing noir about it is the bottle? I really loved the bottle but judging by the review, I probably won’t like the juice. Fruitchouli! *shudders*

    But hope springs eternal! I can’t wear the original Coco (i don’t like the citrus notes in it) and Coco mademoiselle gives me a headache so maybe, just maybe this will be a happy medium. August 2, 2012 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Natasha, you might like it, so definitely give Coco Noir a try!

      I have difficulty with something in Coco edp that gives me a headache every single time, although I absolutely love the way it smells. I wear the body cream, which is beautiful. You might want to sample it, because it doesn’t have as much citrus in the top notes, the emphasis is on the florals and spices. August 2, 2012 at 3:24pm Reply

  • Rina: V, thanks for the review on “Fight Club…” I went into my local Macy’s, since some here had mentioned thay might have a sample for pres-sale to sniff. When I asked about it, you would have thought I’d broken the first rule. “How do you know about that? We aren’t supposed to talk about it, of course I don’t have a sample..” Um, ok. I had them call the BIG Macy’s a town over and same thing…WTH? Guess I’ll CALL Nords and the Boutique before I make a trip. In response to the SA’s question, I just said, “The Perfume Community KNOWS…” before thanking her and walking away. Crazy!! August 3, 2012 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: One of my readers in San Francisco said that the SA pretty much offered to give her a sample. Clearly, their marketing strategy varies store to store. Well, I hope that you get to smell it soon. August 3, 2012 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Nicolette: I really cannot wait to try this! Victoria I feel the same way about Coco as you do. I like the way it smells on fabric e.g scarves rather than on my skin. I wonder when it is out in the Uk? I find it odd that there has been no advertising for this. It’s very low key! August 3, 2012 at 4:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that they are gearing up for a big launch. August is a very slow month overall, so the roll out seems to be gradual.

      I asked a lady at my local Chanel counter about the launch in the UK. She said that it will be on either August 14 or 17th. She wasn’t sure. August 4, 2012 at 4:45am Reply

      • Rina: Nords and the Chanel Boutique here said the same thing…and seemed genuinly shocked that anyone outside of them had tried it…Oh well, week after next! August 4, 2012 at 1:41pm Reply

  • Ina: You know, this is the only fragrance my postpartum body doesn’t reject. ;) It’s a perfect mix of both Coco and Coco Mlle. I quite like it! I just wish it wasn’t so fleeting. August 8, 2012 at 2:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ina, oh, I can imagine that it smells very good on you. I think that it’s really well-put together and polished. Wear it and enjoy it! Do you find that your perfume tastes have changed a lot since you’ve had your sweet girl? August 8, 2012 at 3:34pm Reply

      • Ina: I’d say the tastes are about the same but perfume just hasn’t been working for me, probably due to nursing, especially in those first few months. Now that she’s 5 months (and still nursing), I can tolerate it. :) I cherish my sample for now but that bottle is just beautiful! August 8, 2012 at 3:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: The bottle is stunning! Every time I pass by the Chanel counter, I can’t help but admire the display.

          Speaking of perfume tastes… I just read an article that explained that baby’s tastes can be influenced by the foods and scents the mother is exposed to during the pregnancy. This is intriguing, isn’t it! August 8, 2012 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Nicolette: That is interesting! My mum wore Rive Gauche and Coty L’aimant when she was expecting me! They were the only scents she could tolerate! I thought I would love Coco Noir but I tried it today and at first sniff I’m under whelmed. It’s not bad but that gorgeous bottle promises so much and in my humble opinion does not deliver. I will go to a counter again and spray again from that lovely bottle! August 9, 2012 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Nicolette, so do you like Rive Gauche and L’Aimant today (or other floral aldehydic perfumes like No 5, Lanvin Arpege)?

      I think that it’s a good fragrance, but as I mentioned in my review, the fact that it plays by all the expected rules is disappointing. I was thinking of Bottega Veneta, which was a big launch that tried to go against the grain a bit. On the other hand, Bottega Veneta doesn’t sell that well, so Chanel must have been paying attention. So, here we have a nice, but safe perfume. August 9, 2012 at 4:00pm Reply

      • Nicolette: I find L’aimant old fashioned but I do like No 5 and Arpege…just not on me!
        Interesting point about Bottega Veneta. I do like I but haven’t thought to get a bottle yet. Chanel must be taking note! I love this time of year…when there are lots of new perfume releases in time for Christmas! August 9, 2012 at 6:18pm Reply

  • Lorie: I had a surprise tonight when an 8 x 10 inch box arrived from Chanel, with my husband commenting, “More Chanel??”. No, I don’t have anything on order right now (my Bombay Express having just arrived, and that stunning Holiday 2012 Eclats du Soir not yet available). But I digress!

    Anyway, that giant box contained a little complimentary shopping bag with a small vial sample of Coco Noir. I guess I order enough cosmetics to rate my very own shipped sample in a giant box! I’ll admit I was excited.

    The package included a little 1 x 1 inch black ceramic piece in the shape of the black bottle, with instructions – “For a lasting infusion, spray the back of the enclosed ceramic blotter three times. Reinfuse as needed.” I’ve never seen a sample with this before. My 20 year old daughter is standing there, and I said go ahead and spray it. She got the first whiff, and immediately it reminded her of a sample she loved from Chanel last year, but she can’t remember the name. It began with a C and was a short name. Coco? No. Chance? Maybe. It immediately appealed to her.

    As for me, I’ve had it on now for about 2 hours (which I know is not quite fair to review yet, but I can’t help myself). The first hit on my hand was fruit, patchouli, and musk over vanilla. That early OMG of the fruit is softening down and I do think there are some lovely layers under there. I don’t get any grapefruit, but then I have Hermes Un Jardin Sur La Nil, which opens with a boatload of grapefruit, so maybe it’s subtle by comparison. I’m not getting any rose yet either.

    But I would agree, when I think Noir, this is not what I imagine. There is nothing over the top unusual to me. It’s like walking past a perfume counter; something familiar; not unpleasant, but familiar. I have many many perfumes, including a full coffret of Mona Di Orio’s Les Nombres D’Or. Now those are unique! But this is Chanel, and I only own Chanel 22, which I’ve adored since my 20′s. The rest of them just don’t do it for me, so I don’t have the comparison factor.

    Having said that, my favorite perfume of all time is the original Magie Noire from Lancome. That perfume will knock your socks off. There is something deep, sensual, Oriental, autumnal mossy woods at twilight where things go bump in the night. Divine.

    In closing, I’ve never been to Venice, so I don’t know what inspiration they drew upon. But I do picture something very deep and sensual. I will try this several times, but I’m not sure I would put Noir at the end of this. Something for me is missing. August 13, 2012 at 9:42pm Reply

  • Raluca: I’m sorry to say that I don’t like this one. It smells like a modified version of Coco Mademoiselle. I have a sample so I may give it another try but I’m really disappointed in this one. August 19, 2012 at 11:35am Reply

  • elsie: I sampled coco noir for the first time tonight. Now, I apologize, because I looove perfume and thought I was quite an afficionado, until I started reading everyone’s posts on here! Now I realize how much I don’t know, and how untrained my nose is! Anyway, just wanted to get that out of the way. :-) So, back to coco “noir”. I was really excited to smell this one too, because I was hoping for a rich, dark, beautiful fall fragrance. I read V’s post before smelling and my excitement dimmed. I too am pretty tired of all the fruitchoulis these days. So I tried coco EDP on one arm and coco noir on the other, just to compare. My first impression of noir was quite like a previous poster – major fruitchouli, and it smelled EXACTLY like something else I’ve sampled recently, though I can’t figure out what. I was crushed. Now, however, 3 hours later, it has undergone quite a transformation and actually seems like something I would like to wear. It does smell rich and luxe, and I feel it has the same powderiness (?) of coco edp, with a bit more sweetness. (Please forgive me for my uneducated descriptions!) Anyway, just wanted to share. I did get a sample vial so will be trying over the next few days, although I’d really like to wait till the weather cools down. The bottle may be what wins me over, in the end. It is stunning. August 22, 2012 at 9:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Elsie, seriously, don’t apologize! Your descriptions are on the point and far from “uneducated.” I know that many perfumers would love to have such thoughtful perspective from their clients.

      Sounds like we agree. I also thought that it was a fruity patchouli, but that it was a sophisticated version. If one would want a gourmand patchouli in their collection, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Coco Noir, along with Lolita Lempicka, and maybe, Prada. The bottle is stunning! August 23, 2012 at 9:33am Reply

  • Ida: I scrubbed after ten minutes. :-( August 23, 2012 at 11:01am Reply

  • Daisy: So I took a study break and walked down to Bloomie’s Soho for a sniff. It was pretty disappointing all the way around. First of all, the bottle was just kind of smudged and abandoned in the middle of a tray of Chanel fragrances. The cap looked like it had been dropped or stepped on. Then an SA came by and told me all about how exquisite the bottle was and how it was “painted on the inside.” Painted on the inside?!

    (This doesn’t have anything to do with the perfume, but I really wish that more investment was made overall in training people properly)

    So she grabs the smudged and banged up bottle and spritzes a blotter. Coco Noir smells fine to me, but just fine. It’s very well-made, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It smells like the Platonic ideal of a fruitchouli to me which, according to Plato, does not mean the best, but the best average representation of something.

    I felt kind of bad for the SA though. After seeing not much of reaction from me, she grabbed the tester of Coco Mademoiselle which caused me to shriek, “NOOOOOO!”

    I felt bad! August 24, 2012 at 7:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Daisy, that sounds so sad! A great example why perfume sells so badly. The lack of training at the counter level means that the client doesn’t get the proper experience. How can you enjoy perfume–something so intimate that gets sprayed on your skin–if the counter is dirty, the bottle is smudged, etc. Imagine if you went to a wine tasting and were given a dirty glass! August 25, 2012 at 6:03am Reply

      • Daisy: I never thought about the analogy to wine tastings, but it makes complete sense.

        The counter experience can make all the difference! August 25, 2012 at 9:27am Reply

  • Astrid: I actually like it! To be honest – I was a bit terrified I’d ordered sight un-scented – - am pleasantly surprised. I’m difficult to fragrance – scents either fade quickly or sit so heavy I pass out from the weight. Guess there’s always one in the crowd… love the blog!! August 29, 2012 at 6:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Exactly! Enjoy it, Astrid. August 30, 2012 at 3:38am Reply

  • Mel: Coco Noir’s bottle is the only thing I liked about this perfume!
    As for the juice – I am missing the “Noir”! I did a review on it on my blog. Dont like this at all September 10, 2012 at 10:21am Reply

  • Caroline Aiu: A bit late on the commenting but I finally got to try Coco Noir for myself on Sunday. I was almost tempted to get a bottle w/o smelling but based on your review & several other decided to err on the side of caution. IMHO it really is not worthy of one of Chanel’s classic square bottle w/the faceted top. I detected what I called the “watermelon note” which became so popular after Calvin Klein launched Escape. I do not care for that note in fragrances & it was enough to put me off of it. I don’t like that Coco Noir is interchangeable w/dozens and dozens of other perfumes — even more so than Mademoiselle — (which I actually don’t mind but if I get it would get Fendi’s Fan to get a different sort of bottle to go on my vanity). The dry down reminded me a little of Dune. I like Dune, but; I could buy Dune & have it smell that way from the beginning.

    What a disappointment. *sigh!* I really wanted to have that black bottle on my vanity but not willing to pay 98/150 dollars just for it to be decoration. September 18, 2012 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Ariadne: I sampled this for the first time this weekend at Saks. I was totally NOT impressed and found it to be an unremarkable perfume.
    I did sign up for advance samples by mail of the new Killian trilogy “Garden of Good and Evil” and am excited to try those! October 1, 2012 at 6:52pm Reply

  • Lena: V:
    On a note not related to Coco Noir, but related to Chanel Perfume bottles. I purchased my first Perfume (thanks to your blog and you! So excited!!!) and I was wondering how should I open it. Should I remove the seal? Even with a stopper in the bottle, I smell perfume. Is it leaking? What should I do to prevent it? Your advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you! October 18, 2012 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Giselle Marie: I just received Coco Noir! At first, I was disappointed. I do not why, but its force was to me similar to Scope mouthwash (I am not saying it was the same smell…but its staying power…).

    Then, few hours later, I fell in love with its scents! It’s very different. It has a I do not what..It’s feminine but does not smell like candy or any girlie scent. It’s very elegant and unique…I love it!!! November 7, 2012 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Roberta: Hi Victoria,
    Wonderful review! I just wish I was able to sniff the scent. Interestingly enough I can’t smell it at all! Well, that’s not true: I can barely detect the top notes, but after 15 minutes everything is gone. I thought I was going mad or something, because I sprayed it on a small piece of paper and went on with my shopping to check it afterwards (as I usually do). I couldn’t detect anything. But my husband who was shopping with me, said it was a “very strong perfume”. He couldn’t believe I couldn’t smell it. Anyway, it was the first time this kind of thing (anosmia?) Ever happened to me. Wonder if you heard of other people that had a similar experience… February 10, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: It could be the musk or ambery notes. There are certainly some musks that even professional perfumers are anosmic too. I would be curious if you end up smelling it if you keep on revisiting it time to time. Perhaps, that day your nose was overwhelmed by something else. February 11, 2013 at 6:37am Reply

  • Sheena: Victoria, If one wanted to layer Coco Noir with another perfume to make it more interesting or bold what notes could one emphasize? I love white florals in general, with Carnal Flower being a favourite, so I’m thinking a Jasmine might work. Could you suggest a few perfumes that would layer well with Coco Noir? The bottle is so decadently beautiful that I can’t stop trying to make it work somehow…
    Thanks a lot for your lovely posts and reviews. March 28, 2013 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Good question! I think that rose, jasmine or sandalwood could be good notes to emphasize in Coco Noir. For rose, you can try any sheer rose like Diptyque Eau Rose or Jo Malone Red Roses, and for jasmine, I would also go for something delicate like Annick Goutal Le Jasmin or anything else similarly sheer. But even incense perfumes could be good. If you end up finding a successful match, please let us know! March 28, 2013 at 4:06pm Reply

      • Sheena: Thanks Victoria, I think I might go in the direction of jasmine or sandalwood. AG seems very hard to find in Toronto, so could you suggest a few more sheer jasmines as well as a few sandalwoods as a starting point? I will comb through the jasmine’s your website as well. I bought AG UMd’O in Paris last month and LOVE it, especially in spring. Thanks for writing so beautifully about perfume :) March 28, 2013 at 6:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: Happy to help! :)

          Try also The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit or Miller Harris Jasmin Vert! For sandalwood, Diptyque Tam Dao. March 30, 2013 at 6:57am Reply

  • Sheena: Do you think Songes or Sarrasins are sheer enough to layer with Coco Noir? March 29, 2013 at 6:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not sure, but it doesn’t hurt to try! Plus, if you’re at a Saks5thAvenue which carries both Goutal and Chanel, you can try the experiment. Spray two spritzes of Coco Noir on a blotter and walk over to Goutal, where you can add a small spritz of Songes on top of Coco Noir.

      Also, try Coco Noir with something ambery from Jo Malone. For instance, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily or Amber and Patchouli. That could be an interesting pairing. March 30, 2013 at 6:55am Reply

  • Sheena: Thank you for all the suggestions Victoria. I’m looking forward to some fun experimentation with all the ideas :) April 1, 2013 at 8:32am Reply

  • vanilleamere: I finally understood what the deal with Coco Noir is. We got it all wrong and it’s mainly because of the name.
    See this perfume is inspired by the time Gabrielle Chanel spend in Venice after the death of Boy Capel. If you read her biography you probably know how much of a loss this was to her.
    This is not “Noir” as in bold, strong, dark and daring. And it has nothing to do with the original Coco or Mmle. They are different sides of the same beautiful diamond.
    This is Noir as in subtle, discrete and dignified mourning. It is stepping out with a little smile, socializing ad pretending that life goes on but crying on the inside.
    It is very discrete and unfortuantly on me it does not have staying power but is tells a story , a very personal one and looking at it from this point of view this fragrance tells it perfectly. April 11, 2013 at 5:08am Reply

  • Aisha: I finally tried this today, and I can understand why you gave it three stars (although our reasons, I think, might be different).

    While you and many others were hoping for something richer and darker than Coco, I wasn’t. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised when I put it on this morning, and was excited by how unlike it is from Coco. As much as I appreciate Coco, I can’t wear it because something in it is way too rich for me. (I’ve tried many, many times to wear it, but there’s an ingredient in there that makes me feel nauseous for some reason. Could it be too sweet for me, like Amarige?)

    Anyway … even though Coco Noir doesn’t set me off, I can’t give it four stars for one reason: It only lasted about four hours on me. Chanel fragrances usually last much longer on me than that. Oh well … Still love that black bottle. October 3, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: I heard this complaint before. Have you applied enough? I find it longlasting, but all of us vary in our sensitivity to musks. And it’s plenty musky in the drydown. I like it fine enough, and if I want something trendy and fun, I reach for my sample. October 5, 2013 at 12:34am Reply

  • Aisha: I’ll see what happens if I spray a little more of my sample. If it lasts, a bottle might be coming home with me the next time I head to the mall. Of course, I’d much rather have a full bottle of Cuir de Russie or Bois des Iles, so I may just get another sample of Coco Noir if it works for me the next time.

    I do wish the original Coco worked for me. I love it when I first put it on, but after about 30 minutes I just can’t make it work. :-( October 5, 2013 at 7:34am Reply

  • Liz: I bought Coco noir body creme today to try out the scent in a lighter way and got a sample of the perfume to try with it. I do like the fragrance and I believe it smells like a combination of Coco and Coco Madmoiselle. Normally I wear Tom Ford’s Black Orchid and I absolutely love it!! That perfume is really special. Ive had people come up to me and ask me what perfume I was wearing, even one guy burying his face in my neck and wanting to buy it for his girlfriend. December 28, 2013 at 11:41pm Reply

  • Ayesha: Used Coco Mademoiselle (much too sweet for comfort), Coco, Chanel 5 (gasp! have a love-hate relationship with the perfume) for the last 10 years. Having said that, I found Coco Noir to be a pleasant surprise. Though not as powerful or “viviacious” for the lack of a better word, Noir is comforting and warm enough to feel cozy yet discreet enough to be worn at the workplace. Coco Noir reminds me of Sybill from Downton Abbey wearing the Poiret inspired costume, whereas the original Coco is reminiscent of the Ballet Russe’s La Bayadere. Both exotique in their own way. February 1, 2014 at 9:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I like the way you’ve characterized them, and it’s a good way to think about the differences and overlaps. I can now totally see Sybill in that flamboyant outfit. :) February 9, 2014 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Tracy: Hi Victoria, I enjoyed reading your review – you captured all of the notes I like about this perfume and I see what you mean about it lacking the decadence promised by the name and the black bottle. I actually don’t like a too-strong patchouli in my perfumes because I expect it to smell mouldy, but maybe I misunderstand it? haha. I found that Coco Noir has combined my favourite topnotes from Coco Mademoiselle and Allure Sensuelle into one bottle. And there is a note I really like – I don’t know what it is called, but it smells sharp like camphor – that I detect in Coco (EDT), Coco Mademoiselle and Thierry Mugler Alien. I love how this note lingers at the same time the vanilla, musk and sandalwood are softening the dry down- it smells great on my sweaters and scarves too! I’m saving up for a bottle of Coco Noir now, instead of Allure Sensuelle :) March 20, 2014 at 1:10pm Reply

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