Cacharel Noa : Perfume Review

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Cacharel Noa is a little gem that’s easy to overlook on a crowded perfume counter. The bottle with its plastic top is plain, and the perfume on the blotter is sharp and scratchy. But Noa was obviously created to be worn by breathing, living women*, and not just tested on paper, because on skin, the fragrance changes dramatically. It’s a cloud of white petals softly dusted with powder, and it wears like a favorite cashmere sweater.

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Cacharel has an interesting perfume collection that fits well with the quirky aesthetic of its fashion line. When you wear the ultra-feminine Anais Anais or bubbly Amor Amor, you can imagine how it might be created by the same house that become renowned for its cheerful, bright prints and seersucker dresses. Noa is likewise lighthearted and unpretentious, and its charm lies in its combination of tenderness and sophistication.

How many scents can you think of that are simultaneously powdery and transparent? I think of very few, and I recommend smelling Noa just to see what I mean. It starts out with a fizzy, champagne like note that reminds me of crushed coriander leaves and the bitter white part of orange peel and smells astringent, metallic and sharp. And then it’s as if someone opened a box of face powder and filled the air with the glittering dust.

The sweet powdery notes settle on layers of petals–rose, lily of the valley and violet. When you finally reach the delicious drydown that smells of musk, violet scented lipstick, and a hint of incense, you will notice that the sparkling sensation of its top notes remains even in the drydown. While most powdery perfumes have a heavy opaque feel, Noa continues to glitter.

If you dislike even a fleck of powder in your perfume, Noa won’t be a good choice. On the other hand, if you like perfumes like Philosophy Amazing Grace or mourn the discontinuation of D&G Feminine, Noa will fill the void. It’s a perfume about which people say, “you always smell so good,” rather than compliment you on your choice of fragrance. Noa has a casual elegance that the fashion magazines the world over admire about French women, and I have to tell you that I smell a lot of Noa in Paris. In the US, it’s much less known.

The best part is that at around $25 per 30ml, this Cacharel is an affordable thrill.

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*Although marketed for women, I have an adventurous male friend who wears Noa, and its soft layers of musk are devastatingly seductive on him. A good reminder that gender distinctions can be safely disregarded.

Cacharel Noa lists notes of pepper, coriander, peony, white musk, incense, and benzoin. Available at Sephora in the US and at most perfume stores, big and small, in Europe.

Image: a still from Cacharel’s commercial for Scarlett perfume, but I thought that it represented Noa perfectly.

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122 Comments

  • SunnySunny: Noa has been my favourite for years, along with D&G Feminine. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve immersed myself in finding a perfume that smells like D&G Feminine as I miss it so much! Your review has come just in time, Victoria- thank you very much This is a sign that I must re-visit Noa because, for some reason, I have not been very comfortable wearing it lately.. Thanks for the reminder! Said that, can you think of any other fragrances similar to D&G Feminine? I really need it! June 6, 2013 at 7:48am Reply

    • Victoria: That was such a good perfume, wearable yet interesting, soft musky yet with a bright flourish of petals. I think that Guerlain L’Instant Magic and Bulgari BLV are worth trying. Another idea of Chanel Jersey. I admit, it’s not a favorite, but I know people who wear it well and on whom it takes on a soft, musky veil. June 6, 2013 at 9:36am Reply

      • SunnySunny: Thank you Victoria. L’Instant Magic is just another favourite, should have thought of it! June 6, 2013 at 9:39am Reply

        • Victoria: There is also Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Intense, which is sharper, less refined, but it’s nice. It has lots of floral notes, and the combination of rose, orange blossom, and jasmine with musk is interesting. June 6, 2013 at 9:44am Reply

  • Marieke: I’ve never smelt it, even though every perfume shop here carries Cacharel. Thanks for a lovely review. June 6, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Do try it if you can, since I can think of few powdery perfumes that manage to be sparkling and bright. It’s powder, but it doesn’t smell like baby powder though. June 6, 2013 at 9:36am Reply

  • iscentyouaday: I love Noa, I really fell in love with it. To me, it reminds me of Elnett hairspray, but it also smells of freshly shampooed hair and baby wipes. So soothing and clean smelling. You’re right about the price. Its definitely an affordable treat! June 6, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, very clean and wholesome, but not at all boring. The drydown is especially lovely, with its hint of incense lighting up the musk. June 6, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

  • Susan: How nice to see a review of Noa, an under-rated perfume. I was going to comment yesterday to mention it as one of my favourite comfortable scents. June 6, 2013 at 9:10am Reply

    • Victoria: I like Amor Amor too, but Noa is the one I wear the most. Glad to see that it has other fans! June 6, 2013 at 9:39am Reply

      • Henrique Brito: You are one of the few reviewers that i see which likes Amor Amor Victoria. I like it too, it’s nothing out of this world, but very well done fruity flower with a lovely sillage. June 7, 2013 at 11:48am Reply

  • Lauren: Wow, I’m shocked that image was not intended for Noa, but I think it fits perfectly, too!! I love your description and have fallen in love with this fragrance, too. Originally bought it for my mother on a trip to Paris but I loved it so much I had to get one for myself as well. And usually I avoid buying fragrances I know already ‘belong’ to other people I know, but I just couldn’t resist. June 6, 2013 at 9:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I know! It feels more appropriate for Noa than the original ad (which I admit I disliked so much that I didn’t want to post a picture of it here).

      My Noa story was that I smelled it on a friend and loved it so much, I couldn’t resist. And don’t you love a good-quality perfume that comes at such a reasonable price! June 6, 2013 at 9:42am Reply

  • Farouche: I have a mini of Noa, and although I like it very much, in my perfume notes I comment that it would make a good masculine. Interesting that your friend wears and enjoys it. I wish my husband were more adventuresome with fragrance. He will, however, wear Spicebomb on occasion if I beg and wheedle :) June 6, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: What does your husband wear? Spicebomb smells so good on mine, but he also doesn’t seem to be crazy about it. June 6, 2013 at 2:12pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: I’ve never tried Noa or Amor Amor, but I am a big fan of Anais Anais and Lou Lou. (Cacharel seems to like double names – wonder why they didn’t call it Noa Noa? ;-)) They are a company that does white flowers well, so Noa goes on my to-try list for the next time I’m at Sephora. June 6, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: :) I wonder that too! But the double naming does get silly after a while.

      And how could I forget Loulou among my lineup of Cacharel favorites! Its fruity top notes reminded of a cherry compote my grandmother made, but the new version doesn’t have that juicy, bright top note. I still like it though. June 6, 2013 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Monika: Because there is (or rather was, as it’s discontinued) perfume called Noa Noa – by Otto Kern. And quite interesting, really worth checking out if you come across it :) June 6, 2013 at 3:36pm Reply

      • Monika: Oh, I meant to put a a question mark at the end of the first sentence. It’s just a guess, not a firm answer! June 6, 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

      • Victoria: Interesting! Thank you very much for mentioning it, Monica. Something new to add to my ever growing list. :) June 6, 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

    • AnneT: Since there is a Danish fashion label named Noa Noa, it would be a bit weird when another fashion label had a perfume with that name I guess. (I love both Noa Noa and Noa :-) ) March 10, 2014 at 4:20pm Reply

  • Claire: Thanks for the wonderful review! I never gave Noa a chance because my first love of Cacharel was (and still is) Eden — in fact, I still mourn the discontinuation of this perfume. Your review made me want to sample Noa again, I think Cacharel has very nice offerings that is often overlooked. June 6, 2013 at 10:53am Reply

    • Sarah: Hi Claire, you can still buy Eden at Boots chemist – online and in store in the UK June 6, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: If you try Noa, be sure to give it a proper development on skin, because the drydown is the best part. The rest of it is lovely too, but that creamy, musky finish is irresistible.

      By the way, I read your comment on the train, and as I was walking home, I checked quickly at a local Planet Parfum and I see that they have testers of Eden. So, maybe, it hasn’t been discontinued altogether? June 6, 2013 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Nina Z: There is nothing like hugging someone and then hearing them say, “You smell SO good!” I will have to check this one out. June 6, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s really nice, and that’s how I discovered Noa. I hugged a friend and almost didn’t want to let go, she smelled so good! :) June 6, 2013 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Elisa: I remember reading in the Guide years ago that Noa has a cilantro note, which piqued my interest, but when I smelled it once on a blotter in a little perfume shop (it’s rare to see a tester of this) it didn’t come across. So glad you mentioned it only works on skin — I’ll plan to order a sample of this sometime! I love softly powdery musky scents. Have you tried Mona di Orio’s Musc, by the way? It’s really beautiful. June 6, 2013 at 11:20am Reply

    • Victoria: When I smell it now, I see what they meant. It’s an aldehydic note, slightly green and metallic. But if I didn’t look for it on purpose, it wouldn’t jump out. If you try it again, I would love to hear what you think and if you find the cilantro.

      I haven’t tried Mona di Orio’s Musc yet, but someone else mentioned it in the comments the other day, so it’s at the top of my list. I love this kind of skin scents. June 6, 2013 at 2:21pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: Do try it Victoria, i second the recommendation on Mona di Orio’s Musc. And try it on different temperatures – it’s a scent that changes completely if it’s more cold or more warm. June 7, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

        • Victoria: You didn’t have to twist my arm! I’m easy to tempt. :) June 7, 2013 at 12:33pm Reply

          • Henrique Brito: And i easily tempt the others lol June 7, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Lila: I’m actually coming around to liking powdery scents and the sparkling top note sounds like a perfect contrast to the powder. I definitely want to try this one. Your descriptions are so eloquent. You could probably make compost sound worthy of dabbing on a pulse point or two. ;) June 6, 2013 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: :) But it’s easy to describe nice scents, especially the ones that evoke some sort of distinctive image. For instance, I wore Givenchy L’Eau Dahlia Noir the other day, and while it smelled very nice, I wrecked my brain trying to describe it other than fruity and sparkling and similar to Light Blue by D&G. June 6, 2013 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Karena: It sounds so wonderful, I am excited to try this perfume!

    xoxo
    Karena June 6, 2013 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you like it, or at least, enjoy trying it! June 6, 2013 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Rose: Great review. Always liked Noa, but never felt like owning it. You are so right about Anais Anais! Someone gave it to me as a gift for my wedding. I liked the smell but never wore it much as it never seemed to fit my mood. Its ultra feminine, thats why! No one who met me ever called me that! :) June 6, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Of course, sometimes it’s fun to wear something completely the opposite of what you might normally try, but I know what you mean about being in the right mood. There are some perfumes that I admire from afar, but on me, they just don’t seem right. June 6, 2013 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Maja: My best friend wore Noa for years. it is very soft and beautiful, indeed. June 6, 2013 at 11:58am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s been around since 1998, so by the current standards, it’s a venerable classic. :) June 6, 2013 at 3:49pm Reply

      • Maja: Exactly! I remember her wearing it during late 90s. However, speaking of musks that come cheap just this morning I read such an interesting story about Alyssa Ashley Musk Extreme perfume oil and how good it seems to be. I have never tried any of Ashley products but I found he story really intriguing. I might try it next time I am in a drugstore.

        http://bergamottoebenzoino.blogspot.it/2013/05/musk-and-new-musk-extreme-alyssa-ashley_28.html June 6, 2013 at 4:36pm Reply

        • Victoria: Alyssa Ashley keeps coming up time and again as a good musk. I will try to find the oil too. June 6, 2013 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Sarah: Thanks for a lovely review of Noa. I have to admit, it’s one of those perfumes that I’ve always loved but thought I shouldn’t buy/wear because it was cheap. Crazy – and I didn’t wear D&G feminine even though I loved it because it smelt a bit like the Body Shop’s white musk – although it was obviously more refined. Your review of this and reference to Kiehl’s original musk (the other day) have reminded me it’s okay just to smell ‘nice’ rather than of something!

    Aside – Cacharel does still make LouLou doesn’t it?? June 6, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: The Body Shop White Musk is terrific too, and it doesn’t smell cheap either. Definitely don’t give up on Noa, because this perfume is much more interesting and better made than a lot of significantly much more expensive stuff in both niche and department store lines.

      Thankfully, LouLou is still around. It’s on my list to revisit, since I finally have a store nearby that has Cacharel testers. June 6, 2013 at 3:51pm Reply

      • Merlin: Just wanted to say, I did a side by side test with Claire de Musc and the body shop White Musk. After doing that – White Musk smells cheap! Without having it right there to compare though, who knows. June 6, 2013 at 4:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, it wouldn’t hold next to Clair de Musc. That fragrance is expensive in terms of its ingredients, and in comparison, you can really see the difference. June 6, 2013 at 5:03pm Reply

  • behemot: I don’t know how I could forget about Noa yesterday, when we commented on “skin scents”.
    I used to wear it in 2000 a lot and still do it sometimes. I was only surprised when Luca Turin called it a cilantro fragrance :) June 6, 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

    • behemot: I am wearing Noa today and, yes, now I can smell coriander/cilantro note. June 6, 2013 at 3:21pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s right on top. When you spray it on a blotter, you can notice it even more. Or to some people it smells like green mandarin peel. June 6, 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

        • behemot: Yes, I thought it was close to something like mandarine peel.. June 6, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: True, it fits that description of a skin scent really well. I wanted to mention it in the FT piece, but in the end, I ran out of space and decided to save it for a separate review. June 6, 2013 at 3:52pm Reply

  • Natalia: What a lovely review!!
    My relationship with NOA is a bit strange. How shall I put it? I just CAN’T smell it! At all. No matter if I try it on a blotter or skin – there is nothing there. I read once that some people can be unreceptive to sertain types of musk, may be that’s the reason? Similarly, I can’t smell Narcisso Rodriguez For Her or Serge Lutens Clair de Musc. It gives me some kind of “buttery” sensation upon the first sniff but nothing more. It’s like I have one huge olfactory blind spot when it comes to certain perfumes.
    But now, after reading this, I am determined to give NOA a new try. It’s so unfair that I can’t smell this beauty! June 6, 2013 at 1:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Musks are like that, and many people have trouble smelling them. Even some perfumers can’t smell certain musks, so don’t feel bad. For instance, Maurice Roucel, a genius perfumer who created many exceptional fragrances, can’t smell one of the popular musks. This doesn’t stop him from working with it, since with time and experience, you can feel the effect of materials in other ways.

      But in your case, you may want to revisit some of these musk perfumes time to time to see if you start recognizing them. And if not, there are so many fantastic musks other there. It’s very rare that a person is anosmic to all musks. June 6, 2013 at 3:55pm Reply

      • Natalia: It’s interesting that even professional perfumers may experience this! I am definitely not anosomic to all musks out there, for example, I have no problem smelling Cuir de Russie, Pleasures or J’Adore (which I understand is a very musky fragrance).
        Speaking of Dior, I just remembered there is another “blind musk” for me, Pure Poison. June 7, 2013 at 12:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Based on an explanation I heard, musks are very large molecules, so large that the receptors in some people don’t perceive them. But there are many types of musks out there, and usually perfumes use blends of different ones. On the other hand, in fragrances like NR for Her, a certain type of musk dominates. Anyway, for every musk you can’t smell, there are ten noticeable ones. June 7, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

    • Merlin: I had pretty much the same experience with Noa – though I can smell For Her and Claire de Musc. There are several perfumes that I am almost anosmic too – Cuir de Russe is one. I don’t know if its the musk. June 6, 2013 at 4:22pm Reply

      • Merlin: Something strange: I have a mini of this and just tried it again. I do get the slightly metallic edge as it opens and then I find it more and more difficult to smell.
        But, something that sometimes makes me register a perfume I can’t smell is to sniff my unsprayed other arm. When I do this, and then sniff the Noa arm I do get the most wondrous, delicately powdered flower petals. 5 minutes later and I still only register the scent by sniffing my unscented skin first. Yip, it makes me doubt my honker:) June 6, 2013 at 5:22pm Reply

        • Victoria: This is normal! You’re just resetting your nose. Almost any perfume will smell more distinctive this way. June 6, 2013 at 5:29pm Reply

      • annemariec: Oh me too, can’t smell Cuir de Russie either. Glad to hear I’m not the only one. It is certainly an odd experience. It’s not that you don’t perceive the fragrance as other people do (that’s quite common), but hardly being able to smell it AT ALL is really weird. June 6, 2013 at 8:38pm Reply

  • Alice: I liked NOA a lot too, but like someone above stopped wearing it because it seemed so cheap (and therefore not special). Terrible, I know!
    I love the Patricia de Nicolai and wear it a lot – actually I prefer this, it’s a little more structured and maybe denser. Can’t smell the Narsisco musc very well, but have no problem with these two.

    Does NOA not have a coffee note? I seem to remember a very interesting vibe in the opening, which was the bit I liked best, but this faded with the drydown. June 6, 2013 at 1:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t notice a coffee note in Noa, to be honest, but right on top, there is a green mandarin/metallic note that’s odd and almost jarring, but it really works in the context of everything else. Like a tiny imperfection that makes a pretty face beautiful.

      Price in perfumery is rarely a helpful guideline, because a lot of brands price on brand name and distribution, rather than solely on the cost of raw materials. For instance, it’s hard to guess, but something inexpensive like Britney Spears Curious contains a generous dose of extremely costly rose absolute. June 6, 2013 at 3:59pm Reply

      • Merlin: Now I need to go try Curious! June 6, 2013 at 4:24pm Reply

        • Victoria: I like it, but I would like it more if it weren’t so sweet. June 6, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

          • Merlin: Strange though that rose is not mentioned as a note in any of the listings! Perhaps the people marketing it left it out so it sounded ‘younger’, or less traditional. June 6, 2013 at 5:45pm Reply

            • Victoria: These lists are more fiction than reality, so I mostly ignore them. Sometimes I think that it would be better to avoid including them. June 6, 2013 at 6:10pm Reply

  • rosarita: I will seek out Noa next time I have the chance, thanks for the review! My experience with Cacharel stops at Anais Anais, which my mother used to wear. Sounds like I need to do some exploring of this line. June 6, 2013 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: My aunt, mom’s sister, used to wear it, and I associate it so strongly with her. Whenever I smell it, it makes me feel happy, but also nostalgic for the times when we all lived closer. June 6, 2013 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Henrique Brito: When i think of Noa, i think of tenderness. There is something so warm and welcoming on its musky, soft vanillic and flowery smell. It makes me think of a very, very dear auntie, of a sweater she lent me on a cold day that had a smell similar to Noa. I remember being a child and before i returning to her i kept smelling this sweeter, due to the smell and the remembrance. It’s one of the few fragrant memories i have from my child days. I had a bottle of Noa, but my sister liked it so much that is pratically hers right now lol June 6, 2013 at 4:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful memory, Henrique! Nothing makes a perfume more appealing than such a wonderful, sweet association. June 6, 2013 at 5:32pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: It’s something i cannot control, some fragrances simply produce a very strong memory for me. Even if they are not the best ones. I remember wearing Dunhill Desire on my first job when i was at my first internship. A friend send me a sample of it and i wore to go work and sprayed it again when i was returning home. It was a sunny day and i can remember very clearly how the smell seemed magic for me – the perfect apple nuances over a good musky vanillic base. It never smelled again that way for me, but i ended buying an used bottle just because of this day June 7, 2013 at 11:43am Reply

  • Henrique Brito: I don’t understand Cacharel, the brand is completely able to create distinct scents, but they simply go unnoticed or end being hard to find. I love Eden, Gloria is one of my favorites and i was surprised with Anais Anais. The only one that i try to like and that i cannot is LouLou June 6, 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Only since coming to Europe, do I finally see it everywhere. I don’t remember seeing it much in the US, although it’s also distributed there. June 6, 2013 at 5:32pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: So maybe it’s a distribuction problem? And promotion, i think – their ads doesn’t seem to be the best ones… Have you tried Gloria Victoria? It’s one of my favorites from the brand :) June 7, 2013 at 11:34am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t, Henrique. But I will do, thank you for recommending it.

          Anais Anais ads were legendary! June 7, 2013 at 11:36am Reply

          • Henrique Brito: If you like Spiritueuse Double Vanille, you’ll like Gloria, they something in common. Gloria is an interesting fragrance not only because of the scent itself, but the way they worked the bath and body line too. Each product explore different aspects of the original scent. I have the body spray, which is more green, slightly flowery and musky, and i had the bath oil in the past (which i found for a bargain price at a flee market), that explored the boozy and nutty facets of the original fragrance. If you find them for a good price, don’t think twice, buy it. June 7, 2013 at 11:39am Reply

          • Henrique Brito: I was thinking more about Gloria and Noa ones, completely forgot about Eden and Anais Anais! June 7, 2013 at 11:39am Reply

  • Erin T: I’ve always really liked Noa, though I sometimes get a bit sick of it, because my children love to spray it in the air – my bottle has a litte plastic “pearl” in it (which I can’t see in the above ad?!) and the spraying device is sort of cute, so they love to hold, shake and spray the bottle. Was it Tania Sanchez who said it smelled like smoked soap? The smokey note is more prominent to me than the cilantro over the course of the scent. I agree that it’s sort of an “aura” fragrance instead of a capital-P Perfume, although the sillage can be quite strong and a bit throat-catching (although, again, maybe I get this from its use as room fragrance in my household). June 6, 2013 at 4:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Hmm, I can see how overexposure would ruin a perfume. This reminds me of a story Luca Turin posted on his blog about his daughter spraying sofa with Issey Miyake perfume.

      I don’t have the Guide on hand right now, and I don’t remember. I’m now curious! June 6, 2013 at 5:34pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: Victoria, it’s not Issey Miyake, it’s Lutens Encens et Lavande. He mentions that his daughter spilled a bottle of it on his sofa and he smelled it for a long time… June 7, 2013 at 11:36am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you! EetL would be a tough perfume to bear in large quantities. June 7, 2013 at 11:37am Reply

  • Courant: I bought Noa recently and did a Basenotes review to drum up popularity. At four in the morning when you are crossing town to pick up elderly Mama for a routiine eye sugery you wrack your brains for something ‘nice’ but not fumey. Going to the doctor, the dentist, the shrink, your eccentric Aunt or walking your dog? Noa.
    I get just a hint of cafe au lait in it, another reason to crave it. June 6, 2013 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: I get the steamed milk note in the drydown, and it’s delicious, especially when incense pops out.

      Noa is versatile and easy to wear, but it also has plenty of twists. June 6, 2013 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I’ll always keep a soft spot for Cacharel as Anaïs Anaïs was my first real perfume.
    I have never smelled Noa, and I really should. I have always been intrigued by LouLou and Eden. But I don’t think I ever tried any later Cacharels. June 6, 2013 at 5:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried Scarlett, which is a white floral with fruity accents based on the descriptions. My other favorite besides Noa is Amor Amor, which has the best orange note. It’s mouthwatering! June 6, 2013 at 5:37pm Reply

      • Courant: I read an article recently, but can’t think where, in which Jean Claude Ellena admires Amor Amor. June 6, 2013 at 6:12pm Reply

        • Victoria: Interesting! I also read a magazine interview with Christopher Sheldrake, in which he mentions liking Amor Amor. June 7, 2013 at 11:13am Reply

        • Courant: My mind has played tricks. Of course it was Christopher Sheldrake. I bought Apres La Mousson recently and had JCE on the brain. Straighten up and fly right, she says to herself. Love your site, Victoria and the momentum is gathering! June 7, 2013 at 4:42pm Reply

          • Victoria: Thank you very much! And you’ve reminded me indirectly where I read this tidbit–it was over at Basenotes. They ran a fantastic interview with Sheldrake. It was so refreshing that he mentioned several fragrances he admired outside of Chanel and Serge Lutens. June 7, 2013 at 5:31pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I have Scarlett and like its pear note, reminding me of the discontinued Via Lanvin June 7, 2013 at 11:21am Reply

        • Annikky: I tried it yesterday on paper and it smelled good to me. June 8, 2013 at 6:44am Reply

  • Amer: great review for a great perfume. I have fond memories of this and the girl who wore it. It never occurred to me to try it on myself… a new fragrant mission then!

    I disagree on the bottle though, very distinct with the pearl inside and the bottle top is pearly too. Very original when it came out but even now I can’t think of other mainstream release with immersed object in the bottle. The ad copy was also sensational. Noa is a reminder of an era when cacharel used to occupy the best counters in department stores. Not the case now. I think the countless flankers of this and amor amor made it seem like there were no new ideas to be expected form this house and pushed cacharel in the border. Dommage… June 6, 2013 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please try it, Amer! It’s surprisingly good on a guy, and when my friend told me that he wears Noa, I couldn’t believe it. It smelled completely different on him than it did on me.

      I will try to look at my bottle differently. Since I already love the perfume, it’s not hard to convince myself to change my mind about the bottle. June 7, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

      • Amer: Just out of curiosity V, do you remember Nemo, the so called male sibling of Noa with the truly original bottle concept? I think it was discontinued. Pity because it was top quality. June 7, 2013 at 5:42pm Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t. Henrique mentioned it, and I looked it up. The description sounds fantastic, and I really wish I tried it when I still had a chance. June 7, 2013 at 5:48pm Reply

  • annemariec: Scents that are powdery and transparent? Kenzo Flower maybe? That is powdery but weightless, which is perhaps not the same as transparent.

    Because I already have Flower I hesitate about testing Noa, but that astringency you describe is maybe what distinguishes them? June 6, 2013 at 8:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Kenzo Flower is a great example! I don’t think that it smells like Noa at all, but it has similar character–comfortable, second skin-like, enveloping, but not ostentatious. June 7, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

  • erry: Some years ago I was thinking of buying it. I went back and forth to the store to try it. I wish I had tried it on my skin. I love it but the sharp and screechy part had somehow turn me off.

    Now, I have to find it again and this time spray it on my skin. June 6, 2013 at 10:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t think that it’s nearly as good on paper as it is on skin. It does start out sharp (even on skin), but then the creamy, milky layers unfold, and the sharpness is a welcome counterpoint. Sort of like the menthol notes in Tubereuse Criminelle provide a foil for the lush tuberose heart. June 7, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

  • casey23: Cacharel noa is one of the oldest perfume I do remember lusting.. I was a bit poor in my teens and I can never afford a perfume. I do remember one of my best friends brought a perfume to the school, I smelled it and fell in love instantly. I saw its ad in a mag, cut that page and kept it with me for years until I go to the college. There I had my first credit card! I went to the nearest mall and bought myself Noa and they gave me a few samples of Noa fleur (it is a delight too!). Since then there is always Noa in my perfume stash. I never got bored of it. June 7, 2013 at 2:54am Reply

    • annemariec: That’s a great story. I really am going to have to try Noa if it inspires such devotion! June 7, 2013 at 6:04am Reply

    • Victoria: I love your story, and especially that you’ve stayed loyal to Noa for so long. And I’m happy that it’s still available, especially when so many perfumes get discontinued (knock on wood). June 7, 2013 at 10:55am Reply

  • Henrique Brito: Victoria, i remembered another Cacharel scent to recommend you: Nemo. It was a masculine one, very obscure, few people know it, but an interesting incense fragrance, which is not very heavy, it has a good citrusy fresh spicy opening and soft leatherish aroma. Sometimes you also find it on flea markets. Maybe your husband will like it – or you :) June 7, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ll definitely look for it, but wasn’t Nemo discontinued? June 7, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: Yes, it was, but you always find those treasures on small shops and flea markets :) June 7, 2013 at 12:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’ll definitely be looking! June 7, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Annikky: I didn’t have any recollection of Noa, although I have tried it, so I went and sprayed myself yesterday. Not much screachiness for me, just the cream-coloured angora-cashmere sweater. It’s very nice, although maybe a bit unexciting. But even I admit that there are occasions where nice is better than exciting :)

    I have a soft spot for Eden, as it was given to me by my first boyfriend. I think the whole line is worth trying – it’s easily available in Europe, good quality and reasonably priced. Despite their absolute un-trendiness, the fragrances seem to be doing quite well. The brand as a whole has suffered from under-investment and too little attention from the parent company, I think. June 8, 2013 at 7:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Well-said! The parent company is definitely not taking enough care of it, and it is clear enough glancing at the current line up and the constant launch of flankers.

      For me Noa occupies the same niche as Lumiere Blanche, No 5 Eau Premiere and Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras–soft, cuddly, comforting, and yet polished. June 9, 2013 at 11:15pm Reply

  • Bellatrix: I love Noa! :) I wear it only on the rainy days. It became a symbol of rainy days on the island where I live and I cannot connect it with flowery notes. For me it is like sweet white coffee. :) June 8, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sweet white coffee on a rainy day is such a nice image. I love anything cuddly on gloomy, grey days, so maybe that’s why my Noa has been in heavy rotation since my move to Belgium. :) June 9, 2013 at 11:24pm Reply

  • Sandra: Thanks Victoria for reviewing a Cacharel fragrance. I have tried Noa when I was in Europe and really loved it. I feel like I would have to find a perfume place here in NYC that carries Cacharel fragrances. I am sure there are ton, but will have to wonder around to bump into one.
    I do love Amour Amour. I have the forbidden kiss one, and used up a bottle of the regular one. I find Amour Amour to be very sexy. I hope you review that one too. June 10, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to meet another fan of Amor Amor! I recall seeing Cacharel only at the discount perfumeries around Penn Station. If anyone else knows another place it’s sold, I also would love to hear. June 12, 2013 at 2:36am Reply

      • Sandra: Thanks Victoria! I will take a stroll around Penn station June 12, 2013 at 6:17am Reply

        • Sandra: I found a perfumeria at 42nd and 5th that carries Noa, noa fluer, amor amor regular, forbidden kiss and absolu, Lou Lou and Eden June 12, 2013 at 7:50pm Reply

          • Victoria: Thank you so much, Sandra! June 13, 2013 at 1:27am Reply

  • gentiana: Noa was my very favorite fragrance about 10 years ago, together with Theorema by Fendi.
    I still mourn for the disappearing of Theorema, but I am happy that Noa is still around.
    Check out the EDP, it is a lot lot better than the EDT – in my opinion.
    My first bottle was the EDT and it was stunning. The first impression of crushed leaves and flowers in a tropical island’s forest after a night rain, in a cool, dewy morning. [This is how I supposed "Matin d'Orage had to smell like :)]
    The EDP disappeared from the market and I used the EDT… Some kind of dissapointing. The bittersweet smell of crushed leaves is weaker, more white musk (“laundry” or “shampoo” -like) and less complex. Of course in terms of sillage and staying power EDT is less than the EDP.
    However, good enough as a fragrance considered by itself, not compared to EDP.
    EDP has body and wit and IS a smell that is noticed and remembered.
    I found a bottle of EDP and a deodorant on a heavy discount in the local Marionnau, two years ago. HOLY GRAIL!
    I treasure it on the same shelve with Joy, Bandit, Cristalle, Fleurissimo, L’air du Temps, Silences and N’ Aimez Que Moi….
    This, together with the last drops of Theorema and the old Fendi are the smell of my brightest womanly years, when I was beautiful and smart, everything was in the reach of a hand and the best dreams looked to be possible… June 12, 2013 at 8:06am Reply

  • gentiana: EDIT !
    My first bottle was EDP
    Eau de Parfum June 12, 2013 at 8:08am Reply

  • Adriana Galani: I love Noah, I really do. My husband gifted me a 50 ml bottle in 2007 while in Egypt. I finished it a few months ago and wanted to re-new it. Either I smelt the wrong tester, which might have been there since ages, (though I doubt it matters much), or something has happened to it since my 2007 1. Something is there in the one I tried little while ago, almost too spicy, kind of a funny “dirty” “touch” comparing to the one I had. If it got re-formulated, that’s a big loss for me then. I loved it in summer, winter, fall, spring, every now and then I needed something different than my “darker” usual fragrances. In case it got re-formulated, please just suggest 2-3 similar scents I may try, hoping I’d get some closer to the one I knew. February 10, 2014 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure if it was reformulated, because I haven’t worn it for as long as you have. It still smells the same to me as it did a couple of years ago. Besides Philosophy Amazing Grace, perhaps you might enjoy Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. They’re not identical to Noa, but in the same powdery-floral ballpark. February 10, 2014 at 3:57pm Reply

  • Adriana Galani: Thank You, I’ll see on those one of this days, though I still want to make sure I give Noah one more try before I decide to leave it. It has been a love at first smell and I get o so attached to the fragrances I love because they are neither many nor too often to be found. February 11, 2014 at 2:08am Reply

  • Adriana Galani: Back. No, it is surely the same. Something was wrong with me and now thinking back I guess it was a body lotion applied before which did not necessarily make a good combination with Noah. Tried it again, bought it again, love it again. :) That coffee “touch” in the drydown is to die for! February 26, 2014 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh good to hear it! :) February 26, 2014 at 10:58am Reply

  • Marilin Lipman: I thought Noa was discontinued some time ago. It was my perfume love and I am struggling to find one to replace it. I’ve been purchasing Noa online but, as many have observed, it’s not the same. Any recommendations for a very similar scent? March 22, 2014 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Marilin, please check out the recommendations in my reply to Adriana, two comments about yours. I’d start with those. March 22, 2014 at 4:43pm Reply

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