When looking for affordable fragrances with a unique smell, one comes up in conversations frequently; Lalique’s Encre Noire.
Despite people saying not to do it as the scent is not for everyone, I bought it on a blind buy in preparation to review it.
While I will say the fragrance is not for everyone, I absolutely love it.
Encre Noire reminds me of the fresh and earthy smell while hiking outside after a rainstorm. For people who live in the United States or Canada, this also reminds me of the Pacific Northwest. Think of cities like Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle.
The opening note of cypress hits the nose with a crisp freshness that reminds me of wet grass and damp earth, while the heart note of vetiver blends in an earthy element that is relaxing with a hint of saltiness that reminds me somewhat of the ocean. The base note of wood and musk blends in with the vetiver to create a fragrance that makes it feel cozy and content.
Encre Noire is a masculine scent, but I can see women easily wear it as well.
Also, such a quality fragrance that is well received is nothing new for the perfumer Nathalie Lorson, as she is the nose, (or one nose), behind fragrances such as YSL's Black Opium, Givenchy's Gentleman, Bentley Intense, and Montblanc Legend Spirit.
Also, as a side note, I appreciate the black bottle of Encre Noire.
Yes, the design is a straightforward black bottle, but it can easily blend in the background as a desk accessory in the office, or a shelf adornment with modern furniture anywhere in the home.
Also, the black bottle is quite functional; it minimizes the chances of light altering the fragrance, and thus the fragrance spoiling. (However, one should still store bottles in a cool, dark, and dry place with low humidity.)
In terms of performance, Encre Noire is above average. It has the typical projection one would expect from an Eau de Toilette, which is noticeable in walking range during the first few hours. While the fragrance stands out as a unique fragrance among modern trends, it will not announce someone’s presence as they enter a room.
Encre Noire shines with longevity. The scent is detectable for up to ten hours, which is amazing for an eau de toilette. It can easily last most scenarios with one spray.
In terms of social use, Encre Noire is useable as a general daily fragrance while going about on errands, especially during the mild weather of spring and autumn. It can also be a date night if you know that your date or significant other loves calming scents, or is into outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or biking.
Encre Noire is a mixed bag as a fragrance for attention-seeking. On one hand, it stands out from typical fragrances one would expect. However, it is more subdued and does not announce your presence.
On the negative side, I will vehemently state that it should be a crime against humanity to use Encre Noire as a gym or sports fragrance, especially for anyone with body odor issues. An earthy smell combined with body odor can create a stench that is reminiscent of fecal matter. For the same reasons, Encre Noire is not a pleasant summer or warm climate fragrance.
That said, Encre Noire is incredible as a leisure or an evening fragrance before going to sleep, because of the calming smell that is relaxing and great for meditation. Likewise, for the same reason, this will also shine in a business environment that creates significant stress (provided the stress does not make the wearer sweat profusely).
Overall, Lalique’s Encre Noire is an outstanding and unique fragrance that stands out, especially when compared with other fragrances at an affordable price point.
Yet, anyone considering buying the fragrance must know it is situational and not for everyone. For instance, Encre Noire is not for someone who wants to announce their presence. Also, anyone who possesses serious issues with body odor must know that this fragrance can actively make it worse.
However, for someone that wants a signature fragrance that smells amazing, or wants a fragrance that has a quiet and calming presence for leisure, meditation, or simply diving deep into thought, Encre Noire is an absolute steal.