Lalique has reinvented the masterfully raw Encre Noire Eau de Toilette
with a more sensual, creamier, more amber, smokier and more velvety touch that softens the original moisture while staying true to its mysterious essence. Encre Noire À L’Extrême is a flanker of a dark and menacing vetiver cult, and I have to admit it’s quite flirtatious. Here extreme does not mean more intense, more substantial, with a heavier sillage, but more decisive on the resemblance to black ink, as its name says: Extreme Black Ink. I own all three Encre Noire fragrances. L’OG, Sport and À L’Extrême. The latter is the most varied because it has a predominantly sweet and resinous nature with the addition of notes of elemi, benzoin, patchouli, sandalwood and incense. This blend creates an almost amber accord, like its gorgeous whiskey colour. More prosperous, denser, smokier, but softer smelling than the original. Sure, the similarities are there. The ink note here is a bit weaker, while the wood notes are a bit stronger. However, this is what you want if you like this type of fragrance and the original. Not better, not worse, just a little different, but different enough. For some, Lalique Encre Noire À L'Extrême is not conventionally beautiful - or whatever kind of good looks you want to say - but it has an engaging personality, style and talent. Many therefore consider him sexually attractive. To me, it's my ugly sexy scent.
Encre Noire À L’Extrême is the palpable and striking representation of male sensuality. The fragrance has an intense and woody aroma, which combines cypress with other earthy elements and adds intensity to the scent. The soft, slightly citrusy top notes contain cypress, elemi essence and bergamot. But it opens on a much lower tone without the deep green breath of the cypress. For a moment, I have an alcoholic and leathery atmosphere. There is pale vetiver in the initial moment that is attractive and unusual, almost as if the familiar tones of the central factor are witnessed through a storm. Vetiver is calm in the storm's eye, but a turbulent veil of elemi and spices shades it as the scent caresses the skin. It is dark and dusty from the start, like an unexplored penthouse in an old abandoned mansion in ruins.
Initially, the incense is solid and does not allow the other notes to shine. Or so I thought. After a while, the incense fades, and the moist, woody vetiver artwork typical of Encre Noir emerges, but with the subdued note of incense that makes this cypress forest even darker of Encre Noir. He is slightly warmer and more understanding. The incense gives way to benzoin which provides the fragrance with a slightly sweet smell, unlike the original. Indeed, the magic lies in the sensuality and intensity of the heart, where a beautiful note of iris and incense enhances the smoky earth of Javanese vetiver and the fresher accents of Haitian vetiver with a powdery leathery edge that is almost similar to Petroleum. A smoky heart with an affirmative woody balsamic scent that is primordial, seductive, dark. Vetiver is rich and salty with dry grass and earthy facets, though I'm not getting the same vetiver found in the original. It's not a vetiver bomb like the original one. It is rounder and easier to wear. What I find beautiful about À L'Extrême is the way it weaves a soft, suede-like iris note between the sharp tendrils of vetiver. The iris slightly tempers the vetiver, preventing it from being too harsh while intensifying its detached earthiness and bringing a touch of femininity to the composition.
As it dries, À L'Extrême warms up with woods, spices and something with a mineral feel, but it doesn't soften and if anything becomes firmer. Sandalwood plays an essential role in the bottom, creating a creamy angular pattern of wood and spice with spaces where rooted, salty and earthy vetiver can fall. The whole thing feels seamless and bold, but at no time does the fragrance seem loud or intrusive. The uniqueness of this aromatic composition is due to the notes of sandalwood, patchouli and benzoin. The sweetness I detect is almost amber, although amber is not a listed note. I get a dense, dark, slightly woody oud accord, although it does not mention the oud, perhaps because of the combination of patchouli, sandalwood and benzoin in the base that reproduces this accord. Incense and elemi favour this notion to some extent. À L’Extrême is more intense than the OG. But it is also more intimate and quite seductive with its light veil of powdery musk. The misty and dry woods present are just as soft and malleable. The base changes in shades of grey, like a charcoal drawing.
À L'Extrême is a work of art. A truly refined and perfected version of the already majestic Encre Noire and Encre Noire Sport. It's an improved version of the original with an added balsamic dimension provided by sweet resins, smoky incense, and earthy patchouli. The overall feeling is of a naturally warm and inviting nocturnal sensuality. À L'Extrême is an evolution of Encre Noire, respectably preserving its DNA but refining the accord with a mystical note and fluidity of its own. A work of art that truly delves into the original mystery. À L'Extrême evokes darkness in a relaxing and mysterious rather than alienating way. It is sophisticated vetiver, soft and stripped of its herbaceous harshness. More than ink, it makes me think of the grey and dense fog of Milan, so thick that you can cut it with a knife; the profile of a stranger in the dark, his shadow cast on the polished asphalt.
Encre Noire À L'Extrême It starts pretty similar to the original with lots of green cypresses; however, it stabilizes a bit in a few minutes, and the driest, woody and resinous facets come out. Frankincense is very present with a good dose of alcoholic benzoin. It's like a more mature and relaxed version of the original. It fits best in the evening, preferably to grab and enjoy for fall and winter. Lalique has some unique scents, but the Encre Noire series is so cheap online now, and it's worth it. À L'Extrême is what a good flanker looks like, keeping the original DNA by taking it to a different but equally satisfying destination.
I based the review on a 100ml bottle I have owned since July 2018.