There are certain ingredients in the perfumers’ palette, which rarely make it into men’s fragrances. Roses and white florals are two of the ingredients on the avoid list for men’s cologne.
Francis Kurkdjian, the nose behind Lumiere Noire pour Homme, is not a man bound by conventions. He has boldly created a gorgeous men’s fragrance centered around rose and patchouli. Dark, earthy and utterly sensual, Lumiere Noire pour Homme is thousands of miles away from spicy-oritenals smell-alikes you find in the department store.
A point of clarification is needed here. The rose found in Lumiere Noire pour Homme is not the bright air-light type you find in rose water and some of the perfumes targeted to women. It is also not the type you find in classic Middle Eastern fragrances (e.g. Montale, Ajmal, Amouage). In Lumiere Noire pour Homme Francis Kurkdjian has created the aroma of a fragrance that does not exist in nature. The rose accord in his fragrance is that of a black rose.
Black roses do not exist in nature. The closest you can get to a black rose in nature is a really dark red rose, which look almost black. Throughout the ages, however, black roses have turned into a symbol of mysticism and occultism. Many anarchist movements (e.g. Irish and Montreal-based anarchist organisations) use a black rose as their symbol.
…Francis Kurkdjian has created a fragrant allegory of the mysticism and sensuality of the non-existent black rose.
With this consideration, through Lumiere Noire pour Homme, Francis Kurkdjian has created a fragrant allegory of the mysticism and sensuality of the non-existent black rose. It is also his interpretation of what men who do not follow conventions should smell like. Lumiere Noire pour Homme is for the men who boldly step out of their societal confines and confidently embrace their sensuality without compromising their masculinity.
The name of the fragrance itself plays to the whole idea of black and mysterious. “Lumiere Noire” means black light in French. Black light reveals the things we don’t usually see by making them glow. Similarly, Lumiere Noire pour Homme makes a man’s hidden sensuality and mysticism glow.
This is not the first time Francis Kurkdjian has explored the idea of black rose however. Lumiere Noire pour Homme reminds me very much of Narciso Rodriguez for Her. In his creation for Narciso Rodriguez, however, Francis Kurkdjian has feminized the sensuality by adding orange blossoms and white musk and fruity-floral accords. In retrospect, Lumiere Noire pour Homme should have really been the male counterpart of Narciso Rodriguez for Her instead of the wet-concrete smelling potion they released. I guess Francis Kurkdjian was wise and saved this jewel for himself and released it under his own brand. I give him great respect for that.
Some reviewers call Lumiere Noire pour Homme a spicy rose. Indeed cinnamon and caraway are present in the composition, however, they do not define it. The patchouli and rose are the two main characters of the story here.
Lumiere Noire pour Homme can easily be worn by women (grown-up women, not Kesha fans with socks in their bra).
Lumiere Noire pour Homme opens with artemisia and patchouli. The first notes that hit your nose are earthy-spicy with a fresh aspect to them. They prep you for what is to come. 10 minutes into its development, the patchouli takes on a more earthy tone and the dark facet of the rose starts to emerge. In the heart notes the rose becomes even more predominant and this is where the resemblance with Narciso Rodriguez for Her is most evident.
Fellas, don’t let all this talk about roses and artemisias scare you away. The rose here is dark and mysterious. The spices and patchouli give it a definitely masculine feel, even though, Lumiere Noire pour Homme can easily be worn by women (grown-up women, not Kesha fans with socks in their bra).
you fall in love with something that has been a taboo in the conventional male perfumery.
Even though I love all phases this fragrance goes through, my favourite is the heart. This is where the mysticism, unconventional masculinity and sensuality are most present. At this point you fall in love with something that has been a taboo in the conventional male perfumery. While you fall in love you also realize that this dark spicy rose is totally doable – it is shockingly masculine and sensual that not even the most close-minded macho men would dare challenge you on wearing it (and even if they do, why would you even care).
An interesting aspect of Lumiere Noire pour Homme is that it blends with your skin. Many fragrances tend to stay on top of the skin and solicit comments like “your cologne smells great”. Lumiere Noire pour Homme blends very well with your natural smell and gets you comments like “you smell amazing, I want to hug you”.
This is exactly what Lumiere Noire pour Homme makes me want to do: hug myself or whoever is wearing it. I blame it on the beautiful sensuality it radiates.
Despite all the praises so far, Lumiere Noire pour Homme does not score top points on versatility like Amyris Homme or Terre D’Hermes. It is versatile and it will definitely work great in the colder months. In the sizzling summer, however, it may turn cloying. I haven’t worn it in very high temperatures, so I may be wrong. Once I do and find out otherwise, I will make an update here.
Lumiere Noire pour Homme has a great longevity and a moderate sillage and projection.
Lumiere Noire pour Homme has a great longevity and a moderate sillage and projection. In fact, it tends to turn into a skin scent during its heart and dry-down phases. It is not obtrusive and therefore it would be appropriate to wear even in a conservative environment.
Lumiere Noire pour Homme is a somewhat mature fragrance. It doesn’t mean it is for old people, however, it takes a certain level of maturity in tastes and experiences. It also is not a fragrance for the conventional guy who gets a heartburn at the smell of risk. It is not that Lumiere Noire pour Homme is extravagant or an experimental fragrance that has gone beyond any boundaries of wearability.
I see the typical wearer of Lumiere Noire pour Homme as a 30+ male, self-confident and with a certain degree of familiarity with the good things in life. The Lumiere Noire man is the man who does not seek to impress others: he dresses well for himself, does things he enjoys and is generally happy with who he is. He is not the type to try hard or care to impress others. If you are looking for that laid back confidence with a touch sensuality and sophistication, look no further. Give Lumiere Noire pour Homme a try and decide for yourself.
- Amyris Homme: Review (scentbound.com)
- Terre D’Hermes: Review (scentbound.com)
- Some roses for winter. (theblacknarcissus.com)