Archive for September, 2008

Serge Noir/Kisu a comparative sniff w/ a side order of Avignon and a couple of others

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Well here I am with a cup of tea, Serge Noir on the L Hand and Tann Rokka’s Kisu on the R.

First application: the SN goes on easily and is both  smoky and zingy. In fact for a few moments it reminds me intensely of Goya’s Aqua Manda,  which has been discontinued since the 70’s and was my favourite childhood scent.  Kisu is light and airy. 10 mins in and on my L I have the  def smell of Porsche tyres !  See this excellent review for more details

On my R I smell the creosote type note that some say appears in SN. I haven’t picked that one up, and in a comparative sniffing I don’t get much Rousse-like Cinnamon either. This creosote note is definitely in SL’s  Sarrassins + Tubereuse Criminelle. Also in Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile and Dior’s classic, Diorissimo. (If anyone has any ideas about what it might be, then please put me out of my misery! ).

Just for a few seconds I get an instant hit from Kisu of the Lemon/Lavender note in Guerlain’s Jicky. A favourite of mine since I was a teenager ! Pretentious ? moi ?

OK 20 mins now SN is in its ‘Avignon’ stage and Kisu is just settling gently into a woody, powdery, calming and contemplative phase.

Just to digress for a rmoment. There are those who say that Matthew Williamson’s Incense is a far cry from the legendary one created by Lyn Harris. However, on me the new formulation smells almost exactly the same as CdG’s Avignon, but just a little warmer. Which for me is a good thing. Try it, you might be surprised, although as we well know, individual body chemistry is ALL in perfumery.

Well into the hour now and SN is still very smokey and incensey, but constantly shifting.  Kisu has also  turned into a woody, incensey, constantly shifting gentle kiss, which it was named for and is reminiscent for me of Shiseido’s original Zen.  Kisu is at all times warmer and more powdery than Serge Noir, which definitely does have a ‘dusty’/peppery/dry/hot element.

I’m pleased I got them both and will certainly be wearing them myself this Autumn, which has already started for us here in the UK after a mournful summer. And yes, there IS a slightly mournful feel to Serge Noir once it settles in.  So I get the Pheonix analogy in SL’s own write up of this new fragrance.

A phoenix, the mythical bird of legend burns at the height of its splendour before emerging triumphant, reborn from the ashes in a choreography of flame, conjuring the shapes of yesterday in a dance of ashes. The swirls of oriental grey enrich the twilight with depth and intensity while windswept memories hint at the beauty of transformation. An ode to everlasting beauty under cover of night’s rich plumage.”


This is his best one for for me since Chypre Rouge, which I adore in the Fall. In fact Chypre Rouge is THE SL for me, sadly Serge Noir has failed (so far) to eclipse it ! However, I’m now testing it on its own and am at least open to persuation.  I have to say that it is very definitely growing on me.

What more can I say, they’re are both gorgeous and multifaceted, but unless you try them yourself you will never know !

Happy sniffing