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

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


15 Responses to “Serge Noir/Kisu a comparative sniff w/ a side order of Avignon and a couple of others”

  1. Judy Says:

    The name of your website captured my attention as I have recently found out that there is a gemstone by the same name. Coincidence? Not for me.

    Your opening para makes me smile. I do the same thing but minus the cup of tea and certainly not with a side order of Avignon. One can only hope.

    Looking forward to reading more of your future sniffings and to wearing something wonderful. Thank you for sharing the pleasures of fragrance in this way.

  2. Judy Says:

    Oops. I’ve just remembered that the gemstone is called magenta sapphire. I got carried away (and I’m not even wearing any perfume). Hope you can edit this.

  3. PinkMagenta Says:

    Hi Judy

    Lovely to hear from you. I see you’re referring to the wonderful ‘Magenta Saphire’, and I don’t believe in co-incidences either !

    I have the world’s tiniest pink saphire and an even smaller diamond, but this Christmas it’s going to have to be one of the above.

    I’ve just received some samples that I was CERTAIN I would adore. Sadly none of them worked for me and one is so startling that wearing it would be like assaulting the public ! I may write them up sometime soon.

  4. PinkMagenta Says:

    I’m glad I made you smile – if we all made someone smile once a day, then the world would be a far better place !

    Once again Judy, lovely to share with you and look forward to future contact.

    Oh yes, and before anybody thinks I’m an ‘expert’ on perfume. I’ve been collecting it since I was a child, but I have never received any formal training. I’m a singer, so harmony and dissonance are easy for me to find in perfume. I just write what I experience.


  5. Judy Says:

    I just have to steal your sign-off! Very clever. It beats my boring old ttfn. I don’t know anyone (apart from my source – a gemstone cutter) who has heard of magenta sapphires. Wow! You’re going to have a really happy Christmas this year. The thought of being able to buy perfume from a “live” person who is happy to chat online about perfume pleases me. I even laughed out loud at my audacity in writing a comment and wondered if it would ever be read. I’m interested to know which perfumes could be called dissonant and why? Also, do you think you could write about “Shocking” some time?


  6. PinkMagenta Says:

    Hi Judy

    Steal away (just remember who got there first !) LOL.

    Blogging is interesting. I’d been meaning to start writing for ages, then suddenly it just felt right. But, just like you, I was wondering if anyone would actually find it and perhaps even READ it. So I’m officially impressed by your response – thank you.

    I find the perfume world in general to be rather cliquey and I like to write from the ‘user’s’ perspective.

    ……and on that note a general overview of Shocking !

    Imagine everything ‘girlie’ you could possibly think of, add LOADS of Ylang Ylang and Honey, mixed with soft baby powder – this is ‘Shocking’ ! Strangely enough very sweet and gentle and not at all Shocking! It is an absolutely gorgeous ‘occasional’ scent and never fails to get compliments.

    I had a bottle as a teenager and wore it all the time then. However I don’t remember it as quite so sweet, but I don’t hink it’s been reformulated.

    I’ll do an in depth one sometime later.

    I’m always happy to make up sample sets if anyone would like them.

    So, I shall have a think about dissonant perfumes and notes – specifically that strange wintergreeny note in Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. Thank you for giving me back such a good idea to write about.

    PL&P! (spread the word)

  7. PinkMagenta Says:

    There really is an actual Pink Magenta Saphhire ! so Judy, you were right after all ! AMAZING – keep scrolling, it’s nearer the bottom of the page.

  8. Judy Says:

    Thanks for the gem site PM. I’d like a large PMS please Santa! Thanks also for the “Shocking” review. I can’t wait for it to arrive now. I am surprised to hear you say that it is gentle and not at all shocking. I immediately thought of Hartnell’s “In Love” though I can’t remember it now. I think it was gentle and powdery too. I wonder how long it will be before I leave you a reply that I have received a compliment on it. With only 3 ml they’ll have to be fast. If somebody asks where they can get it, I’ll have to lie and say it was found in my recently deceased mother-in-law’s possessions. I can’t possibly share your website. It’s like having my own Aladdin’s Cave. I’m intrigued that other Australians already know about it.


  9. PinkMagenta Says:


    Don’t know Hartnells ‘In Love’, but I must add a vial of something truly SHOCKING ! to your samples, Fracas by Piguet…………………………………………How to clear a room in 3 seconds flat !


  10. Judy Says:

    I truly did LOL at your reply! That will amuse me for days thinking about how to use it to best advantage.

    Now, I simply could not keep your website secret. I did reveal all to two friends this afternoon. No, not quite all. I will have a “show and tell” when I receive my little parcel and then present your website. Your rose and violet fragrances are of particular interest.

    PS Have taken pic of my 1971 painting “Phoenix Rising” and will send when I can download it. Co-incidence? One phoenix dans la maison c’est suffit. I’ll wait until SL has a mood change.

  11. PinkMagenta Says:

    Many thanks for taking the time to have a read, and I’m pleased that you found it helpful..

    PL&P !

  12. Judy Says:

    Your overview of “Shocking” is exactly how I found it. It’s a perfume I would be happy to wear every day as it makes me feel I care about myself. I don’t know that I’ve ever worn a perfume with Ylang Ylang or with Honey and would have shied away from one containing those ingredients were it not for your review. Thank you.

    PS “Fracas” is powerful but a very beautiful scent nevertheless. Confidence in oneself is the key here I think.

  13. perfumes for men Says:

    I have a passion of perfumes, and I also run a small perfumes sales business. I look
    around for posts like yours so I can keep myself updated. I consider the scent of perfumes
    as an art because every perfumes’ scent is unique in its own way just like an artist
    paints unique pictures. I even run my own blog for perfumes.

  14. PinkMagenta Says:


    Happy New Year. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have always regarded perfume and fashion as art. I’m also a singer and perfume, as I’ve said before is like music, with melody, harmony, sometimes counterpoint and the ever necessary dissonance.

    I shall check your blog when I get a moment.

    PL&P !

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