The other day I was in the office, doing one of those insanely dull things that allows me to avoid getting a real job (in this case, looking through our files for for a tax document) and I realized – hey, what I need is some perfume. So I wandered upstairs and grabbed the vial Patty sent me of Mona di Orio Nuit Noir, because the Cheese wasn´t there to be disgusted by the stench and I was in the mood for something a little gamey. Back downstairs, I dug around in the file cabinet some more until eventually I realized that all the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, a sure sign that something momentous was happening fragrance-wise. So I took a closer sniff and realized I´d put on the wrong fragrance, only I had no idea what it was. Not Mona, that´s for sure. Oh, well. Back to work.
Ten minutes later I gave up even pretending that I was working, because Fragrance X was driving me wild. What is that? I took a couple of long, experimental sniffs on my wrist and tried to sort it out. It had a definite resemblance to the hay-smoke and leather of L´Artisan Fleur de Narcisse, only that wasn´t quite right either. This was more … perfume-y, if you will. Ladylike in structure, with some sort of florals in there, but dirty as hell. A deep, dark base of … what, maybe oakmoss and civet? It smelled like a classic, anyway. I´ve gotten a couple of packages of vintage samples – maybe it was one of those? Eventually, unable to stand it any more, I went back upstairs and dug around in the bowl of stuff-to-try until I found it.
And then I was stunned. Floored. Because, guess what it was!? Caron, my nemesis! Narcisse Noir parfum, created by Ernest Daltroff in 1911 to frighten polite women everywhere.
Here´s a link to Patty´s recent review of Caron Narcisse Noir where she says, “Caron had to have a scent that is an all-out smoldering siren, and Narcisse Noir is the little vixen that fills that slot on the Caron line-up. The Parfum is loaded with civet, and just oozes sensuality while also whispering about class. The EDT is more pretty and civilized, it just keeps the skank octane down to manageable levels. Caron Narcisse Noir is a challenge to wear, and it has taken a while for me to really appreciate it, but every time I put it on, I am just bowled over by its beauty and how it perfectly balances what I think a woman becomes when she is done screwing around with the idea of who she should be or who other people think she is or should be.” Um, Patty — that’s a lovely sentiment about the parfum whispering class. What I am hearing from Narcisse Noir, however, is more of a growl, and what it’s saying is so filthy it should have its mouth washed out with soap.
I am shocked by Narcisse Noir. So, Caron lovers out there – is this what I´ve been missing? What is this amazing thing? Where’s the Grim Reaper base? Is my “problem” with Caron rooted in my failure to smell the parfum versions? Maybe what I need my Caron to smell like is whatever dark forces are swirling around in the Noir. Are there other super-dirty Carons? What about that Can-Can thing?
Then I committed a Crime Against Nature. (Patty, please forgive me!) The parfum lasts forever, so that afternoon I … well … I layered Narcisse Noir with a dab of CB Musk. And I spent the rest of the day walking around laughing. You know what it made me think of? That old line about Napoleon writing to Josephine after a successful battle: “Home in three days. Don´t wash.”