Christian Dior’s Eau Noire (2004)

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Christian Dior’s Eau Noire (2004) 250ml

Once upon a time there was a fragrance collector named Veektor. His collection had become so big that there is not enough dust to cover every single bottle. He decided to slow down collecting and be more selective. But the world is full of temptations, particularly if you live in the global village called Facebook. One day, his friend Fragrance Care Bear posted his latest acquisition called Dior’s Eau Noire in a fragrance group. It’s freaking amazing, according to Care Bear. Veektor was aware of that perfume – it’s been discontinued, and the perfume color is of emerald green, like the stillness of the lake in an enchanted dark forest. He had never smelled Eau Noire before, but according to the fine people of the Internet, Eau Noire is like true love, those who have never experienced it will think it’s overrated, but those who have tried Eau Noire, oh my, it’s heaven with free maple syrup pancakes.

Fragrance Care Bear offered his caring paws, and showed Veektor how to acquire it. “Do not tell anyone about this. There’s a special fairy who aims to stop the world’s suffering – she helps others shop for a living. Contact her, and she will show you the way.” Veektor found the fairy as directed, and was shown the way through her friend, Mr. PayPal. Through more magic, the bottle of Eau Dior arrived at Veektor’s front door in two weeks.

Veektor sprayed some Eau Noire on, expecting magic to shower upon thee, and to his surprise and dismay, “Damn, it’s just a lavender scented perfume. Eau Noire, Oh No!” Veektor shook the bottle violently.

“My mom told me I am good, but not special, and I don’t need to go to the the special school in Paris,” says Eau Noire.

“That also explains why you are discontinued to give way for other Dior new releases.”

“But a lot of people on the Internet told me I am soooo good!”

Veektor is now stuck with a huge 250ml of Oh No. Because he has so much, he has decided to spray some every night before he goes to bed.

Then one night, something magical happened…

Veektor fell asleep really fast.

That’s because lavender helps people fall asleep more easily. Eau Noire smells very invigorating at first (lavender and licorice), then slowly settles into something very smooth and pleasant, mildly sweet, aromatic and herbal (thyme, vanilla, cedar, violet). In fact, when people say it smells like herbal syrup on pancakes they are not wrong at all, but just a bit exaggerated.

While there’s nothing wrong to feature lavender as the star of the perfume, my subconscious tells me such perfume should not be too over-priced, for lavender to me is an utilitarian scent.

Now my bottle of Eau Noire sits on my bedside table, whenever I feel I need to destress, I put some on.

MDCI’s Promesse de l’Aube (2006)

MDCI's Promesse de l'Aube © Victor Wong
MDCI’s Promesse de l’Aube © Victor Wong

In my last year of high school in Canada, my ESL (English as a secondary language) teacher was deeply in love with the book “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan, and she made us read it for assignment. The novel is about four Chinese mothers and daughters and their poignant, and sometimes tragic personal histories that happened in China and America. Two years later, the book was adapted into a movie, and I went to see it in the theater. The movie was deadly sad and had a killer Chinese string ensemble soundtrack. I could hear sniffing and sobbing from the audience in full surround sound throughout the whole movie. Later my sister told me that her friend had also watched it but he wasn’t moved by it at all. He told her, “it’s one of those typical stories, a Chinese mother drowning her baby girl because the family wanted a son instead. Everyone asked me to watch because it’s sad. I didn’t shed a single tear.”

So what if someone tells me that there’s a movie that would make me cry, and I don’t feel a thing watching it? what does that imply?

1) I don’t understand why it is sad.
2) I have seen enough of this kind of melodrama and it can’t move me anymore.
3) I am a dick.

I recently bought a bottle of MDCI’s Promesse de l’Aube because of a 5 star review. The reviewer says, “The tune of this fragrance may not be hugely original, but the orchestration will bring tears to your eyes.”

Because of this review, I was ecstatic when I found out the city I live in finally have a niche perfume shop that carries MDCI. The first bottle I sniffed was, of course, Promesse de l’Aube, but I was disappointed – nothing was wrong with that perfume, and that’s wrong. It’s like watching a TV sitcom where every actor is pretty but none of them I find attractive. Also, where’s the drama? The second time I smelled it, I thought I kind of get it. The opening was more beautiful than I remember, the floral notes smelled real instead of synthetic, and they are well blended. But again, where’s the drama? The actors are staring at each other not saying anything because the commercial break is coming. The third time, I decided to buy it because the shop was going to raise the price and I wanted it in my collection so that I could study it more.

Promesse de l’Aube is a chypre designed by Francis Kurkdjian. It smells quite like Acqua di Parma’s Nobile Iris, which is also designed by Kurkdjian; instead of iris, we have jasmine. On my skin, the dry down smells a bit sour, green, rosy and dusty. In less than an hour, the scent is gone. “Promesse de l’Aube” means Promise of Dawn, and dawn is beautiful, to some it’s so beautiful that tears may roll down the cheek when they see it. I think it’s beautiful too, but that’s all.

Afterthoughts: Of course, I didn’t expect to react the same way as the reviewer. Or any reviewer. The reviewer is Luca Turin in this case, and he never says “the orchestration will bring tears to your eyes” in any other of his reviews. I was intrigued. I wanted to experience that perfume that he thought highly of. I wondered, not seriously, if it was as good as he said to be, or do I have the “nose” to tell if something is that good. Now I think about it, it’s a fun but silly exercise – there are no conclusions.