Magie Noire is one of the best known and cult (no pun intended) perfumes by french house Lancome, known for its luxury cosmetics and scents. It appeared on the market in 1978, in time when Opium, Aromatics Elixir, Diorella and Chanel No 19 ruled. Perfumist Gerard Goupy drew his inspiration from west’s obsession with magic, mysticism and Orient and skillfully captured in a bottle of perfume the mythological chaotic oriental and chypre notes and organized and harmonized them so that every note has its time and place. The final effect is a wonderful concoction equal to a magic potion.

The way Magie Noire walked into the lives of perfume lovers is also magical. Unlike today’s way of perfume promotion by showing bloters under the noses of passers-by, dragging by the slive everyone that stumbles into a perfume shop and spraying the perfume on accidental witnesses of failed PR event, people from Lancome did something unique. They turned The Saint club in East Village into a black tie event for 500 guests. People from this New York hood never saw anything like it. The club was decorated in black and gold, like the bottle of Magie Noire itself, and the entire entourage, from gypsy stands where fortune tellers read the fortune from the palms of curious visitors, to the witch iconography and shaman cigarettes, everything screamed mystery and magic, wrote Lizzie Ostrom in her book Perfume, a Century of Scents.

Magie Noire is a perfume that not only by its name, captures that mixture of scent and the unconscious, that part of ourselves that defies control and memory but is like the sea tide and waves, splashing our everyday decisions, our needs and emotions. The perfume composition is so complex it feels like it was formulated by alchemists and presented to Maleficent, the antiheroine Angelina Jolie played in the movie by the same title. Diabolical beauty, titanium strength and character and a gentle heart. That kind of people chooses Magie Noire. I say people because I and many renowned perfume critics like Victoria Forlova (Bois de Jasmin), Luka Turin believe this perfume is an excellent choice for men too.

Maleficent

Classical deep and bitter chypre base made out of oakmoss and patchouli enriched with opulent and juicy white flowers jasmine and tuberose and sweetened with honey like ylang-ylang and lily of the valley. Instead of citruses, at the top of the scent pyramid are green and earthy fruity notes of black currant, while the entire composition is wrapped with incense that develops on the skin and emphasizes the magic and the spirituality of this perfume.

Over the years, Magie Noire was reformulated so the original thickness and the animalistic tone of the perfume are now gone, but its character remained despite the removal of the original notes of civet and natural musk. Now, this rich, powerful perfume full of character is meant for slightly older clientele but not old. Magie Noire does not smell like your grandma’s wardrobe, far from it. Magie Noire brings us a bit of that old time magic, the magic we all need in this contemporary world that smells of plastic and candies. Enchantment was never more simple. All you need is a few sprays of Magie Noire and the spell is cast.

[Fragrance notes] top notes: blackcurrant, bergamot, galbanum, hyacinth; middle notes: ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, iris root, lily of the valley; base notes: oakmoss, patchouli, civet, musk, amber, incense, vetiver.

[Fragrance group] chypre floral.

Perfume creator Gerard Goupy.

[Perfume profiling] introverted 30% extroverted 70% rational 40% emotional 60%

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