A Rose (by any other name) – Or et Noir Caron (1949) modern extrait version

After searching high and low for my rose fragrance, I finally found it in Or et Noir*.

Caron has done several rose-centric perfumes, and I must confess that the lack of availability has made me unable to smell the ones which actually carry ‘rose’ in their name. Parfum Sacre and even Nuit de Noël are also amongst the ones mentioned when the talk is of ‘dark’ rose perfumes, however for me, as much as I love them both, they are neither that dark (more cosy in my book) nor strictly rose focused enough to be called rose-perfumes. Or et Noir is what the others aren’t, it’s both a rose perfume and deserving of the black name. (How often can you say that about a perfume called something with Noir? – Coco, Sensuous, Crystal et al) Knowing of its own worth, it was even deemed unnecessary to name it after its prime ingredient, the queen of flowers.

Starting off with fiercely high-strung metal, and thorns to draw blood, Or et Noir makes sure you do not mistake its rose for ‘pretty’. imageIn fact, to me it’s exactly its bright sharpness which makes it dark. The best way to describe it would be to compare it to another Caron classic, Narcisse Noir, where the ‘noir’ is more about the poisonous pull than about any typically ‘dark- notes’. In the same way the gold metal is also the black, as if it was a tattoo of a dagger through a dark rose.

It’s as if there’s some magnetic rejection between the lemony metallic scent of the geranium and the green slightly sour deep red rose. Different twists on similar scentsations vie for attention, and only as the rose wins the battle over the geranium, does it allow itself to soften up, open its petals and become a huge single rose attracting rays of golden sun and honeybees alike.

As the sun loses its power, a carnation starts casting its peppery shadow over the Caron rose, until completely covered, and the rose takes on the same dark hue as the carnation itself. Together they darken, sweeten and wither until mossy earth peeks through. I’ve seen people mention amber, but this is no amber rose dry down, this is a rose with all imaginable hues of darkness and light, gold and black. Or et Noir.


“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” Nietzsche.


*A huge thank you to dear STC <3


Or et Noir was made in 1949 by perfumer Michel Morsetti. I own a large decant from TPC. Pictures are mine.



11 thoughts on “A Rose (by any other name) – Or et Noir Caron (1949) modern extrait version

  1. Wow, your writing here is so gorgeous.
    I’m so happy you’v finally found your rose. Not an easy task!
    Love this line “Knowing of its own worth, it was even deemed unnecessary to name it after its prime ingredient, the queen of flowers” and I adore the quote from Nietzsche which really resonates with me, so many thanks for sharing it.
    Beautiful witchy image!

    • Thank you Tara.
      You’re right it wasn’t an easy task, most were either sour or ‘hello kitty’-cute on me. And even if I do like a fair few oud-roses, it wasn’t really the ‘rose’ I was after, so I’m chuffed to bits to have found Or et Noir.
      I thought you might like the Nietzsche quote, little Goth 😉

  2. What an amazing scent this must be! Love your paintings, Asali. Interesting what you write about the rejection of notes and still be able to wear Or et Noir. I would not be able to. Contrast in a fragrance cold and warm is one thing but rejection, hummm.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it E. Well, I think I like many of my fragrances to have something that sets them apart. To me it’s much more of a struggle with something ‘just’ pretty. Perhaps it comes down to there being a tension which needs releasing to make the most interesting composition to me (think dramatic structures, sonata form, golden ration etc), although there are times of course when all you need is a comfort scent.
      I was just send a sample of the ‘real’ Djedi. It doesn’t compare to any reissue I’ve tried. I was a punch in the stomach, and the most mindblowing experience, and it was also the closest I’ve ever come to classify perfume as art…

  3. Or et Noir was once described (at Makeupalley maybe?)as a scent that Charlotte Rampling would fight to the death for if there was only one last bottle. Don’t honestly know if Ms Rampling ever wore it, but if so, how perfect is that pairing?

    Yes it is seriously dark. I owned Or et Noir and went through two bottles before finding that the darkness was miscast in my case. But if you are liking Djedi I guess it’s right up your alley and glad you found it!

    • Ha, good description. I’m curious as to how you describe the darkness in Or et Noir, as it lacks the usual ( dare I say stereotypical) dark notes, and yet it’s dark alright. And as for Djedi, it’s from outer space, I’m not sure I could wear it regularly, but I would most definitely fight Ms Rampling over that one- AND WIN 😉 meow!

  4. I am still on a quest to track down the perfect dark rose and am massively intrigued by your find, albeit I wonder if it might be too ‘hardcore’ for me even so. I sure would like to try it though, and completely agree that the likes of Parfum Sacre are not notably rosy. It was the lack of rosiness in so many complex perfumes that were meant to have rose to the fore that bedevilled my search for a memorable scent for a friend.

    There again Narcisse Noir was famously my perfume nemesis when I was starting out, though that was then, and who knows what I might appreciate now. I wasn’t fazed by Rozy voile d’extrait, for example.

    Anyway, loved your powerful evocation of this, and the illustration at the top really spoke to me as well. It has hypothetically got Charlotte Rampling’s name on it, after all…

    • I’m glad to hear that even a rose lover can struggle when it come to searching for a complex yet rose centric perfume. There is also Caron’s ‘Rose’ also done by Morsetti, that might be a good bet for you, although as I mentioned, I actually don’t know it. It’s described as a darker rose too, though… Downside is that they are so hard to come by, but perhaps you have the Caron urns somewhere in London? ( if possible I will add a smidgen of or et noir when I finally send the lids…)
      I liked Rozy a lot, but mostly because it smelled like Onda to me 🙂 I didn’t get enough rose from it, to actually call it a rose perfume.
      Thank you, I’m as always happy that you enjoyed both.

  5. It’s really nicely put – “the lack of availability” 🙂 That’s exactly why I’m almost not familiar with the brand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real Caron’s bottle in my life.

    I’m glad that you found perfume that makes you write such an evocative review. Once you’re done with the decant, will you be looking for a bottle?

    I have complicated relationships with rose as a main note: too many of rose-centric perfumes smell unpleasantly soap-y on my skin. So dark rose in perfumes is always appreciated.

    • It’s such a shame they are not more videly available. I know many moan about the reformulations of the Carons, but I find many of the perfumes are still absolutely excellent, at least in parfum strength which I tried ( nothing like the Dior ghosts), but then I only know few of the Carons vintages.
      I will most certainly go for a bottle (am saving at the moment), at the time, I had no idea of how to get hold of it, and there was a sale at TPC which made the decant an extremely attractive offer. But, like you, I do love to have the real ‘vessel’ for the perfume.
      I think you should most definitely try this one then, and as I said to Vanessa possibly there other rose offers.

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