Through Black… Light Revealed: Chanel Coco Noir, Or The Weirdest Smelling Experience Ever

I’ve always had an emotional attitude towards perfumes. I never like a perfume simply because I like it, but many other elements concur – the packaging, the bottle and, most of all, the images and sensations that that scent arouses, the connections my mind establishes between that scent and memories. That’s the most important thing: whenever I screw the cap of a perfume bottle, I need to feel or to remember something. I’m so passionate about perfumes for this reason: it’s not a question of vanity, but it’s a way of perpetuating a memory, of experiencing a feeling, again and again.

fotoAll the perfumes I’ve used in my life are connected to some events or persons. Giorgio Beverly Hills, an intoxicating perfume from the 80s, for example, was given to me as birthday present by a school mate I fancied (in that case, I didn’t like the perfume per se, but because I liked the one who had given it to me); Giò by Giorgio Armani, Chanel no.5 [1] and Chanel Allure bring back unpleasant memories of an old boyfriend (hideous person, but he had excellent taste in perfumes); my Diptyque perfumes [2] talk about independence, because I really started taking perfumes seriously when I first met them in my path. As a perfume and make-up addict, I often pay a visit to my favourite perfume shops, one of which is near the school where I teach. Just before Christmas I went there to get a bottle of Chanel Malice nail polish, and the shop assistant made me try the latest Chanel perfume, Coco Noir. I’m no expert of Chanel perfumes (I’ve used no. 5 and Allure only), so I can’t establish any connections between Coco Noir and other Chanel scents; what I can say is that that day, in that perfume shop, I had the weirdest smelling experience of my life.

As I said, the combination of memories and perfumes is very important for me, but just imagine what happens when a perfume you’ve never smelled before brings back a long-gone memory, something you’ve never thought of for a long time. Well, what’s not to love in a perfume which makes you think of a white closet, decorated with tiny roses, sitting in a room of an aunt’s house? Unfortunately, the aunt I’m referring to is no longer with us: she was one of my father’s sisters and she had an exquisite taste in clothing and jewellery. I don’t know what was the perfume she used when we visited her in the 1980s/1990s, but Coco Noir totally reminds me of when she opened the closet where she kept linens and clothes. I felt a bit stupid when I explained this weird feeling to the shop assistant, but she seemed to understand my shock; who knows, maybe she has experienced the same thing.

When it comes to the perfume created by Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake, the bottle is the first noteworthy detail. The classic squared Chanel bottle is made of black glass, while the box is black and gold. According to Fragrantica, the scent opens with fresh top notes of grapefruit and Calabrian bergamot; the heart includes rose, narcissus, rose geranium leaf and jasmine, while the base notes are woody (tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli and white musk frankincense). What really got me the first time I smelt it were the fresh and floral notes, but smelling the dark, woody and warm spicy notes is an exciting experience, too. I don’t really get the vanilla and sandalwood notes, but the patchouli and frankincense can clearly be smelled. I think Coco Noir is a very feminine and kind of “mysterious” scent; it’s perfect if worn in winter, but I’ll surely wear in warmer seasons, too, thanks to its light opening notes. Very few scents last on my skin, but this one has a pretty good longevity: it lasted on me about 6 hours. I’ve read negative reviews comparing it to Chanel Coco and Coco Mademoiselle, but I’ve never tried these two perfumes, so I can’t tell you my point of view. In general, I like taking a perfume and judging it by itself, but I can see why people compare it to the perfume family it belongs to.

If you haven’t tried it yet, please do, because it’s worth it. Liking or disliking a perfume is totally subjective, so please let me know what you think about it.

[1] He gave me a bottle of eau de parfum in the no-spray version. I used it all and I still keep the bottle: I love it!

[2] My collection includes L’ombre dans l’eau, Tam Dao, Olene, Philosykos, L’eau, Vinaigre de toilette, L’eau des Hesperides. 



  1. Okay, I just loved this post. I have never smelled the Coco Noir fragrance but I feel like I know the smell just from what you wrote about your aunt and her closet. I know that sounds so weird. I can’t wait to go smell it and see if the smell is a close match to my imagination. Excellent work.

  2. Thanks for this. What a great post! I’ve also been known to associate perfumes with boyfriends from my past. LOL. You are so right about scents and their connection to our memories.

    Chanel Allure is one of my all time favorites. I’ve gone through multiple bottles. I’ve also worn Coco, but wasn’t a huge fan. Your description of Coco Noir is fascinating and I am interested in trying it soon. Will let you know my thoughts. 🙂

  3. Ciao Superqueen!.
    Io non amo i profumi,riesco a sopportare solo raramente qualche goccia di rosa o fresia di OPSMariaNovella,e detesto le persone troppo profumate,che trovo volgari,la cosa che piú apprezzo di questo tuo post che é come al solito molto interessante é il Minipony…;)

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