Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lancome Magie Noire

A 1978 release, Magie Noire occupies a similar place in my memories with the other beasts of that era, Opium and Charlie. I need to ask my mom, but I'm pretty sure several of her acquaintances wore it, including at least one of my teachers. And all of them overdid it and wore it at inappropriate times , thus ruining the black magic and making it into a cartoon version of itself.

All of the above means I didn't discover Magie Noire's real beauty and power until it was too late- while there's an EDT by the same name on every Lancome counter, it smells cheap, synthetic and completely devoid of magic, black or other. This is, of course, where one do two things: Turn to eBay and pray, which surprisingly worked for me, as I found a bottle of the parfum and didn't have to sell one of my cats to pay for it.

The notes (from Perfume Shrine) are: bergamot, blackcurrant, hyacinth, raspberry, honey, tuberose, narcissus, jasmine, incense, Bulgarian rose, patchouli, vetiver, castoreum, labdanum, musk and civet. This is quite an impressive list that can tell you this is not for the faint of heart. All those animalic notes (castoreum, musk and civet) create a strong foundation with an incredibly sensual touch. It doesn't smell dirty, though- no sweat or bodily functions- instead, this is a siren that tempts and calls for you to get closer and closer, to try and smell what it's really like to be there. The road to that point is quite irresistible. Out of all the floral notes listed what I get most are the hyacinth and narcissus, beautiful and dry, but in this case they are laced with an incredible honey note. This is probably my favorite of the scent- the way it changes and morphs seamlessly, like a sexy montage. My skin also amplifies the berry notes, and for once they don't feel silly. They are actually dark and while tempting and juicy, they play a part in the seduction without ever crossing the fruit cup line. It's not about being "yummy, it's about being Nigella Lawson.

I haven't seen oakmoss listed anywhere as part of Magie Noire, but at times I could swear it feels and wears as dangerously as a chypre. Whatever used to be in there, it's a true beauty, and I'd suggest you raid the dresser of any aunt who might have a pre-reormulated bottle to get a taste of it.

Magie Noire ads from 1982 and 1984: paperpursuits.com and couleurparfum.com


  1. I have loved Magie Noire since I got my very first bottle of it in 1982. It is one of the sexiest perfumes that I wear.....I'm glad that you got to enjoy it in all of its original glory. What you can buy now just doesn't do it justice!

  2. The vintage is stunning, stunning stuff. Not at all my usual thing, and I can only wear it in certain limited circumstances, or it captures all my attention.

    I would swear that there is a HUGE slug o' oakmoss in there.

  3. Any time somebody mentions Magie Noire, I'll get pulled out of just reading and make a comment. Absolutely love this stuff, as challenging and--as you and Mals note--circumstance appropriate as it is.

    OTOH, sometimes I wonder if maybe those ladies were on to something, the ones who wore it at "inappropriate" times...I mean, really, do we want to cut of possibility? ;)

    (Said she who own FB of En Passant and L'eau d'Hiver and generally loves the note of hay...Magie Noire is NOT of that ilk, no sir.)

  4. Magie Noire has been a long time love of mine since the early 1980's. A great aunt gifted me with my first bottle and that memory has never left me. (she was a fiesty curly-haired red-head who drank scotch and smoked cigars.....) It figures Magie Noire captured her attention!

    I have an older bottle of extrait that I sniff occasionally. There is so much more depth to the vintage. I wear the newer scent because it's part of my "wardrobe" but it is a shallow imitation. I noticed on the Lancome website, the body creme and now lotion have been phased out. Such a crime in my opinion....

  5. is there anything to replace this? this was my one and only for years.

    yes, the new version is a cheap imitation.


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