When Coco launched in 1984, the olfactory shock one experienced was about the sudden irruption of a rich brocaded texture suggestive of some of the heaviest velvets, also sweet, refined and spicy, but most of all carrying the illusion of an intensely rich aphrodisiacal fragrance, yet measured and tailored enough to feel more cooly Parisian. Today, the eau de toilette best carries that original imprint.
In 2012, Chanel are introducing a new flanker to the opus of the beginnings and it is called Coco Noir. In-house perfumer Jacques Polge has gone back to the drawing desk to propose a new variation on what he calls the "Coromandel culture" of Gabrielle Chanel, that is to state it briefly her taste for riches and exotics apparent in her beloved Chinese coromandel screens, what she herself consciously referred to as being her proclivity for Byzantine aesthetics, asking herself "Why does everything I do become Byzantine?"...
Coco Noir is about a Baroque variation brought to the Coco lineage which also includes Coco Mademoiselle, one that goes back to the origins of the fragrance house of Chanel as well.
The term "Noir" refers to the signature use of an austere black in Chanel fashion and in particular where the so-called "little black dress" is concerned. Gabrielle Chanel saw herself as the fashion mind who was able to impose black within the mainstream of feminine fashion and went as far as thinking that she was the first to dare black for women. This topic is debatable as genius fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet, although less well-known by the larger public, is well-known to specialists for having pioneered the LBD concept before Chanel.
Perfumer Jacques Polge sought inspiration in a trip Coco Chanel made to Venice after the death of her lover, Boy Capel, and therefore one might well think that although this is not explicitly underlined, black is here also the color of mourning.
We will have occasion to return to the perfume when we review it. For now, we can listen to some of the aesthetics motivations for this new Coco as the nose explains,
"A fragrance's birth is an act of pure creation and unique intuition that cannot be retraced, only felt.
What remains is the lineage. This passage of time that enters the most unexpected olfactory compositions into the history of perfume and renders them intelligible. [...]
This is the way Jacques Polge wanted it; he believes that a fragrance, as individual as it may be, "can only exist because of those that came before it."
Coco Noir features top notes of grapefruit, Calabrian bergamot followed by heart notes of essence and absolute of rose, absolute of jasmine, narcissus, rose geranium leaf before seguing into a base of Brazilian and Venezuelian tonka bean, Indonesian patchouli, New Caledonian sandalwood, Bourbon vanilla, white musk and frankincense.
Via press release