“Blue” fragrances are all the rage these days.
Between Dior’s Sauvage and its many iterations, Chanel’s Bleu de Chanel, YSL Y EDP, and Dolce & Gabbana’s K and Light Blue (among many others), the blue fragrance marketplace is crowded to say the least. Almost every major designer house has released their own take on the genre, and it’s easy to see why: blue sells.
American design house Narciso Rodriguez, of course, is no exception. Their Bleu Noir line was initiated in 2015 with the release of For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Toilette as a flanker to the original For Him. Bleu Noir now has two flankers of its own, one of which, Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum, is the subject of this review.
So, in a blue world, what does Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum bring to the table?
Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum is a unique take on the “blue” genre. Featuring Narciso Rodriguez’s characteristic musk note, the fragrance is warm, rich, and woody, but fresh, making it perfect for all-season wear. It also offers excellent performance and value for money.
Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look at Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum.
Notes: musk, vetiver, cedar, amber, ebony wood (no top, middle, or base notes)
For Him Bleu Noir EDP doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it wasn’t really setting out to. This woody-musky-fougèreish DNA has been done before, and will likely seem somewhat familiar to most. This fragrance isn’t “out there” in any way. But the distinguishing factor here is the quality of the composition and blending.
The EDT of For Him Bleu Noir evidently bore a resemblance to Hermès’ Terre d’Hermès crossed with Cartier’s Déclaration. Personally, I haven’t smelled the EDT, so I can neither confirm nor deny. However, I can say categorically that the EDP has nothing to do with Terre d’Hermès. There are shades of Déclaration here, but only just.
Déclaration is a complex composition, rich and spicy and woody and dirty and full of twists and turns. By comparison, Bleu Noir EDP is an exceedingly simple fragrance, in the best way. Trim Déclaration of all its sharp edges, smooth it over and round it out, and you’ll be in the ballpark of what Bleu Noir EDP smells like.
The dominant scent profile of Bleu Noir EDP is that of the characteristic Narciso Rodriguez smooth, creamy, clean musk, undergirded with amber, woods, and vetiver.
It is a fragrance of marked contrasts. “Bleu noir” translates to “dark blue”, and they couldn’t have chosen a better name. There is definitely darkness here – dark ebony and cedar woody, earthy vetiver, warm slabs of amber – but it’s contrasted with heavenly musk, at once dense and creamy, airy and fresh. No citruses are listed in the note breakdown, but there is a freshness and vibrancy in the opening that does manage to stick around for a long while.
The drydown, which begins shortly after the opening and remains mostly the same throughout, is dominated by smooth musk, and a rich chord of warm woods and amber.
The fragrance is balanced between density and transparency, much like the bottle itself. When I smell Bleu Noir EDP, I imagine a sheet of dark, cobalt blue glass, opaque but yet somehow transparent enough to see through, behind which a light blue light shines.
Because of the contrasts, different facets of the fragrance emerge depending on the weather.
In the heat, the woods and vetiver are more prominent on my skin. In the cold, however, the amber and creamy musk take center stage, and the fragrance assumes a more powdery character, with the woods peeking through in the deep drydown.
No matter the season, though, Bleu Noir EDP is always perfectly apropos.
Bleu Noir EDP comes in a simple, dark blue cardboard box with the name of the house and fragrance listed on the front. There aren’t any frills about the box presentation, and so I haven’t kept it. This handy dandy image here comes from Google.
Bleu Noir EDP comes in two sizes: 1.7 oz (50 ml) and 3.3 oz (100 ml).
I have the 3.3 oz (100 ml) bottle. It is very nice, made with heavy, dark cobalt glass. The outer part of the bottle is lighter, a bit more color-saturated shade of blue and more translucent. The inner part of the bottle, though, is a deep, dark shade of blue that is entirely opaque.
The cap is plastic and not very well secured to the bottle, so I wouldn’t recommend picking it up by the cap.
The sprayer is very nice, dispensing a good, hearty burst of fragrance with each spritz.
Overall, the bottle for Bleu Noir EDP is quite handsome and feels very well done.
For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum has very good lasting power for a fragrance of its genre. With four to five sprays on both clothes and skin, I get around eight hours of solid longevity.
That’s more than enough to last me through my work day and then some.
For those looking for increased longevity, simply amp up the sprays. If you usually do two or three sprays, try four or five. If you usually do four or five, try six or seven. This is not likely to choke anyone out or cause offense to any but the most sensitive of noses.
Bleu Noir EDP is not a “beast mode” fragrance and shouldn’t be considered as such. However, I find its performance to be more than acceptable.
Projection & Sillage
The projection and sillage of For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum is soft but still noticeable. It behaves very much like an eau de perfume, rather than an eau de toilette. What’s the difference between the two? Luckily, I’ve written extensively about this topic, so you can take a quick peek here to get an idea.
With my usual four to five sprays, I get about an hour or two of a little bit less than arm’s length projection and sillage that remains a bit closer to the skin.
That’s more than enough for my purposes, though.
Bleu Noir EDP creates a very pleasant but restrained aura around you, which in my book is the best kind of projection. This won’t announce your present at forty paces like Dior Sauvage, but anyone who gets close will not fail to get a whiff.
Value For Money
A 3.3 oz (100 ml) bottle of Bleu Noir EDP retails for ~$97 USD, while a 1.7 oz (50 ml) bottle retails for ~$70 USD.
This is fairly standard for designer perfumes, and figures to ~$1/ml for the larger size and a little bit more for the smaller size.
Compared to other, similar “blue” fragrances, that’s not half bad. Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum, for instance, considered a landmark blue, retails for $98 for 1.7 oz (50 ml) and $128 for 3.4 oz (100 ml). Dior Sauvage Eau de Parfum, another staple blue, retails for $100 for 2.0 oz (60 ml) and $128 for 3.4 oz (100 ml).
Narciso Rodriguez perfumes are also widely available on discount perfume websites such as FragranceNet and FragranceX for considerably lower prices. I acquired my 100 ml bottle of Bleu Noir EDP for about $55. Comparatively, both Sauvage and Bleu de Chanel are more expensive on discount websites, if they are even available at all.
Taking that, in addition to the quality of the ingredients, composition, and performance, I would deem Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum as having very good value for money.
Who’d Like It
Bleu Noir EDP will appeal to most every man, but I do believe that it’s slightly more mature compared to other blue fragrances such as Sauvage and Y EDP. It lacks the enormous projection, sweetness, and “shower gel” quality that you might find in such fragrances, which are most appropriate for younger crowds.
However, that’s not to say that Bleu Noir EDP is a dated or “old man” kind of fragrance.
Far from it.
It’s just a bit quieter and more reserved than the brash and loud men’s fragrances that are in vogue at the moment.
Taking that into consideration, I’d recommend Bleu Noir EDP for men twenty-five and up who want a versatile, easy to wear signature fragrance that isn’t going to choke anyone out.
When To Wear It
Bleu Noir EDP is an incredibly versatile fragrance that is suitable for all-season, all-occasion wear.
There isn’t a time or place, in my view, where it would be out of place. Work, date night, casual, formal, summer, winter, whatever – Bleu Noir EDP is a Swiss Army knife kind of a fragrance that will work most anytime and anywhere.
As often as I’ve mentioned other “blue” fragrances such as Bleu de Chanel or Sauvage in this review, For Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum doesn’t really smell like any of them.
Bleu Noir EDP has a slight resemblance to Cartier’s Declaration and its associated flankers, such as Declaration Essence and Declaration Parfum. However, Declaration places much more emphasis on spice, including an (in)famous cumin note which puts it very much in a love-it-or-hate category. In comparison, Bleu Noir EDP is less complex, smoother, creamier, and easier to wear in this day and age.
As such, Bleu Noir EDP bears some resemblance to other Declaration-likes, such as S.T. Dupont’s Pour Homme, released in 1998, and the more recent and highly affordable 1920 The Origin by Tous. But again, these fragrances are more focused on spice. While Bleu Noir EDP does have some faint spiciness, you will notice that no spices are listed in the note breakdown. Creamy musk and woods are the star of the show here.
Pros & Cons
- A very appealing, masculine, versatile fragrance with high quality ingredients.
- Good performance and high value for money.
- Nice bottle presentation.
- Not the most original composition.
- Might be too “mature” and reserved for some noses.
- More intimate projection and sillage.
Overall, Bleu Noir EDP is an easy to wear, dark, classy, deep, musky, clean, and sensual fragrance that I’ve practically worn out since I picked it up. It’s become one of my favorite “dumb reaches”.
If you wear Bleu Noir EDP, you won’t necessarily smell “different” per se, but you will smell great. For men looking for a great all-rounder that stands apart from the trend despite standing within it, I rate this as a top pick. This is the kind of fragrance that’s as easy to inhabit as a perfect pair of jeans. It’s not a statement piece, but what wardrobe is complete without a great pair of jeans?
For those looking for a blue off the beaten path, you won’t go wrong with Narciso Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noir EDP (buy through Amazon here).
★★★★☆ 4 stars out of 5