If there is any one perfumer who could break me out of my first half of 2016 funk over the amount of pretty, demure roses it would be Francois Demachy. Certainly the sugar coated Rose de Mai he did which was Poison Girl offered me something different than everyone else was doing this year. I have to admit though when I saw the description for the latest Christian Dior La Collection Privee was meant to be a paean to the “flower queen, Rose de Mai.” I was prepared for La Colle Noire to be disappointing. When I finally got the chance to try it when visiting the boutique at Bergdorf Goodman during Sniffapalooza Spring Fling the first sniff did not draw me in. Except the longer I held the card the more I kept coming back to it. La Colle Noire was a pretty, demure rose that was growing on me. After wearing it for a couple of days it finally broke through my general level of disdain for this style of perfume, this year.
The name La Colle Noire comes from the chateau Christian Dior purchased in 1951 not far from the rose fields of Grasse. Grasse is where the Rose de Mai is cultivated. It has become the standard bearer for pretty florals everywhere. There is a part of me that sees its overuse as devaluing what makes it special. M. Demachy wanted to remind me why this particular rose is so prized as a raw material. To do that Rose de Mai is used in overdose and it is practically all you smell for a very long time. La Colle Noire does eventually evolve but if you aren’t a rose lover I don’t think you’ll have the patience to get to where things eventually change.
La Colle Noire feels almost like a linear rose perfume for about an hour on my skin. It is nothing but Rose de Mai. I suspect there is some other source of rose, otto or centifolia, underneath it all. There are moments where there were some facets not generally present in Rose de Mai. Or maybe this is just what you get when there is so much and there is nothing else to distract. At this concentration Rose de Mai loses a little bit of its politeness. Reminded me a bit of a Southern Belle saying, “bless your heart”. It sounds mannered but there is a definitive edge. Eventually the mix of sandalwood and white musks find some traction and begin to add some much needed harmonies. The sandalwood is typical woody contrast. The white musks provided some softening of the overall effect. For much of the last hours I wore La Colle Noire it was much less pronounced than earlier on.
La Colle Noire has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage especially early on.
In the end I feel La Colle Noire is a fragrance primarily for the rose lovers out there. M. Demachy’s presentation of one of the finest sources of rose is worth it for those who can’t get enough rose. It would also be a really fine choice for someone who wanted an excellent representation of Rose de Mai. La Colle Noire stands out for me for the sheer extroverted quality M. Demachy brings to the fore. It took an overdose to get me interested again.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Bergdorf Goodman.