I have an innate reticence to trying anything which chooses to bombard me with ads. This attitude had cropped up on a couple of recent trips to Sephora when I was surrounded by all kind of various come-ons for the new Marc Jacobs Mod Noir. It was a Sephora exclusive for the first couple months of its release. Which explains the ubiquitous advertisements in-store. I had made an agreement with myself to stay away from the black striped bottle indefinitely. Which has been easy because over the past few years the brand has seemingly become a flanker factory for the last two great perfumes they released, Daisy in 2007 and Lola in 2009. They have released 20(!) different flankers of one or the other in the last eight years.
Of course it was going to take a blind moment to get me to acknowledge that from underneath the deluge of flankers something good might be present. On my last trip to Sephora I was talking to the sales associate I always talk to and this really bright gardenia scent wafted under my nose. I asked my contact what it was, and knowing my antipathy to the line, he smiled and said, “The new Marc Jacobs Mod Noir.” With having been blindsided I asked for a sample to give it a try. It is not as original as Lola or Daisy but it is easily the best new perfume Marc Jacobs has released since Lola.
Mod Noir was composed by perfumer Jean-Claude Delville. I don’t know who names these things but let me get this out of the way right at the top. This is not Mod in any way you wish to interpret that word. It is most definitely not Noir in any way you wish to interpret that word. Mod Noir is a warm-weather brightly constructed citrus gardenia perfume. M. Delville clearly was not inspired by the name when he designed this.
Mod Noir opens with a very fruity opening using yuzu, clementine, and nectarine. M. Delivile coaxes out all of the juicy qualities of these fruits and then lays a patina of green over then with one of the watery green synthetics. It is that veil of green which actually appealed to me first when I got my first unguarded sniff of Mod Noir. The heart is very prominently gardenia but modulated such that it is not overpowering or cloying. Not an easy feat when working with any of the potent white flowers. M. Delville rounds out his gardenia with just a pinch of magnolia and tuberose. The base is that warmer creamy musk cocktail which has been cropping up a lot in the mass-market perfumes over the last year. In the case of Mod Noir it actually provides just the right finish because M. Delville again keeps the potential for this to overpower well controlled.
Mod Noir has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
If you are like me and have been avoiding Marc Jacobs for a while Mod Noir might be worth giving a chance to remind you there is still some life left in the brand. As long as your expectations aren’t for something mod or noir. If you want a nicely executed summer weight fruity floral I think Mod Noir is a really good version of that.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received from Sephora.