Serge Lutens Datura Noir fragrance review

Serge Lutens Datura Noir perfume

Serge Lutens released Datura Noir in 2001. It was created by perfumer Chris Sheldrake, and the notes are mandarin peel, apricot, lemon flower, datura flower, tuberose, osmanthus, coconut, heliotrope, myrrh, bitter almond, vanilla, tonka bean, musk.

Datura Noir starts off rather heady, with all of its notes in evidence. They slowly rearrange themselves; in no particular order you might notice the mandarin peel or the almond or the tuberose. Eventually it resolves into a tropical floral with subdued hints of coconut and chocolate and a very slight dusting of powder. It is lush and creamy but not loud — the white florals hum rather than scream, as they are sometimes wont to do — and sweet without being cloying.

It is an unusual fragrance. At times it seems to perfectly conjure up the mystical connotations of the Datura flower, and so I tend to think of it as a sexy, secret rendezvous kind of perfume, not something to be worn by the light of day. Other times, the almond in particular seems to strike a jarring note, as though you had shown up for an assignation with a tall, dark stranger and found only a dainty plate of Amaretti cookies. Then there is nothing to do but scrub it off and try again another day.

Datura Noir is an Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.

Tomorrow: Datura Noir's kissing cousin, Keiko Mecheri Fleurs d'Osmanthus.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought I will love Datura Noir, judging by the notes…unfortunately, even though I think the scent is just beautiful, it overwhelms me…there is something in that combo of tuberose and coconut that is rather unpleasant on my skin :-(

  2. Anonymous says:

    M, The coconut doesn't bother me, only the almond, and then only sometimes. But it is good to strike another Serge off the list, no? Although at least this one is export.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great review dear R! I do like it in tiny doses when I am in the right mood etc… It is amazingly strong and lasts all day. A dear friend here wears this and it smells amazing on her. Being a total SL fan – I do admire this but rarely wear it. My inlaws have a huge datura plant and the smell is amazing when the flowers bloom. :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Excellent review, spot on. I had a small decant and loved it. I had the same feeling as you: it's a scent for assignations with tall handsome strangers. But weirdly, I never wear it, and I have no idea where my decant is now. Maybe because I never have assignations.

  5. Anonymous says:

    True. Funny though how none of the export Lutens scent are urgently wanted and craved by me (apart from Daim Blond really)…now, of his non-export line I want practically everything…makes me think…makes me come to some unflattering conslusions about myself LOL

  6. Anonymous says:

    R, I totally agree with your assessment. I love DN…sometimes, and sometimes it's just too cloying.


  7. Anonymous says:

    N, funny it lasts all day on you…it is very faint on me after 3-4 hours, more so than most of the SLs. It is one of my main complaints about DN.

    We grow Datura too. They are lovely, and re-seed themselves prolifically. Unfortunatley have not managed to get any of the purple varieties to grow at all.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So true…the grass is always greener, etc etc. I wish they would put Iris Silver Mist in the export line so I would fall out of love with it ;-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    T, Assignations few & far between here too, LOL!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, this fragrance on me smells very much like mint toothpaste–the opaque pasty kind which I used as a kid, not the translucent gel kind. I've tried it multiple times, with always the same result. Perhaps I'm just not a fan of Datura–I barely get the same toothpastey feel with MPG's Secrete Datura, though much subdued. As far as the battles of the Daturas, MPG's definitely wins for me. I adore Keiko Mecheri's Fleurs d'Osmanthus, though, and can't wait for your review tomorrow! It's by far my favorite osmanthus fragrance.

  11. Anonymous says:

    R, I guess it is a summer night kind of fragrance, but I like it better in winter. It never strikes me as *quite* cloying then…but I do know what you mean :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    L, I need to revisit the MPG. I seem to remember thinking it was too sweet & heady for me (is it sweeter than DN?) but it was a long time ago.

    I don't get the toothpaste, but that isn't the first time I've heard it mentioned so you are not alone!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It's just something about it that feels a bit too “close” to my skin.

    But, I have not tested Fleurs d'Osmanthus, so I very much look forward to your review.


  14. Anonymous says:

    R, I bought DN but quickly gave it away.

    You really found the right words – it´s an unusual fragrance & I found it too hard to wear. You have to be in a special mood for wearing it & even then it may not fit…

    The coconut is captured rather lovely & I really like to smell the scent – most of the time just not on me *sigh*

    I´m really looking forward to your review on KM Osmanthus – I´ve to search for my sample, I haven´t tested the scent so far.

    By the way, I don´t think MPG Secrète Datura is as sweet as SL. To my nose it´s much more floral without coconut or almonds. At first I liked it, but then discovered that it´s too floral for me.

    So up to now I haven´t found an osmanthus scent I like & can wear.

  15. Anonymous says:

    S, I like the coconut in DN too…it is rendered warm, so doesn't remind me of suntan oil or a pina colada. I think the MPG was too floral for me too though. Do try the KM!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Lovely review! I have always loved Datura Noir from a distance. Like R, I find that there are days when it is simply too sweet and heady. I wish it were a bit greener.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I gave this to my secretary because she loved it and I found it to be sort of a one note samba. It was mega almondjoyflower and I thought it rather unsophisticated. I laughed when I read about being ambushed by the almond when you expect the handsome stranger. Ah! Isn't that always the way. Well, if those kind of secret meetings delivered what they promised we'd all leave our dear whatevers.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I prefer KM Fleurs d'Osmanthus over Datura Noir. While pretty, DN is one-note to me. Fleurs is more richly multi-faceted. Looking forward to your review tomorrow!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Count me as another person who finds the coconut really dominant, so on me it does smell like some weird, high-end tanning oil. I'll take Un Lys — there's a sexy stranger scent! ISM is so gorgeous it gives me goosebumps. Literally.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed this during the summer and wore it quite frequently (and happily) then. But I haven't been moved to wear it since the weather got cold. Perhaps your interesting review will motivate me to try it again, and see how a feel about it now.

  21. Anonymous says:

    so interesting that you have assignations on the mind. me, too. calling Dr. Freud, calling Dr. Freud. xoxo also: Datura Noir speaks of deep sultry tropical heat. what a dream right now.

  22. Anonymous says:

    V, funny you should say that — I first wore it in summer and thought of it as rather green & sheer. It does not strike me that way now at all.

  23. Anonymous says:

    LOL — isn't that the truth!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Iris, interesting, I think of the KM as less multi-faceted. But I like it better too!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Un Lys is gorgeous, M, and yes, could easily qualify for a romantic rendezvous. ISM — not sexy, at least to me, but agree with the goosebumps.

  26. Anonymous says:

    J, I think I often have my scent seasons backwards…anything sweet bothers me in very hot weather, but in winter, I like to wear something that reminds me of summer. Hate, hate, hate cold weather with a passion!

  27. Anonymous says:

    M, and its only the 6th of December. Argh, it is going to be a long, long winter. Somehow I doubt Dr Freud is going to be of much assistance ;-)

  28. Anonymous says:


    I just had to pipe in. This is one of my 2 favorites from SL. It likes my chemistry, becomes very multi-dimensional and complex and ever-changing. no almond, no coconut, nothing outstanding or overpowering just a lush floral that has people leaning in toward me to get another whiff. Unlike many of my beloved tuberose or jasmine scents (not everyone adores florals as I do), no one has ever made anything but fawning comments. I am very picky about my daytime scents since I am in sales, and prefer people to listen to what i have to say rather than being distracted by my looks or scent.

    While I like KM Osmanthus, it takes on a bit of an aquatic , translucent note on me. Not a bad thing, just prefer DN.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I purchased DN from Aedes and opened it on the street. I became so bewitched by the fragrance that I thought I might fall through the pavement. This and Fracas are two of the loveliest fragrances to me. Beware though – they both require a light hand. My other favourites are SL Un Lys, L'Artisan Tubereuse, La Chasse and La Haie, and Creed Fantasia de Fleurs which I consider so overwhelming that I only wear it if I am sleeping alone.

  30. Anonymous says:

    C, now if I got no coconut or almond from DN, it would be my favorite too — but sometimes it seems all I smell is the almond! Agree that the KM is more translucent, but I also find that it is longer lasting on me. I like both but prefer the KM.

  31. Anonymous says:

    We have many of the same favorites — I like all that you mentioned except the La Haie, which turns oddly sour on me after 30 minutes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I bought a decant after reading this review. Unfortunately, I can smell almost none of the florals – just chocolate, almond, and coconut. I'm not into foodie smells, so this is a bit disappointing.

  33. Anonymous says:

    So sorry it does not agree with you! I barely notice the chocolate & coconut, but the almond does sometimes overwhelm me as well. Sounds like the Keiko Mecheri Osmanthus might be more to your taste (?)

  34. Anonymous says:

    I'm so curious to smell this. Currently I'm searching for a new scent to be loyal to, but nothing seems to stir me enough. I'm looking for something very summer night-ish, in mood. I know it's hard to suggest a new fragrance to someone who's never tried it on their own skin, but is “Datura Noir” a good suggestion?

    Would anyone compare this scent to “Sicily” by D&B, or “Hanae Mori Butterfly”? How about the new Missoni fragrance released this year(2006)? I'd be interested in hearing about comparisons.

    Regarding “The house of Creed's” fragrances on me: Awful. I attempted to invest in two fragrances, only to find myself the recipient of a violent skin irritation. The crowning glory? How like goat cheese “Love in White” smelled on me. I don't deny the quality of their products or the mystery of body chemistry, However; I would be very interested in hearing if “Datura Noir” resembles any Creed fragrance!

    (Other fragrances I've worn consistantly at times–perhaps there is a resemblance between “Datura noir” and any of these?: Champs-Elysees/ Guerlain, Chance/Chanel, Woman/D&B, Laila/Geir Ness, Sicily/D&G, Beauty/ Elizabeth Arden, Begin/Niki Taylor. Most recently I've been wearing “Pure Turquoise” by Ralph Lauren. Very lovely, but not inspiring enough for me. Wearing it is as exciting as smelling dryer sheets!)

  35. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is very summer night-ish. It is not at all soapy, like Sicily, and not as sweet as the Hanae Mori. It smells nothing like the Missoni, nor is it anything at all like any of the Creeds…the closest thing to it is the Keiko Mecheri Osmanthus, if you've tried that.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the suggestion! I'm lengthening my list of must-test fragrances…

    I recently tried a sample of Missoni's new fragrance and it captivated me. It isn't something I would normally lean toward, but it melded so well with my skin. It reminds me of days visiting my Nana…citrus, roses…the chocolate note: Reminiscent of peeled hazelnuts and pistacios she would place in the sun, on the windowsill of her summer porch. :)

    “Missoni” is everything I'd hoped “Sicily” would be. I agree that “Sicily” is soapy in tone. It almost worked on my skin, but something in it always dissapointed me.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Glad you liked the Missoni, and will be curious to hear what you think of the Datura Noir.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I found this fragrance in the perfumerie at my little town in Northern France….run by a young lady who is my perfect idea of a little white witch, and she recommedned Datura Noir for me knowing I like mysterious smells. Unfortunatale this fragrance is a bit to mysterious even for me as it vanisges after ten minutes….I have decided I prefer Henri Bendel's own fragrance Tuberose and Jasmin….this is absolutely delicious and comes in an adorable spotty brown and white box with a little bow round the neck of the bottle…..I buy it when I visit New York – iIcame across it in the Bendel's store on 5th Ave quite by accident …there is also a wonderful tuberose body wash to go with it to which I am not addicted. Frankly though there's nothing to beat Mitsouko, for me the most heavenly, feminine, haunting, recognisable but classy fragrance ever.

  39. Anonymous says:

    sorry to re-send – that should have read….I am NOW addicted to the tuberose body wash……my crummy typing….

  40. Anonymous says:

    What a shame! DT is not anywhere near so short-lived on me. I've only tried a few of the Henri Bendel scents & will have to look for the Tuberose & Jasmin next I'm in NYC.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I think it reminds me a lot of Champs-Elysees by Guerlain, which I happen to like very much. They both have lush florals and the same creamy base. Someone once said that CE is best left for balmy summer evenings in the outdoors and I agree that it can get too overwhelming in enclosed spaces as I once tried to wear it to the office. Datura Noir stays closer to the skin and is more discreet so I have yet to offend anyone in the office!

  42. Ysbrand says:

    Got a bottle of Datura Noir and other of Bas de Soie for my birthday… i mostly agree with the review, very accurate. I get the hypnotic & black magic connotations of the fragance, but its not a dark scent at all, I think of it like some type of love philtre that is supposed to make you desireable and mesmerizing… I liked the note of bitter almond, though, that some people seem to dislike: to me makes me think of poison or toxic, and thats coherent. The datura flower, which is very perfumed but kind of subtle, is underneath the composition all the time… a new favourite of mine!

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