Nuit Noire is a shocking perfume.
If you are uninitiated in the work of Orio, please remember this before you try it; then the top notes – the most feral, urinous, and sexualized flower absolutes I have smelled – might not make you topple over in panic, losing your precious balance. Which is a very real possiblity, as Nuit Noire – a powerful, orientalist evocation of a hot night in Tunis – is most definitely not for the delicate of constitution. What ends as a sophisticated and intriguing leather floral begins, triumphantly, with a concentrated tuberose, cardamon and very indolic orange flower (a polite way of saying faecal), that for the first few seconds is almost unbearably graphic. One’s olfactory mechanisms blush accordingly; you may well flinch.
Essentially, with this unusual perfume we have the usual seduction in reverse. With a blinding orgy of sex organs and flower stamens we climax immediately.
Post orgasm, the sweat cools, the world fades back in, and we find ourselves serene and languorous, smoking post-coital cigarettes. Outside, the sounds and smells of Tunisia drift in.