Blog post by Gwen

Datura Noir – narcotic and sensuous and fabulous

Datura Metel - Wikimedia Commons - David Dickerson 2005

I remember when one of my dearest childhood friends announced he was getting married. I couldn’t have been happier for him, especially after I met his intended. Elizabeth is a beautiful, intelligent, warm woman. Born into wealth and privilege in Haiti, she moved to Canada to study. That’s how she came to meet her future husband – and me.

We soon discovered we had many shared interests and became fast friends. One evening, we started talking about our favourite TV shows over a glass of wine.

“What’s with the fascination with zombies?” I asked. “The Walking Dead, iZombie and World War Z. Vampires I get, werewolves I get, but zombies are just slow-moving and unsexy. What’s the appeal?”

“Well, part of it might be that, unlike vampires and werewolves, zombies exist,” Elizabeth said offhandedly.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Oh, not the goofy half-eaten things in movies and on TV; I mean the zombies of Haitian folklore, where a bokor uses a powder or potion to make a person appear dead and then rises them from the dead and keeps them drugged on hallucinogenic plants so they’re alive but delirious and completely under the control of the bokor. It is a way to control people through fear,” she said.

“So, what’s in the bokor's potion or powder?” I asked.

“Likely dried puffer fish and datura,” Elizabeth responded, “puffer fish contain a neurotoxin that damages the central nervous system, and datura is a poisonous psychoactive flowering plant that causes delirious states and death. It’s used in potions and witches' brews."

Maybe that’s what makes Datura Noir by Serge Lutens so fabulous and how deliriously happy I am when I wear it.

It opens with a citrus sparkle from lemon blossom and juicy mandarin, followed by apricot-tinged osmanthus and almond-smelling heliotrope. These are swept up in a heady, indolic note of tuberose, making the florals swirl, kaleidoscope style, sometimes stronger and sometimes fainter. A note of vanilla adds a delicious sweetness, while apricot adds a dimension of bitter almond. Somewhere in the mix is a note of creamy, fatty coconut oil. The effect is like turning a light on in a dark room – everything comes to life, and I can smell each note distinctly. Where there’s heliotrope and vanilla, you’ll usually find bitter almond, and it’s here at the base of Datura Noir. That lick of vanilla sweetness? It stays until the end, counterbalanced by Tonka bean’s bittersweet almond facet and a note of bitter, balsamic myrrh. Musk adds warmth and the smell of skin.

Datura Noir dries down to a sensuous summer skin scent with a perfect sweet/bitter balance and a headiness that hints at danger.
I asked Elizabeth if she wanted to try it. “It’s a gorgeous interpretation of datura plants blooming at night. You know, this is the perfect way to enjoy toxic datura,” she said.

“Isn’t it just,” I said, spritzing myself with it.

Check out Datura Noir in our Shop.