Ennui_Noir by UNUM

Hurrah! UNUM reinvigorate that old favourite note, lavender, and make it thoroughly relevant to today’s market.

Listed notes

Cedar, lavender, patchouli, vetiver, heliotrope, myrtle, vanilla.

The brand

UNUM are an Italian, tremendously cool and ultra polished brand. You get a feel for this immediately when visiting their super-slick website (which is totally gorgeous by the way). They are the sort of brand that produce scents for modern gentlemen and women who really appreciate a bit of refinement and quiet, understated luxury that doesn’t scream ‘expensive’ in a crass way, but which just quietly goes about oozing quality and not particularly caring if you are sophisticated enough to notice.

We have recently reviewed Nebbia Spessa which is very different to Ennui_Noir. Think cool, salty marine scent rather than this warm, brown, earthy one.

Top notes

Ennui_Noir opens with warmth coupled with a sweet undertone. The cedar has a very delicate woodiness and the scent is ever so slightly fizzy in a manner reminiscent of those sherbet daps you used to get as a child. The conjunction of warm, sweet, and childhood candies did immediately remind us of playing outside on a warm summer day, fingers sticky from eating something full of E numbers.

This is further enhanced when the lavender makes itself apparent. Immediately banish all thoughts of old-lady lavender from your mind. This is in no way the same beast. The lavender here is woody, sophisticated, quiet and calming. It belies a real sense of strength and gives the scent a structure on which the lighter notes are hung.

Those of us who are new to niche and artisan scents may think of lavender as being a very feminine note, however, when it’s used skilfully as it is here, it actually becomes a really masculine floral. It has a clean brightness to it which borders on the herbal at times. If you like your scents on the more masculine side of the spectrum then definitely don’t rule this one out for the inclusion of such a traditional note.

Heart notes

Google Translate helpfully deciphered the UNUM description of Ennui_Noir for us. They state:

“Ennui_noir… is by definition, a “horizontal” fragrance, whose evolution remains suspended almost to corroborate the introspective journey that each of us should do to evolve, to be free and coherent.”

We understood that to mean that Ennui_Noir was constructed in such a way that it is linear and doesn’t change very much from the top to the base. We did find that to be true in the heart of the scent which continues this theme of being dry, warm, summery (but not lighthearted) and woody. It sits on the more masculine side of the spectrum throughout and has a sophisticated, chic aura. Perhaps this is because people who are diligently undertaking introspection have no place for frippery.

Base notes

We felt that there was more movement in the base of the scent, however, where the vetiver emerges most strongly. It adds a real earthiness and a spiciness to the fragrance along with hints of greenery, baked dry by the sun.

The base of the scent is bracing, not exactly invigorating, but this brooding sense of strength is conferred again here through the earthy vetiver. Very faintly, the sherbety note now becomes the barest hint of those love heart sweets, just adding a little hint of something more childlike and playful. A hint of irreverence in the introspection, a splash of violet against the darkness.

It’s always really hard to match scents to personality traits but we could really see this appealing to someone who likes things that have a quiet calm and confidence, that are strong without being showy, that like things warmer rather than cool, that prefer brown to blue.

The other stuff

Ennui_Noir isn’t a particularly ‘shouty’ fragrance. Yes, you can definitely tell you are wearing it and you will catch hints of it throughout the day, but it seems to stay fairly close to the body so that others will need to get quite near to you to be able to tell that you have it on. That’s the quiet strength and confidence coming out again; it doesn’t need to be shouty to get attention.

The longevity of the scent was good. It doesn’t quite have the nuclear staying power of Nebbia Spessa that only bleach and prayers can shift, but it does last for the majority of the day without quitting.

Ennui_Noir sits firmly in the more masculine side of the fragrance spectrum too. As always though, don’t let that put you off if you are of the female persuasion and want to wear it.

It’s also worth mentioning that yet again UNUM have knocked it out of the park with the presentation of Ennui_Noir. The bottle is gorgeous and looks like it has been carved out of a chunk of granite. It has a Stonehenge-in-the-rain look about it which is really rather beautiful.

Buy it

Ennui_Noir is available from Bloom Perfumery, London, who kindly supplied us with a tester of the scent. It is priced at £186 for 100ml of extrait.

Try it for summer and let us know what you think!

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