Monday, May 05, 2008

Cacharel Noa

The bottle with the plastic ball in it looks like a breast--maybe that's what was intended for this milky-musk fragrance. Noa is the kind of fragrance that one can never argue would wear you. It's a quiet scent that probably appeals more to quiet women. It's neither particularly confident nor is it very memorable, kind of a wallflower scent. However, I can see how this would be popular among many women, especially among skin scent musk lovers. I happen to think it's a very nice scent, just gourmand enough for me, although it's predominantly a powdery-creamy musk floral with a clean, aqueous floralcy. Noa reminds me of Laura by Laura Biagiotti, Etro Vicolo Fiori, Lise Watier Neiges, Perry Ellis 360, Ralph Lauren Romance, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Kenzo Flower, Amazing Grace, Victoria's Secret Heavenly, Armani Sensi, Armani Diamonds, Creative Scentualization Perfect Veil, Burberry The Beat and Burberry Brit, but it's unique because of a transparent vegetal characteristic underneath the floral accord, giving it a dewy effect (but not too planty and sticky) against the more mature powdered makeup smell. It's a charming musky floral similar also to Elizabeth Arden Splendor, a powdery, aqueous floral, except Noa is a bit spicier (peppery), with yummy, gourmand (coffee) base notes. Noa is in essence very soft, flowery and a little spicy, a little sweet, with a slightly bold base, all petite charm and not intimidating at all. Its innocence brings to mind linens drying on clothing lines softly waving in the breeze, or doing laundry while sipping latte--with a full face on but au naturel, of course--all very pleasant, and crowd-pleasing.

I've never loved it passionately because I'm not a huge fan of musks or clean, detergent-like florals (synthetic rose tends to bug me), but I turn to it for my occasional musk moods. I'm also not a quiet enough personality to not feel bored over the long run by how mellow this scent really is. However, I love one aspect of the dry down: it's a really yummy scent, with a tempered sweetness. The dry down on me smells a lot like Burberry The Beat if you can imagine that: a semi-tropical sweet, spicy, musky-creamy scent with some modern floralcy. The sillage is mellow but also kind of fresh (peony--aqueous floral) and lovely, especially smelled from a distance (try to smell the air around you--it's effusive and light all around, better than when it's smelled up close). I wish I liked musk more; when it takes center stage like this, it just doesn't smell very natural to me, and I can't help but wonder if I smell like Charlie White or another drugstore musk. However, it's actually much better than a simple musk floral, and needs to be experienced to discover its subtle prettiness. I may fall in love with it after all. It's an exceptionally well-blended composition, a masterpiece of a mainstream fragrance and another triumphant creation by Olivier Cresp (Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Thierry Mugler Angel (with Yves de Chiris), Nina by Nina Ricci (with Jacques Cavallier), Kenzo Amour (with Daphne Bugey)).

Although it is a soft composition, there's a sharpness about it and it gives me a wee bit of a headache, but so did Paco Rabanne Calandre at's probably the musk with those sharp, green lily notes on top.

Notes on

Cacharel Noa (1998, Floral Woody Musk)
Top notes: White musks, white peony, peach, plum, freesia, green notes
Heart notes: Lily, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose
Base notes: Coffee, coriander, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, incense