Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum — Tragic Name, Triumphant Scent
Dahlia Noir. Black Dahlia. A phrase so permeated with both historical connotations and pop culture signifiers that it’s almost impossible to isolate, to interpret in a purely literal manner. And yet, in order to fairly judge Givenchy’s latest fragrance offering, one must overcome the negative imagery anchoring the phrase “Black Dahlia,” to erase all mental associations made by the scent’s unfortunate name: Dahlia Noir.
Those well-acquainted with the gruesome, macabre, bone-chilling news coverage of the murder of Elizabeth Short, dubbed the “Black Dahlia” by Los Angeles-based reporters who sensationalized her tragic 1947 murder, will find it difficult to move past the fragrance’s unorthodox name, to banish all notions of Short’s dismembered body (and the seemingly endless references to it in books, neo-noir films and gothic television fare like FX’s American Horror Story) from the mental archives. In fact, this misguided name choice may overshadow any curiosity about the elixir inside the sleek glass bottle. But, should this be your initial reaction, I implore you to dig deeper, to shift your frame of mind, to think of the black dahlia in its original context — as an imaginary blossom rife with mystery and intrigue.
Once you overcome any moniker-related misgivings, you’ll discover that the Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum ($110 at BergdorfGoodman.com and GivenchyBeauty.com) is as elusive as the mythical blossom, a powdery floral perfume that feels elegant but has a femme fatale edge. Unlike other floral scents that feel overly delicate or, conversely, overwhelm the senses like a rainstorm of cheap potpourri, Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir EDP can be described as a closed bud that opens its petals gradually, unraveling new aromatic facets at each stage.
The Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum , Riccardo Tisci’s first fragrance for the couture house, opens with top notes of mandarin, pink pepper, and mimosa for a slightly spicy, citrus-tinged kick. In mere moments, the dusty notes of rose, iris, and patchouli at the heart of the fragrance evoke the perfume’s emblematic femininity and demure subtlety. Base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, and tonka bean, meanwhile provide a creamy, sensual undercurrent and a touch of woody earthiness.
The bottle, meanwhile, echoes the timeless modernity of the scent, its self-assured power, with its near-rectangular shape, clean lines, and Art Deco-esque black cap with mirrored silver edges. It’s riveting without being risqué, evocative without being overly erotic — the perfect balance for a perfume of such caliber.