Nuit de Noel – Silent Night

It was a thousand Perfume Years ago in September 2012 that Portia posted her review on Caron’s Nuit de Noel. While I thought the post to be oddly out of season I also imagined that this was what every Perfumista in the world wore on the eve of Christmas like a world-wide communion of scent. So I bought it and was thankful to have been alerted well ahead of time.

I did not trial the ‘fume when it arrived. I waited until Christmas Eve and then had a celebratory spritz or four. As much as I am all for gender fluidity with perfume fluids I found this to be too womanly for a man as butch as myself. Of course it would not scrub off. I have since learnt via Bois de Jasmin that as most perfumes contain alcohol then alcohol is what you need to scrub it off. Victoria Frolova also lists less harsh-on-the-skin methods. Jane Daly has another method suitable for womankind.

Now, Ernest Daltroff’s Nuit de Noel for Caron is truly beautiful (I like it more than Chanel No. 5 on a woman) and my Mum is thrilled to have a bottle which will last a lifetime of Christmas Eves. It is also the choice of Roja Dove and Karl Lagerfield for the night before Christmas. It does not smell of any scents traditionally associated with Christmas; it is its own special creation.


Victoria Frolova gives Nuit de Noel 5 stars and says…

Nuit de Noël was created in 1922 by Ernest Daltroff for his lover, Félicie Vanpouille, who loved Christmas Eve… it is a quiet, whispering fragrance, conjuring perfectly the silence and the serenity of the night before Christmas.

Victoria Frolova
Bois de Jasmin

Indeed it did does speak of serenity and a silent night. I would review this as a perfume with radiant beams where…

all is calm
all is bright

Original score of Stille Nacht photographer by Mezzofortist.

Circa 1820 score of Stille Nacht, composed by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818 with lyric previously written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr.
Photographed by Mezzofortist.

Olfactoria says…

For me, Nuit de Noel smells like a sophisticated woman in a fur coat (don’t shoot me, I am not wearing it, only writing about it), wearing Chanel N° 5, beautifully made up with dark lipstick and face powder, going to Midnight Mass, where the incense is heavy in the cold air. All these aspects unite to make up Nuit de Noel.

Olfactoria’s Travels

Barbara Herman author of Scent & Subversion has this to say…

Nuit de Noel is dismissed and beloved, it seems, in equal measure.

Barbara Herman
Yesterday’s Perfume

Kafka’s experience was on the dismissive side…

…the vintage may be very different, but the bottom line is that my version is nothing particularly special. It’s perfectly nice, nondescript and pleasant, but I don’t want “pleasant.” There are too many perfumes in the world for unenthused “pleasant.”


The Scented Hound found the Parfum Extrait in time for Christmas 2013.

Nuit de Noel opens with a surge of dry oak moss with hints of florals rising out of the from the mossy base.

Private Collection: The Scented Hound December 2013

Private Collection: The Scented Hound
December 2013

… like putting on a fur-lined glove on a cold winters day.

I wish I could say that I could distinguish the florals in the fragrance, but they are blended so wonderfully that nothing sticks out. After some time, the oak moss dissipates and you’re left with this wonderfully creamy floral haze of a fragrance…

The Scented Hound

There are more comments below. It seems the vintage perfume is the way to go and definitely a sample size before a full bottle.

Ernest Daltroff was a self taught perfumer. He used a ready made perfumer’s base made by Marie Thérèse de Laire. This base is called the “Mousse de Saxe accord” and is comprised of geranium, anise, leather notes, iodine and vanillin. To this he added rose absolute, sandalwood, vetiver and oak moss of course, topped with jasmine and ylang-ylang head notes. The result was a soft oriental.

Required Reading for Perfumistas:
The “Mousse de Saxe” Base: Creation History, Notes, Influence on Perfumery by Elena Vosnaki at Perfume Shrine.


Nuit de Noel
House: Caron
Perfumer: Ernest Daltroff
Release date: 1922
Reformulation date: 2011
Classification: Soft Oriental

Head jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang,
Heart oak moss, sandalwood, vetiver
Base amber, Mousse de Saxe Accord, musk

1922 vs 2011 reformulation
Perfume Shrine
Bois de Jasmin

Vintage collectors will need to know how to date Nuit de Noel bottles. The information is at Perfume Shrine along with images of 7 different flacons.

Vintage Nuit de Noel with shargreen case. Image via Perfume Shrine

Vintage Nuit de Noel with shargreen case.
Image via Perfume Shrine

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Over the next few nights I will be posting gift ideas for the holiday season to suit a range of budgets.

Do you share your passion for scent at this time of the year with your loved ones?

What do you intend to wear on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or for your own holiday celebrations? I would love to know and I am sure that the readers would like to know your choices too.

Twitterers and Tweeters can use the # tag #SOTNChristmas2013 , (being Scent of the Night Christmas 2013).

Nuit de Noel – Portia Turbo’s 2012 review
Bois de Jasmin – review & reformulation
Perfume Shrine – review & reformulation
Perfume Shrine – How to Date Caron Nuit de Noel bottles
Perfume Shrine – The “Mousse de Saxe” Base: Creation History, Notes, Influence on Perfumery
Olfactoria’s Travels – review
Yesterday’s Perfume – review
Scent & Subversion by Barbara Herman – book review about Vintage Perfume & the outer edges of 21st Century Perfumery
Kafkaseque – review en bref
The Scented Hound – buying experience and review

Scrubbers – what to do
Bois de Jasmin – How to Remove Unwanted Perfume
Jane Daly at Daly Beauty – How To Get Rid Of That Perfume You Just Tried That Is Giving You A Headache

33 responses to “Nuit de Noel – Silent Night

  1. Heya Jordan!!
    I have recently received a vintage EdC formulation decant of this from a buddy, it is so much less what I imagine you find too feminine in the current formulation. They work particularly well together.
    I wear NdN in the blistering summer heat and love it.
    Portia xx

  2. I bought a bottle of this blindly based on reviews, and I was not… happy. I’m sure the vintage must smell better, but what wafted from my skin was such a huge disappointment that it’s been shoved firmly into the darkest reaches of the armoire where I store a lot of my perfume.

    It was actually my bad experience with this blind buy (after a previous bad blind buy for an Annick Goutal) that helped partially cement my decision to write my own reviews, and to make them as detailed as possible. To do the opposite of the more emotional, generally descriptive reviews that don’t give you any idea of what something smells like from start to finish. Too many of those sorts of descriptions led to my buying Nuit de Noel, including one review linked here, I’m afraid. I covered Nuit de Noel once on my site, briefly, and wrote about how — on my skin — it most definitely did not have the chestnut-y or whatever sort of thing some attributed to it. It’s an okay scent, it’s not bad, and I’m sure it’s glorious in vintage form. But I regret buying it. In fact, I’ve blocked out the memory so much that I couldn’t tell you now how it smelled on me except to say it left me utterly cold.

    As you might tell from the length of this, yes, I’m still bitter on the issue of Nuit de Noel. >:\

    • I too have an armoire of darkest reach. Hmm, the oakmossed up vintage might have been the one for you rather than the reformulation(?) you paid good money for. It certainly opened the door to your comprehensive and comprehensible (not everyone is) reviewing style so we have the unnamed reviewer to thank for your modus operandi.

      • Yes, but you kindly re-gifted yours, instead of banishing it to purgatory. Man, I can’t believe how bitter I *STILL* am about the let down, and the difference between what was promised in so many raves, and the utterly banal, boring scent that I got. I fear I’m going to be bitter over the wideness of the disparity for a few more Christmases to come. The mere thought of all thus gushing reviews for Nuit de Noel (in its current form) makes my lip curl in a snarl. The two reviews that really sealed the deal for me are not ones you have linked here, but man….. I’m so bitter.

        • One word: Vintage.

          I do commiserate with you but also celebrate the circumstance that propelled you to your unique style as mentioned above. I too wanted to love this on myself but could not.

          I do not want to go down the vintage road unless it is Karl Lagerfield: NOT Photo, NOT Classic and not even a perfume, you understand these marketing tricks I know, but a men’s cologne. There is an incredibly brief review of a mere 624 words here.

          • LOL! You make me laugh, and you’re a very good friend to comfort me in my furious disappointment by bringing up happy memories. And, amusingly enough, it’s something that Karl Lagerfeld truly DOES love and did wear nonstop, not just on the Christmas Eve. 😉 Speaking of that claim, that didn’t help, either, and contributed to my foolish decision. After having worn Nuit de Noel for myself, and having read a little about Mr. Lagerfeld’s personal tastes, I’m highly dubious about that claim and suspect it must be a marketing lie.

            • Hey there Kafka,
              I’m so sad the modern Nuit didn’t work for you. Do you want to offload it? My skin amps all the sweet and lovely, even in the modern version. It’s not as voluptuous and celebratory as the old stuff but what is?
              I think you have my email and would be thrilled to buy your outcast. I will even be in France (I think you’re French) in Jan/Feb if you’d like to lunch?
              Much love,
              Portia xx

            • My dear Portia, I would love to meet you, and indeed, offload Nuit de Noel on someone whose skin would make it bloom. Alas, I no longer live in France but in the U.S., so lunch is out. And the cost of shipping the bottle from me to you would be more than whatever little it may be worth. Early this year, the US Post Office increased its international shipping rates by an alarming amount. But forget the bottle, I wish I could meet you and Jin for lunch. I know we’d have a blast.There’s a place in Paris that I used to go which had the most lethal cocktails in baby bottles. It would have been a good way to start an afternoon of perfume shopping…. 😉 😛

            • Damnit!! We are in the USA in November 2014. Maybe we coulod make that happen then. LA, Vegas, New York and …..maybe….. Chicago.
              Are any of those nearby? I know we will have a wonderful time and I’d LOVE to pick your brains a little, it is a treasure trove.

            • HA, I’m scheduled to meet friends in NYC in November 2014. If you’re there at the same time, we’re ON, most definitely! No funky Baby Bottle Nightclub cocktails there, alas, but I’ll find another place that’s rather excessive and quirky. lol BTW, if you’re going to LA, Vegas and NYC on one trip, your perfume credit card is going to get a serious workout! Vegas might be even better than NY on some levels. And that includes the food!

          • I don’t have a holiday fume. I love all my fragrances everyday of the year. whatever I’m in the mood for. I can always go for anything vintage or something that has civet or castoreum in it.

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