After a long buildup, the two new Zaharoff Signature flankers have arrived.
I’ve made no secret of my thoughts about the original Zaharoff Signature pour Homme.
It was one of the best scents I’d ever nosed when I first tried it, and it still is.
Naturally, I was beyond keen – perhaps a little impatient – to get my nose on these new flankers, after the smash hit of the first one.
And now I’ve finally had a chance to nose both, now that they’ve landed in Australia, thanks to Lee from Zaharoff Down Under.
Both new flankers retain the same beautiful signature bottle that characterises the line.
The scents contained within also retain plenty of the original scent’s DNA.
Royale and Noir are both composed by Claude Dir, who created the formula for the original.
Where the new scents sit is essentially a summer fougere in the form of Royale, and a smokier, more powdery version in the form of Noir.
Royale is my favourite of the two new releases.
On a test strip, it smells almost overwhelmingly herbaceous.
This could be a put-off to some, but I actually quite liked the character.
Very bright and fresh.
On skin, the herbs and greenery are toned down and the blend becomes smoother.
It’s still considerably bright and aromatic.
Fans of fougeres in Australia will find Royale to be a welcome addition to the stable, as where many fougeres are decidedly wintery (Penhaligon’s Sartorial, Floris No. 89), Royale really shines in the hot weather.
The projection is monstrous for the first couple of hours.
I mean to the point that I first applied it while at a sniffy (a fragrance friends’ meet, for those unaware), and it was projecting so loudly that it interfered with my nose smelling test strips of other fragrances.
Not overpowering, though.
Longevity on me is up to six hours.
Noir took longer to grow upon me.
At first nose, it was difficult to distinguish it from the original Signature pour Homme.
There were subtle character differences, but it did feel like it was just the same scent.
To cap it off, Noir didn’t have the performance of the original, disappearing within a mere couple of hours when initially worn.
However, as I wore it more, I began to distinguish some differences between Noir and the original.
For starters, Noir dials up the smokiness considerably.
It’s more top-heavy than Signature.
The opening is brighter, with more spice and less woods.
The lavender, which gave Signature a fougere-ish initial character, isn’t present in Noir.
While the heart unmistakably carries the Signature DNA, subtle differences appear.
Cypress and anise are apparent, as is the nonappearance of iris in the Noir blend.
The base of Noir is considerably similar to that of Signature.
However, by that time the scent has had enough time to show its own character as a flanker.
I did begin to get moderately better performance from Noir with subsequent wearings, however the longevity never extended beyond a maximum of five hours.
Projection is considerably moderate also.
A surprise cold weather wearing (an uncommon chance at this time of year in Australia) did show Noir to be very responsive to cold weather, with the projection becoming stronger and really cutting through the damp and cold weather.
It didn’t, however, increase the longevity.
Lesser longevity isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case.
I don’t know if I’d want to wear Noir often during the day.
The opportunity to wear something else during the day and reserve Noir for the evening is fine by me.
Given that these two flankers incite different characters, it’s suitable that both would be best suited to different kinds of outfits.
Neither strike me as formality friendly, but Royale is definitely for bright and summery where Noir is appropriate for cooler weather, layers and darker colours.
Relaxed tailoring and casual pieces like linens, cottons and camp collar shirts are prime targets for pairing with Royale.
I would never pair Royale with a raincoat, but Noir would make a comfortable companion to my Barbour jacket or peacoat.
Neither of these flankers is going to best the original, but I don’t think that was the plan.
Instead these are more of a pure product line extension, offering slightly different ones with slightly different targets.
Both are solid scents in their own right, and both are eminently wearable.
However, I must ask the question:
Do either of these new releases hit a target that the original fragrance couldn’t?
Myself, I’m not sure of the answer.
For you, it’s best to try them and decide for yourself.
If you’d like to get your hands of any of the Zaharoff line in Australia, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.