Drakkar Noir

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Drakkar Noir
Fragrance by Guy Laroche
LabelGuy Laroche
TaglineFeel the power

Drakkar Noir is a men's fragrance by Guy Laroche created by perfumer Pierre Wargnye. The fragrance was introduced in 1982 and is manufactured under license by the L'Oréal Group.[1] It is a successor scent to the brand's 1972 fragrance Drakkar, launched to appeal to an Anglo-Saxon market.[2][3] It won the 1985 FiFi Award for "Most Successful Men's Fragrance (Limited)"[4] and, in 2010, the Canadian Fragrance Awards' "Hall of Fame Award - men's".[5] In 1991, it was the bestselling men's "prestige" ($20+) scent worldwide.[6] The name is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable "Dra-CAR".[6] According to The New York Times, the name derives from "a flat-bottomed Viking ship".[6]

Product overview[edit]

I do believe the secret behind this fragrance is the emotion of its construction as well as the power feeling that it evokes. It’s still very modern nowadays due to its timeless contrasting and its sensual masculine power.

— Pierre Wargnye, perfumer; creator of Drakkar Noir[7]

Drakkar Noir comes in a sleek black metallic bottle.[8] The fragrance is an aromatic fougère, with top notes of bergamot, rosemary, lavender, middle notes of cardamom and geranium, and a dry down of vetiver, cedar, and fir balsam.[9] The top note includes prominent dihydromyrcenol, a synthetic odorant with a metallic citric-floral character, typical of the fougère family fragrances. Compared to the original Drakkar fragrance, Drakkar Noir is darker, with notes of leather and patchouli that the original lacks.[10] Drakkar Noir helped cement a trend of fresh fougère scents in the 1980s.[11]


Marketing for Drakkar Noir has focused on themes of masculinity, sensuality, decadence, darkness, and lust.[12][13][14] The name Drakkar is derived from the word drekar, a type of Viking longship, invoking the "virile charm" associated to the Viking warriors.[15] The fragrance's name also has a similar sound to Dracula, a fictional vampire known for his seductive cruelty; through the name, themes associated with Dracula become unconsciously associated with the fragrance in the mind of consumers.[12][14]

Print advertisements for Drakkar Noir have visually emphasized these themes. One ad displayed the fragrance bottle in the center of the page on a dark background, with a beam of light crossing the page and not touching the bottle; this lack of illumination serves to emphasize the bottle.[14] The dark visuals of the ad subconsciously evoke mystery, sensuality, and forbidden pleasures.[16] Another ad portrayed a man's unclothed arm from just below the wrist, gripping a bottle of Drakkar Noir. A woman's hand with long, red-painted nails assertively grips his bare arm at the wrist. The ad portrays masculine strength and the female desire for security in that strength.[17] The ad was re-shot for the United Arab Emirates in order to accommodate cultural differences: in the UAE version, the man is wearing a suit, and the woman's fingers are lightly grazing his hand in a more subordinate fashion.[17][18] The overall effect was to reduce the amount of bare skin displayed and to make the contact less obviously intimate, in accordance with Arabic cultural norms, without reducing the attractiveness of the image.[17]

From 1986 to 1991, a TV commercial for the fragrance featured a mysterious young man engaging in masculine activities such as archery, nightclubbing, and flirting with a beautiful woman.[6] From 1991 to 1993, another TV commercial featured a boxer and his girlfriend, played by supermodel Stephanie Seymour. The print advertising campaign was photographed by Herb Ritts.[19] In 1994, a new commercial, shot by director Jean-Baptiste Mondino, was introduced. It depicted a rock star amongst his wildly excited fans.[20] In 2013, a new commercial was released featuring the Brazilian football player Neymar Jr., photographed again by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, promoting social inclusion through sport.[21]

In 1993, Guy Laroche offered a promotional CD, Best of Rock, with every purchase of Drakkar Noir. The CD featured tracks by Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and others.[22] In 2002, L'Oreal signed a US$10 million sponsorship agreement for NASCAR race driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to endorse Drakkar Noir.[23]


  1. ^ "Company Overview: L'Oréal USA at a glance". L'Oréal USA. Archived from the original on 2012-06-06.
  2. ^ Herman, Barbara (2013-11-05). Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 185. ISBN 9781493002023.
  3. ^ S.A, Business International (1983). Competitive strategies for Europe. Business International.
  4. ^ FiFi Awards / Winners: 1985 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Fragrance Foundation
  5. ^ "Canadian fragrance awards echo UK's Fifi choices", The Independent (London), 4 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Elliott, Stuart (4 December 1991). "The Media Business: Advertising: A Men's Fragrance Responds to the Winds of Change". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Pierre Wargnye at fragrantica.com
  8. ^ Romanelli, David (2009-03-10). Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy Through Wine, Chocolate and Your iPod Playlist. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. p. 14. ISBN 9780767931625.
  9. ^ Drakkar Noir at fragrantica.com
  10. ^ Herman, Barbara (2013-11-05). Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 185. ISBN 9781493002023.
  11. ^ Butler, H. (2013-06-29). Poucher’s Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 348. ISBN 9789401727341.
  12. ^ a b Beasley, Ron; Danesi, Marcel (2002). Persuasive Signs: The Semiotics of Advertising. Walter de Gruyter. p. 129. ISBN 9783110173406.
  13. ^ Ostrom, Lizzie (2015-10-22). Perfume: A Century of Scents. Random House. ISBN 9781473506084.
  14. ^ a b c Danesi, Marcel (2016-04-30). Of Cigarettes, High Heels, and Other Interesting Things: An Introduction to Semiotics. Springer. p. 196. ISBN 9780230612785.
  15. ^ Wawn, Andrew (1994). Northern Antiquity: The Post-medieval Reception of Edda and Saga. Hisarlik Press. p. 78. ISBN 9781874312185.
  16. ^ Dansei 2016, p. 197.
  17. ^ a b c Singh, S. (2008-03-03). Business Practices in Emerging and Re-Emerging Markets. Springer. p. 141. ISBN 9780230611016.
  18. ^ Termath, Marc (2011-10-12). Marketing-relevant cultural impacts on the consumer behaviour within the communication policy determined using the United Arab Emirates. diplom.de. p. 35. ISBN 9783842821354.
  19. ^ Early '90s ad at The Free Library
  20. ^ Rock Star advertisement
  21. ^ Neymar: nouvel ambassadeur des parfums Drakkar Noir at ETV-sport.com
  22. ^ Drakkar Noir - Best Of Rock Vol. 1 (CD) at Discogs
  23. ^ Cardona, Mercedes M. (24 February 2002). "L'Oreal launces ad effort for Drakkar Noir fragrance". AdAge. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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