My bottle of Nuit de Chine. It’s interesting that Poiret supposedly made a mistaken in not using his name to market it (as Chanel, for example, attached her name to No. 5 and Patou did with Joy), instead producing it under the Atelier Rosine, named for his daughter. However, I found this label with Poiret’s name on the base.
The site “Perfume Projects” has this write up on Nuit de Chine, released 1913:
Nuit de Chine was created for Paul Poiret’s Parfums de Rosine by perfumer Maurice Shaller. Shaller had started with Poiret as a glassmaker but was discovered, by accident it is said, to have a genius for creating perfume. (He was the creator of Revillon’s Carnet de Bal.)
Nuit de Chine was originally tagged Nuit d’Orient (recall that Poiret was big into oriental themes!) but it soon took on it’s name change. The sandalwood note suggests incense from ancient China; the (original) bottle was said to suggest an opium bottle — something that fashionable people of Poiret’s era would have been more than just familiar with and a theme later used by Jean Patou for one presentation of Joy.
When introduced, Nuit de Chine was considered quite expensive (which is something considering the wealth of Poiret’s clientelle!). But in 1913, Poiret was at the top of his game. Of his clients, he demanded a taste for elegance. Economy was a non-issue.
Octavian and others have suggested that Nuit de Chine was the inspiration for Ernest Beaux’s Soir de Paris.