Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
In contrast to the opulent oriental themes that dominate the Serge Lutens collection, the newest release from the house, Gris Clair… possesses a cool and restrained aura, painting a vision of a mountain pass veiled in damp mists. Clean and subtle is not the new direction for Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake, whose Clair de Musc and Fleurs de Citronnier explore the sensuality of musk and its affinity with transparent florals. However, Gris Clair… is different still, because its simplicity and abstraction are explored to the greater extent than in any other composition by Serge Lutens.
The lavender and ash pairing, around which the composition is constructed, immediately might provoke comparisons with Encens et Lavande, a fragrance of herbaceous brightness laced with floral sweetness of lavender and resinous incense. However, the comparison would be misleading, because Gris Clair… does not approach the smokiness of Encens et Lavande nor its complexity. …
Its transparent composition has a refreshingly crisp tone that persists through out the arrangement like an icy sting of a mountain breeze. Where Encens et Lavande warms up, shedding one layer of its composition after another and attaining a sensual richness, Gris Clair… remains a hazy mist.
The lavender pervades the entire composition, evoking the scent of tiny purple flowers crushed between the fingers, their minty sweetness and herbal woodiness cooling the skin. Smoky whispers saturate the icy lavender, while a dry note of burned wood, like an aroma of dying bonfire, adds richness to the gentle simplicity of the composition. The dryness of the base is softened by the musky sweetness that adds a subtle sensual touch.
The first impression of wearing Gris Clair… is that it is more obviously masculine than Encens et Lavande. However, it is rather understated, a vision of sun bleached flowers on the cold mountain cliffs, fitting perfectly with the name. The fragrance is quite tenacious, and despite the fact that it is less assertive than some other Serge Lutens’s creations, it leaves a nice trail. Being lukewarm about lavender as a dominant note, I cannot say that Gris Clair… is my favorite from the collection, even though I occasionally enjoy Encens et Lavande. Like other Serge Lutens fragrances, it is quite interesting, and no doubt, those who love the compositions exploring the herbaceous crispness in an oriental vein would find Gris Clair… enchanting.
Notes include lavender, ash, amber, tonka bean, iris, musk. Gris Clair… is part of Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido export line.
Photo: Mountain Mist by jjanthony.com.
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