Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Lipstick and candied lady apples were the first associations that Rousse, the newest Serge Lutens’s fragrance, brought to my mind. One was conjured by the powdery violet note, the other by the intensely sweet and caramelized wood. Although I loved Chypre Rouge and Mandarine-Mandarin, Rousse was somewhat of a let down. It possesses neither the distinctive presence of Lutens’s fragrances like Iris Silver Mist and Ambre Sultan nor the classical elegance that marks Rose de Nuit and Chêne. It is simply a pleasant scent, but then again, the world is full of them. From Serge Lutens, I expected nothing but breathtaking, even if not conventionally pretty. …
Based on the scent of cinnamon wood, Rousse does in fact conjure woods, rather than a cinnamon sprinkled apple pie. Its woody accord based on cedar takes a page from a number of Lutens’s classics, namely Féminité du Bois, the mother of Les Eaux Boisées (Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, Bois Oriental , and Bois et Fruits.) The dense sweetness melts away in the heart of the composition, although the dry and somewhat cloying effect reminiscent of powdered sugar remains vivid.
The delicate powdery notes tinged with cinnamon, violet and vetiver form the drydown of Rousse. There is a subtle warmth permeating the composition, which is very pleasing. The fragrance is surprisingly soft-spoken, given its intense start. While the lasting power is decent, the sillage is quite minimal. Rousse is not difficult to wear, unlike some other Serge Lutens’s perfumes, and yet it is not particularly memorable. “Nice and pretty” are the only adjectives that I keep wanting to say, and this in itself attests to my disappointment.
Serge Lutens Rousse is going to be available at Shiseido Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris. Since it is a part of the Lutens export range, it is expected to appear in US stores carrying the line.