Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Serge Lutens is best known for his opulent Arabian Tale fantasies in perfume form. It is perhaps for this reason that his simpler, less exotic blends like Sa Majesté la Rose do not draw as much attention. Sa Majesté la Rose, of course, is not missing a fanciful element, because its lush, complex rose accord evokes the sensation of being showered with fragrant rose petals. This is something I have actually experienced in the unromantic setting of a Grasse rose processing plant, but I will never forget the exhilarating scent and the soft touch of petals warm from the sun. To find even a glimpse of this memory in a perfume bottle is already special. Therefore, I picked Sa Majesté la Rose to wear on January 1st to usher a year of excitement, adventure and perhaps, plenty of roses!
Great rose fragrances are not difficult to find, whether one likes their blooms to be crisp and citrusy like Stella by Stella McCartney, sweet and voluptuous like Lancôme Trésor or dark and smoldering like Guerlain Nahéma. Sa Majesté la Rose initially veers closer to crisp and radiant, with the tart fruity notes setting the mood. It reminds me more of Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais, rather than Lutens’s dusky Rose de Nuit. Lychee, a common accent in modern rose fragrances, is joined by tangy and honeyed chamomile, which gives Sa Majesté la Rose an appealing retro twist (think Elle Elle de Lucien Lelong.)
The honeyed sweetness, amplified by vanilla and oriental balsams, is the main theme of Sa Majesté la Rose. The guaiacwood with its smoky rose scent elegantly continues the rose melody into the late drydown. The sweet, rich facets are contrasted so successfully with the bright, crisp rose and geranium notes that the fragrance maintains its vibrant, uplifting character without becoming overly heavy or languorous. While I usually do not mind either one of these qualities, the beauty of Sa Majesté la Rose is in its clarity. It is a fragrance that easily goes from morning to evening, from office to the party, and in whatever setting I wear it, it feels like a perfect ornament.
Serge Lutens Sa Majesté la Rose Eau de Parfum includes notes of geranium, rose, clove, and vanilla. It is sold in the export range. The export line fragrances are available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations. $120, 50ml.
Sample: my own acquisition