Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin : Perfume Review

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Several years ago I walked around an exhibit devoted to Marlene Dietrich’s collection at the fashion museum in Paris, The Musée Galliera. Among her famous pant suits, feather dresses and sexy lingerie (you had to look through a peep hole for a glimpse of her lacy underthings), were bottles of  cosmetics and tanning oils. One was labelled rose, and another–jasmine.  I don’t remember who made them or what the bottles looked like, but the image of Dietrich stretching out her gorgeous long legs, her glistening skin catching the fine granules of sand, is what surfaces in my mind whenever I hear the star’s name. I can almost smell the rose tanning oil and salt on her warm skin.

marlene

I don’t know if in creating La Fille de Berlin, the dream team of Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake thought about Dietrich, and I have never visited Berlin to understand their source of inspiration completely. For me though, it’s a perfume that I imagine Dietrich wearing. It’s beautiful and surprising, but with a dark side. A classical Lutens, in other words.

Although the image of Dietrich looms large as I smell La Fille de Berlin, the perfume doesn’t feel retro. It’s a deep red rose that dries down to a lusty animalic drydown and takes you on a whirlwind journey along the way.  I love its explosion of crimson rose petals, which smell almost sinfully rich with their hint of overripe blackberries. (In the less poetic industry parlance, it’s called smelling money–a rose like that requires a generous budget.) Just like some roses can smell of violet, La Fille de Berlin takes a turn towards dark, jammy violets, making a small nod towards Bois de Violette.

A couple of hours later, my skin smells of amber and musk. La Fille de Berlin has an intriguing animalic note that would be untoward and raunchy if the rest of the composition were not so refined and polished. The reference here seems to be Serge Lutens’s own Muscs Koublaï Khan (much more so than Lutens’s other roses, Sa Majesté la Rose and Rose de Nuit), a rose wrapped into so much musk and civet that it becomes something else altogether. La Fille de Berlin, on the other hand, is much less musk and more rose, and it’s well-behaved enough to be worn to the office without raising anyone’s alarm. But when you press your wrist to your nose, you notice the naughty and smoldering bits. The impressive tenacity will ensure that you will be aware of La Fille de Berlin for the entire day.

She may be a girl from Berlin and carrying roses, but La Fille de Berlin would be perfect for men as well, especially those who’ve already experimented with oriental roses like The Different Company Rose Poivrée. It may even be more exciting as a masculine fragrance–warm, suave, irresistible. Either way, for me La Fille de Berlin hits the main criteria of a good perfume–it’s memorable, it’s beautiful from all angles, and it tells a story.

serge-lutens-fille-de-berlin
Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin is part of the export collection. It’s currently available from Serge Lutens’s boutique in Paris. It will be sold at Barney’s, Aedes, Luckyscent and directly from Serge Lutens in March 2013.

Image (top): Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1952, taken by Arnold, Eve, via chrisbeetlesfinephotographs.com.

Sample: my own acquisition

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103 Comments

  • Natasha: Beautiful review again Victoria! This sounds like something I would like. :D Am a fan of dark roses, not the fresh dewy kind. Gotta sample! February 7, 2013 at 7:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Natasha. I also prefer my roses dark and brooding. :) February 7, 2013 at 10:57am Reply

  • Jenna: I have a love-hate relationship with roses but this sounds exciting. I enjoyed reading your review. It made me wish I could see the exhibit you’re describing. February 7, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: The exhibit was wonderful and really well curated! I saw it about 5-6 years ago, but I still remember it well. February 7, 2013 at 10:55am Reply

  • Michael: I’m usually a sucker for Lutens, and this one sounds intriguing. I love rose, amber and musk, so I’m sure to check it out when it gets to the UK! February 7, 2013 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too. While I don’t love every single perfume Lutens does, I always anticipate trying anything he launches. In this case, I’m definitely budgeting to buy a full bottle for fall (it might be too rich for summer, I suspect). February 7, 2013 at 10:55am Reply

  • solanace: Another great review, V! Gonna try this one, it sounds like I’m gonna like it. February 7, 2013 at 8:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t have any particular expectations, since I already own two of Lutens’s roses, but it smells different and different also from some other dark roses I’ve tried, Cafe Rose, Portrait of a Lady, etc. February 7, 2013 at 10:53am Reply

      • solanace: There’s a very silly Brazilian pop hit from the ’80s, Garota de Berlim, that I loved in my early teens. That contributed to build my expectations, I must admit. ;-) February 7, 2013 at 12:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: Off to find it on Youtube! February 7, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

          • solanace: LOL! February 8, 2013 at 3:09am Reply

  • Lucas: Woow, based on your review I must say that La Fille de Berlin smells quite fantastic :) February 7, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

  • Nicola: I am not a rose girl (with the odd exception such as bK Liaisons Dangereuses) but I am intrigued by your review of this and will try it with a more open mind than I would otherwise approach a rose perfume. I think it is the reference to MKK, one of my favourite Lutens, and the exquisite Marlene Dietrich. Thank you! February 7, 2013 at 8:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Then you might enjoy La Fille de Berlin. Not because it smells anything like Liaisons Dangereuses, but it does have that dark, sultry character. I’m not sure why Marlene Dietrich’s image is so strongly associated in my mind with La Fille de Berlin now. The memory of her rose scented tanning oil, perhaps? February 7, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • Annikky: I was looking forward to La Fille de Berlin anyway, but after your review I’m really excited. I love Lutens, I prefer my roses dark and if you think it’s good enough for Marlene, it must be good enough for me.

    And totally off-topic, Victoria: have you tried Enchanted Forest already? Is there a review forthcoming? I am very curious about that one. February 7, 2013 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that you will get to smell it soon, and I look forward to hearing what you think.

      As for Enchanted Forest, I haven’t tried it yet. I’m really behind on many new launches–impossible to keep track of them all!, but the story behind Enchanted Forest is just irresistible. February 7, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

      • Annikky: Finally, it arrived and it’s very nice. As you say, there is this stunning rose at first (although to me, it IS related to Sa Majeste la Rose, an older and more complicated sister – I spritzed both on skin to compare) and then it gets interesting. But I am starting to suspect that I am anosmic to something in the base of (at least some ) SL fragrances. The musk? Because the dry-down is so faint on me and I have the same problem with Bois de Violette and Feminite du Bois, which I otherwise adore. I wonder what MKK will smell like to me.

        PS Love the colour. February 28, 2013 at 10:38am Reply

        • Victoria: The color is gorgeous, isn’t it! It could be that you’re anosmic to the musk they are using. All of those fragrances wear like iron on me, but I’ve heard some comments (especially about BdV and FdB) that they are faint. February 28, 2013 at 11:22am Reply

  • Carla: Can’t wait to try this! I love big red roses mixed with darker stuff- purple roses almost. Thank you, hung onto every word of your description. Hope you can visit Berlin one day, exciting city. February 7, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    • Victoria: I also prefer my roses mixed with something dark. After I’ve overdosed on light and dewy roses in writing the mini-review of six new roses for spring, I can’t go near them.

      I definitely hope to visit Berlin someday! February 7, 2013 at 10:47am Reply

  • Claudia: What a wonderful review, as always. Looking forward to trying this one. How does this compare to Serges other rose fragrance, Sa Majeste La Rose? For those brave enough for a blind buy: La Fille de Berlin is already available through the European website of Serge Lutens. February 7, 2013 at 10:37am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s easy to write about beautiful fragrances! Sa Majeste la Rose is a rose story through and through, while La Fille de Berlin is much more layered. The main element that remains on skin is the lush, rich musk, animalic notes and woods, whereas Sa Majeste retains the rose character. February 7, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

      • Claudia: Well, it arrived at my local perfumery today. I went there, sniffed and bought a bottle on the spot. It’s gorgeous! March 16, 2013 at 10:36am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Oh, I am excited to try this one! Berlin is one of my favorite cities, and I love the idea of dark roses. Is La Fille anything like Lutens’ own Rose de Nuit? February 7, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Very different! It’s much richer in rose (Rose de Nuit is really mostly amber and moss, especially when you compare the two) and it’s sweeter. There is also amber and woods in La Fille de Berlin as well, but the floral notes are stronger. February 7, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: My want for this perfume just increased exponentially! Especially if it even comes close to Rose de Nuit, which is one of my favorite rose fragrances hands down. Yay for the return of a more classically styled SL! :) February 7, 2013 at 11:03am Reply

    • Victoria: I find it different Rose de Nuit, but on the other hand, if you love your roses mixed with amber and woods(as in Rose de Nuit), you will enjoy La Fille de Berlin. Like you, I also enjoy Lutens when he tells his dark tales. :) February 7, 2013 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Zazie: Thank you for this intriguing review!
    Like other commenters above, my relationship with rose fragrances si thorny to say the least. I love the smell of fresh flowers, and I find rose-centric home fragrances irresistible, like entering in a middle-est inspired vignette in one sniff. For what concerns perfumes…very few are to my liking and I almost never wear them. But SL’s own sa majeste and Rose de Nuit are among the most wearable rose fragrances for me, even though they are not the most memorable IMO, so I will certainly give this intriguing fragrance a try (I always try a new SL, though).
    BTW, love the name, the juice color, and your marlene Dietrich reference!! February 7, 2013 at 11:32am Reply

    • Victoria: The color of juice is great, but be careful because it can stain. It goes on a deep red (more red than Santal Majuscule), and I imagine that on pale fabric, you will see a mark.

      I admit that when it comes to choosing between rose and jasmine, I will nearly always pick jasmine. On the other hand, if a rose is twisted around something other notes, as it’s here, it becomes more interesting and memorable. February 7, 2013 at 1:05pm Reply

  • george: As a fan of Portrait of a Lady and also Absolue pour la Soir, this sounds like it is in the middle-ground between two, so I will be sending heading straight for this the next time I am in a Lutens stockist. Thanks! February 7, 2013 at 11:43am Reply

    • Victoria: I was also thinking of those two perfumes when I wore La Fille de Berlin for the first time. It seemed to me that if someone enjoyed them, they would like La Fille de Berlin too. It’s similarly dark and rich. February 7, 2013 at 1:06pm Reply

  • nikki: Great review, dear Victoria! I will definitely get this one! Marlene is one of my favorites. The film museum in Berlin has a permanent Marlene exhibit, it is just opposite of the Ritz Carlton which is built in the art deco style of the Chrysler building. She was polyglott, speaking French fluently beside English and German, of course, so I find rose ( I think of French roses) a very good connection. The color of the fragrance is gorgeous! Can’t wait to get it in March! February 7, 2013 at 12:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Nikki. This is fascinating, and I already know that I will be making a visit to that museum when I visit Berlin. I first became interested in Dietrich when I learned about her relationship with Erich Maria Remarque, one of my favorite writers. “You look far too young to have penned one of the greatest novels of our time [All Quiet on the Western Front],” she told him, according to her daughter’s memoirs. “Perhaps I only wrote it to hear your magical voice say these words,” he replied. Sigh… February 7, 2013 at 1:13pm Reply

      • nozknoz: Wow – so romantic! February 7, 2013 at 10:11pm Reply

        • Victoria: Isn’t it? But they had a turbulent relationship, from what I read. February 8, 2013 at 6:34am Reply

  • rosarita: Excellent review, thank you. I have a rocky relationship with Lutens, but I certainly enjoy smelling as many as I can get my hands on and this is no exception; roses and Marlene Dietrich sound intriguing! February 7, 2013 at 12:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! I always enjoy writing about Lutens’s fragrances, but especially when they hit a chord with me. This one certainly did.
      (Of course, I hasten to add, the Marlene Dietrich connection is entirely my fantasy. I have no idea if she really the inspiration.) February 7, 2013 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Elisa: Well this sounds just fantastic. I thought of (pre-reform) Rose Poivree while reading it (and then saw that you mentioned it). I have a teensy manufacturer’s mini of the original version, but received a decant once which smelled nothing like it, sadly, so I swapped it away. February 7, 2013 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Another friend mentioned being disappointed by a chance in Rose Poivree. I admit that I never cared for it that much–too animalic for my taste–and never compared side by side. But I’m not at all surprised if it was changed, since so many fragrances are reformulated beyond recognition today. February 7, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

      • Elisa: The previous version was not very wearable, but it was joyful and made me laugh. It actually reminded me of salami. The new version is just a boring rose. February 7, 2013 at 2:37pm Reply

        • Victoria: Salami! I never made this connection, but now I really want to smell the old version. :)

          I would be curious what you think of La Fille de Berlin then, because on me the drydown is much more animalic than I anticipated (but still wearable). February 7, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

          • Elisa: Yes, it was something about the sweaty spiciness that smelled distinctly meaty to me.

            Is it more or less animalic than the drydown of Oud Ispahan? February 7, 2013 at 2:44pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oud Ispahan smells leathery to me, but La Fille has the winey, musky sweetness. It even makes me think of Caron’s Or et Noir, but not nearly as retro. February 7, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

              • Elisa: Intriguing. In general, Serge Lutens scents are all about the drydown for me. I love the musky-leathery, slightly animalic drydown of Cuir Mauresque. February 7, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

                • Victoria: I agree with you. It’s such a contrast to how many fragrances are created today–load up the top notes and forget about the rest. February 7, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Madeleine: Oh my Victoria!

    What a beautiful, evocative review. Interesting that you say that MKK is the reference here. I cant wait to try it and your mention of an animalic vibe has only whetted my appetite!

    I’m loving my deep dark roses right now, such as PoaL, Agent Provocateur, Voleur de Roses, so this sounds like me. Plus who could resist the color of thst juice?

    Thanks,

    Madeleine February 7, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you enjoyed it, Madeleine, thank you. The color is red even as you spray the perfume on your skin, and it looks vivid in the bottle. A nice change from all those pale pink perfumes that are usually coming out in the spring. February 7, 2013 at 2:52pm Reply

  • Austenfan: This seems to at least merit a try. I like both light and dark roses. I do not get on with all of the Lutenses but I find them interesting for the most part. The review is as always excellent and what a beautiful photo!

    I remember watching the excellent documentary Maximilian Schell did on La Dietrich. It’s worth watching. She was, if anything, quite a character, and very principled. I don’t believe she ever went back to Germany after the war, although she is buried in Berlin. February 7, 2013 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love when a fragrance tells a story, or inspires me to come up with one. In this case, I’ve spent the evening reading about Dietrich and re-reading her correspondence with Remarque. I would love to watch the documentary you mentioned too. February 7, 2013 at 4:28pm Reply

      • Austenfan: It was a very interesting power play if my memory serves me right. Marlène seemed quite a reluctant partner. You only hear her voice. And Schell’s.

        I only ever saw her in Der Blaue Engel and Witness for the Prosecution. She made quite an impression. February 8, 2013 at 12:47pm Reply

        • Victoria: She had a beautiful voice! I remember thinking that when I was watching The Blue Angel, the first Marlene film I’ve seen at that point. I still haven’t seen Witness for the Prosecution, so I will definitely add it to my list. February 8, 2013 at 3:22pm Reply

    • nikki: Oh yes, she did go back to Germany after the war and gave concerts. Just after the war ended she came to Aachen and was cheered by the German women who baked her a cake…her concerts were in Berlin and in Duesseldorf later on. Regarding the Schell movie: she really told him off for having bad manners. To a native German speaker it is quite poignant, as Marlene was so Prussian and Schell is from the South, even born in Austria so there is a big cultural divide. He is Swiss/Austrian and a very spoiled man which she did not tolerate. Why should she, having been the muse of great authors. She was always more cerebral, so she threw him out of her apartment. However, it is a great movie because of it, to see the character of a woman who would not be fooled by the shallow charm of a formerly handsome, but minor actor turned director. He also made a movie about his sister, Maria Schell, which seems like a revenge movie as he had to sell his art collection to pay for her debts. He doesn’t seem to do too well with strong women. February 11, 2013 at 9:58am Reply

      • Austenfan: I am only now reading this, but if you read this, thanks for such an extensive reply.
        I never saw the full documentary, only a bit of it when I was quite young. It did leave an impression though. I would love to watch it again. I am not fluent in German but being Dutch can understand it quite well. It’s interesting about the cultural divide. May 30, 2013 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Merlin: Some dark rose perfumes have this terrible metallic effect on my skin: Rose Poivree is one and ELDO’s Rossy de Palma another. I think I had the same problem with the L’artisan one. On the other hand, Rose Anonyme is fine and so is POAL. So, I’m not sure what the ‘problem note’ is.

    While I love the idea of dark brooding roses I’m not sure I really want to invest in one. Bright roses like Sa Majeste (which I still haven’t bought – but will eventually) lift my mood and make me feel bright and happy while POAL (though I love the smell) can make me even more dark and introspective than I already am! February 7, 2013 at 3:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I see what you mean. Metallic nuances naturally occur in some rose materials, and some people are more sensitive to them than others. La Fille has a hint of a silvery glint, but it’s not as sharp as in Rossy de Palma, for instance. Worth trying, but definitely not something I would buy blindly. February 7, 2013 at 4:30pm Reply

    • Merlin: Interesting! I don’t think my nose is sensitive to them though – I think my skin brings out that facet. Or maybe thats what you mean? February 7, 2013 at 5:32pm Reply

      • Victoria: It could be that too! February 8, 2013 at 6:34am Reply

  • nastja: That was a steamy review! I’ve realized that even if my nose is not fond of a scent, it may still work on another level, do something else to me on some other level: sounds like this would be one of those provocative perfumes. I’ve fallen for Tubereuse criminelle and wonder if there is something of that famous exhaust smell in this, it would be so appropriate for Berlin, glamor and grit. Adding this one to my to-try list. February 7, 2013 at 4:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love your idea of the exhaust smells as appropriate for Berlin. Lutens’s Berlin seems to me like something of a film noir setting! There is nothing as obviously jarring as in Tubereuse Criminelle, but there are definitely some strange, intriguing facets–spice, musk, earthy notes. February 7, 2013 at 4:33pm Reply

      • nastja: hooray for intriguing! isn’t that funny how when we say intriguing and when we say like they might mean different things, but intriguing usually wins? i’m going that way with perfume lately. i’d rather be interested than pleased, i guess. i’ve been sampling jean patou via posh peasant lately and find all the fragrances more challenging than nice, which is the opposite of what i expected, as i know they’re supposed to be classic parisian. anyway, i digress! February 7, 2013 at 6:57pm Reply

        • nozknoz: Nastja, I also love those Jean Patous, especially Chaldee and Que Sais-Je?. That’s real perfume! February 7, 2013 at 10:22pm Reply

          • Victoria: Que Sais-Je? is my favorite. Oh, and Vacances. February 8, 2013 at 6:37am Reply

        • Victoria: Intriguing is definitely what I would pick over “just nice” or “pleasant.” I doubt that this perfume will be a love at first sniff for everyone, but it wouldn’t be a Lutens if it were.

          Jean Patou Ma Collection? I also find them challenging, especially since the style is so different from anything we’re used to these days. But the ones that hit the spot are so perfect. February 8, 2013 at 6:37am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Beautiful review, Victoria! I will have to dash into Barneys and give it a sniff- the combination of refined and raunchy intrigues me.

    Oddly enogh, I have been thinking about Berlion because I was writing about the movie “Cabaret” and its continuing visual influences…..divine decadence, green fingernails, etc. I have never thought of Berlin as a city that I wanted to visit, however. Too many insomniac nights watching the History Channel, I guess, becase my only associations with that city are jack boots and terror. I have never wanted to go there because I know I would hear screams inside my head everywhere I went. A lot of great artists were spawned in Germany in the early 20th century- Thomas Mann, Marlene Dietrich, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch but they were all forced to leave, and thank god they did! Oddly enough, they all wound up in Los Angeles.

    The perfume sounds delicious, though. I always like a “dark” interpretation of a floral, and Lutens has done some brilliiant ones- A la Nuit is my definition of femme fatale in a bottle! February 7, 2013 at 5:29pm Reply

    • Ariadne: Hi Lynn,
      I recommend you also study Luchino Visconti’s movie, The Damned, http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/The_Damned_%281969_film%29.

      An absolute all-star cast and Marlene is referenced in one scene.
      Wear your mink because you will be chilled to the bone. February 7, 2013 at 8:40pm Reply

      • nikki: The Damned is a great movie depicting the Krupp family of Essen who were the main benefactors of Hitler as their steel industry monopoly gained the most from the war.

        Visconti was, according to his biography and an excellent documentary in Italian on youtube, quite fascinated by the German culture in the 20s and 30s, the strictness on the one hand and the absolute permissiveness on the other hand, so typical of the Weimarer Republic. He was an aristocratic Communist, a gay man who loved women, so this kind of ambiguity may have been part of his character. Great movie and absolutely great director. February 11, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

    • nozknoz: I enjoyed visiting Berlin, but it is sobering how much pain has been spilled out in one place. I remember wondering if all the stunning modern architecture wasn’t part of a subconscious effort to sweep it away. February 7, 2013 at 10:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: There are so many cities with scars left by their histories, but life goes on and places grow new layers. I definitely want to visit Berlin and enjoy it for what it is now. Of course, we have to remember the history, if only not to repeat the same mistakes.

      As for the perfume, if you like your perfumes rich and sumptuous, then La Fille will be a great discovery! February 8, 2013 at 6:41am Reply

    • nikki: Thomas Mann has nothing to do with Berlin in the 20s, he is from the Hanseatic league, i.e. Hamburg, Lubeck.

      Ernst Lubitsch and the others are from Berlin, while Billy Wilder was Austrian and came to Berlin in the 20s because of the Berlin being the best and most avantgarde city in Europe at that time.

      Regarding the silly notion of being an American hearing voices of the past in Berlin, I already replied to that in a different thread. I am always amused by the historical ignorance shown by comments such as yours. February 11, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

  • Margo: I can’t wait for this, Victoria! It looks like Campari and sounds so very intriguing. I’m a rose lover but also like some depth and mystery and this sounds perfect for that. I think Serge Lutens is a genius, even though I don’t adore every fragrance, I appreciate how beautifully crafted they are.
    I also love the whole Berlin feel. I find myself associating this new fragrance with another genius, David Bowie, who surprised us all with a gem of a new song with glorious Berlin references. February 7, 2013 at 6:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I love your comparison. :) Campari is right (although the perfume’s color is just a bit darker)!

      Even if one doesn’t care for Lutens, the quality of his fragrances is something that I find impressive, even among other niche brands. Quality, style, signature. February 8, 2013 at 6:44am Reply

  • nozknoz: I was amazed to realize recently that the SLs I love are all older ones. This one sounds hopeful, at least.

    I very much enjoyed visiting Berlin a dozen years ago. Just seeing the real bust of Nefertiti was worth it. I hope you get there, and, if you do, look forward to your reviewing a perfume one day that reminds you of her! February 7, 2013 at 10:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like some of the newer ones too–Boxeuses, Santal Majuscule, Une Voix Noire, but of course, having worn Bois de Violette and Iris Silver Mist for years, it’s hard not to feel a strong sentimental attachment to them. Some other new launches like Bas de Soie or Nuit de Cellophane didn’t appeal to me at all. I kept trying and trying, but in the end I just gave up. February 8, 2013 at 6:46am Reply

  • Ferris: This one sounds very intriguing. Amber,rose, musk, Civet, and woods. I don’t usually like civet, but I’m loving the civet that’s in Bal a Versailles vintage edp. It smells wonderful. But the civet note in Jicky is another matter all together. UGH. Awful… Just how animalistic is Rose Poirvee? I haven’t tried it but it was on my list to sample from the perfumed court. I usually prefer my roses with a bit of green edge (galbanum, angelica) such as Lyric Man, which would be my ideal rose scent. Ive tried rose with dried fruits and spices (Egoiste) and I didnt like it too much. Great review Victoria! February 9, 2013 at 8:39am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t smelled Rose Poivree recently, but I remember it being almost raunchy! February 10, 2013 at 11:49am Reply

  • theperfumeddandy: What a simply splendid set of thoughts.
    I do love those exhibitions where one is made ‘What The Butler Saw Style’ to peek through at a saucy selection of items, and none can have been so satisfying as the divine Dietrich’s support garments.
    The scent sound equally as seductive. I’m all set for a ride on a subtle animal with a rose in my lapel.
    Hope I get the chance soon.
    The Perfumed Dandy February 9, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Her undergarments were so beautiful–lots of black delicate lace and silk!
      The scent is definitely quite seductive, especially when it takes a turn for a musky, animalic drydown. Of course, this part may also put many people! February 10, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

      • theperfumeddandy: I’ve been giving an outing to Paco Rabanne’s momentous La Nuit recently so nothing is going to scare me in the animalics department – it’s like living in a stable where the beasts are fed on rose petals.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy February 13, 2013 at 7:35am Reply

        • Victoria: The interesting thing about Serge is that at distance it smells like rose petals, but when you smell it closer, the animalic growl is more obvious. La Nuit is in a league of its own though. February 13, 2013 at 8:06am Reply

  • carole macleod: The reference to Berlin-when I first heard of this fragrance, it made me think of Louise Brooks as LuLu. This was a part Dietrick wanted, but Brooks was Pabst’s choice.

    If you like Dietrich movies look for Morocco-such an amazing film, with the most perfect ending! Also the film she made with Anna May Wong (another dangerous beauty)-I think it is Shanghai Express.

    I will get a sample of this soon-I found Portrait of a Lady too patch for me. And it’s funny-I guess I always associate Marlene with Knieze, and Angeliques Encens from Creed.

    Thank you for the beautiful review!
    Carole February 9, 2013 at 5:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I need to watch Morocco, thank you for mentioning it. I was just talking about Anna May Wong with a friend, and we’ve agreed that she is the ultimate bombshell. All of her roles are so memorable. February 10, 2013 at 11:53am Reply

    • nikki: Morocco is a great movie, especially the end, you are right! I also like Blonde Venus and The Devil is a Woman, von Sternberg really had an eye for feminine beauty. The Scarlet Empress where she plays German born Russian Empress Catherine the Great, is absolutely stunning. February 11, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

      • Victoria: You guys give the best film recommendations! Thank you so much. February 12, 2013 at 7:13am Reply

  • Daisy: This is one of my most anticipated releases for 2013. I can’t wait to smell it! I have this weird fantasy that my Tubereuse criminelle and Fille en aiguilles are lonely and want a Fille de Berlin to play with. That’s weird, right? No, it’s German :-) February 11, 2013 at 11:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Daisy, you made me laugh so hard, I started crying. I love it! February 12, 2013 at 7:14am Reply

    • nikki: That is so funny, I guess you got the spirit of the twenties a la Berlin! There were quite naughty songs, liberated women’s songs one may say…my grandmother still knew them after 70 years. Many composed and written by Jewish writers, the movie “The Harmonists” shows the close connection, it is set just shortly before Hitler though, and after that it was all over. February 14, 2013 at 11:50am Reply

  • Emma: I just got La fille de berlin today from the Serge Lutens US site. Right off the bat I thought of a modern take on Caron Or et Noir, deep dark sultry rose. I don’t get as much as you do the animalic amber thing, I don’t get the wagnerian Berlin thing either, however I really like this rose and of course this is the perfume I’m wearing tonight, perfect Valentine choice!! February 14, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can definitely see Or et Noir in La Fille! And yes, a perfect choice for today. February 14, 2013 at 5:37pm Reply

  • Jamie: I’m testing La Fille de Berlin right now. So far it’s great. I didn’t know that Lutens was inspired by La Dietrich when he created it. Thanks for the review. February 14, 2013 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jamie, I haven’t read the press release, so I can’t say. I know that he was inspired by Berlin. As I mentioned in the review, Dietrich is only my personal fantasy! I still can’t forget her rose scented tanning oil that I saw among her clothes at the fashion exhibit. February 14, 2013 at 6:14pm Reply

  • kelly: I’m also testing it at the moment. I wasn’t dizzy with preconceptions but honestly, Im underwhelmed; I get the $$$ rose but its so… clingwrapped? Contained? Lacking booty? I was hoping for leopards and thorns and found only kittens and velvet. Oh well.

    And I just can’t with Marlene after reading Noel Coward’s diaries. What a humourless bore she was! March 16, 2013 at 4:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure you will find your potion in another bottle, Kelly! I’m smiling at your description though. :) April 5, 2013 at 5:28pm Reply

  • george: I normally read your reviews to see what I am want to search out and smell; but I thought I’d come back to this one to check my findings against yours and damn, this review ( like so many) is just so spot on! That’s one precision nose you have there, Victoria! April 4, 2013 at 6:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I was actually wearing La Fille de Berlin tonight, and it’s so addictive. With some perfumes, the love is immediate. April 5, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

      • george: It’s going on my want list……….. It’s what I have always dreamed Voleur de Roses would smell like…….. April 8, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

  • Michaela: Serge Lutens is one of the houses I have major difficulties to relate to, since I can’t help labelling most of their perfumes as gloomy and extremely sad, but this one seems like it could finally make me enjoy a Lutens… Does it bear any, even remote resemblance to the Bulgarian rose oil I associate with the horrible communist time? I have to sample it ASAP, I’m a sucker for dark, edgy roses! June 25, 2013 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is a layer of rich rose, but that’s the material used in this perfume. Overall, I don’t think that you would make that association (I know the smell you’re talking about). June 25, 2013 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Karina: I was so excited to see this in my local speciality cosmetics store today as they only carry a few Serge Lutens perfumes and I have been eager to try this. I sprayed La Fille de Berlin on one wrist and Sa Majeste La Rose on the other and LFDB won me over completely.

    It took me back to my childhood home where we had a huge rose bush climbing up a water tank that produced enormous, luscious deep red roses. Their scent was heady and delicious and I have never forgotten it. This perfume reminded me of those roses. I find it heady in a delicate way, which to me is what natural roses are like.

    I find it quite sweet too, it reminds me of good quality Turkish Delight sweets, which I also love so I don’t mind this association.

    Sa Majeste La Rose failed to impress me much, I think it is quite a good rose perfume, but it is too clean and watery for me. I like my rose perfumes deep and sultry, which LFDB is, in a refined way.

    LFDB also reminds me a little of Marc Jacobs Lola, but it is far more sophisticated. July 20, 2013 at 8:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your impressions, Karina! I agree that next to La Fille de Berlin, Sa Majeste la Rose appears very tame. I like both, but La Fille is the one I wear more these days. July 20, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

  • BasiaS: I sampled this a while back but didn’t pay much attention for whatever reason. So glad I kept my sample and then saw this review. This is gorgeous! A plush, deeply colored rose, satiny soft, edged in sweet violets. My favorite part comes hours after application – I get the same dirty musk that SL uses in MKK (this is in fact like MKK turned inside out, like you say). I have not sampled all of the recent SL releases but this easily is my favorite of the ones I know. January 5, 2014 at 6:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to meet another fan! I also think that it’s a beautiful rose, and one of the best recent SL launches. January 6, 2014 at 3:17pm Reply

  • zari: Hi Victoria,

    I came back to this entry to say I finally purchased La Fille de Berlin – excited for a deep dark sultry rose, civet, musk – and I am sort of bummed. I am a 1-2 sprayer, and this perfume I sprayed I think 4 or 5 times in the morning and once more around 2. There is barely any scent on my clothing after all of that at the end of the day and can’t smell on my self either. I faintly smell the rose, and nothing of the musk or the civet, or other note. I guess I’ll be over spraying this one! What you describe sounds so beautiful, alas my nose smells only a little of it. July 31, 2014 at 8:03pm Reply

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