Serge Lutens: 45 posts

Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire : Fragrance Review

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It’s hard not to take a second look when a maestro of exclusive perfumery offers you something even more exceptional. When Serge Lutens presented L’Incendiaire last year, it promised ultra rarity (Paris only and maybe some distant Middle Eastern outpost), luxury and drama. How can it be anything but intriguing? I eagerly extended my wrist to be anointed with the precious potion.

Lincendiaire

My first impression was that L’Incendiaire should make any Serge Lutens’s fan feel giddy. It has enough incense to perfume all the souks of Arabia. Its amber and musk accords are prodigious. It takes dark to another level. It smolders. It heaves. But nothing about it made me want to swoon (much less part with the $600 that buys you 50ml of this fantasy). L’Incendiaire is beautiful, but it’s about as nuanced as a three hour Bollywood drama. At some point, you crave a break.

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Serge Lutens La Religieuse : Fragrance Review

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“Whatever you do, just don’t be boring,” used to say my longtime ballet teacher. In her class, being off music and being boring were the worst crimes, because while everything else–a wrong arm position, an awkward turn or a weak jump–could be corrected through careful guidance, not listening to the music and not caring to excite the viewer spoke of more serious flaws. My teacher’s admonition flashed in my mind when I first smelled Serge Lutens La Religieuse.

serge-lutens-la-religieuse

La Religieuse belongs to the collection of understated compositions from the master-duo, Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake. It’s in the same polished and well-mannered corner as Nuit de Cellophane, Un Lys and Sa Majesté la Rose. If you want a pleasant fragrance that doesn’t try too hard, the type of perfume that sales associates call an “office scent”, it’s a good choice. If you want a soft, fluffy jasmine, La Religieuse will also hit the spot. But if you come to Serge Lutens to be thrilled and surprised, then you might want to pick another magic carpet ride.

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Serge Lutens L’Orpheline : Perfume Review

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The other day I was trying hard to figure out why exactly I disliked Serge Lutens’s L’Orpheline as much as I did. Because I didn’t simply not care for it; it made me recoil and I had difficulty wearing it multiple times in order to review it. With some fragrances, you need a longer courtship to learn their moods and see how they can match yours, but in the case of L’Orpheline, I liked it less and less with each wear.

lorpheline

On the face of it, L’Orpheline should be the right one for me. It’s an incense blend, and I love incense. It intriguingly promises to layer incense with cream, and I’m game for such surprises. It’s also the product of a collaboration between Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake, and I have so many perfumes created by them in my wardrobe that I can be easily called a fan. So, why does L’Orpheline fail so dramatically to entice me?

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Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer : Perfume Review

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I don’t know why I expected a perfume called La Vierge de Fer (The Iron Maiden) to be the olfactory equivalent of punk rock*. Serge Lutens is as enigmatic as ever in his description and sources of inspiration. The fragrance was inspired by Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It references a lily, a flower traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. The website blurb also mentions instruments of torture. Oddly enough, this kind of eclectic mix appeals to me, and I was curious to see what scented shape it would take.

botticelli-madonna

I dabbed the pale, grey tinted liquid on my skin and took a deep breath. I inhaled jasmine; its green twigs, yellow pollen and crinkly petals unfolded one by one as I stood with my nose pressed to the pulse point on my wrist. Every time I’ve worn La Vierge de Fer since then, I’ve noticed other elements–the fizzy, silvery sparkle, the waxy lily petals, the warm musky sweetness, but I still can’t shake off my initial impression of being wrapped in a soft jasmine veil.

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Serge Lutens Santal Blanc : Perfume Review

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It rained the other day. Again. The drops covered the windows, turning the red roofs of the nearby buildings and the delicate church spires into an impressionistic blur. I’ve learned to enjoy the melancholy serenity of a rainy day, but there are times when the grey mist makes me feel listless and depressed. On such days, I throw open my perfume cabinet and reach for scents that remind me of someplace warm and sunny.

santal-blanc

One such perfume is sandalwood. Its creamy sweetness and heavy richness takes me to India, which may be a stereotypical association, except that India, my India, is thoroughly permeated with sandalwood. As a bride, I was rubbed with rosewater and sandalwood paste to make my skin glow. I was fed sandalwood scented milkshakes and fudge. Wherever I went, I smelled sandalwood incense.  No wonder that Serge Lutens Santal Blanc whispers Indian stories to me.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Joy in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: What a unique bottle! Your description sounds very intriguing and I will have to give it a try. January 21, 2017 at 11:15am

  • Joy in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: Lily, many thanks for all of your diverse recommendations. All but Hermes Eau de Merveilles are new to me. In fact I tried Eau de Merveilles the other day and… January 21, 2017 at 11:10am

  • Lily in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: So your lists of likes/dislikes almost completely overlap with mine (only exception that I do like fig and all spices!). But not that many of my perfumes have an opposites… January 21, 2017 at 10:15am

  • DP in Elie Roger and Estee Lauder Knowing: Wrappings is amazing. I do not understand why it is considered a seasonal or holiday fragrance. It is notoriously difficult to find except in December. It is definitely a Lauder… January 21, 2017 at 9:18am

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