Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel : Perfume Review


Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

While the newest Miller Harris fragrance, Fleurs de Sel is inspired by the traditional fragrance concept, it is a modern composition with a nod to the classical past. Our love affair with chypre fragrances—those complex and intense harmonies of citrus, floral, woody, mossy and animalic notes—has always been tumultuous. If some families such as florals have an immediate and familiar appeal, abstract chypres require more patience in order to appreciate them. Yet, witnessing the revival of the family over the past few years leads me to conclude that we are once again in a chypre-infatuated decade. …

Of course, the chypres of the 2000s are not the classical chypres of the past due to restrictions on the usage of oakmoss given its allergenic properties. Modern chypres rely on sheer and austere oakmoss synthetics, which give a cool and mineral quality in contrast to the smoky, leathery and woody darkness of natural oakmoss absolutes. At the same time, given its vetiver theme, Fleurs de Sel follows the footsteps of the remarkably successful Terre d’Hermès (a recent launch most industry experts would name as one bound to attain classical status). Salty, mineral and earthy, Fleurs de Sel is at once rustic and graceful.

Fleurs de Sel was inspired by the childhood home of its creator Lyn Harris in Batz sur Mer, a small village in Brittany ensconced between beaches and salt marshes. The composition explores the aromatic, salty facet of vetiver, framing it in the mossy and leathery chypre accord. If after the initial burst of herbal brightness, Fleurs de Sel resembles the sheer and refined The Different Company Sel de Vétiver, it soon establishes its own character—warm, spicy, delicately smoky and pleasantly earthy. Although I have been critical of the Miller Harris line in the past, Fleurs de Sel is one of the best examples of Lyn Harris’s ability to marry a lush, nature-inspired quality with modern minimalism. The result is nuanced and elegant, with an interesting twist on the classical theme.

Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel includes notes of red thyme oil, rosemary, clary sage, iris nobilis, narcissus, rose, ambrette seed, woods, vetiver, moss, leather. Fleurs de Sel is available in Eau de Parfum and Parfum (pictured above; limited edition) concentrations. It can be purchased directly from the Miller Harris website or Saks 5th Avenue.

Photo of fleur de sel, the precious salt that dries naturally in the salt marshes, from



  • Dusan: Vikaaaa!!!
    🙂 I’m just so happy to see you donning your reviewing gear again. Am pleased that you’ve finally found a winner in the M-H line, which I’ve yet to explore (have only tried Vetiver Bourbon, which was nice). These days I’m in Caron mode thanks to Erin & Patty and I’m dangerously close to finishing my sample of the gorgeous 3ème Homme 🙁
    Hope you are enjoying your new job, I know I am, vicariously 🙂
    xoxoxo May 28, 2007 at 8:39am Reply

  • agritty: Thanks so much for this review – I am waiting for my sample of this. It sounds gorgeous. I am so curious about this discussion of oakmoss. It is present in so many of the perfumes that I love. Are all oakmosses synthetic now, even in such fragances as Tabac Blond? It strikes me as such a cornerstone of the chypre that I can’t imagine it disappearing or transforming, but my knowledge of the issue is very sketchy. May 28, 2007 at 10:29am Reply

  • tmp00: I liked this one a lot, but am going to wait on buying- I had the same reaction to l’Air du Rien, but it went bad on me. This one is whisper-light, but I am liking it a lot. May 28, 2007 at 11:51pm Reply

  • chayaruchama: So lovely to ‘hear’ your thoughts again !

    I’m in complete agreement with you here.
    I was very pleased with the complexity, subtlety, and originality of this one, although L’Air de Rien really worked well for me, surprisingly.

    This is perfect for summer swelter.
    Softer than Querelle [which I adore], less rhizomal than Route de Vetiver [LOVE that, too !], more ethereal.

    Partly dreamstate, partly of this world, but barely… May 29, 2007 at 7:38am Reply

  • March: Huh. I bet the ladies at Saks are really missing me, I haven’t been lurking over there for almost a month. Sounds like it’s time for a visit! (They’re probably thinking I moved.) This sounds potentially like a great one for summer, actually — do you think it’d work in the heat/humidity? Most of my chypres go into storage at this point. May 29, 2007 at 8:26am Reply

  • Marina: I keep going back and forth on this one. I think I admire it more than love it, if it makes sense. 🙂 May 29, 2007 at 9:25am Reply

  • Julie: I am intrigued – I have had a long love affair with chypres, starting with O de Lancome. (Puberty = florals, post-puberty = chypres and leathers.) Your review is especially interesting, given that I love The Different Company’s Sel de Vetiver. Will try Fleurs de Sel. May 29, 2007 at 3:32pm Reply

  • RealYasmine: Hello, have been lurking for a while and even though it’s a bit off topic I just wanted to share that there are some vintage Mitsouko Extrait tester (pre-reformulation) for sale on ebay. Just saw it and thought someone might be interested… Seller is Eve’s Perfume Paradise. And no, that’s not me. BoisdeJasmin I love your reviews! You rock! Thank you so much for the inspiring work! June 7, 2007 at 2:38pm Reply

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