Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire : Fragrance Review


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.


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.

The break comes a couple of hours too late. L’Incendiaire loses some of its dense incense smoke and a shipload of fossilized wood to become velvety and suave. The peppery, dry spices that greeted you in the opening phases still linger but only as soft embers, and as you wade through creamy layers of sandalwood and musk, you notice L’Incendiaire mellowing rapidly. For such a dashing and dark number, it has an anti-climatic ending.

I still adore Serge Lutens and his marvelous collection–anyone who has a hand in my beloved Iris Silver Mist is automatically raised to cult status in my personal pantheon. But I would love for this “more exclusive than exclusive” trend to be set aside. Lutens’s house needs no frills and gimmicks. It already includes a selection of some of the best modern perfumery, and the luxury level is just right.

If, on the other hand, you want to be smothered in incense while remaining financially solvent, there is Comme des Garçons AvignonSonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure or Etro Messe de Minuit. These perfumes offer incense with different inflections, but all are dark and brooding. Less intense are L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer and Donna Karan Black Cashmere.  Marni and Diptyque Volutes are subtler still, with incense wafting in the far background. If you have some taste for pyrotechnics but prefer your fragrance as a soothing, soft presence, these two have much to recommend themselves.

Any other great incense perfumes worth mentioning?



  • Cornelia Blimber: I appreciate your review, because you hold me back from running to this perfume. I adore incense and lots of it in heavy perfumes.

    My incense perfume is Bois d’Encens, but that one is to my nose rather peppery and cool. No opulence there.
    As for opulent perfume, I newly discovered Andy Tauer’s Le Maroc Pour Elle. marvellous, I love it.
    You are absolute right in saying that Lutens can do without frills! With Ambre Sultan in your list, you are a perfume Maestro. And so many others masterpieces. Like Un Bois Vanille which I am wearing today! June 8, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

    • OperaFan: Speaking of Tauer, his Incense Rose is one of the few incense fragrances I will wear in the summer, where it (and the woods) bloom beautifully in the heat.
      Truth be told, I am not a huge incense fan. I love the ceremonial aspects of it having been born into a Buddhist culture and becoming an Episcopalian as an adult, and that’s where I like to smell my incense.
      The SSS Incense Pure is beautiful (and as you pointed out, highly affordable). The new Amber Incense is also very beautiful, with the incense more subtle than its predecessor. June 8, 2015 at 9:52am Reply

      • Victoria: I love the smell of incense in the air far more than on my skin. Usually, my favorite incenses are more subtle, although I appreciate well-crafted incenses like Tom Ford Sahara Noir or Armani Bois d’Encens. June 8, 2015 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I have so many favorites from Lutens, from the staples like Bois de Violette and Iris Silver Mist to the favorites like El Attarine and A La Nuit. The “more exclusive than the next exclusive” is a bit much, though. Rare materials aren’t enough to make a great perfume. It also should have something interesting to say.

      Bois d’Encens is a terrific incense. June 8, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

    • Carla: I live Bois d’Encens. It’s my favorite incense. So cool, yes, not like the others June 24, 2015 at 10:11pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Very funny, enough incense to perfume all souks in Arabia! Thank you for the review V, clearly SL needs to be brought back to basics! Lutens was one of the first niche houses I discovered thanks to BdJ and other wonderful blogs, and I admire some and love quite of few of his scents. What ashame that it has to be so over the top, not to mentioned the price. I once left a real life Bollywood musical after the break, being too overloaded, too much of a good thing!

    I think a great incense perfume to mention is Unum’s Lavs. Not cheap, but not outrageously expensive, and one of those scents that engenders stillness inside, a good thing for me. June 8, 2015 at 8:46am Reply

    • Victoria: I can see what you mean. I love Bollywood films, even at their most maudlin and overloaded, but I also need a break in the between all of the crying, singing and dancing. They work best for me as momentary escapes from reality, and I enjoy them best when I’m ready just to chill out and suspend my belief. (Of course, there are many wonderful Bollywood films that are true works of cinematic art!)

      I haven’t even heard of Unum, so now I’m intrigued. June 8, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

      • Hamamelis: It is an Italian house, apart from perfume they design church attire! I don’t know if it is true but apparently Lavs is based on whatever the pope’s garments are scented with (now…I don’t know it that is a recommendation 😉 ) . If you wish to try it and can’t locate a sample I am happy to send it to you when you are back home in Brussels. June 8, 2015 at 10:54am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much! I will check if I can find it back there. The story behind it is interesting (as is the current pope, but that’s a different topic altogether) 🙂 June 9, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

      • Petunia: Patti White did review for Unum, maybe last month. She really loved it. June 8, 2015 at 6:09pm Reply

        • Petunia: Wonderful review Victoria! I admire incense perfumes but can’t wear them due to allergies. Oh well, money saved. 🙂 June 8, 2015 at 6:48pm Reply

          • Victoria: Thank you!
            Oh, yes, lots of money saved. 🙂 June 9, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you. I’m going to look it up. June 9, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

      • Tati: One of my all time favorites is L’Artisan’s Passage d’Enfer. I’ve been toying with Avignon and Cardinal, but based on Patty’s review, I ordered a sample of Unum Lavs. It’s just amazing — halfway through the sample I ordered a FB. June 9, 2015 at 12:56am Reply

        • Victoria: You’re making me even more curious about Unum Lavs, Tati. 🙂 June 9, 2015 at 9:17am Reply

  • Marsha: Your writing brings to mind such a vivid mental picture! I really enjoyed this review. I love incense and have Avignon but I agree with you. $600 is a bit much. You can get wonderful incense for much less. June 8, 2015 at 9:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, slightly too much for any perfume, unless we’re talking Apres L’Ondee extrait de parfum or something equally rare. 🙂

      Incense is not a difficult genre to work with, although it’s tricky to do a heavy incense without going either via the souk or the church. June 8, 2015 at 10:49am Reply

  • Bastet: For a very rich incense (and amber) I love TF Sahara Noir. This and SSS Incense Pure are my favorite incense perfumes. June 8, 2015 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, thank you for mentioning Sahara Noir. I should have made a note on it, but there are so many incenses today. It’s definitely a big, dark and heavy perfume, but it feels more radiant. It’s also expensive, but for once Tom Ford feels like a bargain in comparison to this high priced Lutens. June 8, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

    • limegreen: So glad you mentioned Sahara Noir — a tiny drop of SN is about all the incense I can handle!
      Volutes is lovely, more every weather wearable. June 8, 2015 at 11:28am Reply

      • Victoria: Volutes, especially the EDP, has a well-rounded incense note. Makes me think of Shalimar. June 9, 2015 at 9:53am Reply

  • rainboweyes: I love incense in scents as long as it’s not too overwhelming. I like Passage d’Enfer and Volutes but my Holy Grail is definitely Dzongkha. It’s more than just a scent to me as it will always remind me of my unforgettable journey to Bhutan ten years ago. June 8, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: How cool that it actually reminds you of Bhutan! I’d love to hear about this journey–how long did you spend there and what were your highlights? It sounds like an incredible place to visit. June 8, 2015 at 10:54am Reply

      • rainboweyes: Yes, Bhutan is an incredible and unique place to visit, almost every aspect of Bhutanese life and culture is a highlight – the great monasteries, “Gross National Happiness” being the country’s development philosophy, people having no surnames, everybody wearing their traditional dress – it’s like entering a completely different world. We spent only two weeks there but it was the most exciting vacation of my life. June 8, 2015 at 2:44pm Reply

        • Hamamelis: Thank you for sharing Rainboweyes. To dream about… June 9, 2015 at 3:39am Reply

          • rainboweyes: It was an unforgettable experience, our tour guide was an Austrian friend working for the Bhutanese government, so it was more than just a “tourist” trip. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to revisit one day to see how the country has changed…
            Btw I sent a comment to you in the coconut post, have you by any chance read it? June 9, 2015 at 7:40am Reply

            • Hamamelis: No! I did not see it, will have a look right away. I did not yet manage to get a subscription to the comments, will try a again. June 9, 2015 at 8:50am Reply

              • Victoria: I fixed a glitch with subscriptions to comments, so they should work now. But do check your spam folder just in case. June 9, 2015 at 9:03am Reply

                • Hamamelis: Great, it works now, it did end in my spam but I have declared it safe. June 9, 2015 at 9:09am Reply

            • Hamamelis: Now I read and answered it! June 9, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

        • Victoria: I dream of traveling there, and your comment stoked my curiosity even further. Thank you for sharing. June 9, 2015 at 10:00am Reply

  • Hannah: I know I had this on skin because I remember smelling it from my wrist, but I guess I must have rubbed my skin with a card (which I often do) because I remember it being very airy.
    Well anyway, I thought it was nice but didn’t stand out enough among all the other incense options.
    I also left the SL confused because the SA kept repeating the price and the fact that the bottle is black and gold like those were supposed to be selling points. She didn’t give my any reasons why it would be worth the cost, she simply just said it was the only SL that costs that much in an excited voice. June 8, 2015 at 11:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I laughed out loud reading your comment, because I’ve been around such SAs (not with this particular perfume, though). June 9, 2015 at 9:33am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Eccentricity, if you ask me. Sounds more like Lutens is finding a new scent for “sniffing” especially at the price and for what? June 8, 2015 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: I have a feeling that it’s just another way Shiseido is trying to embrace the market. It’s not easy to be profitable as a perfume company these days. June 9, 2015 at 9:53am Reply

  • Danaki: Easy does it for incense, when it comes to me, although I like smelling it in rooms too.

    For everyday, I can’t do more than Marni, but when the mood strikes, I spritz a bit of L’orpheline on my wrist to sniff from a sample I have.

    For some of us, that’s all we need. Hehehe June 8, 2015 at 11:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Marni is one of the best contemporary perfumes, and yes, for a light incense, it’s perfect. June 9, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

  • Emma: I feel L’incendiaire is more complex than just incense, I get plum, leather and wood, tar, I find it beautiful, to me it’s a little Boxeuses and Feminite in one and in pure parfum, however the incense and burnt notes are too prominent for me, I see L’incendiaire more on a man. I’m waiting for something a lot more feminine from the Section d’Or line, I want something very femme, I’ve enjoyed wearing vintage Adieu Sagesse and Narcisse Noir lately, because I love that perfumey sillage that lasts forever, these are true perfumes in their original formula. I hope Serge Lutens reads this, if his next pure parfum is a tuberose, let it be Fracas on steroids and I’ll buy it! I’m so bored, sick and tired of $300 unisex niche stuff that nobody compliments you on and Daisy So Fresh for 12 year old girls. June 8, 2015 at 11:49am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m with you on being frustrated with the overpriced niche offerings. For many brands, to enter the niche distribution means having to inflate their prices. There seems to be no other reason. June 9, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

  • The Scented Salon: There’s nothing I love more than a good incense fragrance. If I could choose one note to wear forever as perfume, I would probably choose incense. The reason is that when I was young, the smell of Orthodox incense made me so very relaxed. I have been looking for the same type of incense in a perfume every since to no avail.

    But there are some incense beauties out there: Black Cashmere (and its expensive dupe Myrrhe Imperiale) is dry incense; Incense Rose is a deep skanky rose incense; Encense Mythique d’Orient is a salty ambergris incense which is not smoky or dark at all; my unicorn Mitzah, which is the perfect frankincense; Mon Nom Est Rouge, an aromatic incense…and so many more.

    Of course, everyone’s favorite Ambre Sultan is the only incense you’d ever need. (The price is right too, so any incense lover that wants an affordable Serge incense has not far to look.) June 8, 2015 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Your list has so many different perfumes, for different moods and occasions. I really love it. June 9, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

  • Safran: I smelled a gorgeous incense scent last week in London, but unfortunately the price and exclusivity is in the same range, as the SL one. It was Armani Prive Sable Fume, at first it reminded me a bit of L’Ether by IUNX, then it turned into a golden and warm iris scent, wrapped in incense smoke. Just strong enough to keep it’s soft trail on skin for a whole day. Can’t describe it any better and I found the price ridiculous, but it was still very beautiful, sigh.
    Safran June 8, 2015 at 12:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: L’Ether by IUNX is fantastic, but I have only an old bottle, and I have no idea what it’s like today. What I have smells of burnished wood, sandalwood and incense, elegant and glowing. June 9, 2015 at 9:58am Reply

  • Safran: Oh, forgot the most important thing, I love your review! June 8, 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Ann: Off topic! But you mentioned another SL that I only recently tried–Iris Silver Mist. I think I fall into the category of folks too impatient to wade through the swamp to get to the flowers…. but my husband was more forgiving. He said it reminded him of JAR’s Lightening Bolt (No, I do not own it…we did the JAR sniff experience when we were in NYC last year)…which after I thought about it, was a pretty savvy link. The minerally opening morphing into a complex orris plus plus does seem similar if my memory is any good at all. Just curious about your thoughts on this if you’ve had a chance to try the JAR fragrance as well. June 8, 2015 at 1:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: I tried Lightening Bolt such a long time ago that I don’t remember it well. Somehow, I thought it was a tuberose. June 9, 2015 at 9:59am Reply

  • Richpot: Unum’s Lavs is what CDG’s Avignon wants to be when it grows up. Heavenly incense! June 8, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

    • Hannah: I haven’t tried LAVS and I don’t like Avignon, but I’ve seen this sentiment a few times and I don’t think it’s very apt. Avignon has always been less expensive than the fragrances it is compared to. Right now it is $95/50ml, or $1.90 per ml. LAVS is $220/100ml ($2.20 per ml). A decade ago Avignon was more like $45-65. Definitely less than $75, because I bought Ouarzazate for that much in 2011 and almost cried when I thought about how much it used to be. CDG has always embraced the synthetic and has had kind of an anti-perfume perfume image. I think CDG and Unum are actually supposed to be for two different kinds of consumers. June 8, 2015 at 3:24pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: I think an important difference is also that Lavs is an extrait de parfum, which would explain its more intense scent. June 8, 2015 at 3:30pm Reply

        • Hannah: Since I brought up the cost difference, I just want to make it clear that I’m not saying LAVS is overpriced. I’m saving Avignon is more like a conceptual smell, which may have more complexity than a Demeter fragrance but it isn’t intended to be an opulent luxurious perfume like, say, Bois d’Encens. People call CDG pretentious but if you go to a CDG Pocket store you can see how it actually totally strips away the pretentiousness associated with perfume. June 8, 2015 at 3:50pm Reply

          • Hamamelis: Thank you for clarifying! June 8, 2015 at 4:25pm Reply

          • Victoria: CdG doesn’t strike me as pretentious at all. Quirky, yes. Avant-garde, yes. Pretentious, not. That category can be filled up easily by other brands. June 9, 2015 at 10:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Another comment on Lavs. I definitely need to try it. June 9, 2015 at 10:00am Reply

  • Aurora: I loved your review: so well balanced. I would leave SL’s creation on its shelf, I’m afraid and am happy enough to have a bottle of Encens Flamboyant when I want to feel tranquil and centered or will burn some Autumn Leaves to permeate the house, recline on the sofa and dream. June 8, 2015 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Hamamelis: Encens Flamboyant is gorgeous! June 8, 2015 at 3:31pm Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Hamamelis, It is isn’t it? But it’s one of the scents I wear when I’m alone as my boyfriend doesn’t approve of it. I’ve been meaning to try Myrrhe Ardente and Ambre Fetiche from the same collection, do you know them? I also have a mini of Musc Nomade June 9, 2015 at 6:47am Reply

        • Hamamelis: Hi Aurora, yes, I have both Myrrhe Ardente and Ambre Fetiche, as a matter of fact I am wearing Ambre Fetiche today. Just a small drop because it is a potent scent. I love Ambre Fetiche, it is an incensy, warm, aromatic amber, and as it is cold here today, and I am still cold myself from a flue, it warms me. I also like Myrrhe Ardente very much, it is less easy to wear for me, it has a slight bitter note to my nose, and I need to be in the mood for it.
          Where do you live? I’ll gladly send you a sample of both if you live in the EU.
          I have yet to try Musc Nomade. How do you like that one?
          Annick Goutal is such a great house, I love that, at least creatively, it is run by women. My all time favourite is Heure Exquise, but I have many other AG’s I love. June 9, 2015 at 7:28am Reply

          • Aurora: I’m so sorry you had flu, these spring bugs can be very nasty. It’s an incredibly generous offer Hamamelis! I am in the UK (London) my email is [done]. If you could email me at your leisure and we can exchange addresses as I would like to send you samples too! June 9, 2015 at 10:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I also love Encens Flamboyant, as is the whole collection (Musc Nomade, Myrrhe, Ambre). Again, why did they discontinue it? June 9, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

      • Hamamelis: To my knowledge only Myrrhe is discontinued, which is a shame enough…the others are only available in the masculine bottle though. June 9, 2015 at 1:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: Gotcha! Myrrhe was my favorite, but I’m glad others are around. June 10, 2015 at 9:49am Reply

  • Alicia: Thank you for this splendid review, Victoria. As you say SL has so many masterpieces that it is impossible not to go to a new creation of his without great expectations. It happened to me with “Fille en Aiguilles”, an interesting fragrance, but far from entrancing. I gave my bottle to a friend who enjoys it. As for incense, I like very much much Armani, Bois d’incense, which I were on occasion, and delight so much in CDG Kyoto that I finished my bottle quite fast. Sorry to say that Avignon is too much like a Catholic church after high liturgy : I’ll never wear it. For s subtle note of incense I like very much Chanel #22. Thank you again for your review. June 8, 2015 at 4:47pm Reply

    • Bobbie: So glad to hear #22 mentioned! What a masterful use of the incense note! I might just go for a spritz of my vintage June 8, 2015 at 5:54pm Reply

      • Alicia: So glad, Bobbie, that you enjoy Chanel #22 with its incense note. I have forgotten to also mention a more dramatic perfume, perhaps because I haven’t worn it for quite a while. In this case the incense note takes some time to appear, but when it does it is glorious: FM Portrait of a Lady. June 9, 2015 at 12:19am Reply

    • Victoria: You mentioned Fille en Aiguilles and I realized that a sample has been sitting in my “to review” pile for ages, and I can’t bring myself up to revisit it. I smell it time to time, and I think that it’s an interesting perfume, but it doesn’t grab me. On the other hand, I much prefer it to Fourreau Noir (also Lutens), probably one of my least favorite fragrances, period. June 9, 2015 at 9:21am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I finished a full bottle of Fille and bought a new one. Alas, thinner. June 9, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

        • Victoria: I remember you mentioning it. I also found A La Nuit much thinner. I bought it again without smelling, and I was disappointed by the difference. But I grew to enjoy it anyway. June 10, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Fille is not bad either, but it was more interesting in the past. June 10, 2015 at 10:51am Reply

            • Victoria: Another friend mentioned that it changed. Too bad. June 11, 2015 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Michaela: Excellent review. Again! 🙂
    I’m not into incense scents and I might be off topic with this one, but I liked SL Gris Clair a lot as a summery cool incense. June 9, 2015 at 6:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. Gris Clair is a very nice incense. You’re also reminding me of Encens et Lavande, another Lutensian incense. June 9, 2015 at 9:17am Reply

  • Karen: Eeek! $600 is a lot of money for a bottle of perfume (well, for most anything!). Especially if it does not transport you to a place of unquestionable beauty, grace – and that intangible quality of transcending the ordinary. For a really long time.

    While incense isn’t a note I crave regularly, Incense Rose and Sahara Noir both fill that occaisional fix for me. June 9, 2015 at 6:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it has to be something pretty darn special at that price, and L’Incendiaire isn’t.

      I have a sample of Sahara Noir, and it’s enough for my occasional dark incense cravings. Interestingly enough, it works best on a hot day and feels unexpectedly refreshing. June 9, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

      • Karen: Yes! I only have a sample (or two??) of Sahara Noir and wear it only in the hot and humid summer. Initially thought it was just out of rebelliousness (only wear light, easy fragrances in the summer is the conventional approach) – but maybe it’s the concept of the desert or something?? June 9, 2015 at 6:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: I remember during my travels in the Gulf how natural and right these heavy, dense perfumes felt, even during the 45C weather. Makes you realize that the way people selected the basis for the perfume accords wasn’t random at all. June 10, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

  • Annikky: I am an anomaly among niche perfume lovers, as I’m not a huge fan of incense. Or to be more precise: I love many perfumes with an incense note, but the ones that focus on incense are usually not among my favourites. I think Jaisalmer is my favourite real incense scent and I like Trayee a lot, too, but not sure if it would qualify as a incense fragrance. June 9, 2015 at 9:11am Reply

    • Annikky: *an incense fragrance June 9, 2015 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: At least around here, this seems to be a common pattern. Straight up incenses are not easy, especially since frankincense has many strong associations for people (and not just for Catholics). I usually prefer the scent of incense in the air, and I love burning pure frankincense tears, but on my skin, like many others mentioned, my favorite incenses mix this note with something else–woods, flowers, musk, moss.

      Trayee qualifies as an incense to me, since it contains so much of it. And woods, and spice, but it’s balanced to emphasize the woody facets June 9, 2015 at 9:27am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I am catholic and don’t mind that Bois d’Encens reminds me of a church. On the contrary. June 9, 2015 at 11:22am Reply

        • Hamamelis: I am not from a catholic family, but love church incense. My niece (also not catholic), 12 years old, went to a ‘koorschool’ where besides the normal curriculum they had music every day, and she sang masses in the Haarlem cathedral. A few weeks ago her choir went to Rome, and they sang for the pope! There was a nice picture of it in a newspaper. Such a brave girl, on a hot day, in her choir attire in the st Peter. June 9, 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Such musical education is a treasure. Your niece will be grateful for this as long as she lives. June 9, 2015 at 2:07pm Reply

          • Victoria: Impressive! Congratulations to her. She must be feeling very happy. June 10, 2015 at 9:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Incense reminds me of church too, but I also don’t mind it at all. It’s a nice association, but usually I still prefer to smell it around me, rather than directly on my skin.

          Churches or temples perfumed with incense are some of my favorite places to visit when I travel. June 10, 2015 at 9:43am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Hi Annikky, just off topic, to let you know I am enjoying the Winter Queen tremendously, very good reading when having the flue. Erast Fandorin just survived because of his Lord Byron! June 9, 2015 at 12:25pm Reply

      • Annikky: So glad you’re enjoying this! It does make for excellent reading when you’re unwell: it’s so easy to read and like, not too demanding, but not stupid, either. And that corset was an excellent touch 🙂 June 9, 2015 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Safran: Another incense scent I like a lot, is Sideris from Maria Candida Gentile. It’s soft, woody, sweet-ish and very calm(ing). June 10, 2015 at 1:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it either, so something else interesting for me to try. Thank you! June 11, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

  • noele: ‘If, on the other hand, you want to be smothered in incense while remaining financially solvent’ – ha!

    As always, I love reading your honest reviews!

    I found the marketing material on the Lutens site overly gimmicky and fluffy, which put me off wanting to try the fragrance personally.

    Like the commenter before me, I too really love Sideris by Maria Candida Gentile. It errs a bit on the sweeter side but it feels more ethereal and light than most incenses I know. June 10, 2015 at 6:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: The unfortunate thing is that many other niche houses began to blindly copy that style of press releases. It barely works in Lutens’s case, but when done by others, it fails completely. June 11, 2015 at 1:32pm Reply

  • SHMW: I got an unexpected chance to try this and was blown away. I find it beautiful and haunting. On me this is both subtle and full of shifts and changes and on different wearings it seems to play out in many different ways. I have to say this is about as far from a relentless Bollywood blockbuster as I can imagine and I find your review strange because although online reviews are all over the place the one common theme does seem to be its low projection or sillage.
    I was wondering if you had a chance to try this again or if you just tried it the once.
    Most reviews and comments concentrate on the the price and I suppose this is understandable. I would never consider paying this price for a perfume but I have to say that when I got the chance to test l’incendiaire for the first time I fully understood the hype and the high expectations that surround this line even thoughI really like (and have) several SL as well as the original FdeB – for me this is the ultimate, utterly perfect, Lutens. Shame about the price. October 2, 2017 at 7:41am Reply

    • Victoria: This perfume most definitely doesn’t have low presence. In fact, it’s such a potent blend that its effect is like a very loud noise that leaves you unable to hear anything. It’s a common problem with ambery woods, ambers, and musks and other similar materials. I still have a blotter of it on my bedroom that I sprayed last month at the boutique, and it perfumes my whole room. To me, it’s beautiful, but it lacks nuance to be completely enjoyable on skin. Even it cost less, my opinion still would remain the same. October 2, 2017 at 8:48am Reply

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