When I was a kid, I went to piano lessons at a convent in New Zealand, which was covered in jasmine. When I opened this bottle of A La Nuit, I was instantly transported back to when I was 6 years of age, and attending that convent for my lessons. The opening is such a fresh real scent! Unfortunately, jasmine scent - much like many white-flower scents - ends up smelling a bit old-ladyish on me, which drives me away from it. Unusually for an SL fragrance, there seems to be few other notes to investigate, but I am leaving it on for a while to see what develops. Perhaps I should layer it with La Religieuse (which I utterly adore!) and see how I get on ... :)
I decided to try A La Nuit after reading various blogs and articles about Indolic perfumes. The name kept popping up and it piqued my curiosity since, though I've probably smelled indolic scents, I'm not sure I could identify which ones are or aren't. So, I bought a sample based on the name alone, without even knowing what was in this. I assumed it was either jasmine or other white florals of some kind - I just wanted to see what made this different from other white florals. If it truly was 'dirty' or 'fecal'...
Right off the bat, it's a very powerful scent. A sweet and smoky burst of jasmine, accompanied by pleasant green notes. I'm still not sure I understand indoles, but what I do get out of A La Nuit is a very believable, deep floral experience. It's like sniffing actual jasmine in a dewy, grassy field. But those green, grassy notes quickly dissipate and it develops into something much sultrier.
Whew, there's that smoke again! I can tell it's the cloves causing the back of my throat to tingle, because it's exactly the same sensation as being around second-hand smoke from clove cigarettes. (Which luckily reminds me of my late teens, hanging around in clovey smoke-filled concert venues). That smoky quality also dies down a little bit, and leaves just a lingering trail of smoke and spice, like an incense stick burning out. Ahh...
If this indeed features indoles, fear not - this isn't fecal at all. Is it 'dirty'? Well, maybe in the way that soil can have a rich, pleasing earthy scent. Also worth noting - various types of African/Indian jasmine were used in this composition, and it shows. It's absolutely exotic and fascinating.
The first moment I sprayed this, I got scared that I wouldn't enjoy it because of an odd watery synthetic smell, but that was gone in seconds and what was left was a near-perfect recreation of the smell of blooming jasmine. It grows wild in Italy and Croatia so the smell transported me vividly to memories of being there. It lasted forever too. I easily got over 12 hours and a lot of those hours were projecting pretty strongly. This is fresh, bright jasmine and seemed pretty much linear on me aside for a gentle softening over time--the vanilla in the base never becomes too noticeable. Very feminine but I'm confident enough with my masculinity that I wouldn't feel too uncomfortable wearing a very gentle touch of it out of the house. Needless to say though, stay far away if you want to smell masculine or if you're a man and want to blend in. Any woman who loves florals would smell great wearing this.
└ la Nuit is a sweet indolic jasmine scent with a certain intense clarity about its structure. It shares this clear, focused character with two other Sheldrake-Lutens floral compositions: Un Lys and Sa MajestÚ la Rose, but the more potent indoles in its jasmine make it a more heady, decadent, and indulgent perfume. └ la Nuit rests on a sweet vanillic base that's common among Lutens fragrances, but this version is less oppressively viscous than some of the house's heavier orientals. └ la Nuit is one of the more enjoyable jasmine soliflores I've tried, especially because it displays plenty of depth without becoming cloying.
I have not had much success with Serge Lutens but ordered a sample of this and received it today, opening it with great expectation due to so many positive reviews. I have wonderful jasmine in my yard that is blooming and wanted a fragrance that captured the sweet, heady fragrance. Unfortunately, A la Nuit falls far short for me. Instead of sweet I get sharp, instead of light I get dark and musty. I smell something like lime and old gardenia mixed with a burnt popcorn aroma. I think it could be that the base used in Serge Lutens is simply not compatible with my skin chemistry as the scent in the sample does smell better.