Exactly what it says on the label - a simple, dry, transparent accord of lavender and frankincense - Encens et Lavande finds Christopher Sheldrake dabbling in Bertrand Duchaufour’s métier. It’s certainly unlike almost anything else in the Serge Lutens lineup. Absent are the candied fruit, syrupy amber, and deep spices that define so much of the Lutens/Sheldrake oeuvre. And where the other Serge Lutens lavender, Gris Clair, is cold, stark, astringent, and even moderately confrontational, Encens et Lavande is warm, soft, and comforting. The only ornaments on Encens et Lavande’s spare frame are a brisk and short-lived lemon top note and base notes of powdery woods and very dry vanilla underpinning the frankincense during the drydown.
Simple as the composition is, its progress from opening to drydown is very much linear. Encens et Lavande endures for several hours on the skin, though its sillage and projection are relatively moderate – especially by the bold standards of this house. In its lean profile and modest weight Encens et Lavande stakes out new territory for Serge Lutens as a brand. On the other hand, it doesn’t necessarily extend the realm of incense or lavender fragrances in any exciting directions. Next to Gris Clair or Vero Kern’s peculiar Kiki, Encens et Lavande is an unadventurous lavender, and next to compositions like Dzongkha, Black Tourmaline, L’Homme Sage, Jubilation XXV, or Zagorsk, its incense is just, well, plain. It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s worth a trip to Paris.
The cool receding hues of lavender against the sunny uplifting warmth of frankincense. Had the lavender last a while longer, this would have been a marriage made in heaven. As it stands, this feels like a snuggle at the end of the day in a typically comfy 'dual income, no kids' arrangement. Soothing indeed.
This is a wonderful blend of natural essences, resulting in transparency, delicacy. I generally have problems with lavender in fragrances but this one does not smell synthetic at all.
The head note, a stunning imaginary lavender accord, made of juniper, rosemary, angelica.
The true lavender comes later, she expresses progressively on the heart, warming up by incense. A very pure incense, not mixed, aerial and haunting.The clary sage shades the fragrance throughout the evolution; developing an ash impression, woody, dry and rich.
The notes dynamic is fascinating, at first dreamy, voluptuous then ashy and darker. No need to add that i consider it to be a masterpiece.
Update : this fragrance is totally ruined in its actual form. Really bad reformulation happened recently, now it's a poor synthetic "barber soap" lavender ... The mysterious aura and authentic lavender smelling are unfortunately gone ! I cherrish my old bottle more than never, as it was my favourite lavender...
06th December, 2010 (last edited: 15th September, 2012)
Serge Lutens' Encens et Lavande is a precious exercise in simplicity and serenity by Christopher Sheldrake on a lavender and incense themed eau de parfum. Buying one of Lutens' exclusive creations at Les Salons du Palais Royal is a pleasant and interesting experience in itself, and should be on every perfume aficionados to-do list whenever visiting Paris. Given the rather straightforward and simple theme of this perfume, it's the sheer craftsmanship en high quality ingredients that provide this composition with its flawless and delicate dynamism. The simple esthetic of Lutens' bell shaped bottle and its glass stopper add to the haute parfumerie feel and experience of this perfume. Encens et Lavande, that Lutens himself describes as transparent mystery, opens with a lovely warm impression of fresh blooming lavender; stems, leaves and flowers. It gradually moves from a herbaceous green top-, to a somewhat soapy lavender heart-, into a balsamic incense inspired base note. Encens et Lavande is all about softness and simplicity and thus whispers its very name to us. Hence this perfume is clearly focussing on inspiring its wearer with its introvert beauty, instead of impacting its environment with extravert brash. All in all Encens et Lavande makes for a serene, soothing and somewhat private perfume experience.
On me, the opening is incense, cold and dark. Tarry notes have a dreaded bottom-of-a-cold ashtray effect, but thankfully that doesn't last too long. Dry herbs bring a measure of relief in the heart; effect at this point is almost medicinal. Lavender is the last note to fully emerge. It's odd: I know that the concept of "masculine" and "feminine" scents is largely subjective, and I've never thought of lavender as a masculine scent before. Lavender essential oil was one of my favorite scents to wear long before I was ever interested in perfume as such. But the lavender here is strongly masculine in my mind, even as it gets sweeter and sweeter. This impression is so strong that when I sniff it I almost feel as if a stranger were standing behind me -- a man whose scent is much too sweet. Very odd. I will re-test this one, but right now I can't see myself every feeling comfortable in it. It's interesting though, and I respect it.
03rd October, 2009 (last edited: 19th October, 2009)