When Alice first arrives in the foyer of Wonderland, she drinks from a small bottle in order to become small enough to enter through the locked door. That potion "had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast."
This is the olfactory effect one gets from Jeux de Peau, a jumble of gourmand notes that smell deliciously decadent - the maple syrup intensity of the fenugreek immortelle, the yeasty opulence of buttered bread, the suggestion of steaming coffee, the sweetness of apricot jam. One gains pounds within the first few minutes.
Once it all settles down, one is happy for the experience. It is doubtful however if one wishes to smell like breakfast in a patisserie for hours on end. It's a very clever and fun creation, but like most gourmand fragrances, its function as a wearable scent is almost an after-thought.
Full marks for creativity though!
Jeux de Peau smells – at first – like the air in a food product preparation lab, where the air swirls with all kinds of flavor molecules added to enhance our perception of what we’re actually eating.
I don’t think Jeux de Peau is foody per se (because it is not something that tempts me to eat it), but I do think it relies heavily on food aromachemical notes to produce it overall effect. I smell cylotene, a molecule that tastes of slightly burned maple syrup, bread, and coffee beans and is often added to real maple syrup to enhance the flavor/smell, and pyrazines, synthesized molecules responsible for the very intense smell of coffee, chocolate, woods, and bread brought to burning point under intense heat.
Like other pyrazine-rich perfumes, such as Aomassai, Un Bois Vanille, and Eau Noire, the effect in Jeux de Peau is intensely aromatic to the point where it can smell somewhat overcooked, or burned to a crisp, and like those other perfumes, a licorice or anise note has been added to underscore the deep “black” nuances.
The butyric undertone to the sandalwood is taken to the limits here, so it smells both richly oily and more than a little rancid, like a butter dish left out to fester under a hot lamp. When the toasted bread notes meet the buttery oilslick, the effect is unhealthy in that doughy, yeasty way that always reminds me of when a businessman slips off his loafers on a plane – that steamy odor of slightly-cooked feet pervading a closed-in space, always the same regardless of how spotless his socks, shoes, or feet actually are. The opening of Jeux de Peau forces that same unwanted intimacy on me, and I fight through it, gnashing my teeth until the intensity dissipates somewhat.
In the heart, the overly rich, stale butter notes are cut with a dash of salt, which I think is coming from a very herbal licorice or anise note, and the grassy, spicy tones of immortelle. The savory notes are perfectly balanced here by a delicious and delicate apricot jam accord (osmanthus flower), as well as the gentler milk tones coming out from the sandalwood. The sandalwood in this is just incredible – sweet and salty, richly, brownly aromatic, like an ancient elephant figurine carved from Mysore sandalwood held up to a fire to bring out the aroma hidden deep within its fibers.
Burned toast and butter, you say?
No, Jeux de Peau smells more complex than toast and butter. It also smells a lot less natural. The combined effect is a blur of intense flavor impressions that attract and repel at the same rate. I think it is high art. I am just not convinced that I want to wear it.
This skin scent is very unusual : decadent and sensual, warming and comforting. It took me a while to tame it but I got there.
To me, this is pecan pie, and maple syrup poured on French toast/sandal wood/warm skin, twisted with coconut. Oh, and Sauternes.
Jeux de Peau is a great composition of resinous and woodsy notes in a very interesting way plus a funny vegetable kind of feel that I will explain later why I'm calling it funny!
At the opening I can smell a mellow and delicious milky, sweet and oily resinous scent plus some bright woods and a very dry coconuty smell and that strange and funny vegetable kind of feel mixed with it.
About that funny vegetable feel that I told you ...
There is a very famous and very popular stew, local of my country (Persian folks) made from mix of chopped and fried different type of vegetables, lamb's meat, beans and some dried lime pieces that we serve it with rice!
This vegetable kind of aura in this fragrance smells exactly like that stew which makes me laugh!
After a while that vegetable aura goes away and scent gets slightly sweeter. it's still milky and sweet but resinous, slightly woody and kind of bitter at the same time.
In the base the sweetness settles down and I can smell a dry bitter, resinous and woodsy smell in a mellow way which is very beautiful. it's slightly earthy as well, but not too much.
Projection is above average and completely noticeable and longevity is around 5-6 hours on my skin.
A great and very interesting different scent.
I only sampled five of Serge Luten perfumes; they seem all very personal scents. They seem almost for your olfactory pleasure only. I guess you will be disappointed if you want to announce your presence since they seem very low scale in sillage. Jeux de peau smells like buttered pastry. The scent on blotter just stayed on and on after three days. In the end, butteriness wasn't there anymore but changed into something ambery.
When my 10yo daughter and I went to Mecca cosmetica in New Market to sample Serge Luten perfumes they had, this one was my daughter's favourite. She had a blotter in her p.j pocket for three days and would sniff before going to bed.
I sometimes wonder, if children can have acquired taste on things like green veggies when they get fed healthy and balanced diets of veggies/fruit/lean meat from early age, they surely must be able to be trained to pick quality scent if they were given really nice fragrance to use such as Serge Luten. Well, if we can afford, I mean. :)