The more I wear this one, the more I fall in love. I find it more interesting than beautiful, though. For a perfume that lists so many comforting notes - cocoa, rose petals, sandalwood, and so on - Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens avoids falling into the trap of being overly comfortable or plush. What I mean is that it is full of accords that pull and push against each other, creating an interesting tension that keeps you on your toes for much of the ride.
The opening is dense to the point of sensory overload. It takes some getting used to, but once it clicks, it becomes as addictive as a drug. There is a strong boozy cocoa note interacting so violently with a jammy red rose that it almost conjures up a phantom note of coffee – aromatic, dark, rich. The first few times I tried it, the opening always seemed too intense for my tastes - too syrupy, too aromatic, too something.....but then I found myself going back for more, like a moth to a flame.
After the opening, the push and pull begins. The sour, lactic tang of the sandalwood clashes with the syrupy sweetness of the rose; the bitter dustiness of the dark cocoa stands off against the oiliness of the wood; these contrasting notes and textures rub up against each and then pull apart again in the most interesting ways possible. It is full of these little tensions, some of which are still unresolved by the time we get to the creamy, woodsy base.
I think that Santal Majuscule, like Chanel’s gorgeous Bois des Iles, is an artistic reconstruction of the Mysore sandalwood smell without using the real thing itself. It uses the different textures and angles of the rose, cocoa, and woody notes to stand in for the varied range of tones you get in real Mysore sandalwood – rosy, woody, syrupy, dusty, milky, sour, sweet, and oily. At the base, there is a wonderful creamy woodiness, relieved only by a touch of fruity rose, reminding me nothing so much as one of those delicate, creamy Indian puddings that taste oddly floral with rosewater and saffron.
It works on almost every level. My one complaint is that most of the exciting intensity is packed into the first two or three hours of the scent, with the long drydown a more pedestrian affair of creamy, rosy woods. I find the beginning of Santal Majuscule so addictive that I have to stop myself from spraying it over and over again every few hours to replay it. Gorgeous, compelling stuff nonetheless, and one I will be wearing a lot of this autumn.
Wow was my first impression of this gorgeous fragrance from Serge Lutens. It opens with a totally captivating beautiful rose note blended in with soft sandalwood. Throughout you can pickup hints of powdery cocoa though the rose dominants.
What I love about the rose here is that it's very bright and a little sweet and almost fruity smelling. Very addictive I must say.
The longevity and projection are very good with this one. This is a very beautiful romantic fragrance that smells absolutely great.
Nice resinous opening, sticky and velvety on a somptuous, dense sandalwood note, with cocoa notes and an overall hint of "oiliness" – one of Lutens' signature features (and the one I enjoy the least, to be honest). It has a deeply nostalgic and romantic note which I can not figure out clearly, a floral, really classic accord, perhaps violet. Must say this is probably my personal favorite among Lutens' "Santal" range. Majuscule shows an ethereal, graceful, powdery floral note which I really enjoy a lot, and which enlightens and makes the whole blend irresistibly gentle and pleasant – so finally, the "syrupy" personality which I could not come to like in Mysore, is a bit more restrained here. The sandalwood is treated in a really bright and pleasant way, it has not a fixed shape but it's rather wrapped in a "web" made of several notes and accords that enhance and enlighten all its facets. So the sandalwood is kind of anywhere, and nowhere at the same time, it's a really nice structure, the flowers, the resins, the spices interplay with the nuances and the facets of sandalwood, emphasizing or contrasting them. Speaking of "smell" itself it's basically a less sweet, less syrupy Santal de Mysore, with on the contrary, some more earthy and darker echoes. After a while it progressively dries, and the sandalwood emerges in a more compact shape, still dense and resinous and of course beautifully aromatic. The floral notes vanish and it all turns into a woody, warm, still a bit sticky scent, with a dusty hint of tobacco. I bet Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse quite liked this one. Personally my ideal cup of tea when it comes to sandalwood is still more on the Santal Noble side, more masculine, simple, dry, still soft and plushy but a bit more "classic" and traditional and as less syrupy as possible, but Santal Majuscule is surely one of the nicest and most fascinating interpretations of this theme on the market.
Serge Lutens - Santal Majuscule
The first sniff is rose-petals with some cool spicy cardamom and coriander, the orangey of orangeblossom and some peach-plum note that makes it moist. After 10 min, for me this smells like Allure pour Homme after an hour. This first part got a blurry and misty feel to it, it feels like it was made with too much haste. There is a strange note that smells like cutting cold cucumber with a hot knife. The rose-note grows stronger and gets more shinny due to the fruity-floral aldehydes and it also gets a slight peppery, oily quality too it- and somehow I get a wood glue-note. When the sandelwood kicks in and meets the rose it creates the illusion of chocolate, a gourmand-touch, together with a juicy note of an almost empty glass of wine, smelled the day after. Also just before the sandelwood dominates there is a soft banana-note that fades quickly. After this a highly fruity and floral aldehydal-mix starts to take effect which spoils the rose-sandelwood balance. Before this the oiliness of both the rose and the sandelwood fitted each other and made it harmonic.
Somehow the sandelwood never gets a chance to step out of this cloud of synthetics and breathes on its own. A missed chance cause I heard they used 3 different kind of sandelwoods in its base.
I get an annoyed nose from this perfume, it really irritates it to the extend that Santal becomes repulsive. I think its a really unworthy perfume in the SL-line and one that easily can be forgotten. Its gives the impression that it was made with too little time, attention and a weak, unoriginal vision. It just relies too much on the safeness of the Sheldrake-Lutens scent-signature. My thumb points just too much downwards...
28th April, 2014 (last edited: 04th May, 2014)
When I first sprayed Santal Majuscule on my wrist, it reminded me of a fall day, chilly and hanging out with friend next to a fire place. It definitely smells very boozy and cozy. It is very well blended and I love it. I don't know if I can pull off wearing it here in Florida. With the intense heat we get maybe I can wear it at night. Definitely not a day fragrance IMO. It is definitely one of my favorite Serge Lutens.
I can tell that rose is an element of the opening accord, but I cannot pick out the rose note per se – I smell it only in combination. The opening accord that I get includes most of the elements in the fragrance: rose, tonka bean, rosewood, and sandalwood, and Santal Majuscule makes little pretense about its linearity. And it is linear both in aroma and intensity, which makes it an easy decision for purchasing – if one like the smell and impact of it in the first couple minutes, he/she will likely enjoy the performance and smell of it all the way through. Toward the end, the rose does lessen in intensity and the cocoa note strengthens, but the basic wood accord that appeared in the opening flash remains pretty much the same all the way through. As for the wood note, I don’t get very much sandalwood; it is much more of a rosewood fragrance, so if you don’t care for rosewood, you probably won’t like this one. As for me, rosewood is one of my favorites, but I was unsure of the rosewood sweetened by tonka emanations. I purchased Santal Majuscule anyway and I find myself wearing it more often than I thought I would.