Perfume Directory

Baptême du Feu (2016)
by Serge Lutens

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Baptême du Feu information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 17 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
PerfumerChristopher Sheldrake
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Baptême du Feu

Baptême du Feu is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 2016 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Reviews of Baptême du Feu

I have no idea what this is about when I smell it. It's smoky, powdery, sweet, spicy, woody, floral. It's everything at once. A gorgeous pot pourri. I love it. Longevity is good but sillage is average.
28th April, 2017
I was underwhelmed by this scent. I think it could have been much more interesting. The "scorched mandarin peel" and gunpowder should have produced a smokey, mineral note like fireworks. Not really any of that. Gingerbread + osmanthus should be a tea-and-cake chord... barely that. No animalic notes that I can see, nor any wood.
The main element is the osmanthus: a green-white floral, a bit like jasmine with a peach note in the background. Oddly metallic. A slight toasted note lurked in the far edges.
Different and unusual -- sort of. But not all that intriguing.
13th November, 2016
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
These type of fragrances I find hard to describe.

Dark red juice containing facets of boiled fruit sweets, cinnamon, ginger all enveloped in a cold, icy dryness.

You can never accuse Serge Lutens of being bland.

I think I love it.
08th November, 2016
It’s the final moments before the band appears on stage. I’m right at the front and I can feel the tension in the air as the crowd pulsates restlessly behind me. We’ve all been waiting too long and now it feels like something is about to happen. I taste metal in my mouth. The air crackles with the peppery smell of dry ice. Through it all, I can smell the aftershave of the man next to me and I wonder if he’s wearing Insensé, because it’s sharp but also floral. I don’t know whether I feel threatened or excited.

This is what Baptême du Feu smells like to me.

Technically, my nose tells me it’s a curl of orange peel smoking on a Bunsen burner, overlaid with a dry, grey haze of gunpowder. But the atmosphere the perfume creates is more than the sum of its parts. There’s a dry, throat-catching quality to the pepper and ginger that feels like it might burn your lungs if you inhale too deeply. There is both ash and metal floating in this strange mixture, like the aftermath of an industrial accident.

The gunpowder calls to mind bonfires, fairgrounds, and dark clubs vibrating with sexual promise and danger. It’s a gun or a round of fireworks freshly discharged, and the tense moment right after when people don’t know how to react.

In a way, Bapteme du Feu reminds me a bit of 540 Baccarat Rouge, if only in its strange, sweet-peppery supersonic radiance that is actually very hard to define in words. 540 Baccarat Rouge is supposed to smell like crushed rubies, and successful or not (I say not), it does manage to put across something of that very abstract idea.

Bapteme du Feu is similarly abstract. Whether it succeeds or not depends less on its technical construction and more on the feeling it is able to summon up inside of each individual wearer. It’s a half of a perfume, then, just lying there waiting to be picked up and made into something whole by you supplying the other half of the equation: your imagination. In me, it conjures up a memory of a club or the excitement I felt when standing in the center of a press of bodies, dry ice flowing around me. This vision is half me, half the perfume.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere captured so vividly in the topnotes does not hold together for very long. The fragrance starts to fade out into a very sweet, almost candied note, exposing a standard chemical exoskeleton, the usual base I’d expect from a designer perfume, not a niche one (although I’m getting used to that too).

On the upside, it’s nowhere near the level of Iso E Super or Ambroxan pain I suffer in stuff like Sauvage or even Lutens’ own L’Orpheline. It’s comfortably worked in, whatever it is. I just think that it’s too plain a material – this radiance-giving molecule – to carry a perfume like this all the way.

I’m not sure that Bapteme du Feu is quite the return to form that people were hoping for from Oncle Serge, but it’s as strange and as atmospheric as some of his earlier work such as Mandarin Mandarine and La Myrrhe. Running counter to what many people expect from a Lutens, it has no syrupy, dried-fruit sweetness at all. It is as bone dry as Chene or Gris Clair, with a side of burnt orange peel. Despite the ginger note, there is no relation to 5 O’ Clock Au Gingembre beyond a sharp, citrusy aftershave-like nuance I pick up in both.

I recommend at least a sample to see if your imagination provides the spark that lights this particular tube of gunpowder. I think it’s an interesting, slightly challenging perfume that doesn’t go out of its way to be sweet or playful or even particularly pleasing. And in the face of so many dull and commercially pretty fragrances out there, this makes Bapteme du Feu a Good Thing indeed.
28th October, 2016
I'm really enjoying my sample, but unfortunately I don't get longevity at all....Pretty much gone by lunch time. I definitely get the burnt orange and the gingerbread and LOVE it! Will enjoy this over the holidays for sure!
20th October, 2016
While I think Serge still has some major cleaning up to do following the utter mess he's made over the last few years, there's a faint echo of the line's apex here. Some of the weird, winey, fruity, woody-gourmands like Chene and Chergui are mirrored here, but it's closer to Xerjoff's Red Hoba than anything — only several decibels lower. For the first ten minutes it smells like chewy cinnamon candy — a touch mentholated for ventilation (think red vines, only less saccharine and more rich). A slight cosmetic floral effect is mapped onto a tame cashmeran for a creamy, velvety texture. After the opening fades away (very fast, unfortunately), that's really what you're left with: a savory take on cinnamon candy masquerading as a plush albeit diaphanous fabric. While it does get your attention, it doesn't hold it for long.
01st October, 2016

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