Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Chêne by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 54
At first sniff, without much concentration, this smells like cedar chips. Fairly generic. But sniffing harder and letting it mature, it is more complex than that. Pepper, spices, I like one reviewer's description of an Autumn night. Sitting at home in early October with the windows open, letting in the cool brisk air, I smell the comparison.
02nd October, 2017

The scent of autumn when enjoy watching the beautiful sunset and after it when you can see blue grey twilight over the darkening lake.for lovers of natural woody perfumes,you should definitely try this one.there is a marvelous breadth of oak,cedar,birch and rum to delight your nose.unisex but in a masculine way.Enchanting,Classy,Sophisticated,Warm, Unusual,Leathery and Refined.

starts with a nice blend of caraway and softens to a mildly spicy blend of woods.the rum and Tonka bean adds warmth without rests on a oak,cedar base interlaced with a perfect balance of birch and beeswax into an enveloping fragrance that is genuinely unique.bitter/sweet scent gives you feel like comfort her during sadness until she dry her tears with your embrace.suits the autumn mood best.

Sillage?Heavy to Moderate.

Longevity?Very Good on my skin.

05th September, 2016
This could easily have been named "Certainly Cedar," as it is to my nose a quite linear and solitary exploration of Lutens' favorite wood note. This despite the translation of its name meaning "Oak."

There is an odd combination of sweet and bitter here, which could be the result of the birch tar and sap working against the beeswax and tonka. An interesting balance is thus achieved between two different olfactory exposures to freshly sawn wood, as in a lumber mill.

In any case it would certainly prove attractive to lovers of wood scents, but taken on its own, it is not complex or interesting enough of a composition to appeal to the general public.
07th June, 2016
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Edited Review:

Okay, so my edited review is going to be pretty schizophrenic from my original review of Chene. I wore it about a year ago and immediately didn't like it. Now, almost a year later, I wore it and had a completely opposite response. Weird, I know. Once again, my untrained nose has learned a new trick. I picked up so many wonderful notes wearing Chene this time. I'm so excited to find a wood fragrance that is so decidedly different from my beloved conifers, but so enjoyable as well. I have to say I was completely wrong in my initial assessment of Chene. It is complex in it's composition, yet wears in a very linear fashion. I didn't notice a lot of change, but the combination of notes is quite diverse and combine to make an enjoyable linear wear. I smell the birch and oak, rum, beeswax and sap notes. A wonderful fragrance that I now want. That's the bad part I guess is another expensive purchase, but It's too nice to pass on. I'm happy to say I was wrong initially. Chene is a keeper for sure...

18th May, 2016 (last edited: 06th April, 2017)
The opening of Chene is remarkable, even memorable in my opinion. It's a surprisingly vibrant, realistic woody accord, the woodiest of them all, with a lot of nuances; fresh, sweet, radiant, balsamic, much spicy and with a nice green-herbal accord which increases the "green-balsamic-aromatic" factor - a "culinary" type of herbal notes as in some other Lutens' scents (here is thyme). The wood accord is different from pretty much any other I've ever smelled so far: it's really, really aromatic and rich, on the cedar-oak side with a hint of warm sweetness provided by sandalwood. Overall it has a peculiar sort of lively and vibrant freshness, like the invigorating smell of a freshly cut trunk of wood. So no smoky, dark, dry or "aged" woods, just real pure wood. A subtle pollen-resinous breeze (almost caramelised, with rooty and sweet nuances of licorice and honey - I guess this is all due to immortelle) completes the "landscape" of coniferous woods. Pretty much it, I think I smell only a couple of other slight notes that enhance different facets of the woody accord – green notes on one side, spices on the other (cardamom, but to me also juniper and a light cloves note). A really simple scent yet complex and cleverly composed, fascinating and powerful, evocative and sharp, incredibly natural yet incredibly "clean" somehow. And totally refined. Perhaps its martial linearity can turn into monotone staticity, but its "basic" and organic coziness is pure class and charme.

22nd October, 2014
It has honestly taken me a long time to fall for Chêne. I usually like wood scents, but Chêne has a weird sweetness and not-so-subtle funk that never really spoke to me until recently. Perhaps I just needed to wear it on a particularly nice day, but now I’m enjoying it.

So what does it smell like? Oak, mostly. There’s a standard oak note in niche perfumes (especially the Duchoufour L’Artisans) that’s almost exaggeratedly dry and very dusty – this isn’t that. Instead, it’s more like moist tree bark. There are undertones of maple syrup, moss, and fresh earth, with a fairly strong leathery sweaty note in there as well. There’s a hard-to-place red sweetness (maybe berries or cedar) that hints at red wine, though Chêne smells to me more like a grove of trees than a winery.

24th September, 2014
This boozy woody fragrance is one you have to try. Reminds me a lot of Gucci Pour Homme. Wood and tree sap mixed with a cognac drink is what I get from this. Sounds strange, but that's what I get.8.5/10
19th July, 2014 (last edited: 07th October, 2016)
"analogy" is like when you're just getting on a new car and smelled the leather holstery blended with the fine oak panel board and oak steering wheel with cup of whiskey held in an oak cup board and this oak appropriated is the finest set up in this new high class luxurious beautiful...
21st June, 2014 (last edited: 24th June, 2014)
Genre: Woods

Chêne is dry, woody, mossy, and just a bit astringent: a real walk in the forest. No extra syrup either, just the natural sweetness of cured oak logs, plus lots of herbs and lots of booze. The oak note in Chêne is beyond real, its hallucinogenic. Repeated wear leaves me feeling that Chêne is the appalling Miel de Bois done right. Which is to say, without the overwhelming dried urine note that rendered that otherwise interesting fragrance unwearable.

Long-lasting, with moderate sillage and a beautiful mossy/woody/tonka bean drydown. It smells "serious," but it makes me happy.
11th June, 2014
I get the smell of oak with a beautiful rum accord and a birch note making the scent lighter and more aromatic at the start.

Then the wood and sweetness merge to give you a sweet smoky woody scent. It's done just right in that it does not get too sweet. I love woody fragrances and this is really evocative.
06th June, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Misnamed as there is as much cedar as oak here but it is very good anyway. Not amongst the more outlandish of the Lutens collection but a bit of complexity is added by some dry spice notes and a lovely waxy base. Suits a reflective mood. Good longevity from 5 sprays.

P.S. it's not in the database at the time of writing but for the woodiest tree scent in the forest try the remarkable Siskiyou Cedar Cologne by Juniper Ridge.
17th April, 2013
Chêne is yet another Lutens perfume that doesn’t dare to smell like anything other than Atlas cedar (Lutens’ personal favorite note). As is the case of Lutens’ Feminite du Bois, the Atlas cedar aroma in Chêne is derived not from actual Atlas cedar (it has Virginia cedar, which is actually juniper wood) but rather by suggesting it through a clever accord, in this case comprised of oak, birch, and rum. The one albeit minor variation in Chêne is that the Atlas cedar effect is smoky—in fact, the finish is rather "church-ee."

Oh, how I wish that this perfume dared to be what it was meant to be (based on its supporting notes): a true dry/aromatic woody fragrance, not another sweet/cough drop-like Atlas cedar-type perfume. Toss out the rum, honey, and Tonka, and throw in some orris butter, a pinch of patchouli, and a smidge of vetiver. What a crisp, classy, alluring, and masculine fragrance that would make…an impeccably groomed gentleman in a tailor-made designer tuxedo.

In any event, if Atlas cedar is the note/accord that you’re after, then I suggest Lutens’ Cèdre or even Feminite du Bois instead.
18th January, 2013 (last edited: 19th January, 2013)
This scent is one of the most uplifting, alluring and refreshing ones from the SL House; themed around woody mossy notes.

It took me about 5 wearings to understand it fully; have now established a strong connection with the meaning and the soul of the scent. I wear it mostly on spring/autumn/summer days during the day time to refresh me and remind me of how powerful nature really is...

If you enjoy the fougere and woody genres, give Chene a try; you might fall in love too and make it an essential piece in your wardobe/travel box set, like I do.

Good longevity and sillage !

Thumbs up !!!
01st August, 2012
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Chene by Serge Lutens - One is initially treated to an enveloping aura of freshly planed lumber, at once astringent, somewhat akin to the sour spitup of a baby, and yet, faintly sweet. A fruity booziness of rum as well as a syrupy immortelle, with its herbaceous, sweet hay aspect, swirl about redolent of an oozed sap. Transitioning to the awaiting middle, a rich, smoky cedar rises to usurp the opening wood, while oakmoss imparts its foresty, green bitterness, which is pleasantly offset by delightsome honey. Splashes of lemony thyme flitter about. Segueing to the enriching base, a robust birch bestows its root beer commingling with wintergreen aroma. Beeswax supplies its cured tobacco and sweet hay aspects. And, tonka bean offers its rich spiciness and smokiness. The intermingling of these scents creates a pleasing drydown. This high-quality composition has average projection and very good longevity. This somewhat rustic fragrance definitely leans to the masculine side.
15th February, 2012
Chêne smells awful on me. I hope to think that it is just my skin chemistry, the sappy top note is just way too pungent and overwhelming. Once the top notes died down it is much, much nicer and a scent that I would like to wear but it is not worth it for the first few hours of harshness on my skin. I love other SL creations, but this one just isn't for me.
12th December, 2011
The reviews here seem to be written about a few different perfumes, and none of them are the one I am smelling. I admit I'm a noob, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I will call it like I smell it.

I have a bottle of Virginia cedar wood essential oil. It smells just like when you sharpen a good wooden pencil - because good pencils are made of it. I get little more than this from Chene. It's almost completely linear. It has a nice hint of that SL skank underlining the cedar for about the first hour, then the cedar takes over and gradually fades over the next 4-5 hours. As I write this it's 6 hours after application and it's mostly gone. The faint remaining scent has a touch of spice - anise, I think. It's just whispering now, so it's hard to tell.

It's pleasant - not a scrubber at all. Pencils smell nice, after all. It takes me back to my childhood. I can remember cranking away at a wall-mounted Sanford sharpener in grade school to make my number 2 pencils nice and pointy.

I just can't believe they sell this for $140. You could buy a lot of pencils for that, and still have almost enough money left to buy a bottle of Borneo 1834, or MKK, or Chergui, or Cuir Mauresque, or ...

Hey, I'm a big Serge Lutens fan. I have two and want about 10 more. Just not this one ever.

02nd November, 2011
The fragrance has an woody opening chord mixed with notes of rum, giving a semi sweet tone to the fragrance, which in my opinion, is fantastic!

After a few hours, rum aroma gives way to a more resinous scent followed by oak which persists to the end. It lasted 12 hours on my skin.
21st August, 2011
Chene is Luten's hidden gem. While it haven't reached the poularity of other masterpieces of the house such us Muscs Koublai Kahn, Ambre Sultan or Iris Silver Mist, it would surely deserve an higher status as one of the most wearable and balanced fragrances among the Sheldrake's compositions for the Palais Royal.

Chene opens moderately sweet (considering is from Lutens), slightly honeyed (beeswax) and oakwood driven. A boozy vibe is immediately detectable but it's perfectly blended to never be overwhelming. Cedarwood and oakmoss take over in the middle phase and in the drydown adding a sharp edge that's quite unusual among the Lutens yet the fragrance mantains an incredible balance and wearability. With its dark, deep, green and mossy allure, Chene perfectly conjures the image of a forest in the fall and became one of my favourite composition from this house. Highly recommended.
17th July, 2011 (last edited: 05th August, 2011)
A beautiful and unexpectedly perfect rendition of the scent of fresh-milled oak wood. That's not a scent I ordinarily would have coveted, but once I sniffed this beautiful and unusual masterpiece I was immediately hooked, as in "Where have you been all my life?!?" Sampled via the encouragement of Basenoters, who were right yet again. It is easily one of the best of the Lutens line. A clever masterpiece. Sold as unisex, but it seems way more on the masculine side to me. So glad I shelled out the cash for this one. It's one of my best buys in a long time.
06th April, 2011
Wow. I got a sample of this and when I tried it, I thought, "oak? I can't actually remember smelling a piece of oak, but this does not smell woody to me at all. is it me?" I struggled with this for awhile, knowing that I have pretty poor "sniffing" skills and was probably just missing something. Then one day - it was October - I went for a walk in my neighborhood. As I walked along, smelling the Autumn air and shuffling my feet through piles of leaves along the curb, it suddenly hit me. This smells incredibly much like a damp, earthy, oak forest, with leaves covering the ground and acorns strewn about. Magnificently evocative and like nothing I have ever smelled. I am not so sure others will appreciate the smell on me, but I would wear this one just for myself. Long lasting and high quality stuff.
20th February, 2011
Had Chene been the first fragrance I sampled during a recent Lutens smelling binge, I probably would have been struck by how amazingly woodsy it smells. However, I made the mistake of smelling Fille en Aiguilles first which, to put it mildly, reeks of rich, sweet pine needles. In comparison, Chene is pleasant and woodsy, but somewhat tame.

That said, in comparison to other woody masculines I've smelled recently, this is far more interesting, with deep mossy notes evident from the start. It is fairly linear, with the bitterness of the herbs mimicking moss until you properly get to the drydown. The heart is pleasantly woody (mostly cedarwood) but underpinned by the ever-present moss. I never would have guessed that there were rum or honey notes, but after an hour or two I can start to imagine them as I smell my wrists.

I'm not sure I like this well enough to buy a bottle, but it's certainly worth a sniff.
05th February, 2011
A deep herbal, smokey, amber, incense, woods, and lots of cedar. What more could a man ask for?
26th January, 2011
This is a review of Chene dabbed rather than sprayed. On me, Chene does not unfold according to the published fragrance pyramid. Instead, I immediately get a lot of rum and oak and just a touch of smoke. Chene is sweetest/booziest for me in the first 30 seconds after application, and it's one of my all-time favorite openings. Then the sweetness disappears entirely, and I get lots and lots of hot, dry, smoky oak, with the smoke giving off just a hint of scorch. Chene is utterly fabulous in this stage. Yes, Chene is more overtly masculine than many SL scents, but I feel very comfortable wearing Chene. It wears close to the skin, but once you've been drawn in, it reaches out and grabs you, demanding to be not simply sniffed but inhaled. It's just wonderful. After about 3-4 hours, I start getting the thyme and immortelle which, in combination, seem to smooth out the slightly scorched oak, and the smoke retreats to a smolder. And there it remains for a good 2 more hours. Like most SL scents, I suspect the longevity will be significant when sprayed, given that it lasts a good 5-6 hours dabbed on me. Wonderful stuff. I can't wait to wear it in the autumn.
05th July, 2010
I really like it. Oak, woods and tonka. Not as "thick" as most Lutens stuff but this is very wearable without going overboard (like with Ambre Sultan). Feels very formal however wearing the sample I had to my casual-dress office it didn't seem out of place.
28th January, 2010
I just bought Chene a couple weeks ago. I love it! I do tree work and I can tell you, that is an accurate depiction of oak. I've never smelled Chypre Rouge, but by reading the reviews, I'd gather Chene is no where near as sweet. I actually fine Chene very dry; with a rustic charm all it's own. It holds no glamour, or romantic connotations of exotic, spice filled fantasies of far away places or warm nights in guilded luxury. I find Chene to be more of a realist.
17th January, 2010
chromatone wrote in an earlier review of Chêne: "sun-baked car seat cushion and dry-rotted dashboard vinyl, with a healthy side serving of faded "pine tree" car freshener, rust, and antifreeze. Essentially it shared many tonal qualities with the interior of an older, unclean automobile left in the sun."

Upon reading this, I let out an "ohhhhhhhh yeah!"

Despite me being a shameless Lutens fanatic, I could never get into Chêne. It reminded me of -something- but I couldn't pinpoint what it was until I read the above excerpt because that is absolutely and precisely what Chêne smells like: a disgusting car that has been parked in the sunlight all day with the windows up. It is a nauseating smell. Sunbaked car seat cushion, that's all Chêne manages to evoke for me.
01st November, 2009
An incredibly realistic oak scent, with a touch of sweetness and a bit smoke. The only thing I dislike is for a short period I get a somewhat earthy tone that detracts from the oak effect. Long lasting and rather intense. I struggle with Chene: I love smelling it, but is it how I want to smell? I don’t think I will buy a bottle currently, but I certainly like it enough to give it a thumbs up.
29th April, 2009
I wanted to like this, and I do.. but...

I just goes on oaky, smoky, and dry.. then that's it. However, by far, this is probably the most authentic conjuration of oak, but it just lacks the magic and charm I wanted it to have.

Altogether, will still buy if I see a reasonably priced bottle of it on the swap and sale boards.
11th January, 2009
Marvelous salty old dog of a wood scent from Serge Lutens. Works very well with other SL's, beefing them up, putting hair on their chests...Daim Blonde, Borneo, etc!
13th December, 2008
One of the best non lutesque scent, a really pleasure to smell until you became intoxicated with oak. I like to sniff it on my forearm than to wear, it's somethig like a frenzy that you can't stop, Am I a Chene addict? The good thing is the exceptional longevity next to the skin, similar to knize ten, black aoud or ambre sultan on my skin. A really niche masterpiece.
28th October, 2008 (last edited: 28th November, 2008)