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.
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.
This boozy woody fragrance is one you have to try. Reminds me a lot of Gucci Pour Homme I. 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
"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 car...wow beautiful...
21st June, 2014 (last edited: 24th June, 2014)
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.
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.
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.
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 !!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A deep herbal, smokey, amber, incense, woods, and lots of cedar. What more could a man ask for?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
Honeyed pencil shavings with few drops of sweet sap, this is a nice woody fragrance. However, from the first time I tested this, it felt just "nice", and it has been unable to rock my world ever since. I`ve sampled and woren this quite a few times, and the result has always been the same : "Nice".
It`s just not enough.
One of those fragrances which my brain tells me to be in love, but the heart knows better than that.
I have to say, I've never had to work so hard to understand a fragrance before. I've read reviews of Chene here and on various blogs and had a very specific expectation which had been building for nearly a year. Now that I've been able to experience it, it's taken me a week of concentrated effort to figure out how to conform my experience of Chene into what Sheldrake and Lutens were telling me I was supposed to be seeing. I'll begin by saying that now I see freshly sawed wood and sap when I smell this, without a pause, without skipping the slightest beat. But the first time I smelled Chene I was shocked to smell sour fruit candy notes billowing off my skin for at least the first half hour of wear. Truth be told, that is ALL I could smell the FIRST time I wore it. I wanted to smell wooded paths, pine needles under foot, or be transported to a wood shop or even an antiques store like my fellow basenoters but I couldn't get past this purple/maroon/red nondescript fruit candy smell. I lent my wrist to family members who would respond with "very woody!" and slump shouldered, I wondered why I wasn't getting it.
I honestly can't tell you what happened but one day, it just clicked: the candy turned into the smell of sap: the smell of walking into a room where wood is being cut by a circular saw, the hot blade radiating the scent of sawdust and resins and sap into the air. There is a great moment in Chene where the image of the freshly cut wooden plank and heated sap comes into complete focus and it is a really fantastic effect, though it takes me a while to get there each time I wear it. I guess I've just never experienced a woody fragrance quite like this before. They've all been less sweet, less "freshly cut" and less sappy, I suppose, thus the reason my nose and brain were groping for words to describe what they were experiencing -- the reason for why they were telling me fruity candy. The great thing about Chene is that it seems so fixed in its intent, but my interpretation of it shifts as I wear it... newly cut wood, old wooden furniture, a walk in a pine forest -- it's all conjured by this fascinating fragrance which I'd actually not want to wear, but am happy to have a little bit of to sniff from time to time.
While I generally love the SL exclusifs (export line not so much), this one reeks of Fahrenheit and is altogether very unpleasant. Thumbs way down.
My husband does woodworking as a hobby, and this Chene is true to the fragrance of oak! Smells like oak boards being cut, sanded, etc. Original, authentic and attention getting. Nicely done!