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.
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.
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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.
The initial scent of Chêne is that of a fairly standard "wood" with a few sweet extras lingering in the back. However, the drydown quickly exposes a copious dose of 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. To be sure it was not a bad reaction on my own skin, I applied the fragrance onto a friend of mine who came to the same conclusions, who added that Chêne has a bit of asphalt and car wash notes. After cleansing with warm soap and water, the scent still imposed on my skin for another 12 hours before finally leaving me in peace. I am a big fan of the Lutens line, but this one makes me wonder if it is just a joke in a bottle.