Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 30
I sampled this as part of my increasingly forlorn search for a fragrance with the tangy elegance of Eau Noire.
I can't fault Jeux de Peau for not being anything like that. But on its own terms wearing it was a really dreadful yeasty experience that went on and on and on. Not for me.
20th January, 2018
The Siesta, by Vincent van Gogh, 1889–90
23rd February, 2017
When Alice first arrives in the foyer of Wonderland, she drinks from a small bottle in order to become small enough to enter through the locked door. That potion "had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast."

This is the olfactory effect one gets from Jeux de Peau, a jumble of gourmand notes that smell deliciously decadent - the maple syrup intensity of the fenugreek immortelle, the yeasty opulence of buttered bread, the suggestion of steaming coffee, the sweetness of apricot jam. One gains pounds within the first few minutes.

Once it all settles down, one is happy for the experience. It is doubtful however if one wishes to smell like breakfast in a patisserie for hours on end. It's a very clever and fun creation, but like most gourmand fragrances, its function as a wearable scent is almost an after-thought.

Full marks for creativity though!
08th April, 2016
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Jeux de Peau smells – at first – like the air in a food product preparation lab, where the air swirls with all kinds of flavor molecules added to enhance our perception of what we’re actually eating.

I don’t think Jeux de Peau is foody per se (because it is not something that tempts me to eat it), but I do think it relies heavily on food aromachemical notes to produce it overall effect. I smell cylotene, a molecule that tastes of slightly burned maple syrup, bread, and coffee beans and is often added to real maple syrup to enhance the flavor/smell, and pyrazines, synthesized molecules responsible for the very intense smell of coffee, chocolate, woods, and bread brought to burning point under intense heat.

Like other pyrazine-rich perfumes, such as Aomassai, Un Bois Vanille, and Eau Noire, the effect in Jeux de Peau is intensely aromatic to the point where it can smell somewhat overcooked, or burned to a crisp, and like those other perfumes, a licorice or anise note has been added to underscore the deep “black” nuances.

The butyric undertone to the sandalwood is taken to the limits here, so it smells both richly oily and more than a little rancid, like a butter dish left out to fester under a hot lamp. When the toasted bread notes meet the buttery oilslick, the effect is unhealthy in that doughy, yeasty way that always reminds me of when a businessman slips off his loafers on a plane – that steamy odor of slightly-cooked feet pervading a closed-in space, always the same regardless of how spotless his socks, shoes, or feet actually are. The opening of Jeux de Peau forces that same unwanted intimacy on me, and I fight through it, gnashing my teeth until the intensity dissipates somewhat.

In the heart, the overly rich, stale butter notes are cut with a dash of salt, which I think is coming from a very herbal licorice or anise note, and the grassy, spicy tones of immortelle. The savory notes are perfectly balanced here by a delicious and delicate apricot jam accord (osmanthus flower), as well as the gentler milk tones coming out from the sandalwood. The sandalwood in this is just incredible – sweet and salty, richly, brownly aromatic, like an ancient elephant figurine carved from Mysore sandalwood held up to a fire to bring out the aroma hidden deep within its fibers.

Burned toast and butter, you say?

No, Jeux de Peau smells more complex than toast and butter. It also smells a lot less natural. The combined effect is a blur of intense flavor impressions that attract and repel at the same rate. I think it is high art. I am just not convinced that I want to wear it.
18th December, 2015
This skin scent is very unusual : decadent and sensual, warming and comforting. It took me a while to tame it but I got there.
To me, this is pecan pie, and maple syrup poured on French toast/sandal wood/warm skin, twisted with coconut. Oh, and Sauternes.
26th August, 2015
Jeux de Peau is a great composition of resinous and woodsy notes in a very interesting way plus a funny vegetable kind of feel that I will explain later why I'm calling it funny!

At the opening I can smell a mellow and delicious milky, sweet and oily resinous scent plus some bright woods and a very dry coconuty smell and that strange and funny vegetable kind of feel mixed with it.

About that funny vegetable feel that I told you ...
There is a very famous and very popular stew, local of my country (Persian folks) made from mix of chopped and fried different type of vegetables, lamb's meat, beans and some dried lime pieces that we serve it with rice!
This vegetable kind of aura in this fragrance smells exactly like that stew which makes me laugh!

After a while that vegetable aura goes away and scent gets slightly sweeter. it's still milky and sweet but resinous, slightly woody and kind of bitter at the same time.

In the base the sweetness settles down and I can smell a dry bitter, resinous and woodsy smell in a mellow way which is very beautiful. it's slightly earthy as well, but not too much.
Projection is above average and completely noticeable and longevity is around 5-6 hours on my skin.
A great and very interesting different scent.
27th April, 2015
I only sampled five of Serge Luten perfumes; they seem all very personal scents. They seem almost for your olfactory pleasure only. I guess you will be disappointed if you want to announce your presence since they seem very low scale in sillage. Jeux de peau smells like buttered pastry. The scent on blotter just stayed on and on after three days. In the end, butteriness wasn't there anymore but changed into something ambery.
When my 10yo daughter and I went to Mecca cosmetica in New Market to sample Serge Luten perfumes they had, this one was my daughter's favourite. She had a blotter in her p.j pocket for three days and would sniff before going to bed.
I sometimes wonder, if children can have acquired taste on things like green veggies when they get fed healthy and balanced diets of veggies/fruit/lean meat from early age, they surely must be able to be trained to pick quality scent if they were given really nice fragrance to use such as Serge Luten. Well, if we can afford, I mean. :)
02nd April, 2015
Not an oriental but full of balms, an immortelle than smells like honeyed spice cake, a skin scent with great longevity.

Jeux de Peau is quite unlike anything else out there. It's as though Serge Lutens asked for an oriental bazaar done without amber.

What Christopher Sheldrake came up with, in place of citrus, vanillin and ladbanum, is a blocky structure made up of large doses of bland materials. Benzoin, balsams, honey accord, myrrh and musks, on which is mounted a helichrysum heart decorated with cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Resinous nuances of hawthorn and fir balsam provide highlights. There are no distinct head notes.

This makes for an oriental that breaks completely with the Shalimar tradition in both character and structure. It refers back instead through Obsession to Trésor as the blueprint from which it has been engineered.

Comparisons with Sables are inescapable, and also Eau Noire. It defines a sub-genre of pseudo florientals based on strategies to control the difficult note of everlasting flower. The key to success here is to manage the contrast in textures between two opposing materials. The coarse and strident features of immortelle, and its smooth, sweet and bland setting of biscuit, amber or lavender.

The balms draw from the skin, but also mask, a discrete animality. Somehow reminiscent of Xeryus and also Sybaris but less overtly sensuous than that classic powerhouse. JdP is better worn as a masculine even though it is marketed as a mixed scent. With a nurturing foody character it is however, definitely not an alpha male type profile.

That JdP manages to stay the right side of gourmand is debatable, the dividing line between olfactory and gustatory being a movable one depending on the circumstances. How hungry you are and your skin chemistry being the obvious factors. Are these the skin games referred to in the name, playing with the limits of how a scent can be perceived ; now the nose, and then, now the tongue?

It has a surprisingly English feel, being reminiscent at times of a school dinner dessert I remember that was made of flour, suet and vine fruits, called Spotted Dick.

The nature of the construction of JdP, and the sub-genre defining character of the theme lead me to see it as the synthesis of two important modalities of modern perfumery.

The balsamic gourmand feel serves as an antidote to the narcotic and over bearing themes of the 80s. It achieves this by replacing their toxic formulae with a simple and legible profile. It also takes the linear structure of of some water thin 90s solutions - which emerged in contrast to the big hair monsters of the previous decade, and replaces the meagre ingredients of those calorie free diet Eau's with a good portion of home cooking.

Jeux de Peau can thus be seen as a critique of some of perfumery's most notable excesses over the space of twenty years.

In essence, this is a gourmand of considerable skill which combines the ambience of comfort food with a discrete animal warmth. It's an easy and satisfying wear, but not facile, and has enough internal contrasts to sustain interest through its long, slow and almost linear evolution to dry down.

That smell, taste, touch and sex should be implicated in the simple spray of a perfume should come as no surprise to parfumista's, but how these relate one to another is a philosophical question even a savant like Serge Lutens would be hard pressed to answer.

Maybe it's better not to get too fussed about it. Maybe perfume isn't a tool of seduction, a fashion accessory or two dimensional sculpture after all.
Maybe perfume is just a game we play on the skin.
26th December, 2014 (last edited: 18th March, 2015)
Hot buns straight from the oven...

Where to start with this one? Serge Lutens - Jeux de Peau opens with a beautiful smell of bread yeast which turns into the smell of freshly baked buns straight out of the oven. It's a lovely smell, and it's light! It's not so heavy or "gourmandish" even though it's sweet. In other words, it can be worn anywhere at almost any time. It's true to it's name, which when translated means "skin games", as it plays and stays on the skin, never going too far or annoying anyone. I personally love it!

Jeux de Peau opens with a host of gourmand notes. I get the wheat, the milk and the coconut, and liquorice in the background. It's very nice and pleasing. In the background I get hints of osmanthus blossom, which can smell a little like rice and a hint of apricot, and the use of an apricot note to compliment this side to the osmanthus is really great. The pairing of immortelle with liquorice is not a new one, as done before in Dior Collection Privée - Eau Noire, but here is is gentle and sweet, and compliments beautifully with the other notes. As usual, the base is made up of sandalwood, which is itself a very creamy or "milky" note, and we have seen this wood paired up with a real milk note before Hermèssence - Santal Massoïa. But here is has more substance and lasts longer.

Overall, a wonderful warm and inviting fragrance, which doesn't offend in any way, smells very alluring, and which blends really well with the skin to make you smell delicious. If you like gourmands, you'll like this, and even if you don't, you'll still like this. That's the magic of this one! A nice perfume with a unique and quite lovely smell. Like a warm smell from a bakery in winter. Just wonderful!
26th December, 2014
Not a bad scent. Just a boring gourmand. Been there, done that. Bread and a few light spices.
17th September, 2014
Genre: Woods

Serge Lutens has done gourmand before; most obviously in the guise of Five O-Clock au Gingembre, Louve, and Rahät Loukoum. Jeux de Peau extends the line further in that direction. Yet where those earlier scents were either spicy or syrupy-sweet in their approximations of food, Jeux de Peau approaches comestibles from a more savory angle. It’s still dessert, mind you, but it’s more almond brioche than fruitcake or baklava.

A warm, yeasty, fresh baked goods accord greets the nose almost immediately, soon followed by sweetening touches of heliotrope and immortelle. Dry sandalwood balances the sweetness with a vaguely nutty influence, while a dab of the apricot familiar from Lutens’s earlier Daim Blond adds a welcome piquancy to the central arrangement. Jeux de Peau stands out as one of the few scents I know (along with Jubilation XXV and Etat Libre d’Orange’s Like This,) that successfully incorporate immortelle without drowning themselves in its dense, viscous tide.

While Jeux de Peau is extremely soft in olfactory texture, it projects well from the skin and plays out in a linear manner for several hours’ wear. The dusty cedar and mild, powdery amber drydown smells disappointingly hollow once it arrives, but at least it’s not oppressively sweet or heavy. Despite the faintly risqué name (which translates as “skin games”), wearing Jeux de Peau is a pleasant and comforting experience. Yet I feel the scent betrays its name in that, for all its cuddly texture and comforting associations, it wears awkwardly on my skin. The impression is hard to convey, but after every wearing I’m left thinking I’d like Jeux de Peau better in a room spray or a candle than on me.
18th June, 2014
They recently got the Serge Lutens line at my local Sephora, and I went a little nuts there and ended up spraying this on my skin in my haste. HUGE mistake for me! I tried this because I like creamy, warm & spicy fragrances and also peach & coconut, so I thought this would be a winner. However, this hit me with an overpowering "stale popcorn" smell that even the Sephora SA remarked on. Like butter that had melted and gone rancid. I was expecting something along the lines of croissants, (which I also love) or the creamy/ buttery qualities of many tuberose perfumes, but this was horrid. I thought it might be the wheat note, but there is a wheat note in FM's En passant, which I think is beautiful. Maybe it is the immortelle, as I don't know what that is suppose to smell like? Needless to say, this was a scrubber for me, though it sounds far lovelier on others.
05th March, 2014
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Very discrete games

The opening's spices take on a wormed-up bread note with a dirty fruity character, which later sees some wood added. An original take, but extremely faint ofter the first thirty minutes, with very little silage and projection on my skin. Gone after about two hours. The points are for the originality of this skin game.

04th August, 2013
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Jeux de Peau would have benefited from greater weight placed on its darker notes of immortelle and toasted cereals. More maple syrup and less cheap caramel, please! Before the inevitable sugar crash, the scent does a nice impression of a plump croissant smothered in apricot jam.

It's not as if Lutens hasn't fallen into this sticky trap before, yet he still sometimes misjudges the balance between what's appetizing and what's merely edible.
11th April, 2013
Tony T Show all reviews
United States
light spices,mild licorce and a bit of wood is what i detect. the bread note is light upon the first few minutes then the licorce kicks in. kinda foody but not gourmand. a strange scent that i like but my 1ml sample is good enough. maybe i will splurge for the huge 5 ml decant!! lol
13th February, 2013
My first full bottle of Serge Lutens - but will not be my last! The best way I can describe this is as foody without smelling foody. I can smell the bread, I can smell the jam and the fruit, but it does not come across at all like cake or cookies, just like the best bakery you have ever been in that doesn't happen to stock anything in chocolate.
20th August, 2012
Jeux de Peau
The scent of Baked Bread like Croissants ....even a Baguette is intended and unmistakable

On the skin, my nose picks up something of the nuances of bread which seem to
fade into a buttery heaven,
with an tiny bit of Fruity Confiture
As the perfume mellows down it takes on a subtle nuances ...
Skin and Croissant/ Baguette get confused.

Jeux de Peau is a skin scent...
meant to stay close to the body,
disappearing into nothing more than a whisper.
The Bread butter smell is very faint and you need to be very close to encounter it.

The drydown is particularly beautiful
Settling into a wood palette of milky sandalwood.
This fragrance is made to play with our memory of
things we are familiar with
and unconsciously like ....
16th August, 2012
This is awful, truly awful. Like the über strong, sickeningly fake gingerbread accord in some Holiday scented candle. Others say buttered popcorn and it might be that too - only, I'd add, definitely caramel-flavoured ones. After reading the list of notes I definitely feel the bread (very plasticky cheap "freshly baked bread" accord), licorice and immortelle, and it's not a good combo.
11th August, 2012
Souk popcorn. Mellow and foody, with a topping of butter if one is being charitable, dry sweat if one is not – a certain saltiness rising above the glutenfest. A little while in, the milky sweetness began to rise but never got uncomfortable and then a few hours later it subsided again and I was left with a toned down version of the opening. If this were available in small bottles, I'd get it like a shot – it certainly intrigues even if it does not wow.
28th June, 2012
Serge Lutens is one of my latest discoveries ever since I entered 'the world of fragrance', and I've been pleasantly surprised by many of his scents, but this is not one of it.
I was intrigued by the bread and baking notes, in combination with the floral and woody notes, and after I've read the raving review Bois de Jasmin gave I really wanted to try this. But this it was such an utter dissappointment: all I smelled was greasy buttery caramelized popcorn. It actually reminded me of a Black Phoenix Alchemy lab oil I've tried called Shill, one that oughtta smell like buttered popcorn, and it did..
The buttered note became a bit softer during the drydown but it never left and I really didn't like this. I think that because of this note I really couldn't detect or appreciate any other notes, it completely ruined the fume for me.
But lucky for me there are plenty of other SL to love :)
21st June, 2012
(a nice) Sandalwood, hot butter and pepper :) that's what shows up on my skin. I would never buy a full bottle since it smells too masculine for regular wear, but will enjoy the sample from time to time.
03rd April, 2012
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
It'a all been said really -- buttery sweet gourmand, slightly Bois Farine like, but less likeable.What is really depressing though is that Jeax de Peau smells like an amalgam of other Lutens fragrances and lacks any individuality, so I'm not really sure why it's been created. A couple of recent offerings from this House have been totally underwhelming and this is one of them. I hope they pull things round as SL has previously produced some stunning, groundbreaking work.
03rd February, 2012
Buttered sweet popcorn - reminds me of kettle corn.
23rd December, 2011
This smells like a scone or some sort of anise seed/immortelle/liquorice flavored bread or pastry with apricot jam, butter, and maple syrup. Some people detect chicory coffee and chocolate, almonds, other whiffs of a patisserie, but all I got were the anise bread with apricot jam and a sticky syrup. Very sticky.

It's very sweet, and while the warm "cream" or butter and apricot phenomenon that really makes it smell good at first is a fleeting experience (which is a shame) the jammy, syrupy smell you get left is pretty good, lasting quite a while until it becomes a bit of a maple/sandlewood skin scent, as if you actually had pancakes that morning and dripped some syrup on your arm and didn't notice. You'll get whiffs of apricot and the licorice elements once in a while but be aware your skin might make this pure syrup. I'm fair and have noticed my skin amps up sweetness. I have smelled other perfumes on other people that smell like the drydown . The sandlewood/maple is nice but not mind blowing so the price tag is slightly unwarranted.
09th December, 2011 (last edited: 27th November, 2012)
Jeux de peau did not live up to my expectations at all. From the minute I applied it until there was no scent left on my wrist, Jeux de peau has been nothing but a gingerbread/pumpkin pie Demeter-like fragrance with a lingering stuffy musky base. I guess this kind of simplistic single-note effect is fine for an inexpensive fragrance but where I live, 50 ml of any Serge Lutens EDT (or is it EDP?) cost twice as much as 100 ml of most other EDTs. Fortunately, Jeux de peau has a rather impressive longevity (well over 8 hours) but at these prices isn't that the least one can expect?
04th December, 2011
I liked this one at the first snif and immediatly wanted my bottle.
It's a little regressive and recomforting, i wear it sometimes the evening for staying at home (not something i want to smell the morning).
I smell an original and strong cereal note, a bread crust a little too much baked (from rustic type of bread) on a fruity/sweet sandalwood as a typical SL base.
Something in the construction reminded me Douce amère, a constant oscillation beetween two elements: the base and the cereal/bread.
The santal also brings a little buttered effect, for completing the toast.
Indeed, everything for take a good breafast is there: cereals, toasted (burned?) bread, apricot jam, butter, hot milk and chicory coffee.
Hopefully Serge didn't boringly maked a breakfast without any elegance and oriental fantasy.

A beautiful balance between originality, the gourmand and the oriental refinement a la Lutens.

25th November, 2011 (last edited: 02nd January, 2012)
Try to think of a combination of the following smells... and please forgive me if you're on a diet: melting butter; crushed digestive biscuits; Monin's hazelnut syrup; warm praline; sweet almonds; vanilla shortbread; a faint suggestion of licorice; caramel; the sticky atmosphere of a patisserie... you get the idea, right? Somehow Jeux De Peau manages to be all these things: a fuzzy cloud containing every three year old's favourite scents. But its most impressive achievement is that it evokes an abstract sense of the concept of 'childhood' without allowing itself to be reduced to any one particular image; it presents an idea of bygone years rather than a specific memory of licking the remains of the cake mix out of the bowl. It is this balance that makes it so powerfully evocative: it shows you enough of the past to convince you the memories are real, but it blurs the recollections so they remain tantalisingly out of reach.

In terms of structure, it's essentially linear. At the very end - just before it allows you to wake up and leave its dreamland - it does display a sandalwood glow (reminiscent of Lutens' own Santal De Mysore) but for most of its duration, this is an unabashed 'oven gourmand', turning the pages of the Dessert section of your most beloved cookbook with playful self-assurance.
11th November, 2011
Bois Farine is to peanut butter sandwich as Jeux de Peau is to buttered toast and maple syrup.

This is a doughy immortelle with a sweet woody-amber drydown and a brief floral-licorice opening. Very cloying and mildly interesting at first, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly.
10th November, 2011
An heavv gourmand that clearly shows the Lutens hallmark. Intense, sweet, rich...way too much. Pleasant at first with its apricot (mainly osmanthus to me) mixed with a buttery / milky accord, but definitely cloying after a while. The overall effect is like to be in a french boulangerie at 8 o'clock am. Steaming butter-croissants and bread, sweet aromas, icing. Pleasant smell if you go, get your breakfast and get out. But if you wear it for the whole day it gets cloying in two hours. Incredibly tenacious lasting power. Pass.
08th November, 2011
French brioche, with demi-sal butter and apricot
06th November, 2011