Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

  1. odysseusm
    odysseusm
    F&A is an exercise in patience and speedy reflexes. The initial pine notes are so quick, so ephemeral, so fleeting. On my skin they are done in about 3 seconds. For the next hour or so, there is the typical Lutens foody-spice chord. It is OK, not cloying. I get cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg... a Christmas sort of vibe, along with some candied peel. Just when I'm beginning to despair, and around the 2 hour mark, the spiced sweetness abates and some woody and pine notes shyly emerge. The scent winds up as a near neighbour of Fou D'Absinthe. F&A is a bit sweeter, and not as woody.
    I wish the frankincense was more prominent, and given a green, resinous profile.
    And I definitely wish the pine had more oomph and presence.
    Those seeking a distinctive pine scent are hard-pressed to find it here, in my opinion.
  2. Sugandaraja
    Sugandaraja
    Oddly, my experience is quite the opposite of yours. The pine on my skin is resilient through the top and heart notes, but after a few hours it turns to Arabie Light and the drydown is all ambery dessert.

    I really love this, but agree that it's not a pine-lovers pine at all. I remember a certain reviewer saying they loved rose, but only when rose "guest starred" among other, more obvious notes. I feel somewhat similarly about pine, and so while something like Zagorsk just sears my nostrils, FeA has just enough pine that I can enjoy it without it wearing me out.

    I think if you boiled everything Christmas down to a caramel syrup, it would smell like Fille en Aiguilles.
  3. Symphonies
    Symphonies
    Hello Coneheads!
    This is my first post to the group. I've enjoyed reading about so many coniferous fragrances and now I look forward to trying them.

    My experience with Fille en Aiguilles is comparable to Sugandaraja's. The scent of pine sticks with me through the life of this fragrance. The sappy/resinous pine notes take me back to my childhood in northern Minnesota, climbing pine trees and having the smell of pine tar and sap all over my hands. I also like the mild, pleasant pine smoke that develops after an hour or so.

    One aspect of this fragrance that others may find challenging is what some BN reviewers describe as the 'burnt sugar' accord. It shows up not long after application and is sort of a resinous, burned caramel aroma. What I've found is that if I apply FeA with a bit more distance from the skin this potentially off-putting aspect is tamed a bit without losing it's heart. However, the burnt sugar accord appears early on and ends up sublimated into the rest of the fragrance after a short time. It may account for the smokiness that I mentioned previously.

    One other note about Fille en Aiguilles. It is a fragrance with a strong personality. I don't wear it often but when I do, I find it is very environmentally dependent. Whether it's the time of year, temperature, sunniness, cloud cover, rainy weather... whatever. I just need to feel as though it's helping me blend into the natural temperament of the day.
  4. odysseusm
    odysseusm
    "Pine needles.
    Resin, sunshine, cicadas and the shade of tall pine trees.
    The needles prick your feet, but a stand of pines by the beach is a wonderful thing!" ~ Serge Lutens

    Notes from BN directory: Pine needles, Vetiver, Sap, Laurel, Fir balsam, Frankincense, Candied fruit, Spice

    Take out the candied fruit and spice and you'd have an ideal scent IMO. Watch for tomorrow's review.
  5. odysseusm
    odysseusm
    This was an interesting exercise. I had the opportunity to consider two batches of this scent. I don't usually engage in batch analysis but I thought I'd do it this time. The first batch was sent to me by a kind BN'er a few years ago. The other is a current sample from Sephora. I also thought I'd really do a full-on, engaged analysis of this scent since it appeals to many and is often referred as a good coniferous scent. Previously I had been somewhat dismissive of it, but I felt it was time to put those ideas once again to the test in a serious way. Here is the result.

    My overall impression is that this is a worthy scent. It is not quite to my style, certainly not bottle-worthy for me. However, with careful analysis I did find several good points to it and I can appreciate it.

    Batch one -- the older version.
    Sweet, spicy but not cloying. Has a cool vibe to balance the richness. Quickly moves to the famous candied fruit stage. Tasty, like a sweets shop. There is a shop in a mall I visit which makes fudge and decorated apples. This captures that smell beautifully. BUT -- on the second application I put aside the (for me) problematic candied aspect and really got to the heart of the scent, a sappy, resinous and green chord. It is marvellous and reminds me of Slumberhouse Norne. Only careful attention and patience revealed this to me. Unfortunately, this chord is fleeting and the caramel apple note reappears in a major way. Is there immortelle here? Certainly the typical maple syrup note typical of that ingredient. A smoky, sugary scent. Good dry-down. Woody, a touch medicinal, not too sweet.

    Batch two -- the current version.
    A little darker and spicier. Less sweet. Second application. Quite green and sappy. More coniferous. The caramel note is more subdued and slower to appear. The sappy - green note lingers longer.

    13 hours later... batch one still hangs in there. Powerful, dusky, sweet and good depth. Batch two doesn't have the powerful longevity but is still evident in a satisfying, woody and drier version.

    So, my Conehead friends, there is my analysis. Make of it what you will. And I invite you to fully engage with a scent that you may have dismissed. There is always much to learn in life.
  6. awayalonealong
    awayalonealong
    Love the distinctions you discovered. I have a wee sample--after splitting a FB years ago--and now I have grown to like the juice more. I know I'd prefer B2 over B2 despite the lesser longevity of B2.
    Thanks for the analysis, Ody!
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