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  1. #1

    Default Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Would post a traditional review, but the review boards still aren't working for me. (Is this a Firefox thing, or a Basenotes-wide thing? Anyone?)

    All I can say is, "Wow -- what a gourmand experience!" I feel as though I've just been drenched in treacle and rum and golden syrup and cinnamon, then dipped in raisins and anointed with just a smidgen of some exotic Near Eastern musk.

    I really wanted to enjoy Arabie, and I DID enjoy the experience (i.e., to the extent that I'm a foodie). Still, though, there are things which I wish to eat and things which I wish to wear on my skin. Sometimes those two mesh (e.g., lemon, a light dusting of cocoa, lime etc.); sometimes they do not. Arabie, while exotic and weird and wonderful, is one of those edibles that I would not care to wear on my skin often if ever.

    I can appreciate its artfulness, yes. I can understand its complexity, you bet. I can easily smell the quality of its ingredients, absolutely. But for me to say that I'd go out of my way to pay $92.00 plus shipping for 1.7 oz of bottled Lebanese fruitcake? No -- no, I'll go to my local Arabic bakery and stuff my nostrils full of sultanas, spices and sugar cubes first.

    All that said, though, I imagine that this is what C.S. Lewis' Edmund had in mind when he first smelled Turkish Delight. Yes, the White Witch could well have conjured up this olfactory confection to tempt small British children into pledging her their fealty.

    Souk-like it was not. There was no sweat filled with cumin, no soft jasmine wafting in the air, no mint tea, no diesel fumes, no lamb sizzling smoke into the air, no turmeric . . . no, this is an idealized, very late Victorian, Orientalist vision of a Near Eastern marketplace, not a real souk.

    Exotic? Yes, definitively. What I had reasonably expected, though, given the name and the Lutens website description? No.

    I can't give it a thumbs down -- no how, no way. It's too rich and complex and beautiful for that. But wearable? No. Not for me, at least. This one will go down with Iquitos and A*men and a few other scents that I find fascinating as hell but utterly unwearable.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 28th September 2007 at 04:43 PM.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I used up my decant as a room spray. Works really well.
    -

  3. #3

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I love it and find it pretty low on the sweetness. It was my gateway into the niche world and there's a beauty to its excesses that I've yet to find elsewhere.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    *removes sample of Arabie from nearly-packed parcel, and ponders a suitable replacement*
    Spray it, don’t say it…
    WARDROBE

  5. #5

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    *Removes sample of Arabie from nearly-packed parcel and ponders a suitable replacement.*
    You sweet thing!

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  6. #6

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I'd agree with your assessment. It's a fascinating fragrance but wear it? No.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Agree with most of your review Matt. I had similar 'experiences' with Arabie:

    First time I wore it: I sniffed my hand all friggin afternoon - I had never in my life smelled a fragrance like this. I had just bought my bottle of Ambre Sultan and perhaps I was floating on that pink cloud that one gets, when they experience their first Serge Lutens rite of passage. When it dried a little, I thought it smelled like chicken curry - which I thought was pretty fascinating for a fragrance. It just smelled like a hot Middle Eastern dish, on the stove. I yearned to own a full bottle

    Second time I wore it (from a decant that a Basenoter shared with me): Same as before - but this time (maybe because I applied more, or maybe a different climate), the sweetness was more pronounced. I think it smells like icing, like white icing thats on a cinnamon roll perhaps - that confectioners sugar note mixed with spice. I got less of the chicken curry note and slightly more dried fruit.

    Thereafter: The sweetness and the food note made me slighly nauseous - I have learned that if I am going to ever wear Arabie I will need to apply only about 1-2 sprays. However, like you Matt, the food aspect of this scent has started to annoy me. The same thing has happened with my Sake by Fresh - at a certain point it went from, 'oh - this is cool..it has the neatest sake note folded into the florals...' to 'oh my god, I smell like I spilled sake all over me and forgot to wash my shirt'.

    I am so glad I didn't buy a full bottle of this.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 28th September 2007 at 04:36 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I love it. It is the only Lutens I like. It is properly over the top and very beautiful and there are some evenings when only arabie will do.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder View Post
    I love it. It is the only Lutens I like. It is properly over the top and very beautiful and there are some evenings when only arabie will do.
    I agree, and I wish I had bought Arabie instead of Ambre Sultan.

    To me, Arabie smells like gingerbread and lighter fluid. It's incredible on a really cold day-- especially for wearing outside, maybe walking the streets bar hopping during the week between Christmas and New Years.

    Being that I've only applied Arabie from small sample vials, I've never gotten the effect of a spray application-- which is probably why I like it (I enjoy stronger fragrances much more when I dab them on rather than spray them). I'll probably never get a full bottle, because I want to save my sample for rare occasions (like only that week between Christmas and New Years) or maybe some time in February when a cold snap blows through.

    Probably my favorite Lutens, next to Encense et Lavande.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder View Post
    I love it. It is the only Lutens I like. It is properly over the top and very beautiful and there are some evenings when only arabie will do.
    It was my first Lutens and I still think it's amazing - it dares to go where no oriental has ever gone before.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Arabie is among my top three SL scents - it's a truly unique fragrance that has nuclear strength, is thought-provoking and smells very masculine (well, to my nose). However, it has to be said that it took me a long time to appreciate it. At first, I wrote it off but, somehow, always found myself going back and testing it once more. At first, a decant seemed more than enough but, in the end, I went out and both a full-sized bottle of the stuff.

    Test it out a few more times, especially during colder weather. You never know, it may eventually seduce you as well.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    It dares to go where no oriental has ever gone before.
    Yes, granted -- straight up the plank and into the Good Ship Lollypop.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 28th September 2007 at 05:52 PM.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  13. #13

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    When I first tried it I was very confused and could not process all that olfactory information. I did feel though, that you had to be a rrreal man to wear it, like a big burly hairy guy. I eventually got some, and love it, though wear it selectively. Some people love it, but others can't deal with it.

    The people who love it most were all indian or pakistani for some reason. One girl told me that, that's exactly her idea of what a real man should smell like!
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I love it, though I wear Ambre Sultan much more frequently. But just sniffing the Arabie bottle can make my day and that alone was worth the purchase. Despite the powerful dried fruit opening, I do not perceive this as sweet in the way that many contemporary frags are, to me, nauseatingly sticky, and while it's intense I don't think of it as heavy (as opposed to, say, Mazzolari Lui). It actually dries down to a nice spicy masculinity. I should wear it more often.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    tvlampboy, I have never experienced a souk but I'm with you on this one. I just got a decant of Arabie yesterday and its interesting, etc but not what I want to smell like.
    I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.'' --Saint Augustine

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I do agree with you, tvlampboy. When I sampled Arabie, the spices were rather overwhelming and without doubt very authentic - but just not something I'd wear on my skin. Made me think too much of food, I guess.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by tvlampboy View Post
    Yes, granted -- straight up the plank and into the Good Ship Lollypop.
    Somehow I don't think Shirley Temple smelled of Arabie.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    It was the first niche perfume I bought for myself. I have later tried almost all of them, but this is still my favorite Serge Lutens. No other has such a unique start, and the dry-down feels like made to measure. The limited popularity of this perfume makes it even more precious now!
    Last edited by narcus; 28th September 2007 at 07:23 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Like most Lutens, it was just too much, too heavy, too syrup-y for me. Dates, almonds, something maple-y; I felt like I rubbed a danish all over myself.
    Last edited by rach2jlc; 28th September 2007 at 07:11 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post
    I felt like I rubbed a danish all over myself.
    Hey, I know a guy in Chicago who's really into that, only he generally prefers éclairs.

    Seriously, Arabie was just too gourmand for my tastes. Rach2jlc DID, though, include a LOVELY sample of Miel de Bois for me -- now THAT is much more to my liking! Foetidus described it best when he wrote of its "feral honey" smell.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 28th September 2007 at 09:13 PM.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    I gotta laugh! I too described Arabie as "fruitcake" when I reviewed it!

    Oh, and by the way, the review function is down for everyone, No new reviews have been added for months. I myself have 30 (30!) reviews to post when it's back up.
    Last edited by Off-Scenter; 28th September 2007 at 09:15 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Frags that have, as Trebor aptly describes it, "nuclear strength" seem to just wind up having diminishing returns if sprayed the way you'd spray most other scents. Arabie, Gris Clair, and Chergui among the SLs, much like Carnal Flower, work better for me as a single dab at the base of the neck, rather than as the fortissimo blast that inevitably results from even just two sprays. While Arabie is never going to be subtle, it works better as chamber music than as a symphony.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Two small sprays was all it took for Yours Truly to smell as though he'd just been repeatedly violated with a big hunk of rock candy whilst atop a huge mountain of melting marzipan.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 28th September 2007 at 09:55 PM.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  24. #24

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by tvlampboy View Post
    But for me to say that I'd go out of my way to pay $92.00 plus shipping for 1.7 oz of bottled Lebanese fruitcake?
    Where do you get Lutens for $92? So far, I haven't made the jump to Lutens but my girlfriend has a problem that when she sees a Lutens bottle at Barneys, out comes the credit card.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Quote Originally Posted by manicboy View Post
    Where do you get Lutens for $92? So far, I haven't made the jump to Lutens but my girlfriend has a problem that when she sees a Lutens bottle at Barneys, out comes the credit card.
    My bad -- it's gone up on Aedes to $110. Saw a bottle on eBay the other day for $99 plus shipping, though.

    Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
    Latrelle: "What?"
    Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
    Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
    Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
    Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
    *****
    "Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
    Auntie Mame
    [/B]

  26. #26
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Serge Lutens' Arabie: A Review

    Most orientals are too sweet for me to wear anymore but I can wear this one with ease.

    It's another one that became something completely after I owned a bottle. It's a phenomenal drydown full of smooth spice and long burning embers.
    Last edited by pluran; 1st October 2007 at 11:33 PM.

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