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  1. #1
    kopah's Avatar
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    Default Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    I'm in a bit of a predicament, and I hope I can get some help from Basenoters more familiar with the SL line. I have a friend who is living in Paris right now, and will be there until mid-March, so basically I have on-request access to anything I want from the Exclusive line. But of course, Exclusive decants are hard to come by, and they're too expensive to buy unsniffed, so I devised a strategy: smell a number of SL Export fragrances, decide which ones I like best, come here for advice on which Exclusives to sample, order decants from The Perfumed Court, and then decide.

    I find, though, that I need some advice on which regular SL fragrances to try. I'm still in the process of discovering what styles of fragrances I like best, and to try to pare down the 20 Lutens that are available from Aedes is a very difficult task.

    The notes that I know for sure that I like are tonka, vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon - yes, I'm a gourmand guy. My very favourite niche scent so far is Hermès Ambre Narguilé, which I love from start to finish. Closely following is Vetiver Tonka, which starts off so bright and fresh and then progresses to a tonka/hazelnutty delight. Maybe I should give up the search and use AN as my go-to winter and VT as my go-to summer... but of course, that would be boring.

    Having said al that, I've tried 4 of the 20 export SL's already, so let me tell you what I thought of them.

    Ambre Sultan: I wore this one on my wrist today, and for about the first four hours I thought this was going to be my favourite. I couldn't stop sniffing at it, and I especially loved the vapours that were wafting up from my hand as I typed. But after about 4-5 hours, it just turned into a sickly sweet, powdery, Play-Doh-esque mess. Although I like AN, I don't think I'm a big fan of amber - which makes sense, given how many people say that AN is not really an amber fragrance - and I didn't care for L'Artisan's Ambre Extrême either.

    Daim Blond: I wore this on my other wrist, and from the start I didn't really like it. The apricot was too strong for me, and it just seemed too predominantly fruity.

    Rousse: I only got to wear this one for a couple of hours, but it was very nice. I was surprised at how dry and woody the cinnamon was - I was expecting something sweeter - but pleased nonetheless. It was getting even better as time went on. After it had been on me for a couple of hours, my fiancee, who has been getting pretty annoyed lately at how often I ask her to smell me, actually sniffed once, said "I like it," and then went back for another sniff on her own. Impressive!

    Gris Clair: This one is very promising, but I overapplied the one and only time I've worn it, so I'll have to revisit it to get a more balanced picture. I really, really like the smell that's lingering on my sample atomizer, though.

    A few more tidbits that might help you with suggestions:
    L'Artisan Dzing! - HATED IT.
    L'Artisan Tea for Two - Really thought I was going to like this one, but found it way too smoky. After about 3 hours, I started to like it more.
    L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer - Liked it, but it could have used more incense and less musk.

    Here are a few Export scents that I have been considering trying:
    A La Nuit
    Arabie
    Douce Amere
    Miel de Bois
    Un Bois Vanille
    Un Lys
    Vetiver Oriental


    And finally, here's a shortlist of Exclusives that I was considering as possibilities:
    Chergui
    La Myrrhe
    Muscs Koublai Khan
    Fumerie Turque - although after finding Tea for Two too smoky, I'm worried I may have to eliminate this one.
    Rahat Loukoum - although I'm a bit apprehensive about the cherry content.

    So again, I'm looking for:
    (1) suggestions on regular SL's to try, to broaden my horizons; and
    (2) suggestions on Exclusive SL's to try, based on what I've already tried and liked/disliked.

    Oh, and yes, I'm a (straight) guy. Hoping not to smell too overtly feminine, nor to have my mother ask me "Are you wearing women's perfume?"

  2. #2

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    From my limited experience with the exclusifs, here are my thoughts:

    I do not care much for Tea for Two, but I love Fumerie Turque; I am not sure it would be too smoky for you, and if you love Ambre Narguile, I think FT is worth a try.

    I love Dzing! and love Muscs Koublai Khan, and while to my nose they have some similarity, I think MKK is superlative enough that you should at least risk a sample.

    I thought I would hate Rahat Loukoum because it would be too sweet, but the sugary part evaporated early and it became more balanced. Worth a try, especially if you like gourmand scents.

    The SL stuff all seems pretty unisex to me, but then I enjoy a lot of "women's" perfumes, so take that with a grain of... vanilla.

    Happy sampling, and be sure to report your results for our vicarious pleasure!
    Last edited by zatarain; 25th January 2008 at 10:11 PM.
    Behemoth cut a slice of pineapple, salted it, peppered it, ate it, and then tossed off a second glass of alcohol so dashingly that everyone applauded.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Having tried the Un Bois Vanille yesterday, I can tell you that you will definately go gaga for this scent. This has to be the most fantastically rich vanilla scent I have ever had the pleasure of smelling. I can still smell it off my hand, and I have been wearing it for just under 32 hours from one spray. Absolutely fantastic.

    I have yet to try the L'Artisan vanilla fragrance so I cant compare it to that release, as I know you have tried L'Artisan fragrances before and may be familiar with that one.

    I am probably going to make a purchase of this some time in February, and dont worry, I would not feel this fragrance would be too girly for you, my girlfriend loves it also! (In fact it might be a bad idea to buy as she might use it herself!)

    Good luck with whatever you manage to try, I am hoping to try some more Serge Lutens fragrances after I purchase Un Bois Vanille, Fleur d'Oranger, Santal Blanc and Gris Clair being high on the agenda.

    Hopefully we will hear soon which fragranc you have decided to purchase!
    Last edited by LeeScot; 25th January 2008 at 10:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Given what you've enjoyed so far, I'd suggest you try Arabie, Un Bois Vanille, Douce Amere, Vetiver Oriental (temporarily export), Chene (also temporary), and maybe even Chypre Rouge among the exports. I understand that Louve has much in common with Rahat Loukoum, so testing Louve might give you at least some perspective.

    From the exlcusive line, consider testing Chergui, Mandarine-Mandarin, Rahat Loukoum, Cuir Mauresque, Miel de Bois (love-it-or-hate-it), Muscs Koublai Khan (love-it-or-really-really-hate-it), Chene, and Iris Silver Mist (one of the best of its type).

    If you have a problem with smoke, you may not like Fumerie Turque.

    Good luck!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    If you want to sample the exclusives, call up the boutique and request one of their wax sample books They send them out for free, and within two weeks you'll have a little luxorious package at your doorstep that smells divine, with little wax samples (2-3 uses) of each fragrance in the paris line, bar Fleurs D'Oranger, Iris Silver Mist, Un Bois Sepia, Bois et Musc and Bois et Fruits. All the other paris-only fragrances will be in there. To obtain wet samples of the export line, just pop into any stockist

  6. #6

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    By all means try Vetiver Oriental and Arabie as well as Borneo 1834 (chocolate-patchouli heaven) and: the wonderful Santal de Mysore (an excellent gourmandy sandalwood).
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  7. #7
    kopah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Vivek - I sent a letter to the Salons about a week ago to request Le Petit Livre, so I hopefully will get it within a couple of weeks, and this will make it easier to select my decants of the Exclusifs

    I'm going to Toronto in the next couple of weeks and will be visiting the Bay at Bloor & Yonge and also Sephora at Yorkdale, so I'll try a couple on while I'm there and then hopefully pick up some Export samples to take home. I'll report back once I've made some headway.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Chergui is a must try. Fumerie Turque is in some ways like a smokier Chergui.

    Meil de Bois, Muscs Kublai Khan, and Arabie are very polarizing. They're love it or hate it scents, but hey, you might love it.

    You should try them all

  9. #9

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Since I have tried all the Exclusives, I think I can give a fairly balanced opinion on them.

    I will focus ONLY on the Exclusives, since those are the ones hard to find for testing anyway, and consider your tastes too (ie. Iris Silver Mist although masterful is nothing you would enjoy most probably)

    You suggest that you might like the following:
    "Chergui
    La Myrrhe
    Muscs Koublai Khan
    Fumerie Turque - although after finding Tea for Two too smoky, I'm worried I may have to eliminate this one.
    Rahat Loukoum -although I'm a bit apprehensive about the cherry content."
    I think all of them (with the possible exception of MKK, which is very animalic musky) would suit your tastes.
    Rahat is also sweet and rosy, bear that in mind.
    Chergui is very well liked and much smoother than Ambre Sultan to my nose.
    La Myrrh is candied mandarin on a resiny bitter base: overall it is quite gourmand!
    Fumerie Turque is nothing like Tea for two: it has no real smokiness, it is milky soft with the smell of tobacco pipe from the pouch, not from the ashtray.

    Vetiver Oriental might also be to your liking: it's not a typical vetiver scent. Also consider Bois et Fruits.


    Hope that helps.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Try Cuir Mauresque if you like leathers.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Ambre Sultan: It was love at first sniff for me - so much so that I immediately bought it. As it turns out I wear it only occassionally. I have to be in the right mood and enjoy it when I am, but the herbal note is offputting. I love amber, though. I have a lot of scents with amber in them.

    Daim Blond: This smelled sour on me. Some Lutens do that on my skin (Louve for instance).

    Rousse: Own and wear. Very versatile. It sounds like a winter warmer but I consider it my summer Lutens - it's lighter and fresher than most of the others.

    Here are a few Export scents that I have been considering trying:
    A La Nuit
    Arabie
    Douce Amere
    Miel de Bois
    Un Bois Vanille
    Un Lys
    Vetiver Oriental


    A la Nuit is a strong jasmine. I don't like it though I enjoy other jasmine scents.

    Arabie - exceedingly pungent and spicy, like a stall in a soukh. Yes, it is evocative, but I couldn't wear it. I h ave a sample of it still.

    Miel de Bois is another I own. The honey is strong and sweet - I'd hesitate to wear it if I was male. Some say it smells like cat pee - I don't get that at all. It does what it says on the box - honey and wood. It is EXTREMELY long lasting.

    Un Bois Vanille - lovely but I found it didn't last well on me so didn't buy. Maybe too feminine for a guy.

    Un Lys - Beautiful scent, if you want a lily soliflore.

    Chergui
    La Myrrhe
    Muscs Koublai Khan
    Fumerie Turque - although after finding Tea for Two too smoky, I'm worried I may have to eliminate this one.
    Rahat Loukoum - although I'm a bit apprehensive about the cherry content.

    I have sniffed all of these from wax samples, except Fumerie Turque, which I smelled when it was released as a limited edition export last year. It is very smokey. If you don't like smoke, you probably won't care for it. It's both smokey and sweet - interesting but odd.
    Chergui I have in a perfume sample - it's nice. Fresh at first, but with a sweet, snuggly dry down. A guy can wear, though.
    Rahat Loukoum - hard to tell from the wax sample but it didn't do much for me.
    MKK - try and get a perfume sample or decant first. It's a very strong musk. I like it but on some people it smells like BO.

    I also agree, Cuir Mauresque is wonderful if you like leather.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    I'll chime in for Chene, which is sweet-ish, but with a beautiful woody tone to it.This is one of the best of the SLs to me. Wonderful...

    I love Rousse too, especially once the hot top notes lose a bit of their stridency.

    I tried Gris Clair for the first time today, and I feel I under-sprayed it, and so cannot truly judge it. But its name seems to sum it up beautifully. This is an elegant, cool lavender scent that makes a nice counterpoint to Pour un Homme de Caron.

    I also own Arabie, though I rarely wear it. But each time I do, I like it a bit better, so who knows...

  13. #13
    kopah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    JanAlways, I agree with you about Gris Clair - I tried it again yesterday, and maybe it was the power of suggestion, but it does fit the name. I think this one is probably my favourite out of the four that I've tried so far. I'm going to have to track down Chene for sure now, since so far your tastes in SL seem quite well aligned with mine

    Funny you should mention Caron Pour un Homme - over on the thread I started about men's vanilla fragrances, a couple of people recommended it, but only for people who like lavender! I'm definitely going to have to try that one.
    Last edited by kopah; 29th January 2008 at 10:43 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Le Petit Livre will help some. I was almost shocked when I first sampled Musc Kublai Khan - so you should definitely give that one a whiff before deciding. (I wouldn't mind owning a nice sized decant of it but I am not so sure, yet, about its wearability.) Make sure to give Santal de Mysore, Bois Oriental, Mandarine-Mandarin, Chene, & Borneo 1834 some attention. If you can get it in the export version, then I wouldn't ask your friend to get that same in the exclusive version. (I suppose that would rule out Chergui, Fumerie Turque, Vetiver Oriental, & perhaps Chene!) I have four of the exclusives and, to be honest, I find having them in the 50 ml spray versions more practical - although the bell jars are nice looking.

  15. #15

    Wink Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    I have just tried the Vetiver Oriental and find it quite nice - among my top five vetiver favorites. The vetiver mixes with a myrrh-like note that takes over as the vetiver fades. Really classy. Recommended as a decant from The Perfumed Court (where I got mine).

  16. #16
    kopah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    After taking into account all of your suggestions, here's a list of the Exclusifs that I'm going to try:

    Borneo 1834 - covered
    Chergui - covered

    Cuir Mauresque
    Encens et Lavande - covered
    Fumerie Turque - covered
    La Myrrhe - covered
    Mandarine Mandarin - covered

    Muscs Koublai Khan
    Rahat Loukoum


    Next step... I would be eternally grateful to anybody who can help me out with a little smidgen of any of these... 0.5ml maybe... just enough to help me decide whether I'd like it. Anyone? :-)
    Last edited by kopah; 25th February 2008 at 02:52 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Seeking advice on choosing Serge Lutens (eventually non-export)

    Quote Originally Posted by somethinpositiv View Post
    Meil de Bois, Muscs Kublai Khan, and Arabie are very polarizing. They're love it or hate it scents, but hey, you might love it.
    I agree. The best of these on my skin - Miel de Bois. Very sexy. Don't overspray!!!
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