My favorite was Chergui which I wore a lot in the Fall, but Ambre Narguilé and Coromandel beat it out for frequent Fall wear.
Iris Silver Mist is my favorite but oddly I don't reach for it very often.
Thread: Lutens and Me
First Impression sure makes a lasting impression.. And so did lutens for me with Cedre. it has come to a point now where I’m very much bonded with the luten's world of fragrances. just a brief collection on my thoughts on each one I own at this point...
Cedre: It's so intense. Tuberose with deep and sweet oriental vibes. given 1 hour, one can feel the sheer accord of cedar piercing out of a crystallized accord of tuberose and balsamic notes. It’s heavy duty floral and woody scent at the same time. However, it relaxes to a wonderful accord of Cedre towards base.
Musc Kublai Khan: i was prepared to be put off after reading all the scary reviews.. but then, i was pleasantly surprised to find the most delicately composed oriental fragrance ever. just the right amount of everything with no single accord gaining prominence. i get animalic accords mixed with powdery, spicy accords. like a clean Tiger getting a makeup in circus..sounds ridiculous.... in way, it's an sweeter extension of L'Artisan Parfumers Dzing! and i find it much more wearable as well. MKK lingers on me throughout the day. it keeps me enchanted with it's magnificent whiffs..gives me a kind of self assurance. and no..it doesn’t smell like crotch..arm pit. nope.
Borneo 1834: Whoa! massive "lutens size" dose of patchouli with a supporting accord of chocolate. thats ll it is to it...but then... WHOA! the texture is not deep brown.. it's tilting more towards black. it's that intense and the sillage thereafter is just so comforting. there are time when i dab this one while at home. Feels very relaxing. Just one dab on each wrist.
Santal de Mysore: this one was/is my first bell jar form this line.. and what a pleasure to own this juice in a 75ml container! i would never go out of this juice! all the references to curry is so true. it's spice equivalent is the only other masterpiece in this genre and that's Eau Lente by Diptyque. No comparison in terms of smell but the sheer intensity. Santal de Mysore take finest spices like dry cumin seed, star anise crushed into intense balsamic accords. it has one of the most realistic accords at that. the opening is very warm and powdery but, let it settle and it reveals one of the finest accord of sandalwood. the only other sandalwood based fragrance which comes relatively close is Tam Dao...but even that pales in comparison. this is "the" go to sandalwood fragrance. However, i can imagine a few finding the heavy duty spicy face it puts across in opening accords.
Sa Majeste la rose: all of esteemed reviewers are bang on when they mention the word "dew", so true. i agree with one reviewer on the comparison with tea rose. but only 5%. Tea rose is just plain brash, loud and un-wearable. this is much more realistic and a sweeter version with a very classy sillage which is never intense. although this come across as a transparent scent, it’s cleverly crafted to keep the sillage complex and mesmerizing. it’s beauty is in its simplicity of accord and purity of presentation. a must have for those plush dinners in exclusive restaurants.
Chergui: Chergui is a clever fragrance. it smells of hay, green tobacco leaves, leather, vapors of honey and powdery Iris. It’s one of Lutens best releases. It’s sillage exudes light green texture throughout with a milky, vapor like vibe over opulent, aged leather. It’s very hard to understand the purpose of this fragrance at first sniff.. it smells so unlike anything i have sniffed..
Amber Sultan: i guess, after MKK, Amber sultan is one of Lutens most famous releases. Sure, it has a very spicy opening.. so intense.. i almost smell blood in it. very sharp opening. the key accord in opening is tarragon. Mélange of bright spices subside to reveal a rather simple yet beautiful accord of Amber..an amber dry and dusty in nature with a soft, mellow, orange accord. it's also one of those scents which suits shines in summers. quite a relief actually..
Gris Clair: right from the first time I sampled it and up till now... I cannot shake of that lava association. a very gloomy, smoky fragrance with a heavy dose of lavender. a dress scent and by no mean a casual wear. one of my all time favorites.
Serge Noire: Plain sexy. crisp sweetness with a delicate accord of camphor and incense. has a gothic vibe to it and smells surreal all the way. between this sweet accord lies juicy green accord.. the combination is truly mesmerizing. I can imagine wearing it to a Type O Negative concert..
Arabie: smells like dried dry fruits, bitter orangel peel, heavy duty spices like cumin and clove.. smells dry and juicy at a time..goes on to create a really austere accord which brings toger fruits and spices. the balance is intoxicating and smells wonderful thruout the day. love it one vacations or long drive..
Five o'Clock Au Gingembre: Peppery dark ginger with a lovely twist of chocolate. it's a fantastic gourmand which is refreshing and at the same time, very classy. i was disillusioned by this really off sample and had all the wrong opinions about it.. but a recently acquired bottle changed all that.
All the 11 scents by lutens have made a certain and positive impact in my contnuing pursuit
of testing fragrances. lutens is here to stay in my wardrobe and i still have so many more to test.. Iris Silver Mist, el Attairne..et al.
Do you have any favorites from this line...has this line made a last impression on you...?
Jenson, glad to hear you express your love for Serge Lutens as a house. Lutens did make an impression on me too, sadly, it wasn't as positive.
My first SL sample was Ambre Sultan and it immediately struck me as smelling like Play-Doh. I found it repulsive and put the sample away for months. Years later, I do enjoy Ambre Sultan - especially the herbal elements present for a few hours, but I find that it slides into a too sweet and thick base that doesn't have enough counterpoint to keep it interesting. Sadly, that is my general impression of the line. Too thick and rich without enough of a counterpoint to either 'lift' those heavy notes or keep my interest for a full wearing.
My next sample was Chergui and I do indeed quite like it, but it gets just waaay too sweet, and ultimately too thin - for what starts as such a rich brew - on my skin. My g/f smelled it on me once after it dried down for a few hours and said it smelled like some cheap generic drugstore fragrance. Yikes! But she was right - it really did smell like that on me after a few hours.
I've tried Douce Amere, Daim Blond, Gris Clair, and Serge Noire, too. There's something I like about all of them but only Serge Noire caim anywhere close to love, and now I've found something that has my favorite parts of Serge Noire transplanted into a fragrance which I enjoy from head to toe - Amouage Memoir Man. Gris Clair is quite good, too, but I guess when I'm in the mood for something so lavender heavy I want it to smell more natural and uplifting, almost medicinal, and so Oxford & Cambridge beat it out as my lavender of choice.
I appreciate the quality of Lutens, and the general aesthetic, but his essential signature style just doesn't work for me. It always ends up too flat and monolithic on my skin.
I thought Gris Clair was really nice. To me, MKK was disgusting.
Lutens and I do not get along, I am happy you enjoy it.
Despite it being my favorite fragrance line by a mile ( If someone said "Only one house" it's easily Serge Lutens ), me and Mr. Lutens' line got off on a bad footing.
The first three I tried I wasn't a big fan of at all. Ambre Sultan was intriguing but ruined by a weird Play-Do note. Santal Blanc was just bland sweetness personified. Cedre smelled like woody-floral bubblegum. By the time I smelled Five O'Clock Au Gingembre, I really wasn't getting what the fuss over Lutens was about.
Then, I smelled Iris Silver Mist. What was this alien stuff? Carrots, red-hots, dirt, leather, lipstick - it was like no other fragrance I'd sampled in my hunt through iris fragrances back then, and the more I wore it, the more I was fascinated. I still love it.
Then, I ordered a sample pack of five of the Paris Exclusives: Tubereuse Criminelle, Muscs Koublai Khan, La Myrrhe, Rose de Nuit, and another of ISM.
Tubreuse Criminelle, of course, is my all-time favorite fragrance. I've gone on about it endlessly, but suffice to say its a spicy, wintergreen-laced white floral that hits every right button.
La Myrrhe is a very Avante Garde fragrance, but there's really nothing else like it. The medicinal facets of myrrh are brought to the fore with an enormous wash of aldehydes, sleek and dry and more than a little alien.
Rose de Nuit is a rose chypre condensed into its darkest, most opaque aspects, thickly animalic and old fashioned in the best possible way.
Muscs Koublai Khan is actually a very sweet and charming fragrance. To my nose it's one of the least odd-smelling Lutens; just slightly sweaty over a powdery rose, patchouli, and musk.
These five are what turned me around on Lutens, but since then I've also fallen in love with Sarrasins and Fille En Aiguilles, and enjoyed Fleurs d'Oranger, Arabie, Chene, Sa Majeste La Rose, Mandarine Mandarin, Gris Clair, and Vetiver Oriental.
I've also changed my mind on two fragrances I dismissed before, Five O'Clock and Fourreau Noir.
Ironically, not only does Lutens produce many fragrances that bore me, they also produce some of my most hated fragrances. Bois et Fruits, Bois de Violette, and most of all, Miel de Bois, are in a top ten of my most hated fragrances - ever.
Last edited by Sugandaraja; 16th October 2010 at 03:08 AM.
It's my favorite house. I own and love:
Fille en Aiguilles
Fleurs de Citronnier
Iris Silver Mist
Miel de Bois
Muscs Koublaï Khän
Un Bois Vanille
À la Nuit
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To the ones I own and smelled.
Fille en Aigulles
Five O'clock Au Gingembre
I havent's smelled the exclusive lines. (i.e Iris Silver Mist...)
My blog: http://scentedpassion.blogspot.com/
Arabie was the first niche fragrance that I ever owned and it's the one that got me to Basenotes.
I've since owned and loved, Chergui, Daim Blonde, Gris Clair and Santal de Mysore. Right now I have MKK, Fille En Aiguilles, Chêne, Fleurs de Citronier in my wardrobe.
Great house, perhaps it's reached a bit of a plateau, but I still plan on adding La Myrrhe and Rose de Nuit to my collection.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 16th October 2010 at 05:37 AM.
I too am a devotee of Serge Lutens. There is depth, darkness and creativity that, in his hands, become an expression of components to a canvas that are together greater than the sum of their parts. Serge Lutens is an artist of fragrance that creates works that others could not pull off in the commercial world. He creates classics in his own life time. One could love or hate his fragrances, but there is no denying his creative genius.
I really love Serge Lutens. It's amazing how most of its fragrances have an easily recognizable signature style, but still really varied at the same time. Awesome.
My top 3:
Musc Kublai Khan
Un Bois Vanille
I am disappointed when Sergu creates something that does not appeal to me. I want to like everything he creates. He is creative and unique, visionary and a pioneer. My mother first told me about his brand in 2005 and since then I have been a follower.
My latest include Ambre Sultan and Chene. I have my eye on Borneo 1834. It makes me like I am in a luxurious jungle.
All: glad to see some loyal following in here. im sure there are more who admire this line.
SoS, David - it's definitely for someone who enjoys Lutens signature style of perfumery. i havent come across a lutens release which would make me say, "thats opulent". Lutens is more of a space shuttle for me taking me to unexplored places and their interpretations..
Sugandraja - Great reviews. and yes, you have been pushing Tubereuse Criminelle for a long time now. cant wait to sample it. Rose de Nuit too sounds very interesting. also glad to see you hate Bois de Viloette & Bois et Fruits. somehow it didnt go well wiht me too. maybe i dont like violettes so extreme.
Kevin: have you sampled Rose de Nuit?
Thanks, i appreciated your impressions jenson.
I have extactly the same feeling about this fragrance.Santal de Mysore: this one was/is my first bell jar form this line.. and what a pleasure to own this juice in a 75ml container! i would never go out of this juice! all the references to curry is so true. it's spice equivalent is the only other masterpiece in this genre and that Eau Lente by Diptyque. No comparison in terms of smell but the sheer intensity.. wow. Santal de Mysore take finest spices like dry cumin seed, star anise mixed with intense balsamic accords and pounded on it a crusher. it has one of the most realistic accords at that. the opening is very warm and powdery and make just give one that extra punch. but, let it settle and it reveals one of the finest accord of sandalwood. the only other sandalwood based fragrance which comes relatively close is Tam Dao...but even that pales in comparison. this is "the" go to sandalwood fragrance. However, i can imagine a few finding the heavy duty spicy face it puts across in opening accords.
For me it's the only one sandalwood fragrance who smell sandalwood ! (the second is Tam Dao). For me the mysore sandalwood has naturally a "curry" odor (i find it in tam dao too but less intense).
I smelled others who are regularly quoted here like MPG Santal noble and was disappointed...
Iris silver mist : it's like sandalwood for santal de mysore, the only frag who really smells iris rhyzom. I have a really good skin chemistry with this one so it stays relativly sweet and envelop me in a delicate and strong iris cloud.
La myrrhe: this absolutly need a compatible skin but it's the most original Lutens, none equivalent ! A scintillating myrrhe in the darkness of the night. If you are unlucky you will get an extremly acid aldehyd-like note... On a good skin it's a delight, starts with a fine bitter almond and acid note, this note gets drowsy and a let emerge a medicinal myrrh with a beautiful spice accord (nearly gourmand star aniss).
Rahat loukoum :use with precaution coz it's really sweet, but sometime i need a sweet recomforting scent. I love the heavy bitter almond top note who remains the cleopatra stick used in my childhood. Pure oriental gourmand but still raffined and never do "synthetic candy".
Sarrasins: dark animalic musky jasmin with tuberose (for the sensuality). At the same time attractive and worrying.
Encens et Lavande gives the impression to be in a forgotten church, walking on paving stone.
Man, I love those house fragrances rundowns, I wish more people would do them. I think a very significant Lutens you didn't try is Douce Amere, it smells like a traditional Middle Eastern Dessert called "Qamar Deen", though some compared it to Baklawa, another middle eastern desert. It does have the syrpy/honey/dried fruit vibe to it.
Ekove, i knew Douce Amere smelt like Ramadan haha
I just sampled it at Harvey Nichols Dubai a few minutes ago. arabie also reminds me of Ramadan and Louve reminds me of marzipan.
I own "Fleur d'Oranger"
I love "Ambre Sultan"
This afternoon I could buy "Arabie" and "Cedre"... The problem is that SL frags are too concentrated for my tastes...
I own Chergui, Ambre Sultan, L'Eau, and Daim Blond. Very pleased with them. On my to-buy list: Muscs Koublai Khan and Arabie. Gris Clair is tempting me, too.
Last edited by mrcologneguy; 17th October 2010 at 02:18 PM.
MKK - Great! Sometimes I get the 'ass/grotch/cumin'-stuff very clearly, sometimes it just smells lovely and realxed. What it evokes most of the time in me is the "bedsheets after good sex"-association. MKK never get's boring and in case it does at some point it will be still awesome for layering. Because it's a musk, it also has very good longevity.
Fumerie Turque - Great, along with MKK one of my favourite Lutens so far. Because it's not as sweet as Chergui it's more versatile.
Chergui - Nearly a masterpiece but IMO but the final stages acutally do smell a bit boring and kind of cheap. It's also a bit too sweet for me so that I don't wear it as often as I thought I would.
Chene - Fascinatingly dry and photorealistic. On it's own, it's not 100% my thing but it's a great effort by Lutens and it's nice to have for layering.
Five O'Clock Au Gingembre - Nice but I don't want to smell like tea time over at Granny's. Would make a nice room scent though.
Ambre Sultan - Way too thick! I don't like it at all, actually a scrubber for me.
Daim Blond - Another one I can't stand on me although I can see it's a piece of quality that's probably very nice on certain women.
Last edited by Nasenmann; 16th October 2010 at 12:25 PM.
Great reviews here!
Well, if I had to name one signature scent for me (also the one house would be Serge Lutens, if really necessary to limit oneself ), it would be Chergui. It's been quite unsweet on me lately with a lot of tobacco wrapped in the rosy-fruity velvet... balmy and haunting at once.
Ambre Sultan - overall, I agree with some here that I would prefer HdP's Ambre 114 over Ambre Sultan now. I liked it a lot initally, then felt it was a bit too much/medicinal for me. Funnily, I wore it in Lisbon this summer. It was damn hot and I was walking uphill. I wore Ambre Sultan and I really felt it was a perfect match... very masculine, 'sweaty' and raunchy. I really loved it that night. I don't reach often for it, but I feel I have learned how and when to wear it.
Rose de Nuit, like Sarrasins, both in their field and category are the 'sexy' ones for me.
Cuir Mauresque is the Lutens leather for me, but unwearable in summer. I nearly ruined this one for me by wearing it once this summer. I think this is a tricky and quite controversial one. I don't really like the top notes.
Fourreau Noir is a Lutens-style gourmand fougere with the main thrill being the sweetness pulled back by the myrrh etc.
La Myrrhe - this is unique, haunting, fascinating and everything that's been said above. My no. 2!
Boxeuses - the sugar plums for Christmas - not really leathery on me, not rough. Need more time with it this winter.
Borneo 1834 - very special, unsweet and surprisingly rather short-lived on me. My "sit-by-the-fire-outside-in-summer-and-enjoy-a-cigarillo" frag. I don't reach for this more than 2-3 times a year.
Fille en Aiguilles, Cedre and Fumerie Turque are my Lutens I have grown tired of or rather sick (Fille en Aiguilles). These are my to-go Lutens in the long run.
The Bois series did not impress me at all, quite disgusting mostly.
MKK is weird, too sweet and an odd combination IMO, not very skanky either.
Iris Silver Mist - not my thing and style. I don't understand it, is honest to say.
What else? The Fleurs are not my thing either, preferring the Citronnier though. I don't like the Vetiver and hate e.g. Chypre Rouge, Arabie... BUT I haven't sampled Tubereuse Criminelle.
Color me not surprised. Jenson explores the Land of Lutens and discovers some exotic scents. Serge Lutens is my favorite line. Many of the Lutens required months for me to wrap my nose around and appreciate them but it was time well spent. I have owned and worn a most of the Serge Lutens line. Those I still own include the following:
Ambre Sultan was my first Lutens and is still my favorite amber.
Borneo 1834 has been my signature scent for two years. Dark, sensual, earthy patchouli.
Chêne is a fall favorite. Reminds me of an oak barrel that once stored a mild fruit cider.
Douce Amère is one I sold but bought back because I missed owning a solid licorice/anise/absinthe scent.
Iris Silver Mist is my reference iris fragrance. Best. Iris. Ever.
Santal de Mysore was my number one until Borneo took the top spot. Truly amazing blend of sandalwood and spices.
Serge Noire is one that took months for my senses to grasp. I still find the opening somemwhat jarring but the drydown is worth the wait.
Other Serge Lutens scents of note:
Rose de Nuit is built on a classic chypre template (Cabochard, Aramis, etc.) with a rich rose as the focal point.
Sarrasins is the only one I intend to buy in the near future. Deadsexy jasmine, suede, and musk. Smells like seduction.
I've struggled with Rose soliflore fragrances for years, stubbornly thinking that was the best
way to wear rose. But those soliflores always bored me after a few wearings. Then I got wise to rose chypres, I think it was Ungaro's Diva that opened my eyes.
It took me awhile to understand the perfection of the floral chypre genre. I love the way Rose de Nuit marries its rose to galbanum and moss.
I am so looking forward to owning this one.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 17th October 2010 at 10:08 PM.
SL Arabie is my favorite fragrance.
I love the Serge Lutens line, a lot of the frags seem just made-for-me. They work so well on my skin.
I own and love: Ambre Sultan, Chergui, and Fumerie Turque.
I have decants of: MKK, Douce Amere, Cuir Mauresque, Boxeuses, Un Bois Vanille, and Santal de Mysore. I really, really want full bottles of each of these!
I have sampled: Arabie, Sarrasins, FdO, Borneo1834, Chene, Daim Blond, Encens et Lavande and Louve. I would eventually like full bottles of these too.
Thanks for posting about SL jenson - I think many of you all know how much I adore this house.
As I've said before, out of all of the fragrance categories that there are, the orientals speak to me the most. Of course, living in warm South Florida can be tricky wearing heavy orientals, so my adoration and appreciation sometimes has to be simply from an observational point-of-view rather than buying a full bottle and wearing it as my Scent of The Day.
Nonetheless, it's my favorite house after Guerlain. There are a handful that I cannot wear (Santal de Mysore, Santal Blanc, Rousse, Datura Noir & Feminite du Bois) - most of them that I have tested I love and either have at one time or another owned samples or decants of.
Ambre Sultan made me cry, the first time I smelled it. No lie. It's such a beautiful scent and it really speaks to me on a deep level. I have spent a year or so, without a full bottle - I will be replacing it in my wardrobe some time in the future.
Borneo 1834 and Serge Noire both hold special places in my heart - they make me think of certain special places and times in my personal life. Wearing them is sort of like flipping through a scrapbook (in my mind's eye) and it can be extremely comforting. Up to now, there has not been another patchouli fragrance that I like better than B1834.
Arabie sort of grossed me out the first time I smelled it. I had never smelled a fragrance with such a prominent overdose of Middle-Eastern spices - the first olfactory association I had was the smell of cooking chicken on the stove. It took me almost a year to appreciate it's intricate complex sweetness. Now, I happily wear it in hot weather and enjoy the way it smells on my hot sweaty body. Nonetheless, my small samples have lasted me for years - I can't imagine ever needing to own a full bottle.
Iris Silver Mist was, and still is, my iris reference scent. I am currently getting into No. 19 by Chanel and my new bottle of Dior Homme Cologne - but both of these scents would have repelled me before I was dumbstruck by ISM. Any Basenoter who has even the mildest interest in iris scents and has not smelled ISM really needs to get a sample ASAP.
Sa Majeste la Rose. Well, I must admit this was my first full bottle of a rose prominent scent. Just one BIG rose scent. No excuses. I miss my bottle that I went thru a couple years ago.
Gris Clair smelled like hot iron steam water the first time I smelled it - I kept thinking 'Who the hell can wear this!?' and then a couple wearings later it was pure love. It is one of my favorite lavenders and perhaps the only SL scent I own, that I can wear comfortably all year long. I cherish it, at night, when I come home from an evening workout at my gym.
A La Nuit. There is not a better jasmine scent I have tried. Not even Sarassins. I have stopped looking for something better than ALN and just accepted that it is jasmine perfection.
Chergui is one I love and yet, I don't know if I could go thru a full bottle. I love it's hay sweet carmelized sticky tobacco but then sometimes, if I spray the tiniest bit too much it sort of nauseates me. Nonetheless there is nothing that smells like this strange fascinating creature. It is, perhaps, exactly what I think about when I speak about niche scents.
There are many in the line, I just haven't had enough time to get to know. The 2 Bois' (Violette and Et Fruits) I need to sample more. Cuir Mauresque and Fumerie Turque, Une Bois Vanille I've only tested once. Same for Douce Amere, Daim Blond, Five O Clock Gingembre, and many others.
The ones that I want to buy full bottle of are: Forreau Noir, Vetiver Oriental, Fille en Aiguilles and Chene. And I am dying to try: L 'Eau de Serge Lutens, Boxeuses, Bas de Soie and a whole bunch of the Paris exclusives I can't even remember.
I've smelled almost all of them and own bottles/bell jars of a lot of them.
Ones I like most:
Muscs Koublaï Khän
Santal de Mysore
To smell on my gf
Rose de Nuit
Un Bois Vanille
Fille en Aguilles
Bois de Violette is exceptional, but my gf doesn't like to wear it.
Feminite du Bois - same as above, though not as fully realized.
Iris Silver Mist is excellent.
Arabie is a high quality oriental.
Ambre Sultan is a great fragrance, but heavy, and becomes tiresome soon enough.
I haven't smelled El Attarine, but it's supposed to be good.
-- A few of them are exceptional, several are well made and satisfying, a few are relatively average but still decent, and a small handful are poorly made, thoroughly tedious and entirely unnecessary. Lutens has definitely surpassed the average niche collection (which usually just makes a nice looking menu with interesting accords, but rarely creates anything as truly remarkable as the great masters who often worked on a single fragrance for anywhere from 5 to 10 years). Lutens and Sheldrake have done it a few times in La Myrrhe, Sarrasins, and Bois de Violette, and they were close enough with Rose de Nuit, Tubereuse Criminelle, and Feminite du Bois (Pierre Bourdon). Not to mention that Fumerie Turque is one of the deepest, richest orientals I've ever smelled, has a darkness reminiscent of the great Carons of the past, and its relative dryness makes it much easier to wear than something like Chergui. Cuir Mauresque is a great smelling, extremely satisfying and easy to wear leather, with one of the best performing incense notes I've ever known.
Overall this house has done far more for the art of perfumery in its first eighteen years than someone like Creed has ever done, no matter how much they claim to be the purveyors of perfume to various royal and imperial houses of Europe.
Last edited by pluran; 17th October 2010 at 03:21 PM.
I haven’t tried any of the Paris exclusives but I’ve pretty well worked my way thru the export line. Of those I own:
This one always make me smile – it's effortlessly laid back, optimistic and utterly unique. I have read about the hay note employed in this one and how it is a primal sort of ‘feel good’ scent. It really does push those buttons for me – takes me back to a beautiful late summer afternoon in NZ helping some friends in Kerikeri hay-making. I own both colours – both fine by me.
The first Lutens I bought and not part of the heavier oriental canon. It’s popular with women ‘for a night out’ here according to the most knowledgeable of the Shiseido SAs I have spoken to, but like a lot of leather (or in this case suede) scents I find it comfortably genderless and a great autumn evening pick me up - not too heavy but with an uplifting vibe and some character. The osmanthus always seems to put a spring my step.
If there was an award for “scent that should be enjoyed at arms length” I think Gris Clair would be a prime contender. At a safe distance it is a bright, sparkling, truly uplifting lavender that is perfect in any situation. I first wore this in Singapore (30c+ with 90%+ humidity) and it was the perfect antidote to tropical lethargy. Then I made the mistake of leaning in to sniff it on my wrist – it was like banging my head on a slab of glazed rock, the stuff they use in those walls that appear to be permanently wet – you know the look? A classic IMO - a ruthlessly un-sentimental take on lavender.
It’s a cliché, I know, but Arabie has become a Christmas tradition for me – the weather is cool enough to wear it and it just seems to work perfectly. Love it.
Someone here described this as ‘strangely comforting’ – I agree.
L’Eau Serge Lutens
Yup – I’m one of the three people who own it. I think it’s fantastic in summer if you have one of those clean white shirt going to a meeting with people who wear suits want to feel awake and at least appear interested kind of days.
I also own Un Bois Vanille, Fumerie Turque & Ambre Sultan – all good at what they do. I bought A la Nuit & Feminite du Bois for a lady friend who carries them off beautifully.
Bottles in my future – Filles en Aiguille (I like the dry, dark pine forest vibe) & Serge Noire (I spent a year going from 'you must be joking' to actually appreciating what is happening here - worth persevering when challenged and thank you Diamondflame for relentlessly championing this one!)
Must tries: La Myrrhe, Santal de Mysore, Sarrasins, Cuir Mauresque and Mandarine Mandarin.
I agree with pluran's comments above - to me this is a house that kicked off with an original vision and in amongst the hits and misses there are some modern classics and when it all comes down to it we are all the better off for having the option to try them.
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 17th October 2010 at 06:12 PM.
fab to see so many chime in! love all those reviews.. im all the more curious about Sarassins, A la Nuit, rose de nuit, Cuir M, Tubereuse Criminelle, Fumerie T et al !
btw, i have sampled L’Eau Serge Lutens and mr. reasonable, i agree, it's a daily wear kinds from Lutens. perfect to wear in office or any casual use. i would love to get my hands on this one. and...im glad it's in a 100ml bottle.. this one needs a bit of dousing for it to last..
I'm a big fan of L'Eau SL too. It's an interesting take on "fresh." Grows on you - be careful about casually dimissing it. Subtleties come out with repeated wearings.
The FBW ones for me so far are Gris Clair..., Fumerie Turque, MKK, and Ambre Sultan. There are several others I like, but I don't think I would never go through a FB of them. I haven't yet had the opportunity to try Tuberose Criminalle, but would really like to at some point. In general, the gourmand sweetness of so many fragrances from this house doesn't really suit me. I find Arabie, for instance, is almost nauseating.
Jenson, it's readily available here in Abu Dhabi. If you know someone going to india soon i can facilitate in attaining it.
I currently own full bottles of Fumerie Turque, Chergui, and Douce Amere but if money were no object I'd add full bottles of
Un Bois Vanille
Iris Silver Mist
Fille en Aiguilles
Rose de Nuit
Same for these, but limping along on decants:
I recently ran out of Ambre Sultan which I loved but strangely, I'm unsure about replacing it.
Even though there are a couple I don't care for (Miel de Bois, Chypre Rouge, L'Eau) I love the Lutens aesthetic and always look forward to any new release with great anticipation.
"I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain
I haven't been rubbed the wrong way by a Lutens fragrance yet.
My favorites are La Myrrhe, Tubereuse Criminelle and Chêne.
I like this thread! So many beautiful Lutens to own and try...
The ones I own and favor are:
Borneo 1834: I had not had such love at first sniff for a fragrance. I never wanted to try it because I had read comparisons to Coromandel, which was not the best fit for me, but Borneo was heaven. I am glad Asha sprayed it on me at Scentbar. I just knew then I had to own some Borneo. It is complex patchouli, chocolatey without being gourmand.
Douce Amere: This was my first Lutens. When I heard that Douce Amere was being pulled as an exclusive I bought a back-up bottle. It is a genius anise/licorice absinthe fragrance and an instant compliment getter. I can wear this all year long.
Serge Noire: A big pot full of spices. I cannot spray this, since it is so potent, nor can I wear it to work, but I love to dab some late at night and just enjoy the smell.
Fille en Aiguilles: The smell of fall in a pine forest. So lovely, not too sweet.
5 o'clock au Gingembre: A very comforting scent. It is a nice companion at work or in any other setting. Although it is a bit gourmand, it is not sweet.
Louve: Talk about a cherry bomb! but I love it. I don't own a full bottle, but a mini of this and I am sure it will last for a long time.
Fleurs d'Oranger: I own a mini of this, and I am afraid to use it because I heard it has been reformulated. This is a very nice combination of oranges and spices, a dirty orange, but I find it super sexy.
Chergui: I own a decant of this. Although it is comforting and lovely, it does not rock my world. I find something in common with Douce Amere, except that DA is bright and cheerful.
I liked Ambre Sultan, Sa Majeste La Rose, and Daim Blonde. Probably a bottle of Daim Blonde is in my future. I am waiting for a sample of Boxeuses and I am looking forward to trying it. I also liked Vetyver Oriental. I wished I had bought it when I had the chance I am very intrigued by Rousse, since I love cinnamon. Another one I tried and liked recently was Fleurs de Citronnier.
As of yet I've only gotten to try Fumerie Turque and Chergui. Unfortunately I wasn't crazy about either of them. Fumerie Turque was just a light, slightly sweet tobacco. Chergui was very promising when I could smell it coming out of the vial, but ended up being too sweet. I get the sweetness in Tobacco Vanille and Ambre Narguile, because they both seem like syrupy rich fragrances. Chergui seems dry and thin, so it doesn't make sense to me. If it wasn't as sweet, I'd probably like it more.
Despite these two, I'm still wanting to try more. Chêne, 5 o'clock au Gingembre, Un Bois Vanille, Vetiver Oriental, and Sarrasins all sound interesting. But I'd really like to go and try them all! Dried fruits and spices seem really common in most of the fragrances, and that sounds right up my alley. I'm sure I'll find a real winner in time.
There are so many excellent reviews on this I can't help but chime in more love for some others...
Sarrasins - This is still my reigning jasmine fragrance, despite going through an ( ongoing ) tour of all the available jasmine soliflores this year. Like Criminelle it exploits a hot-cold contrast but here it's more subtle; cool to warm, starting out as a smooth, airy jasmine and then becoming fleshy and animalic, without being an indole-bomb like A La Nuit.
Fille En Aiguilles - My favorite pine fragrance, easily my favorite gourmand too. That it combines these in one fragrance eminently lovable! Of the "Sheldrake syrup" creations, this one is my favorite; far more than Arabie, a fragrance which I find much more extroverted than this. The pine adds a much needed context to the sweet spices, and becomes surprisingly non-sweet half-way through its development.
Sa Majeste La Rose - a truly wonderful "green" rose, very fresh and alive-smelling. Perfect for when I crave a natural rose.
As an aside though, this is the fragrance that really confirmed the variability of skin chemistry. It really smells like rubber boots on my mother! Such a shame, as she liked it.
Arabie always makes me smile. It's not something I want to own, but it's so excessively excessive its an "experience", like a three-way between a chicken korma, a pumpkin pie, and mincemeat.
A La Nuit I respect but just find too severe on the nostrils. It's so searing it actually smells more clean than dirty to my nose, almost sudsy. If someone asks what "indolic jasmine" smells like, though, one can just point someone in the direction of this.
Mandarine Mandarin is slightly underpowered but delightfully odd. Citrus without any tang or sparkle melded with celery, amber, and the florals from Fleurs d'Oranger. Yeah, it's weird - but good. A bit of a sleeper, I'd say.
Nuit de Cellophane and L'Eau were big disappointments for me, I'll admit. Nuit is a bland fruity osmanthus and L'Eau is fresh and clean, more washed-out than freshly laundered.
Fumerie Turque just baffles me. It goes on like burnt, sweet patchouli and then does absolutely nothing until it dies off the next day. I found it strangely flat for a Lutens, completely lacking the depth and complexity I expect in the line and find even in ones I don't like ( like Bois de Violette ).
Testing Fille en Aiguilles today and really enjoying it. Could this be the first Lutens that I truly pine for? (har har ). I think it does the incense/fir/fruit thing far better than Wazamba. This scent has a very realistic sap note that I am loving.
I own A La Nuit and Douce Amere. I love the indolic jasmine of A La Nuit, and I suppose it would be criminal to wish for even more out of it? Douce Amere struck me as the first perfume I smelled that manages to be sweet and rich but also sheer. The anise/absinthe make a perfect dry counterpoint to the syrup. I don't usually "do" woody fragrances, but the balance here is perfect.
I sampled Arabie, but I couldn't stomach the curry vibes. I love curry, just not to wear.
But Ambre Sultan is my favorite so far. It makes me smile. This stuff smells exactly like an incense I found years ago at a Renaissance Festival: Old Hill Woman's Gypsy incense. I loved it and squeezed months of enjoyment out of my little packet. Never thought I'd smell that again; it was heavenly.
Four down, how many left to sample?
Anakin: What was that all about?
Obi-Wan: Well, R2 has been...
Anakin: No loose wire jokes.
Obi-Wan: Did I say anything?
Anakin: He's trying.
Obi-Wan: I didn't say anything!
I have full bottles of Gris Clair... and Chêne. I just ordered a large decant of Muscs Koublaï Khän, though I would like a full bottle one of these days. For some reason I want this in a bell jar! LOL
The others I am eyeing to buy are Borneo 1834, Douce Amère and Un Lys.
Some of the more popular ones I actively dislike, such as Ambre Sultan, or am indifferent to, such as Chergui.
I don't know much about medicine, but I know what I like. -- S.J. Perelman
it's such a treat going through all these reviews. i truly appreciate everyones contribution. Would be splendid to hear more chime in.
Any lutens release that never gets talked about? Mandarin Mandarin is one such scent i believe which doesnt get much attention (as mentioned above)
I worn it a few times but it's a bit special... I get some "china food" and a bubbly effect, smell a coriander note with a bitter orange peel, crystallized mandarine. Recall me a little Fleurs d'oranger but more masculine and an asian version.Any lutens release that never gets talked about? Mandarin Mandarin is one such scent i believe which doesnt get much attention (as mentioned above)
I did the same mistake with Ambre Sultan on a very very hot day, smelled really awful and was a radiant horror..Cuir Mauresque is the Lutens leather for me, but unwearable in summer. I nearly ruined this one for me by wearing it once this summer.
Actually i'm in Miel de bois and Cuir Mauresque with the return of coldness.
Last edited by Mon-Petit; 18th October 2010 at 06:59 PM.
Hey Mike, i havent sampled MM but, i did sample Fleur d'Oranger and jeez, it's sushine squeezed into a bottle. it's so bright and effervescent! so, in a way, i can relate to the reviews on MM..however, im sure it'd be something radically different as i havent come across any lutens which smells similar.
I don't think it's radically different than others Lutens, it's again based on crystallized fruit (his typical style). The changing is for the region, we are moving to extreme easter orient.
Since I've covered nearly all the line I've tried, I might as well add the rest.
Fourreau Noir is fragrance that I dismissed at first but really enjoyed recently. There is absolutely nothing special about the accord but it's [i]beautiful[/b], a subtle, spicy-fruit-gourmand touch added to a staunchly traditional fougere. It's subtle and conservative so I can see some finding it anti-Lutens, but a good fragrance is a good fragrance, even if it's weirdly uncharacteristic for the house.
Vetiver Oriental is rich and warm and delightful, taking vetiver and iris into a surprisingly serene territory considering the powerfully rooty accords they can be.
Rahat Loukoum is just screetchily sweet and girlish, not my thing at all. It is realistic, though, so I can't fault it on that. Says it's candy; is candy.
Un Bois Sepia is perhaps the least charismatic of the Bois series. I find it neither offensive nor remarkable but certainly wearable.
Serge Noir frustrates me no end. It has a burnt smell, kind of roasted nutmeg ( but nothing like Bois Oriental ), rather resinous and almost smoky. Then it turns into a soft, soft, cedar note that lurks around the skin for a few hours. I love the top notes, but it needs a bigger bottom!
Un Lys I do enjoy but could do it being a little less wan and melancholic. Like Sa Majeste it kind of stands to one side of the Lutens style; surprisingly transparent. It smells nice on paper but kind of droops on me. I prefer the more lively Malle lily.
Datura Noir conjures up some floral from the black lagoon, but is really the Lutens ode to sunscreen. I enjoy it but I'm not moved to own it. I'm just not that much of a beach bunny!
Clair de Musc suffers from too many succesful rivals. It's a really nice smelling white musk, no doubt, but I find the Body Shop's White Musk just as nice and awfully close.
As an aside, there's really not much you can do to make a white musk accord smell original all on its own. I think Mr. Ford's been-there, smelled-that White Musk series only highlighted that.
Gris Clair is a great fougere, but I've only worn it once, so I'm not sure I can really review it yet. I want to wear it more.
Cuir Mauresque is a leather very much in the vein of Knize Ten and REL. Like both of those, an accord I enjoy is spoiled by a peculiar soapy accord that's a common reaction of my skin to a certain animalic accord. Other than that, it's an enjoyable spicy leather ( one that I can enjoy on paper alone! )
Chene is lovely, another one I really enjoyed and need to get around to again. I don't find it as linear and woody as most find it; I almost get a boozy-candied quality in the top, but enjoyably so. It's a rum-raisin forest, though somehow utterly different from Fille En Aiguilles candied pine trees.
Bormeo 1834 is a very pleasant patchouli-chocolate but I can't find much else to say about it. It is what it is! ( A phrase I know many Basenoters hate, but what can I do with a patchouli chocolate bar - it's tasty, it's fun, it's not much else. )
Daim Blond smells like Lutens does shampoo. I'm not fond of it - too fruity, too sweet, no leather.
Looking at the list of Serge's fragrances, the only ones I've never sniffed in any form are Santal de Mysore, Un Bois Vanille, Bois et Musc, and the two new ones, Bas de Soie and Boxeuses. I also really want to retest Encens et Lavande, Douce Amère, Russe, and Louve, as I've only smelled them in passing.
So far the only Lutens fragrance that I found to be without merit is Santal Blanc.
I like Fleurs d'Oranger, I just wish it had more oomph.
Ambre Sultan- Smells way too much like Play-doh for my liking, then again I'm not the biggest amber fan so maybe that has something to do with it
Bas de Soie- Kind of boring if you ask me, smells like ultra fancy soap.
Borneo 1834- Smells good, I like the chocolate note in it, nothing special though in my mind
Chergui- LOVE this one, blind bought it because I found a good deal on it online and haven't regret it yet. I usually don't go for gourmand fragrances, but damn this is classy in all the right ways! Near the end pretty much all it smells like is straight up brown sugar, but it takes about five hours to get there, so no real complaints here.
Chene- All I get out of this is pine tree sap and the chips you put in hamsters cage. Not for me though I could see how others would like it.
Cuir Mauresque- While I did like this one it's not something I would personally wear. Honestly I think this would be best on a classy, middle aged, woman dressed up for a night on the town.
Feminite du Bois- I actually quite like this one, the pine and sweet notes balance each other nicely, I find my nose on my wrist quite often when I reach for this sample.
Fumerie Turque- Tied with Chergui for my favorite, so honeyed and sweet with great tobacco notes, really should only be worn in cold weather in my opinion though.
Santal de Mysore- Just smells like syrupy sandalwood to me, pleasant enough but probably the most boring out of all the SL's I've tried so far
Serge Noir- Tried this one for the first time yesterday. Absolutely disgusting, it may literally be my most despised fragrance to date. Smells like a pile of wet dog fur thats been sitting for a week that someone decided to throw gasoline on and burn on a hot summer day. My stomach is turning over just thinking about this one.
Vetiver Oriental- I liiikke this one, incredibly unique take on vetiver, and the way it's blended makes it smell very classy and mature. Never gets overly sweet like some SL's.
Bois et Fruits An aerial and lighter version of Féminité du bois. A great typical Lutens fruity scent , slightly spiced and woody, pleasantly sweet. I have the impression to smell a real juicy nectarine and peachs in syrup..however the lasting on the skin is poor, it's discret.
El Attarine This is an amazing oriental using all the Lutenesque codes. If you enjoy Arabie (and the sandalwood) you can't go wrong with this one! In fact it was created before the 2008 release, as an homage of the Lutens oriental inspiration.
I particulary get: cumin, oriental spices, candied apricot, date, woods (santal). On my skin it can even recall Bois et Fruits, on other skin i had the impression to smell Santal de Mysore, depend wich side your skin develop! For me it's the ultimate scent for smelling oriental souk and get transported to north Africa.
Bois et musc: I don't know why but the first time i smelled it i immediatly made a connection with Chanel - Egoïste (i have worn it in my teens). It's an elegant and muffled Féminité du bois. A little too quiet for my tastes, i rather prefer Bois Oriental. It's a Bois but treated in a more classic, balanced and maybe wearable for somes who are a little afraid with the overdoses of spices or candied fruits but still love the Lutens - Féminité du bois base.
I have the same relationship with Serge Lutens as I do with L'Artisan fragrances. I appreciate many of them, but not to the point where I'd actually buy anything from the line. I keep drifting back to Chergui, I am enchanted by the opening, but I find it's constant sweetness slightly sickly after a while and wish I wasn't wearing it. Same with Ambre Sultan to be honest, which I enjoy for a short while and then wish it would go away as it becomes something of a rather loud one trick pony.
It's a line that I feel I should enjoy, but just don't, which frustrates me somewhat.
In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...