I never really thought about sampling La Myrrhe until I read a great review over at Memory of Scent. The review was abstract enough for me to sample this without really knowing anything about it – I love visual reviews like this one, it doesn’t spoil the fun!
So before my sample arrived, I managed to try Icon by Gorilla perfumes and Myrrhiad by Huitieme Art and realized that… actually, I don’t like myrrh! It has a bizarre resinous skin like smell that reminds me of breath, and I feel like I can smell it in the base of most of Mona Di Orio’s fragrances, but I think that’s more of an olfactory association than actually detecting it. Anyway, before I confuse even myself with all these references, back to my point. I was really hoping that La Myrrhe didn’t have that bizarre, thick, dense smell that I didn’t like at all in these myrrh soliflores, and I was right!
Reminding me instantly of Comme des Garcons’ wonderful Stephen Jones (yes I now describe it as wonderful), La Myrrhe opens with a blast of aldehydes – that super synthetic soapy smell that is bright, white, and squeaky clean. I initially detect some citrus which disappears very quickly.
The aldehydes hold onto a translucent fruit scent that reminds me of jammy raspberries – in the same vein as the jammy red fruits in Chypre Rouge – they are well hidden but the texture and colour is there.
The aldehydes break apart a little, giving way to a sweet powdery heliotrope – scattering an almond powder over La Myrrhe. The most bizarre part about this opening is that the sweet fruit, powdery almonds and heavy aldehydes – begin to smell like soda, maybe cherry soda. It has a fizzy feel, with the jammy raspberries turning into the scent of glace cherries – it’s gorgeous.
The best comparison at this point, is to say La Myrrhe smells like Rahat Loukhoum, paired with the coco cola scent of Aziyade, atop a huge bunch of aldehydes a la Stephen Jones. It all slips into place though, and feels like an abstract gourmand meets classical Chanel No.5.
As the heart begins to take full flow, I get a sweet honeyed jasmine, that paired with the opening, has a “root beer” kind of medicinal scent that I absolutely love! It becomes soft and smooth and I think I detect a little of Serge’s signature sandalwood too. Each note rounds out into something luscious and rich but all handled with a light touch. It has a translucency up top with a gorgeous – play-dough textured density at the base. This play-dough texture is the sweet resinous aroma of myrrh and amber.
As the myrrh finally comes into play nearly an hour later on the skin – the bitter almond, red berries and anise note have evaporating, leaving the residue of honeyed florals, the soapy stain of aldehydes, some delicate spice and of course the myrrh and amber. The myrrh is nothing like the breathy, thick incense resin that I am familiar with - I find it almost impossible to describe. It is sweet, but surreal. It smells like nothing else – and I have really fallen for it.
Turning a deep resinous material into a fragrance of bright transparency and cleanliness is the sort of thing I’m fascinated by – it’s like sniffing a rich amber oriental and it smelling like an aquatic cologne. La Myrrhe is a fascinating fragrance that I highly recommend – it takes some serious exploring as this delayed update of a review has proved (I wrote this review initially 6 months ago and have now decided to re-write it). At first all I got was aldehydes and some imaginary myrrh. After exploring aldehydes over the last few months I’ve been able to pull them apart from La Myrrhe and explore everything else that is going on with it – it’s divine. I’m pretty sure this will be one of the bell jars I come back from Paris with at the end of the year…
La Myrrhe Serge Lutens 75ml belljar – 130 Euros sergelutens.com