So I got my hands on a sample yesterday of Serge Noire… any guess where I was shopping?
Serge Noire opens with a bomb of cold incense, a hint of cinnamon and a big ole’ handful of medicinal cloves. It’s a cold aroma with a bizarre “heat” behind it – the spices a complete contrast to what it should be smelling like. There’s a fruity note up top too, maybe some pink & black pepper? – and a growing presence of cumin.
I surprisingly quite like the spice combo – it’s a big oriental on an unexpected base, but the cloves are far too dominant - thankfully I have begun to tolerate and enjoy certain clove notes but the use here is unsettling with the crisp, almost metallic incense underneath. The incense does have a smokiness to it, which is enhanced with a typical Lutens’ cedarwood underneath that smells raw and almost burnt. All together it creates an uncomfortable medicinal smell that whilst would normally to me be charming, is too overloaded on the cloves and cinnamon to be appealing.
The clove does seem to have a floral, carnation effect underneath which softens the edges a little, but in no way enough to consider Serge Noire floral. The pepper from the opening manages to persist far longer than expected, and over time Serge Noire gains this unexpected waxy texture – the incense still providing a cold smoke and the cloves refusing to leave.
A minty note pops up – or maybe it just takes me a long time to want to hunt for something else in here – and continues the cool feel of the opening all the way through the fragrance – the out-of-place heat from cinnamon and maybe nutmeg sitting on the skin in a dry, piercing dust.
What leads into the drydown is mainly an incense/cedar combo with the remains of the heart’s spice basket clinging on, a subtle resinous amber and maybe even a touch of vanilla sweetening what’s left.
Serge Noire 50ml Serge Lutens – 99 Euros sergelutens.com