Ok I wasn’t excited about this release at all until recently I’ve started feeling like I need a new rose in my collection, so awaiting this sample got more and more intense. Oh and the colour of the juice doesn’t help… <3 !!
La Fille De Berlin opens much more translucent and subdued than I thought. Sure, it’s rose all the way upfront – and right now, the note alone is getting me off (in a good way), but it definitely isn’t a big hard-hitter. Next to this rose (which borders on a tea rose, clean, slightly spicy – with just a touch of jam) is a cool, dewy note that I think is a touch of mint. The spice is an expected dose of pink pepper and just a touch of something heavier – but it’s much less than I expected, certainly not the nose-singing start of Vitriol D’Oeillet.
Just a smidge of violet joins the rose, more green than powdery – but a dusty texture comes forward from the rose, drying out in a potpourri style that reminds me of the development of Une Rose (although I much prefer the heaviness of the Malle). The rose’s dewy quality begins to separate from the rose itself, and instead of smelling fresh and damp, it smells more like dried rose with a little aloe next to it. Is it aloe? No idea, but it certainly smells like it. The rose/aloe combo is what dominates, the rose extremely prim and proper – ditching any intense peppered notes and the make-up powder association that the violet will give to some people, and remaining relatively straightforward, clean and tailored – definitely not the beast I expected from the marketing description.
A slightly metallic note comes in, but not at all as intense as in Bois De Soie (as a Lutens’-metallic comparison), it does however add something a little sharper to the rose than I expected. I can’t say I’m all too fond, but at least it’s something a little interesting in here… The metallic note I guess comes from a touch of rose oxide – a note I get big in the opening of Sa Majeste La Rose (if I remember correctly) – and unbelievably huge in Damascena by Keiko Mecheri. Rose oxide smells of clean rose, metal, petrol and has a sharp-oily texture – it’s a fascinating aroma chemical, and its subtle use here is one of the first times I’ve smelt it not be so overwhelming but noticeable – I guess that in itself is a little bit of an achievement to me.
As it begins to drydown, the slight metallic qualities persist, as does the rose (of course) – I get a subtle honeyed note atop some musk, supported by a quiet, dry cedar/woods combo (as expected?). There’s a slight over-ripe greenery to it, that may be coming off the cedar, but it almost reminds me of cardamom… whatever it is, I like that bit. It’s texture gets even lighter, a touch of powder (the violet taking a turn?) sweetening La Fille De Berlin like a fine layer of icing sugar. But all in all, it’s a straightforward rose, that isn’t quite bright and spring-y, but neither is it full, dark and warm… I’m not too sure what it is. I’m also not too sure if I like it? I think I do? We’ll just say “It’s nice”, but it could have been fantastic.
La Fille De Berlin 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 82 Euros http://www.sergelutens.com