Category Archives: Serge Lutens

Fille En Aiguilles – Serge Lutens

Fille En Aiguilles

Fille En Aiguilles starts with a big, dried fruit and spice basket atop pine. It’s jammy, dense, all-out “forest-floor”-like, with an Aziyade-style Dr.Pepper combination of apricots, dates, cumin… all that gorgeous stuff. The pine is not at all reminiscent of floor-cleaner… well, here in the UK Pinesol isn’t sold, I don’t think, so we generally don’t have that association. Still, it’s richly spiced, and reminds me more so of Chypre Rouge than Arabie with its green floral spice. I get a hint of jasmine that runs throughout (reminding me a touch of Fig by Aftelier), but it’s all pine, fir, fruit and spice dominating.

Underneath, there’s a hint of bitter resins, a little amber, and a growing incense. The incense isn’t quite churchy, but it does develop into that kind of incense in the late drydown. The transition from warm pine and spice, to cool incense is pretty beautiful. Still, this isn’t really my kind of fragrance, and whilst wearing it, I feel as though I’m reviewing it as a piece of work, rather than a perfume I’d enjoy wearing. I can totally see its appeal, but for me, it almost smells a little simplistic once the top wears off, and I’m tired of all these pine, forest floor things out these days. Sure this isn’t exactly a new fragrance, but sampling it now, I feel no need to wear it. Chypre Rouge does a similar thing with much more interest and complexity and that is the Lutens’ forest floor, fruit & spice for me.

Fille en Aiguilles from here on is pretty linear, a pine/incense, sweetened with dried fruits, cumin, pepper and bay leaf… a typical Lutenesque composition that is undoubtedly a popular fragrance in the lineup, but nothing compared to some of the hugely original standouts beside it.

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Bas de Soie – Serge Lutens

Bas de Soie

Bas de Soie tricks you into thinking it’ll be an iris not too dissimilar to Iris Silver Mist on first spritz. There’s the iris right up top, doughy and earthy that within seconds, gets a little green and a little spicy, until it falls into a whole new category of iris. Bitter galbanum – a dense greenery partners with one of the best hyacinth notes I’ve smelt. It’s slightly spiced, green, almost vegetal… I find that natural hyacinth almost smells “swampy” – and that’s exactly what it does here. It’s not dirty however, handled with the slightly powdered, almost starched-clean iris to create something that smells extremely classical and restrained.

The iris smells bright white, amplified by some clean musk to create something that borders on laundry, tinged with a metallic vibe for a few fleeting minutes – with the naturally spiced greenery cutting through the density of the still-present doughy quality underneath. There seems at times a hint of violet, but it comes in and out of focus. What the heart is made up of, is a straight forward but bold structure of iris/hyacinth and galbanum – melding together in a crisp green floral that doesn’t smell like a natural spring scent, but a definite perfume. The bitterness of the florals and the cleanliness of the whole composition means that to my nose at least, it smells almost gentlemanly, or a stern feminine that doesn’t crack a smile… something many say about Chanel No.19.

It’s a little sharp for the first half an hour, that metallic note popping in and out, a little jarring but not uncomfortable, no where near as much as it was in Iris Silver Mist for me. At times there are hints of clove, pepper, I even get nutmeg… whether it is just the hyacinth, I don’t know – but it adds a warm quality to Bas de Soie which increases as it lives on your skin, the fragrance transitioning from cold to warm.

I guess I understand the comparisons to Secretions Magnifique… but it’s a long shot. In the drydown the memory of the metallic notes, the iris and the woods and muskiness, does bring to mind a broken down version of SM, but there’s none of that horrific “turned” milk, and the subtlety here results in a completely different experience. It shouldn’t be something to put you off… or come on, no one would wear this.
It’s long lasting, although in time, close to the skin. Remaining slightly sharp, formal, but easy enough to wear whenever. It is a scent that comfortable fits next to Stephen Jones by Comme Des Garcons in my collection. It makes me feel smart and is desperately classy :D

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Datura Noir – Serge Lutens

Hey guys! Had a very busy last couple of weeks so sorry for the lack of posting – I’ll be back up to speed soon.

Datura Noir

Datura Noir opens with a coconut/almond/tuberose combo – lactonic, spiked with bright orange and a hint of lemon… it’s heavily tropical floral vibe undoubtedly gives off a suntan lotion vibe to me – but I love that. The tuberose dominates, paired with a little jasmine, a jammy, apricot-like osmanthus (that thankfully works much better here than in the horrific Nuit De Cellophane), with a heavy vanilla/benzoin/tonka bean underneath.

Datura Noir’s opening is pretty much my ideal tropical floral – it’s so gorgeous, summery, warm and a little obnoxious… and it’s not that I don’t like the drydown, but I have my beef with it. Datura Noir gets a little bitter, a slightly resinous base underneath paired with a de-sweetened almond curdles just a touch with the now-slightly-screechy coconut… it gets a bit abrasive on the skin, but only when you dig your nose in to sniff it – the throw is lovely start to finish.

As it settles more, the tuberose is joined by a very powdery heliotrope – which along with the vanilla, amps up the sweet side to Datura Noir, also making it smell cleaner and cleaner as it goes on – it’s not a dirty tuberose that’s for sure. Underneath the tropics, this powder and white musk gives off a “laundry powder” vibe – not something I hate or love, but it’s there. It turns the fragrance a little stale, lacking the lustre of the opening lets say. The coconut/powder/almond/vanilla (with the tuberose quietening, and sweetening into a very “mainstream” smelling tuberose), smells a little limp and far too “pristine”. Now, it’s not that this drydown is too dissimilar from the opening, I had just hoped for an interesting direction.

Still, Datura Noir is a good tropical floral, not a great one. For something with a similar feel, Manoumalia by Les Nez is the way to go. For a tuberose with a similar feel, Mahora by Guerlain has a far greater vanilla finish.

Datura Noir 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 82 Euros

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Jasmine Battle: Untitled #1 – Magnetic Scent, Calypso – Ajne, A La Nuit – Serge Lutens

I’ve found myself in the posession of a few great jasmine soliflore samples, so I decided to compile them into a single review.

Untitled 1

Untitled #1 opens with an indolic, rich, jasmine sambac and (and a touch of grandiflorum), it smells both honeyed and intense on one side, and sweet/floral/aquatic on the other (hedione?). There seems to be a touch of fleshy lily, and a little rose – but the jasmine dominates in full force. I say in full force, but it’s not hard-going – infact, it’s totally different to what I expected from the previous three. Untitled #1 is more classical, well-mannered, intelligently balanced and completely harmonious. There are no sharp edges or avant-garde supporting notes… it’s just a really good jasmine.

As it settles the indole turns a little soiled, giving off a subtle animalic vibe (civet?) sweetened by a gorgeous vanilla. It almost feels like a tropical jasmine, with a frangipani alongside it. It’s a little “meaty”, feminine and full-bodied – with a touch of galbanum-like greenery keeping it fresh and natural smelling. The vanilla drydown is really beautiful, full of soft woody accords and just a subtle touch of smoke.
The honey turns a touch too sharp on my skin, not urinous, but sharp in the same way that Viktoria Minya’s Hedonist turned on my skin… it’s much more acceptable here though, due to a much greater floral heart (without the equally sharp peachy fruit of Hedonist). This jasmine is fruity though, a softer peach accord that smells more like peach-tea.

The lily gets louder as it dries down, turning Untitled #1 into a pollen heavy, tropical jasmine atop smooth, classical vanilla (and the tiniest smidgen of cocoa). Seamless and timeless. Lovely work.

Photo stolen from CaFleureBon

Calypso opens with a spicy, raw jasmine that smells almost fungal. It similarly has a tropical floral accord underneath of frangipani and tuberose, but whilst it’s earthy and should be overly pungent, it remains surprisingly muted and close to the skin. The jasmine is spiced with a bitter green cardamom and again, is sweetened with honey. It’s a gorgeous scent, if it only threw itself off my skin a little more – I have to get really “in there” to smell it.

The tuberose/tropical floral accord is “fluffy” – as I often find some varieties of natural tuberose etc. to smell. It’s butter soft, enhanced with a fungal, earthy quality rather than an intense narcotic scent that we’re more familiar with in most releases. However, I love the rawness to it all, and the mushroom-like aspect of the jasmine (similarly – although treated different – to Tawaf by La Via Del Profumo’s rough jasmine opening).  The honeyed floral is enhanced by ylang ylang, and Calypso begins to slightly resembled the floral accord in Aftelier’s Haute Claire – only calmer without the “urinous” quality, and it’s undoubtably more feminine. Still – I really like this, I just wish it threw off my skin more.

The late drydown has a sticky, dark vanilla, identical to that used in Ajne’s Vanille (which I own and really love).

A La Nuit

Then there is A La Nuit, blasting off the skin in a narcotic, bubblegum overload of a jasmine. Almost medicinal up top with an astringency not too dissimilar from Tubereuse Criminelle, although jasmine based.
The top is tart and fruit, with green apple and a hefty dose of what smells like phenyl-ethyl-acetate, a honeyed pear aroma. The apple, pear and honey is sharp and translucent, giving way to the obnoxious bubblegum jasmine underneath.

Along with the jasmine there is the merest hint of carnation, spicing the fruits up top just a touch. A honey is treated differently again, even sharper and fruitier than the others (the aromachemical mentioned above I suppose). The indole is scrubbed up to a point where it is present, but squeaky-clean – making the jasmine smell almost hyper-fresh whilst being extremely potent (and thankfully not soapy).

There’s a hint of fluorescent greenery that pops in and out – making A La Nuit the most photorealistic fragrance of these three – as in, smelling like the plant itself. Whether something so literal is to your taste or not is up to you, but it’s lovely to wear, if not a little too straightforward for me. It has a linear development, settling into a slightly woody, vanilla that’s so light, the jasmine atop feels heavier and finishes the fragrance. Still, a great summer jasmine :)

So there you have it!

Untitled #1 50ml EDP Magnetic Scent – £80
Calypso Ajne –
A La Nuit 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 82 Euros

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Feminite Du Bois – Serge Lutens

I think my sample is vintage – it’s not a Shiseido one, but it’s in very different packaging to now…

Feminite Du Bois

Feminite Du Bois opens with what is now, quite a typical Serge Lutens’ spicy-oriental opening. A bit of clove, a fizzy sherbert-laden violet (I get this a lot with violet – love it!), a hint of dried fruit – peach, plum, a touch of cumin… Infact, it reminds me a touch of Aziyade and a little of Arabie. Totally unexpected as I hadn’t sniffed this for years and years and had completely forgotten it.

There’s a touch of clean rose (but the violet still dominates for me), a lot of bright white musk, and just a subtle cedar/sandalwood combo underneath – I expected it to be a lot more powerful straight away!
But as it begins to settle, the fruits retreat just a touch with the fleshy peach dominating (much more potently than in Daim Blond if I remember correctly). The remaining fizz of violet gets sucks into the woods – still just perceptible.

The cedar, whilst dry, a touch smoky and sharp, isn’t as upfront as I expected, even into the late drydown – but I understand the “masculine” edge of it which may have been so unusual at the time. For now though – the fragrance stays linear and gets annoying on my skin. It’s one of the few Lutens’ that I don’t get along with very well as I find it tame, soft, but sharp… not a combination I’m fond of on my skin.

What remains is a bit of “sherbert-floral-fizz”, a soft suede-like peach, a tiny touch of sweet cinnamon spice and dry woods (with a white musk lifting everything underneath). The cedar is undoubtedly the same used throughout the line (I recognize it as it gets stronger from my Miel De Bois). However, I don’t find it as interesting unfortunately – it’s not for me, but I’d happily smell it on someone else :)

Feminite Du Bois 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 82 Euros

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La Fille De Berlin – Serge Lutens

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

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

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Un Bois Vanille – Serge Lutens

Un Bois Vanille

Un Bois Vanille opens with a coconut and orchid combo, surprisingly light but sticky, like a sweet residue – which becomes quickly more apparant as the leading vanilla shows up. The vanilla is a good, traditional, straightforward one to me. Vanilla as many of you know, isn’t my favourite note, I like it, but not when it’s leading; the coconut doesn’t quite give me the interesting angle I need to be particularly interested in finding out what the rest of Un Bois Vanille is all about.

But anyway! It’s nice enough. The liquorice that everyone goes on about, is a mere touch on me – more subtle than the liquorice woods of Aomassai for example – it acts like a black, herbal sheet underneath the vanilla, rather than a partnering note.
The combination of sweet vanilla, tonka and benzoin – combine to make a vanilla that admittedly, has a few little textures going on – a lactonic note of condensed milk, a slightly bitter more woody aspect, and a traditional vanilla extract smell: culinary like a cupcake.

A sweet honeyed caramel, and a touch of smoke add a slightly more mature “burnt” quality to the heart, and the drydown of Un Bois Vanille brings a buttery-soft Lutens’ sandalwood and drier cedar. It’s as expected, no twists or turns – just a straightforward vanilla (at least after the quiet, harmless coconut and 2-minute mystery (imaginary?) orchid disappear). Oh man, brackets inside brackets, I must be getting bored of this one.
Okay, it’s not that bad! :P A straightforward vanilla soliflore that has good enough longevity and throw, to be considered “nice”.

Un Bois Vanille does little for me… in fact, I haven’t found a vanilla soliflore that suits me yet D: Disaster. What is everyone elses favourite vanilla?

Un Bois Vanille 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 82 euros

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Video: SMELLYTHOUGHTS’ Fragrance Starting Lineup 2013

A new video here!
Please excuse the unflattering stalling towards the end of the video :) x

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Sarrasins – Serge Lutens

First things first: apologies for slacking with updates on the blog, and kudos to all the other bloggers out there who are keeping their readers interested throughout the Christmas/New Year holidays – it’s hugely impressive and has kept me busy reading! :D
As for me, I’ve had tons going on, and the sheer amount of samples I have yet to write about has left me overwhelmed to a point where I have gone blank and not been writing, so – my regular posts will slowly come back, bare with me! :)

I first tried Sarrasins in the Palais Royal on my holidays last year, and a kind BN’er sent me a little sample of it to live with so I could write about it back home. I have worn it on and off for the last few days now so here’s my take on this niche classic.


Sarrasins starts with a subtle medicinal aroma that brings to mind Tubereuse Criminelle, only much more subdued, overlaid with a bucket of fruit – I get a strong honeyed pear (phenyl ethyl acetate?) and a sweet berry smell, maybe raspberry? Which quickly becomes undercut and overwhelmed by a heavily indolic jasmine.

I have to admit, the indole scared me the first few times I tried this. It was too fecal, too soiled, too dense and unappetizing – and you all know I’m one for challenging fragrances. I like indole too – I love the curdled bubblegum floral of Charogne, the intense (but incredible) Sepia, and the yet to be reviewed beauty that is Une Fleur De Cassie – but here, in Sarrasins, it was all a little too blunt. But now, after exploring the top notes a little further, I find they balance out the indole perfectly, and no longer do I get overwhelmed by the fecal floral.

The jasmine is much less intense than I anticipated, in fact, it’s quite translucent and light on the skin – but intense in its indolic concentration. Sarrasins however isn’t quite a soliflore – I get a little clovey hit of carnation, the jammy apricot floral of osmanthus (thankfully much nicer than the catastrophe of Nuit De Cellophane), and also a little bit of cream-cheese gardenia (very similar to it’s use in the new Une Voix Noire).

Unfortunately this floral bouquet grinds on me a little bit after a while, and its linear nature – along with that persistent scent of “decay” spreading underneath – makes me tired of having it on my skin within an hour or two. The drydown turns a little leathery and musky, bordering on dirty/clean yet again. If I cling onto the carnation/gardenia below the jasmine, I enjoy it a little more – but it’s too much hard work.

Now, I’m making it sound like Sarrasins is really difficult. It’s not. I have much more challenging stuff in my full bottle collection that I love to wear; Sarrasins to me is neither particularly challenging or particularly easy to wear, and for that reason, I don’t get as much enjoyment as I’d hope out of it. It is however a standout jasmine (which is, along with osmanthus and carnation, my least favourite floral – it’s amazing I like this at all isn’t it!), and I definitely recommend it. Personally it’s a little too straightforward for me, which sounds silly considering how much I love Tawaf (another straight forward jasmine), but there we go :)

Let me know what you guys think of Sarrasins, and what is your favourite jasmine soliflore?

Sarrasins 75ml Bell Jar Serge Lutens – 130 Euros

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