More Serge testing

Un Bois Vanille Serge Lutens for women

This is the latest round of Serge Lutens testing, with results as follows. Blue, I love. Pink, I like. Orange, I’m neutral on. Green, I dislike. Purple, I despise. Beyond La Myrrhe, there’s not a single SL fragrance that I am dying to own – so far, anyway.

Daim Blonde – opens up very, verynicely – apricot jam and a bit of jasmine, and I can smell the suede note too. Unfortunately, it spends about an hour and a half smelling like shaving cream amber, which is a definite no-go for me, before settling for a light woody-suede drydown. I’m waffling between Like and Dislike on this one, so I think I’ll have to add a new category for “meh,” or neutral.

Douce Amere – “Bittersweet” is not usually my thing except in love stories and chocolate, so I was pleasantly surprised by Douce Amere. It’s sort of like a grown-up Caron Aimez-Moi, less floral and less girly, and since I have tired of the powdery vanilla at the bottom of Aimez-Moi while still liking the violet-anise-rose top of it, I’m finding that I enjoy Douce Amere’s stronger anise-tonka-wood accord much more.

Serge Noire – another one I was expecting to hate hate hate. I read the list of notes, and I read Kevin’s hilarious review at NST, and I just knew I was going to hate it.  (Tom at PST liked it much better.)  Well, snatch me baldheaded: I like it! I’m not sure I could actually wear the thing, but it reminds me very strongly of the opening of Memoir Woman, which I absolutely love (though I admit that without the gorgeous white floral heart, I would not like Memoir). I do actually find the whole medicinal, cold-hot, apothecary-shop cast of it very interesting, and I like smelling it. As a perfume, though, a smell to intentionally put on skin? Too weird, dude. I call it pink anyway.

Un Bois Vanille – this one’s pretty terrific, all woody and roasted and so very very comfortable.  Oddly, this is marketed to women (according to Fragrantica), but I’d call it unisex, myself.  Actually, UBV should be worn by awesomely-devoted-and-reliable men who are not exactly drop-dead sexy but very appealing anyway (Team Peeta, anyone? join me!).  Un Bois Vanille only suffers because I ran across Smell Bent One first. SB One is much spicier, not nearly as dark and roasty as UBV, but the thing is, if forced to choose, I would probably prefer spice to espresso. Especially when “spice” is $40 a bottle, and “espresso” is $180. However, if my fairy godmother wrapped a bottle of Un Bois Vanille in sparkly blue Cinderella satin and tulle and left it on the seat of my created-from-a-pumpkin minivan, I’d certainly wear it.

This was a good bunch.   In terms of my personal absolute loves, though? Patricia de Nicolai is STILL kicking Uncle Serge’s butt, even though Uncle Serge has many, many more wares for me to choose from, and even though they vary so widely and are so inventive, for which we must give him all massive due credit.


22 thoughts on “More Serge testing”

  1. I thought I liked Daim Blond until I ended up with a decant and realized it was way too close to TDC Osmanthus, which I ALSO ended up with a decant of, and turned out to hate. I found them both intolerably soapy, which I guess means osmanthus to me is like orange blossom to you?

    I like UBV too, but I didn’t reach for my decant all winter so clearly there are other woody vanillas I like better.

    I still need to try Serge’s roses….

    1. Osmanthus isn’t nearly as soapy on me as OB is, but I can see how it would veer that way.

      I was actually surprised to see that UBV is purportedly a feminine, because it doesn’t strike me as being that girly. I was reading reviews on Fragrantica talking about the coconut and the marshmallow, and was a little puzzled because it’s not particularly sweet on me, and the vanilla is so old-books woody. Does it seem girly to you? I ask because I know my tastes tend to skew toward the floral and femme-ish, so maybe I’m missing something.

      Serge’s roses… lessee, Rose de Nuit and Sa Majeste. I’m not missing one, am I?

      1. The first time I tried UBV, I thought it was REALLY sweet — but I blame expectations in part. I’m used to it now. I do think it’s unisex, but I really like sweet scents on men — my boyfriend wears Black much better than I do and I also like Chergui on him, which is not as sweet as UBV but definitely on the sweet end of the spectrum for stuff he wears.

        I think Boyfriend is sort of similar for a mainstream scent, and it would be interesting to smell it on an actual boyfriend …

        1. Now that’s funny… Chergui goes pretty gooey on me. (Tobacco frequently does. The Tom Ford was all caramel-vanilla sundae on me, too. Tabac Aurea has that patchouli and leather, and although it’s on the sweetish side it’s not desserty.)

          I seriously would love to smell UBV on a guy. Maybe I can talk Gaze into it, he likes sweet-spicy woody scents.

          Boyfriend I haven’t smelled; I don’t think my mall has it and I’m a little bit skeered of the patchouli anyway.

          1. To my nose, TF Tobacco Vanille is super-duper-sweet, UBV is quite sweet and Chergui is medium sweet. I think? I should wear UBV and Chergui side by side to be sure. But definitely TV is the sweetest.

            I’m glad you don’t love Rose de Nuit, actually, now I can stop feeling left out for never having smelled it.

        2. A lot of people were comparing Prada Candy to Un Bois Vanille when it first came out, too. I see virtually no resemblance, but just puttin’ that out there.

        1. I did not *like* Rose de Nuit, but it had that weird squeaky thing that I think of as being dry-marshmallow accord. Not sweet, but that strange dry texture that squeaks in your teeth.

          I like galbanum, I like rose, I like moss. I just thought RdN was weird, and not in a wearable sort of way.

  2. As you already observed, I LOVELOVELOVE Patricia de Nicolai’s fumes. High quality, affordable, small 30 ml bottles available, a wide range from which to choose: what’s not to love?!?!!

    1. I love her too. I will say, though, that a lot of people find her collection sort of repetitive, with small variations on themes. She has a boatload of cologne variations (all of which bore me to tears, to be honest), and I keep hearing that Sacrebleu and Number One resemble each other (I didn’t think so) and Vanille Tonka and Sacrebleu resemble each other as well (okay, maybe that one’s a little closer).

      OTOH, Serge does have the repeated stewed-fruit thing and the cedar thing. So maybe they’re even in that respect.

  3. Love, love, love my PdNs. I’ve never smelled Vanille Tonka or Number One and I just sold my really old Sacrebleu. I adore LTdUF in it’s current version. I can only imagine the swooning it would induce if I came across a vintage bottle. Uncle Serge is hit or miss on my skin. Every time my daughter wears Fille en Aiguilles I ask her what she’s wearing because she smells so lovely. On me, not so much. Daim Blonde got all stewed fruity on me. My skin amps sweet smells, so Une Bois Vanille was extremely sweet. Enough to put me in a diabetic coma sweet. Have never found Douce Amere anywhere to be able to try it. Wore Serge Noire to bed last night. I don’t find it medicinal at all.

    1. Oh, go try more PdNs! If you can. (I’ve had to cadge samples from friends or order them from a decant service, myself.) My favorites are LTdF and Vanille Tonka, but I did really like Kiss Me Tender, and except for that… can I say this?… um, well-worn boxer shorts accord down in the base of Maharanih, I liked that one too. Number one is nice, Sacrebleu is nice. Odalisque in either formula is really lovely but not me.

      I can see DB being stewed fruity. And UBV being extremely sweet – but not on me. It’s very woody on me. Really, you wouldn’t call SN medicinal? I do, obviously, but I should probably have been more specific about how I feel about “medicinal,” which is to say, I usually like medicinal smells. Band-aidy oud? Spices and herbs, tea tree, that sort of thing? mmmmmm.

      So now I’m wondering, what’s Serge Noir like for you? Smoky? Piney? WHAT? What is it that you like about it?

      1. I had to go back and really pay attention to it, instead of just spraying it on and going. So this time, while I was really paying attention, I got a whiff of something almost band-aidy, but just at the beginning. It was the strongest for about half a minute, then it faded but was still there for about 15 minutes. But it was fighting with the scent of something like cloves. Then I got other spices with patchouli and woods and something slightly smokey but closer to incense. And underneath it all a very little bit of ambery sweetness. I must admit I love that woody/patchouli/spicy/incensey thing. The more wood in a scent the happier I am.
        So I need to thank you for asking me what I really like about this scent. It made me sit up and really pay attention to it’s development in a way that I usually don’t have the patience for.

        1. Fascinating! I like the cloves a lot. And there might be a drop of oud in there, because that smells band-aidy to me (I do really like band-aid oud). From there it goes incense/woods on me, and while that isn’t my favorite kind of fragrance, SN is really nice.

          It’s fun to figure out what izzackly is floating your boat, isn’t it?

  4. Serge’s line is so overwhelming. And it’s hard to find near me. I have tried a few – the one that was the most “me” out of what I’ve tried was probably Datura Noir. I’m fascinated by his new gardenia one that’s coming out, too.

    I really need to go try some PdNs…

    1. Yep. Hard to find, hard to navigate, often weird. Datura Noir is nice, and Fleurs d’Oranger is as well. Adore La Myrrhe, but it really is an outlier on the Uncle Serge continuum.

      I… um… already bought in to an unsniffed 5ml split of the new gardenia. Can’t wait to smell it, hope it isn’t a freakfest like Tube Criminy.

  5. I’m so happy that one of my favorite perfumes, Un Bois Vanille, gets a “pretty terrific” from you, Mals! I completely agree that it would be just as good on a man as on a woman, but gendering is so rampant that even poor innocent vanilla has been stereotyped as girly. In my opinion, this is one of the best Serges. It instantly smells good, but it’s got such complexity to it, too!

    1. UBV is probably THE friendliest Serge ever. It is quite woody on me and I’m not seein’ the Prada Candy relationship (not that Candy is a cousin to be avoided by any means, but it’s only tangential to UBV, I think). Do you have a bottle, or just a decant, Ari?

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