Tuesday Roundup: Serge Lutens Mini-reviews, Part 3

This is the latest round of Serge Lutens testing, with results as follows. Blue, I love. Pink, I like. 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.   Thanks again to everybody kind enough to send me samples… and you might have to remind me who you are, because my older emails are just buried in this insane pile…

Arabie – curry spices and amber and woods, very rich and almost edible but almost sweaty, too. I like smelling it, but not on my skin. I’d rather smell this smell in a house where I’ve been invited to dinner.

A La Nuit– the Perfumes: The Guide review says “Death by jasmine,” and it’s quite correct. JasminesR-us. All jasmine, all the time. Jasmine Overload. Now if it were “death by tuberose,” I’d probably like it. I don’t hate A La Nuit, but I don’t like it either. If you like jasmine, have at it. You can have my share.

(Sidenote: Is it not freaky, weird and/or strange that I should love tuberose so much, and have a mild aversion to its partner-in-smell, jasmine? But there you go: it’s how I feel. Tuberose? gimme more. Tuberose with other white florals (including jasmine)? yes, please. Jasmine on its own? I’lllllll…. just back away. I’ll be over here sniffing my Vamp a NY, thanks. Or the Fracas, or Beyond Love, or Carnal Flower, or Tuberosa d’Autonno. You can keep the Tubereuse Criminelle, though.)

Fille en Aiguilles – the first moments are very camphoraceous, then it’s piney spice. I like this a lot, and at the same time, I’m not sure I could really enjoy wearing it on my skin. I’d love to have it as a candle. After an hour’s time, it’s very enjoyable, a pine-spice-incense thing that is very pleasant, but half an hour after that, it picks up a sour, wet-ashes acridity that I’ve noticed before in other scents (Paestum Rose, the Aedes de Venustas fragrance, and Comme des Garcons White). This seems to be a nexus of cedar and incense, with possibly some rose involved. I never, ever like this accord, and my word for it is unbearable. Luckily, three hours after application, the Fee en Eggwee is pretty much gone. This perfume swings from “dislike” to “mild enjoyment” to “greater enjoyment” and then veers straight for “Dear God, No!”  This one doesn’t quite approach the KillMeNow hatred that I have for those few Lutens (Tube Criminy comes to mind), but it’s pretty close.

Boxeuses – This one seems… unstable. Could be my perception, could be my skin, but the components seem a hairsbreadth away from just falling to pieces instead of joining together the way I thought they would. You know how if you let a ripe peach just sit and dry out for awhile, it gets leathery? And how good leather has that soft peachskin texture to it? Makes sense to me that peach and leather would hold hands and get along. But in Boxeuses, they don’t. I don’t know why. Also, I found it animalic in a disturbing way.

Fourreau Noir– Lord help me, this is evil lavender. Instant blinding headache… wait, now it’s shaving cream covered in maple syrup… Okay, this one is KillMeNow hatred. I could not wait for the drydown, I had to scrub within ten minutes. I was shaking with nausea. Couldn’t face the concept of a retest, either.

This was not a good set for me. (Duh, ya think?) You can see my reactions to other Serge Lutens fragrances in Part 1 and Part 2.  What I’d be interested to know is, was anybody surprised that I didn’t like these, given my usual tastes? I try to be unbiased, I really do – I sincerely try to just grab a sample out of the basket and put it on for the first time without looking at the name or the notes, only looking at the vial when I have a preliminary feel for what’s on my skin. Repeat testings, of course, can’t be done this way.

And of course there’s always the fact that the Lutens line is heavily weighted toward accords that I am not instinctively drawn to. We all have our preferences, and I’m not willing to say that certain preferences are more worthy than others (especially when it’s my preferences that are going to get some scorn!). I’m not big on curried fruit and cedar-incense and Bold and Weird, I’m just not, and I refuse to feel guilty. I like what I like. It’s interesting to me that La Myrrhe is both Bold and Weird, and yet seems so absolutely perfect. Go figure. Other than being Bold and Weird, it’s not in the usual Lutensian style, I suppose.

There are more Serges to test, so there will be more reviews here soon. Oh, and we move the blog tomorrow! There will be a link here to forward you to the new site. Hope you’ll join me there.

Image of Arabie from  Fragrantica.


30 thoughts on “Tuesday Roundup: Serge Lutens Mini-reviews, Part 3”

  1. Although I haven’t tested the Lutens fragrances extensively, the few I’ve tried don’t encourage me to explore further. They’re just uninteresting, and they fall apart on me quickly. I actually liked Louve (which I know you hated!), and upon testing was contemplating a full-bottle purchase, but everything I loved about it disappeared within 30 minutes. At those prices, I like my ‘fumes to hang around a bit longer. No matter, there’s a big perfume world out there to explore, and I leave more to the true Lutens lovers.

    1. Well, Patty – it’s like I always say, it’s fine to go exploring because you might find a new true love – but you like what you like.

      Many of the Lutens fragrances do hang around on me, even though I have what’s politely termed “scent-eating skin.” It just depends on the scents – I don’t remember Louve hanging on forever (thank goodness).

      The chances that I will find a new true love in Uncle Serge’s line keep getting smaller…

  2. You’re right, one likes what one likes!
    After all, variety is what makes perfume interesting…and surprises, also!

    I was amused by the fact that lately I seemed to agree completely with all your likes and dislikes: sweet redemption, honour woman….
    But I just received a few mls of Plum* today and I can say this: I’m not going to become a scent twin, that’s for sure!!!! 😉

    I like a la nuit much more than you do, though I have my ususal SL complaint: a la nuit is not a perfume, it’s a smell! It does not eveolve, it’s just nuclear strong and then… gone! But I like it. I’m still curious about Boxeuse. And your la Myrrhe. Arabie and Filles en aiguilles are not my style – though I thought I would love the latter, positively didn’t!

    1. So you did NOT like the Plum, huh? Well, more for me… at this stage, I don’t care if what’s-his-face from the NY Times should trash it publicly, I will continue to love it without reservation. I think it may be too fruity, or possibly too high-pitched, for you.

      I think one’s opinion on A La Nuit might depend a lot on whether one loves jasmine or not. Do you? I know you like tuberose.

      But you’re right, the potential for surprise and delight is what keeps us testing new things, even if they don’t seem like they’d be right. I really like Memoir Woman, even though a) I cannot figure out what I’m smelling in there and b) by all rights, I shouldn’t like it. A green oriental animalic chypre? So, SO not me. But it’s amazing. I hope to manage to wrap my head around it and do a review soon.

  3. As I read through this I realized how few SL’s I’ve tried. Which really is OK because I’m still slowly working through the sample stash on my dresser. I’m in one of those periods where I want to wear scents I KNOW I love. Or don’t bother my husband. I tested Love (Kilian) recently and that did not go well. He didn’t even know I had sprayed anything but could feel it in the back of his throat. “But honey, don’t you smell marshmallows?” Can’t repeat what he said here.

    1. “Can’t you smell marshmallows?” “*#&^%#@ unrepeatable”… That is funny!

      Yeah, not bothering the hubby is a good idea. Testing your sample stash is good, too.

  4. I think jasmine is closer to orange blossom (which until recently at least you disliked!) than tuberose. I like all three, but I like tuberose the most by miles.

    Speaking of Plum, as some of you were above … I *just* figured out what it reminds me of and can’t contain myself. It’s Juicy Couture!!! The original, none other. Now, Mals, I know you do not like Juicy Couture, but hear me out. The top notes are different, I grant you — JC’s fruits are sweeter, while Plum’s are noticably tart and even a little herbal. But after 20-30 minutes, I assure you, they are very similar. Soft tuberose floral with soft, sweetened woody base.

    I don’t feel too bad about this because I’ve always liked Juicy Couture, primarily for its lovely drydown.

    1. Somebody else said that… I can’t remember who it was… so I went to check – and darned if she wasn’t right! Really it’s the top-to-heart notes where I find the most similarity. JC has that watermelonish thing that I don’t like, but that’s the primary difference. And I get a bit of rose in Plum that I don’t get in JC.

      Waitaminnit, though: you GET a drydown in JC?? Hm. Hmmmmm. Further retesting may be in order.

      1. Ah, my misreading – I thought you meant he literally trashed it.

        I do get a drydown in JC, but it’s a pretty direct extension of the heart notes — just gradually veers more and more into the vanilla-woody thing with the fruity floral notes gradually disappearing. I have a little roll-on bottle of JC and you get to the heart and drydown especially quickly that way. You sort of have to spray to get the full watermelon-bubblegum effect.

        1. I had a little mfr spray (that I stole from Bookworm, with my only excuse being that her grandmother gave it to her and she didn’t like it), and it was pretty watermelony. I saw a mini parfum somewhere recently, though, and it was cheap – like $9. Might have to get one of those for retrying, because Less Watermelon Bubble Yum = I Might Like It Better.

          Because it’s tuberose, what the heck.

          And did you know that I was in 6th grade when they started making watermelon bubble gum?? I loved it. THEN. I probably ODed on it at some point.

        2. Oh I liked it too, and my mom thought the smell was absolutely disgusting! I wasn’t allowed to chew it in her presence.

          I bought a little mini of the parfum myself, but decanted it into a spray bottle. I recommend dabbing if you want to Minimize the Melon.

    2. OH – and I agree on jasmine being more like OB. (I still don’t love OB in general, Fleurs d’Oranger and Sweet Redemption notwithstanding.) I tend to do better when there’s tuberose in a mixture of white flowers than when there’s not.

  5. I haven’t sampled any of these except Arabie. I think it smells like gingerbread, and eminently wearable. Of course, I like really loud perfumes, so that’s a personal thing.

    A La Nuit might be my style too. I love jasmine.

    1. Ah, and I *don’t* like really loud. I can take medium loud, though. Or loud applied lightly.

      I get what you’re saying about gingerbread in Arabie – it’s just that I’m getting all these savory herbs in there too, and it smells like dinner as well as dessert, and therefore isn’t a perfume-type smell, in my mind.

      There are an awful lot of people who love jasmine. Have you tried MH Jasmin Vert? Hard to find these days, but pretty. I probably got on well with it because it’s full of narcissus and green notes. Or how about Septimanie Pavilion des Fleurs? Green, green, green sweet jasmine. I liked it (but then I had my usual, “Okay, it’s JASMINE, I GET IT, it can GO AWAY NOW” sort of reaction).

  6. I love these mini reviews! Arabie and Fille en Aiguilles have become favourites of mine lately, but A la Nuit is pretty boring. Boxeuses didn’t work on my skin, and felt too similiar to other stuff from Serge.

    1. Hi, Marte! Seems that a lot of people like Fille en Aiguilles… and you know, I notice that I am a lot snippier about the scents that could have been “just right,” and then went wrong for me, than I am about the ones that were not going to please me from the beginning. Sigh.

      Jasmine is so insistent, isn’t it?

  7. I never see a negative review for Fille en Aiguilles so I feel kind of mind settled now that you don’t enjoy it yourself! I found it really really boring, the pine for me wasn’t bold enough, I wanted it to be almost detergent like! It was just another Lutens stewed fruit concoction and one that just seemed washed out for me.
    I have a big love/hate things with lutens to.
    However, opposingly, I love Tubereuse Criminelle! And also own Miel de Bois. I haven’t found another yet that I feel to be full bottle worthy but I hope to soon.
    I would love to try La Myrrhe.

    1. I liked what pine I got out of FeA – but then the stewed fruit came up and slapped it down. Urgh.

      Looks like you like aldehydes – La Myrrhe might be a big YES for you. I lurve it crazy.

  8. Only slightly off topic: regarding Bold & Weird, I am all anticipation for your review of Memoir! It’s so weird, and you’ve been testing it quite a lot….

    On the subject of taste preferences, I think you have spectacular taste, even if it doesn’t frequently coincide with my own— I just need to learn to appreciate florals! 😉

    1. Ooops, missed this one last week – sorry, Dee!

      Update: Memoir is still messing with the circuits. Can’t even begin to write review yet…

      As for taste – I’m not a big incense fan, and fierce green chypres skeer me, and I do NOT like balsamy orientals, which kinda makes me an outlier on the perfumista continuum. But thanks for the kind words, because I like to think there’s a place for us floral gals!

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