Arabie by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2000

Hey There Fellow FUMIES,

Do go immediately and enter our Costume National: So Nude GIVEAWAY!!<<<JUMP

We recently had a fragrant get togetrher at my place and Madeleine brought some unloved bottles and I bought this…

Arabie by Serge Lutens 2000

Arabie FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Cedar, sandalwood, mandarin, dried fig, date, nutmeg, cumin, caraway, clove, bay-leaf, Tonka, Siamese benzoin, myrrh, labdanum

My first whiff of Arabie is all cooking spices and humanity: cooking, slightly blackened toast, baking too with loads of vanilla, spice and citrus/fruit. I get a heavy tea backnote but I could be mistaking resins/incense for smoky tea. My question is how has anyone found Arabie hard to wear? Potent? Yes, but not scorchingly so like Angel or Giorgio Beverly Hills. Warm, dusty, foody, like eating sweets at a Dhaba in rural India sitting on plastic Coca Cola chairs with only a piece of cloth as roof between you and the desert sun, or in the freezing winter cold of a Korean fishing village where you duck out of the stormy winds to get a Korean version of a donut, searingly hot with sizzling spicy sugar and juices inside, straight from the hot oil, that is guaranteed to warm you up.

Arabie is sweet and dessicated, it could be a million miles from anyone or right by their side cuddled safe and warm under a blanket in front of a fire. Each wear is slightly different for me and I think much of the difference is what I bring in my demeanor, happiness, what I am mindful of. No wonder Arabie is still talked and written about as one of the Serge Lutens must try, must have fragrances.

Arabie Roadside Dhaba Flickr NehaSingh7Photo Stolen Flickr (NehaSingh7)

Arabie, maybe the name has swayed my thinking, feels like wearing adventure. It is busy and interesting, beautiful and welcoming, lavish and sparse, all of these things at different times. Unfortunately it doesn’t have an enormous longevity on my skin as a fragrant event but turns soft and skin warmed by sun scent-ish after only a couple of hours. Then it is a wash of resinous warmth both sensual and exotic but alas only for those very close.

Arabie Cresent Lake Oasis China Environmental graffitiPhoto Stolen EnvironmentalGraffiti

Further reading: Perfume Smellin’ Things and My Perfume Diaries
FragranceNet has $106/50ml
Posh Peasant starts at $6/ml

Did you try Arabie yet? What was your experience? If not, what have you tried that correlates?
Thanks so much for wandering through my fragrant musings today,
See you tomorrow,
Portia xx

Fleurs de Citronnier by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2004

Hiya APJ Family,

This was originally scheduled to go live the day after Lucasz at Chemist In A Bottle but I didn’t want to tread on his beautiful post (follow the jump if you’d like to read it). So mine is happening a couple of weeks later now. Enjoy.

I found a 5+ml decant of todays fragrance and have no idea where it came from or how it’s in my collection. The writing is almost illegible and I had to check Fragrantica for things that might match. Whoever I have to thank for this lavish largesse you have my complete and utter gratefulness, I would never have chosen to try it and am so glad I have. It seems to be quite hard to find, Lucky Scent has almost every other Serge Lutens except this one and a few of the other regulars are either out of stock or don’t mention it at all.

Fleurs de Citronnier (Lemon Blossom) by Serge Lutens 2004

Fleurs de Citronnier FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon blossom, petitgrain, nutmeg
Heart: Lemon blossom, neroli, white honey, tuberose
Base: Iris, several musks, styrax resin

Citrus, spicy, fresh, fizzy and fun. Fleurs de Citronnier is everything I loved about growing up with citrus trees in the back yard. I miss them but in our temperate climate in Sydney they are particularly prone to infestations and disease. Mum spent a lot of time maintaining a lemon and orange tree. We LOVED them. Fresh orange juice, a great shady place to hide, pretending perfume from flowers, leaves and fruit and let’s not forget the endless uses for a stink bug! Sunny winter days drinking sugared, fresh orange juice with lemon to make it zing.

So now you know where it takes me, what does Fleurs de Citronnier smell like on me? Green, citrus and green, later the honey makes a beautiful, almost naughty, appearance with a silky sweet urinous warmth and the tuberose (white flower) is a little skanky but more soapy. Though it stays citrus it becomes warmer and more lived in as it heads into the 2 hour mark. There have been a couple of times during the first two hours that I thought Fleurs de Citronnier was going to fall into a deep hole of cleaning product fragrance but it nimbly skirted the edge of that nasty abyss and continued beautifully.

Fleurs de Citronnier Serge Lutens lemon blossum AromaPersonaPhoto Stolen AromaPersona

Tonight I wore Fleurs de Citronnier to work, I felt beautiful and floated through the night, catching wafts of myself throughout the evening. Driving home and now back home I can still smell some citrus, some white flowers and the musks have come through very cleanly but the resin is a back up whisper, like a little bit of sweet toffee floating underneath. That’s nearly 6 hours of wear and still going strong, impressive.

I think that unless you have a VERY light hand that Fleurs de Citronnier may be too strong for most workplaces, maybe even a little overpowering for dining unless you have some time between spritz and eat. For my work it’s an excellent choice, a big, phat, bombastic fragrance that takes no prisoners. FAB U LOUS!!!!

Fleurs de Citronnier Serge Lutens Lemon BlossomPhoto Stolen LifeWorksRestaurants

Further reading: Now Smell This and Olfactoria’s Travels
Beauty Encounter has $100/50ml (I have enjoyed FdC so much that I bought one today)
Surrender To Chance starts at $4/.5ml

Have you tried Fleurs de Citronnier? What are your impressions?
Till tomorrow, be nice to yourself and those around you,
Portia xx

Chergui by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2001

Hello Stink Monkeys!!

This fragrance I’ve had a decant sitting in my cupboard for a while. I often see it for a good price and read reviews but it has never reached my skin until recently. To be truthful I was a little Ho Hum about it and wasn’t sure that it would be my thing. Honey, hay, dust, sweet tobacco and balmy amber, hang on, that sounds exactly what a fragrance should be made up of…

Chergui by Serge Lutens 2001

Chergui FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tobacco leaf, honey, iris, sandalwood, amber, musk, incense, rose and hay

I love the entrance to Chergui, the super honeyed tobacco and amber rise up softly and gracefully on my skin. It is sweet and dusty at the same time, like an old forgotten second hand bookstore in the desert at dusk. The smell of wood and paper and earth and that chill as the daylight leaves. I only get the merest hint of hay, though there is something like it hiding behind the honey/tobacco sweetness which is amplified on my skin. Has anyone else had the honey/tobacco take over during the first hour or so?

Chergui Serge Lutens Leakeys Secondhand Bookstore TripAdvisorPhoto Stolen TripAdvisor

Once the sweetness burns off for me the whole fragrance becomes more dessicated and interesting, like dried out greenery snapped or crumbled in your hands with a very cool smoky incense, before you light it, and here I get a little spicy rose and a whisper of something that smells like orchid.

For some reason I had it in my head that Chergui was a difficult fragrance but I find it pretty and wearable. Not too strong, not too outrageous in the cool of Sydney late Autumn and definitely wearable by both sexes. On my skin this is reminiscent of some of the best vintage women’s fragrances and some of the 1990s excellent mens, all of which have been discontinued or reformulated out of even a whisper of themselves.

I wish I had taken my decant of Chergui to LA with me because I think it will bloom even more beautifully in the warmth. As it is I’m getting moderate life of about 4-5 hours and moderate sillage. This is only my second wear though, I can’t wait to wear Chergui to work and see if people love it.

Dust Storm DailyTelegraphPhoto Stolen DailyTelegraph

Further reading Olfactoria’sTravels and Kafkaesque
FragranceNet has $97/50ml and with the oft available 15% discount that’s around $83!!
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/.5ml

How did Chergui live on your skin? Was there a note that really stood out and was surprising? Did you have a similar experience to most others?
Please join the conversation, I love it when people tell us how a fragrance affected them,
Portia xx

Un Bois Vanille by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2003


Guest Post by EmmaKate


Hello fumies,

As the weather is starting to get cooler my thoughts turn to things that make me feel warm on the inside during Autumn and Winter. I have chosen to write about

Un Bois Vanille by  for Serge Lutens

UnBoisVanille FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Sandalwood, black licorice, coconut milk, beeswax, bitter almond, musk, vanilla, benzoin, guaiac wood and tonka bean.

When I first started working at Mecca Cosmetica I found the fragrances all too much in terms of how different they were to anything I had ever smelt before. I couldn’t sell them because I had no back story, had no understanding of the notes and quite frankly didn’t like any of them. Being the girl I am I set out to find out about these fragrances that had grown women running in and gasping with delight. My first port of call was Serge Lutens. This brand was all round scary due to all that French – Eek! I chose to work with what I knew and selected Un Bois Vanille- a woody vanilla fragrance. And here our journey begins.

The first spray is a sweet creamy vanilla with a slightly bitter tart scent. (Back in the day I used to judge fragrances from the very first whiff, thank god that changed quick smart or I wouldn’t be sharing my thoughts with you all.) I didn’t like it. Not one bit. Oh well, try again with something else tomorrow. Except, about 20 minutes later I caught a whiff of it again and it had evolved beautifully into this full bodied creamy vanilla that I wanted to be engulfed by. It reminds me of pannacotta before it sets and I wanted to swim in it.

Un Bois Vanille PANNA-COTTA lafestaPhoto Stolen lafesta

This is a grown up vanilla that makes me glow on the inside during winter. It makes me feel like I am wrapped up in a thick silk scarf and nothing can touch me. The tonka bean gives it body and cuts the slightly acidic note that vanilla can have, it gives it a milky feel while almond gives it strength.

Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens is a Oriental Vanilla fragrance and wears well, I would say around 8 hours, but this always depends on the wearer.

VanillaWood 123rfPhoto Stolen 123rf

Further reading Olfactoria’sTravels and ChemistInTheBottle
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/.5ml
You can also grab a bottle at the usual places, I found an unboxed 50ml for $94 at FragranceNet

EmmaKate xx

Un Lys by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1997

Guest post by Madeleine
Hello fellow perfumaholics. I hope you enjoy my story today on one of my favourite scents.

Un Lys by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens (1997)

UnLys FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords on one line:
Lily, musk and vanilla
Many years ago, a long, long time before I became a perfumista and perhaps even before the advent of perfume blogging, I found an exquisite bottle of fragrance in a local boutique. It was housed in the most elegant rectangular bottle I’d ever seen and emblazoned with a peculiar name: Serge Lutens. It was called Un Lys.
I fell in love with its clear bright beauty immediately. It was simply the best thing I had ever smelled. Its price tag, however, was another matter.  (You see, back then, I thought that anything over $100 way just way, waaay too much money to spend on a bottle of perfume. How things have changed!) I winced at the price, stood there for a while, decided against it and left. And I then promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward some years later, and it was actually another lily perfume, the magnificent Lys Mediterrannee that sent me tumbling down the rabbit hole of full-blown perfume obsession. Its hold on me was so great, that for years, I did not think I needed another lily fragrance in my collection.
girlNlily mi9Photo Stolen mi9
However, earlier this year, Un Lys started calling my name again. I ordered a bottle, completely unsniffed besides that brief, but powerful encounter many years ago.
Second time around, Un Lys took her time to ensconce me with her charms. I pulled it out one steamy Sydney morning thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment to a summery Saturday. But now, compared to Lys Med’s spicy voluptuousness, Un Lys struck me as rather wan, pale and uninteresting but therein lies the rub, Un Lys’ lack of complexity is its beauty and its simplicity is its mark of exquisiteness. Whereas Lys Med emphasises the tropical, heady, vampy vibe of the lily and others, like Donna Karan Gold, emphasise its green qualities, Un Lys is aims to be no more than an olfactory portrait of the flower. It needs no adornments and no bells and whistles to amplify its serene and quiet beauty.
field-of-lily travelizationPhoto Stolen travelization
Further reading BoisDeJasmin and NowSmellThis
ThePerfumeShoppe sends 50ml to the world $140 before shipping
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/.5ml
Till next time.


Hello Gorgeous!

So my mate Jordan River from TheFragrantMan blog really put me in the poo the other day by offering a GIVEAWAY! I had to quickly scramble around to find some stuff that the gorgeous Serge Lutens Palais Royal girls had thrown into my bag when I dropped in in February this year. My mate Neela Vermeire, the famous perfume curator from Neela Vermeire Creations, took me in the day before to show me the store and introduce me to the SAs who were so friendly and welcoming to both of us. It was like old home week. Hugs, kisses and fragrance!!

SergeLutens The MakeUpMolePhoto Stolen TheMakeUpMole

Let me tell you the Palais Royal Serge Lutens store is FREAKY!! All done in purple and black lighting and OMG! It’s like an Addams Family parlour. And a spiral staircase in the middle from which you can see a speck of colour, I think it was yellow. The whole place gave me the willies, the heebeegeebees and stirred my head up so I couldn’t even think about perfume for myself. Next time I will at least do some serious testing.

What Jordan failed to tell you all was that though I have four Serge Lutens fragrances in full bottles,
Muscs Koublai Khan
Fleurs d’Oranger
Five O’Clock Gingembre
Santal Majuscule
(Sa Majeste la Rose, Chergui, Un Voix Noir and Gris Claire are the next on my list and maybe Cedre or Ambre Sultan down the track)
and many more in decants, unfortunately I am not a Bell Jar fan. I know!! PLEASE DON’T KICK ME OUT OF THE CLUB!!! I’m sorry but I like my perfume spritzed and also the square bottles look so neat and pretty together. What did happen though was that I had to buy two Bell Jars for APJ bloggers, everyone that writes for APJ was allowed order one bottle of impossible to find in Australia perfume to be brought back, so Madeleine asked for La Myrrhe and Michael asked for Iris Silver Mist which I dutifully bought, and returned to Australia with, for them.

For those that have never seen one, below is a specially decorated Bell Jar for Borneo 1834. I understand why you all covet them so freaking madly but they just do not ring my bells.

Borneo1834 parfumoPhoto Stolen Parfumo


There are 3 prizes today for our lovely readers who left a message in comments with a Serge Lutens fragrance I may have bought from the Palais Royal Store. Courtesy of the beautiful girls who work there there are 3 x Solid Sample Quartets to give away.

#1. De Profundis, Santal Blanc, Iris Silver Mist, Louve

#2. Chene, Un Bois Sepia, Borneo 1834, Vetiver Oriental

#3. Cuir Mauresque, Fumerie Turque, Boxeuses, Muscs Koublai Khan

Included is P&P to anywhere in the world

NO you don’t get to chose!!


Entries closed Friday March 22nd 2013 10pm AEDST.
Winners were chosen by putting names on same sized papers, folded similarly, put on a tray and TSO Jin picked them. He doesn’t even stop watching TV to do it usually.

WINNERS berryreviewPhoto Stolen berryreview




CONGRATULATIONS!! The winners have till Wednesaday 27th March 2013 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or I will give the prize to someone else, or even keep it for myself.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

With all our love in Birthday week at APJ.

Portia x

A Perfumista Pilgrimage – Serge Lutens GIVEAWAY


Guest Post by Jordan River


Serge Lutens

Mr Lutens is the magician of the fragrant stratosphere. A self-described sorcerer. A virtual recluse who conjures mysterious and amazing perfumes. He puts the genie in the bottle and you get to take it out. He is A Spell Jar of Adventure. The gravitas of the critiques of his releases and by who makes for fascinating reading. Wax Samples are the entry point to this particular wormhole. You have been warned. The solid perfume is an almost exact scent rendering and an excellent method to choose what to explore further in these eau de parfums. After that you have three collection choices, La Fille de Berlin, Selective Distribution (formerly ‘export’) and Exclusives. And after that you have numbered limited edition flacons. The Exclusives come in bell jars that until very recently have only been available at the Paris store. Hence the need for a pilgrimage. All 36 bell jars will suffice you for 3 years at the rate of a bottle a month. Clever people place small glass marbles in their bell jar to raise the juice level after constant application.

What interests me is going further, not into the perfume, but deeper into myself, exploring my innermost depths to extract darkness from light, and make it just as visible – Serge Lutens

In 1992 Serge opened his house of perfumes called Les Salons du Palais Royal. His vision was for

a unique place in the world where one would come as an enlightened being to define oneself through one’s perfume, in order to stand out from the identity-free crowd which previous times had imposed upon us.

It is to this salon in Paris than many a perfumista has made a pilgrimage. The latest one to embark on a quest for a bell jar is our very own Portia. Which bell jar of Sergian notes is calling out to her as she leaves The Land Down Under for The Perfume Capital of the Universe? A dry dry desert wind, a night or tuberose, a cry from the depths, the sweat of Kublai Khan, blackened amber, or the atmosphere, if not the very voice of Billie Holiday? If you can guess (and if this offer is not edited out!) then a decant will be yours on her return (Ed: Better than a decant I have something VERY special for our winners Jordan. SEE BELOW). Careful here, Portia is unpredictable! I’m thinking Sarrasins. What do you think?

Jordan River

Jordan River

References and Further Information

Serge Lutens Bell Jars are now available in New York at Barneys.

La Fille de Berlin (Selective Distribution range) was launched at Les Salons du Palais Royal last month.

Serge Lutens Interview 1 – Denyse Beaulieu
Serge Lutens Interview 2 – Denyse Beaulieu
Serge Lutens
Serge Lutens US site
Serge Lutens – Information by Snap


As you know it’s our ONE YEAR BIRTHDAY WEEK. There are 3 prizes today for our lovely readers who leave a message in comments with a Serge Lutens fragrance I may have bought from the Palais Royal Store. Courtesy of the beautiful girls who work there I have 3 x Solid Sample Quartets to give away.

#1. De Profundis, Santal Blanc, Iris Silver Mist, Louve

#2. Chene, Un Bois Sepia, Borneo 1834, Vetiver Oriental

#3. Cuir Mauresque, Fumerie Turque, Boxeuses, Muscs Koublai Khan

Included is P&P to anywhere in the world

NO you don’t get to chose!!


Entries Close Friday March 22nd 2013 10pm AEDST and winners will be announced in a separate post on Sunday 24th March.
Winners will be chosen by putting names on same sized papers, folded similarly, put on a tray and TSO Jin will pick them. He doesn’t even stop watching TV to do it usually.
The winners will have till Wednesaday 27th March 2013 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or I will give the prize to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Best Birthday Wishes to you all.

Portia xx

Scented Niche Christmas Gifts to Impress

Guest Post by Madeleine

Ten Niche Scented Gifts for Christmas

Hello APJ friends! Hope you are all well and looking forward to the festive season.
When Portia suggested I compile a list of niche perfume Christmas picks, I was filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excited because I could get really creative and think outside the square and scared because, well, let’s face it, buying perfume for loved ones, let alone niche, is fraught with difficulties.
So, I have taken a deep breath and hopefully risen to the challenge. For ease, I’ve chosen more approachable scents and assumed price is no object. Enjoy!
1.   Dad: Bigarade Concentree by Frederic Malle
Bigarade concentree Frederic Malle for women and men
Jean Claude Ellena’s modern take on eau de cologne, Bigarade Concentree starts with piquant, zesty blood orange and aromatic cardamom notes before settling into soft orange and hay. This is as refreshing as a dip in an ice cold pool, but still a refined classic scent.
Notes: bitter orange, rose, cedar, grass and hay
2.   Mum: Antonia by Puredistance
Antonia Puredistance for women
Possibly the most beautiful and sublime release of 2012, Antonia is an intricately weaved green floral with galbanum, ivy and jasmine. The Antonia woman is intelligent, graceful, self assured and wise – the best qualities of Mums everywhere,
Notes: jasmine, rose essence, ylang ylang, orris, ivy greens, galbanum, vanilla and vetiver.
3.   Brother: Sunday Cologne by Byredo
Sunday Cologne Byredo for women and men
A slightly balmy and spicy scent, Sunday Cologne combines the freshness of bergamot with star anise, incense and lavender. Clean, cool and utterly debonair, this can be worn equally with a sharp suit or t-shirt and jeans.
Notes: cardamom, bergamot, star anise, lavender, geranium, incense, vetiver, patchouli and oakmoss.
4.   Sister: Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens
Nuit de Cellophane Serge Lutens for women
A refined take on the standard fruity floral, Nuit de Cellophane combines osmanthus and jasmine to create a gorgeously translucent scent. Nuit de Cellophane is demure and pretty with just a hint of coquettishness.
Notes: mandarin, osmanthus, jasmine
5.   Significant other (Male): Amyris Pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
Amyris Homme Maison Francis Kurkdjian for men
Sex in a bottle. A blend of aromatic rosemary and mandarin tempered by cool iris and warm woody notes, Amyris is the tall, dark handsome stranger at a swanky bar who buys you an ice-cold martini before saying sotto voce: ’Come hither’.
Notes: rosemary, mandarin orange, amyris, coconut, coffee, iris, milk chocolate, tonka bean and agarwood.
6.   Significant other (Female): Flor Y Canto by Arquiste
Flor y Canto Arquiste for women
A bewitching white floral, Flor Y Canto tempers the heady notes of tuberose and frangipani with bright marigold. Sunny and carefree, but still devastatingly sexy, this is for a confident woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Notes: Mexican tuberose, magnolia, frangipani and marigold
7.   For the budding perfumista friend: Frederic Malle’s Coffrets
In my opinion, Frederic Malle offers the best variety of all niche brands. These coffrets offer small vials of the brand’s scents: men’s, women’s or a 2012 selection. Your friend is sure to find new love, whether it’s the mint barbershop vibe of Geranium Pour Monsieur or the brooding oriental of Portrait of a Lady.
8.   For the friend that hates perfume:  Aqua Universalis Perfumed Candle by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Aqua Universalis Perfumed Candle
An impressive, weighty candle without an oppressive scent, Aqua Universalis is a fresh and delicate blend of green notes, orange blossom and jasmine.
Notes: bergamot, sicilian lemon, lily of the valley, sweet mock orange, light and musky woods
9.   For kids: Les Bulles d’Agathe by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Les Bulles d'Agathe Scented Bubbles 3
These blowing bubbles are lightly scented with pear, violet, mint or cut herbs – fun for the little ones or just for the kid in all of us.
10.  Top niche Christmas pick: La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens
La Myrrhe Serge Lutens for women
In one of those coveted bell jars, Serge Lutens and his partner in crime Christopher Sheldrake have created a luminous rendition of myrrh – the essential oil and resin carried by the Three Wise Men. Warm aldehydes suggest the twinkle of Christmas lights on powdered snow while gentle spices and almond evoke the last bite of Christmas pud washed down with a glass of warm Amaretto.
Notes: mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento
Pictures sourced from Fragrantica, Basenotes, Polyvore and Wantist.
Where to Buy:
Arquiste: and Barney’s
Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Serge Lutens: Les Senteurs, Luckyscent and Mecca Cosmetica
Puredistance: Luckyscent
Serge Lutens bell jars: and Barney’s
Hope you’ve enjoyed my picks. What are your top niche Christmas choices?
M x

De Profundis by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2011

Guest Post by Madeleine
Hello everyone! Hope you’ve all been well and had a lovely fragrant month.
Today’s post is part review and part confessional. The confession is that, until recently, I have somewhat overlooked the Serge Lutens line. Pre-perfumista days, I tried Fleurs D’Oranger and thought it was nice, but a little too much for me at a time when Marc Jacobs was my perfume of choice.  Once on my perfumista journey, I tried a few, but the whole stewed fruits and woods thing that Serge Lutens is famous for scared me a little. Somehow, I also got busy trying other things and the rest is history. Thankfully, I’ve now righted my transgression and have been delving into Serge’s world quite seriously of late, so much so that it now ranks as my favourite line with as many full bottle wants as the line which incited my passion – Frederic Malle.
Photo Stolen marathi.wunderground
Exploring Serge has also been a wonderfully informative journey. The perfumes I thought I would like and that get a lot of love in the blogosphere – Chergui, Ambre Sultan – simply don’t work on me. However, Serge’s weirder florals that I’ve tested with ambivalence are the ones I’ve swooned over and are ones that simply bloom on my skin. These include Datura Noir, Vitriol D’Oeillet and the magnificent Paris exclusive, De Profundis.

De Profundis by Serge Lutens

Photo Stolen zuzafun

De Profundis is a composition based on chrysanthemum, a flower traditionally associated with funerals and death. The name, translated from Latin means “out of the depths” or “a cry of appeal expressing one’s deepest feelings of sorrow or anguish”.  Indeed, literary and biblical references of the term emphasise feelings of melancholy and despair: Oscar Wilde’s letter written during his imprisonment, Christina Rossetti’s poem and Psalm 130, which starts with the line: “From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord”.
The copy accompanying the release also emphasises morbidity, stating: “the chrysanthemum invites Death to leave the cemetery and offer us its flower.” For me, however, this fragrance is not so much about death, but a story about the cycle of a complete flower, from the first signs of buds to petals bruising, brown and overripe.
 De Profundis Serge Lutens for women and men
Photo stolen from Fragrantica.
De Profundis’ notes are chrysanthemum flower with additional notes of violets, green and earthy notes.
The perfume’s opening is very sumptuous, green and radiant. It is the smell of a garden after a winter’s storm, a cold wind against dew on stems, bright and chilly. It is reminiscent of other green florals, but here the green notes are voluptuous and full, not austere or astringent in nature. The vivacious opening is tempered by the slight pepperiness of the chrysanthemum and powderiness of violets.
The composition is fairly linear in character, but as it warms on the skin, the wood notes become more prominent, giving the perfume a richness and earthy feel.  It becomes a portrait of flowers left in their vase too long, their blooms now pale and wan, the stems slightly fetid and decaying.
Photo Stolen paranoias
But De Profundis is not nearly as melancholy or moody as I expected. Whilst somewhat haunting, it still manages to have a fresh, sparkling quality that is joyful and bright. What I love most about it is that it full of contradictions: bright but dark, happy but sombre, elegant but vampy, restrained but voluptuous.
De Profundis is a must try for anyone who likes green scents or for those who appreciate some of the stranger Serge florals.  For me, it’s very much full bottle worthy. Mr M and I are now hatching a plan to try and secure one of those bell jars from Paris.
For other reviews, please see Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Posse, and The Non-Blonde
Samples available from Surrender to Chance starting at $4/ml
Have you tried De Profundis? What are some of the more bizarre Lutens creations that have worked for you? Is there a fragrance line that you’ve overlooked and then come to love?
With much love till next time!
Madeleine x

Santal Majuscule by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

Hiya Lovelies.

I have been over at FacebookFragranceFriends and was lucky enough to be involved in a split for Santal Majuscule created by Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens and released recently. Such a great way to get a good sized sample, thanks Andrea!! I don’t know if you have read much about it or even smelled it but it has been eagerly awaited as a sister to the 2 other Lutens Sandalwood offerings Santal Blanc (sweet) and Santal de Mysore (smoke) but this one is quite a different take.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords: Sandalwood (That’s it? R U FECKING JOKING!!!!)

I smell honey and spice, flowers that could be rose, wood, butter, smoke, sweet whipped cream on warm cinnamon honey cakes. This is not quite as gourmand as all that sounds and has some definite musky tendencies as it wears into the 2nd hour that sing alongside the woods beautifully but not intrusively. There is also a slightly sharp greenness lurking that raises its head and gives you a saucy wink every so often, as if they have tried to capture the sandalwood from bud to burning and every moment in between. I find this an infinitely more varied ride than expected and am enjoying the flow. The longer it wears the more buttery it becomes, really woody and animal fatty. So nice. I’m at around 4 hours now and Santal Majuscule is starting to lose its strength and go quieter on my skin, not a bad run so far. I get about 6 hours till it is really a skin scent that stays around till morning.

Sandalwood Cross Section Photo Stolen austoils

I have just knocked over my 10ml split and broken the glass atomiser, the place smells GORGEOUS! Looks like the office will be off limits for fragrance testing till next Friday 2015. Interesting that even though 10ml just went AWOL I am not overwhelmed by the fragrance, yes I can smell it and the room when you leave and re enter is awash in fragrance but it’s lovely and luxe and exquisite, not Pow! WhaM! Bam! at all. There is a sheerness to Santal Majascule that is fully fragrant but also full of spaces and air so that you can breathe, deep but not dense. Well there has been a good development come out of all this, I am to have a full bottle. It has been agreed. YAY!!! Went to Escentual and grabbed it, ON ITS WAY. HOORAY!!

Photo Stolen en.wikipedias

TheAlembicatedGenie, BoisDeJasmin and Patty at ThePerfumePosse all review it much better than me.
Escentual has 50ml for around £80 ($125) delivered worldwide!

Have you tried any of the Lutens sandalwood trio? How do you rate them? Is there another sandalwood that I simply MUST try? Leave me a note in the comments, I love to read your ideas too. Even if you just want to say HI, do it. I’ll be thrilled,
Have an excellent day till we see you tomorrow,
Portia xx