Perfume Review – Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

I had high hopes for this one. Very high hopes. Smoke, tobacco, leather, vanilla, and spice. The famous, beloved Chergui supposedly ratcheted up a notch. Turkish rose, smoke, and honeyed pipe tobacco in a sensuous, opulent, oriental fragrance done by Uncle Serge and that mad wizard, Christopher Sheldrake. Well, not on my skin…. 

The old, discontinued, vintage 1.7 oz/50 ml version of Fumerie Turque.

The old, discontinued, vintage 1.7 oz/50 ml version of Fumerie Turque.

Fumerie Turque is an eau de parfum that was created by Serge Lutens‘ favorite perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, and released in 2003. Though it is primarily an expensive Paris Bell Jar perfume that is exclusive to Serge Lutens’ Paris headquarters, Fumerie Turque came out at some point in a regular, cheaper, import-version, 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle that is still sometimes available online. And, somewhere along the line, the fragrance was reformulated — quite drastically, according to some — to become a softer, less tobacco-centered, more vanillic, sweet fragrance. My sample is of the current version, and it leads me to wonder what on earth it must have been like before.

The Bell Jar of Fumerie Turque that is now the only version sold by Serge Lutens.

The Bell Jar of Fumerie Turque that is now the only version sold by Serge Lutens.

Serge Lutens describes Fumerie Turque on his website as follows:

Smoking can kill you.

That’s one reason why I like using leafy blond tobacco as a raw material together with honey, underpinned with a few, slightly obscured hints of rose petal.

For some reason, Fragrantica has two entries for Fumerie Turque. There is no indication of which is the entry for the current version, and each lists slightly different notes. I haven’t seen that before, even for reformulated fragrances. Whatever the explanation, if one compiles both versions, the notes in Fumerie Turque would seem to include:

white honey, candied Turkish rose, juniper berries, chamomile, Egyptian jasmine, smoked leather, beeswax, Balkan tobacco, red currants, Peru balsam, patchouli, tonka, styrax, suede, and vanilla.

Styrax resin via themysticcorner.com

Styrax resin via themysticcorner.com. (Website link embedded within photo.)

Fumerie Turque opens on my skin with smoke, vanilla, leather and spices. The fragrance is dominated by styrax, a resin which has a very dry, smoky, spicy, leathery nuance. It infuses everything it touches, including the rose note which starts out being sweet, but which quickly turns dry and smoky. Alongside are tobacco curls, nestled amidst sweet vanilla and a light touch of vanillic powder. In the background is the faintest chilly touch of a woody, pine note that feels syrupy and resinous, almost as if it were juniper resin instead of juniper berries. Wafts of a floral, slightly tea-like note flit about, as if the chamomile has been infused with the same, spicy, chewy, dense styrax as everything else.

There is something a little bitter and sour about the blend, despite the sweet, smoky, somewhat leathery notes underneath. It must be the honey with its slightly sulphurous undertones. Honey is an extremely tricky note for some people, as their skin chemistry can turn it sour, urinous, skanky, animalic, raunchy, or some combination thereof. I happen to be generally lucky with the element, which I adore, even on those rare occasions when it can feel almost sulphurous as it does here. But, I must say, I am not at all keen about its sour nuances in Fumerie Turque. I’m even less enthused as it gets worse, quickly turning into a smell that is simultaneously stale, sour, bitter, sharp, acrid, and, eventually, almost rancid in feel. The beautiful, sweet, freshness of the rose has receded along with the vanilla, its powder, the juniper berries, and the dark, tea-like chamomile, leaving the harsher, animalic notes utterly untamed. Rank bitterness is what comes to mind, and I imagine that people who traditionally have always had problems with honey might fare even worse.

Leather Tanning in Morocco. Photo by Burrard-Lucas via http://www.burrard-lucas.com/photo/morocco/leather_tanning.html

Leather Tanning in Morocco. Photo by Burrard-Lucas via http://www.burrard-lucas.com/photo/morocco/leather_tanning.html

Ten minutes into Fumerie Turque’s development, those harsher notes become extremely prominent. The leather feels almost raw, like tannery hides left to cure in the sun. There is a tarry, animalic, phenolic, musky sharpness to the smell. And the rank sourness of the honey now feels quite rancid. Making matters worse is the tobacco, a note I normally love. Here, it feels neither like dried tobacco leaves, nor like sweet, fruited, honeyed pipe tobacco. Instead, it smells like a stale, dirty ashtray with the remnants of a few, old cigars.

Source: skylighter.com

Source: skylighter.com

To be honest, I’m somewhat appalled by the overall combination: urinous, sulphurous, rancid honey with raw leather and stale ashtray smoke is really not my cup of tea. Not even the occasional flickers of rose and vanilla which pop up and down, going back and forth from the background to the foreground, can fix the stale, sour, bitter, animalic pungency emanating from my arm. And, have I mentioned the word “rancid” yet? I once had the misfortune of cleaning a friend’s fridge which had been left untouched for over a year; the smell of the rotten eggs had a similar sulphurous, smoky rancidness. Only here, they’re mixed in with a disconcerting stale sweetness. I know the horrible bouquet is due purely and solely to my skin’s chemistry — just as I know that others may (and do) have a wholly different, extremely positive scent sensation with this much admired fragrance — but I can only recount my own experiences and, thus far, it’s revolting. I’ve never, ever had honey go south on me… until now!

Source: 123rf.com

Source: 123rf.com

Fumerie Turque continues in that painful vein for a while. The vanilla makes every valiant attempt to come to the foreground to soften things, and once in a while, it actually succeeds. It’s short-lived, however, as the rancid sourness marches on like a Turkish army hell-bent on whipping me into submission. Thirty minutes into Fumerie Turque’s progression, beeswax joins the Devil’s Brigade, mocking me with yet another, additional layer of sourness. The animalic, almost dirty, raw leather, and the stale tobacco ashtray aromas join in, cackling gleefully at the faint whimpers that are starting to emanate from my miserable little self. I look at the Fumerie Turque’s longevity rankings on Fragrantica (“very long lasting” say the majority), mutter some expletives, and contemplate sending dear Uncle Serge a “Dear John” letter. I also wonder if it’s too early to start drinking.

Red Currants via onlyfoods.netClose to the end of the second hour, Fumerie Turque decides to take some pity on me. It starts to soften, becoming milder, less feral and brutal. The leather, ashtray and honey elements take on a rounder, less intentionally hostile and aggressive edge, though their undertones retain that rancid stench that is still too bloody sharp and acrid for my tastes. Thankfully, the sillage has dropped from its previously potent levels, making me hope that Fumerie Turque has decided to engage in an olfactory cessation of hostilities. Er… not quite. We are now launching into a whole new sort of merciless madness. At the 2.5 hour mark, Fumerie Turque turns into a strange mélange of vaguely sour, vanillic baby powder infused with the odd tartness of red currants berries, atop a base of light, sweet smoke and somewhat treacly rose. I sighed so deeply, you have no idea, and wonder what Uncle Serge would think of a blotchy, tear-splattered letter.

Vanilla powder and essence. Source: food.ninemsn.com.au

Vanilla powder and essence. Source: food.ninemsn.com.au

Fumerie Turque continues its descent into powdery, smoke-tinged sweetness. It’s quite a relief, given what came before. Close to the end of the fourth hour, there is more vanillic baby powder, tart fruit notes, whispers of smoke, and a definite subtext of honeyed sourness. The new addition, however, is beeswax — and it’s the only part of the somewhat muted, faded combination that I find pleasant. Around the middle of the fifth hour, Fumerie Turque fades into abstract, powdery vanilla with honey and a whisper of beeswax, and remains that way until the end. All in all, Fumerie Turque lasted just short of 6.75 hours, which is much less than the enormous longevity that I had braced myself for. On average, the sillage was moderate: very forceful in terms of projection for a brief period at the start, but then, significantly softer while still being noticeable within the tiny bubble that wafted an inch above my skin.

Normally, with fragrances that take such a terrible turn on my skin, I would give the perfume two tests. Sometimes, maybe even three. I couldn’t do it with Fumerie Turque. I simply couldn’t. It wasn’t only that extremely difficult opening but, rather, how exhausting the progression was in its forcefulness and in the unalleviated monotony. Fumerie Turque isn’t linear from start to finish but, within its two distinct stages, it certainly feels a little singular. I always say that there is nothing wrong with linear fragrances if you love the notes in question but, obviously, that was not the case here. 

Chergui.

Chergui.

There are a few reasons why I’m so incredibly disappointed with the manner in which Fumerie Turque manifested itself on my skin, beyond the really obvious ones, that is. First, many people consider the fragrance to be the more advanced, complex, sophisticated brother to Serge Lutens’ Chergui. Fumerie Turque is supposed to be richer, smokier, less vanillic or powdery (in both its original and reformulated version, presumably) than the fragrance that I own and love. It seemed indubitable that Fumerie Turque would be even more up my alley.

Karl Lagerfeld Cologne. The non "Classic" but vintage bottle.

Karl Lagerfeld Cologne. Not the current “Classic” bottle, but the vintage one.

Second, Fumerie Turque seemed very familiar upon first sniff of the fragrance in the vial. It instantly and immediately brought to mind one of my favorite comfort scents, the superb Karl Lagerfeld Cologne in vintage formulation. Karl Lagerfeld’s 1980s beauty is actually the sole reason I started this blog. I needed a place to properly express my love for this fragrance when I reacquired a bottle on eBay, and I couldn’t do it in a Facebook status post, though I certainly spent a good few paragraphs trying. My very first perfume review was, in fact, a rushed, hurried, rather short affair on the joys of Karl Lagerfeld’s interpretation of and homage to Shalimar. A few parts of that review:

Imagine your boyfriend’s leather jacket, covered with honey, and in an old Russian or Greek Orthodox church filled with smoky incense and the whiff of a passerby in rose and jasmine…. this is better. If there were a honey seller in a stall sandwiched between a musky spice vendor of nutmeg, tarragon and anise, and one who sold sweetly fragrant tobacco that your uncle put in his pipe — all in a giant leather store filled with the finest British leather saddles, which was in a Turkish bazaar… this is better.

[…] Some say that it’s like a male-version of Shalimar and I suppose it’s the faint touch of powder in it. But if Meryl Streep wears Shalimar (and she does), then Tina Turner would wear this. If Shalimar is a Rolls Royce, this is James Bond’s Aston Martin or perhaps a BEAST of a muscle car driven by a Russian Orthodox monk in a leather jacket. That’s it! This is the smell for Rasputin, though one commentator elsewhere said that they thought Robert Redford in the Great Gatsby would wear this. I disagree. This is pure leather smoke covered with honey.

And….. it’s sex on a stick. […] Just be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart and that, depending on your body chemistry, powder may predominate over leather, tobacco or honey. Also, if you’re not into powerful scents, do not put on more than one spray.

Not a week goes by that I don’t regret the brevity of that article (relative to my usual verboseness). Not a week passes that I don’t vow to do the perfume proper justice with a revisit. Karl Lagerfeld Cologne has been a favorite fragrance of mine for over two decades — and Kafkaesque exists purely and solely because of it.

That fragrance is what I immediately came to mind when I took a gandering sniff of Fumerie Turque in the vial: a richer, smokier, drier, less powdery, less sweet Karl Lagerfeld. I couldn’t believe it. My jaw dropped, and I couldn’t wait to try it on the skin. Later, much later, after the bloody, leathery, stale, rancid chum in Fumerie Turque’s shark-infested waters had faded away, I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t the only one who thought there were similarities between the two fragrances. A passing, brief comment on a Basenotes thread devoted to Fumerie Turque said: “When I read these threads, I wonder how many who enjoy FT have tried the original Lagerfeld Cologne (before it became “Classic”).” I have no idea who the poster, “Bigsly,” is, but I want to give him a hearty Bravo for unknowingly reassuring me that I’m not insane (and, also, for his excellent taste). Because, yes, when I read positive descriptions of Fumerie Turque on Fragrantica, they sounds a bit like what I experience with Karl Lagerfeld.

Source: turkishculture.blogspot.com

Source: turkishculture.blogspot.com

There are significant differences, however. The Karl Lagerfeld is much sweeter, more vanillic, and more powdery than the largely acrid Fumerie Turque. It has a bergamot, citric, and subtle, vaguely herbal element to its beginning. More importantly, the leather is very different in Karl Lagerfeld; it lacks the raw, animalic outbursts in Fumerie Turque, while being significantly stronger and richer than it is in Chergui. Also, the tobacco smoke is sweeter than the more acrid, stale, dirty version in Fumerie Turque, more akin to pipe tobacco, and is additionally supplemented by incense. If the Lagerfeld didn’t precede both Lutens fragrances by almost 20 years, I would call it a lovechild of Chergui and Fumerie Turque, combining the best parts of both in a much stronger, more potent, intense, powerful blast. But Karl did it first. There is also another big difference: the Lagerfeld is available in vintage form for a mere pittance on eBay. You can buy a 2 oz bottle for between $20-$30, depending on times, vendors and competing bidders. Sometimes, they can go up to $45, but I bought my bottle for about $18! The key — and this is really important — is to AVOID anything that has the word “Classic” on the bottle because that is the reformulated rubbish version! (I beg of you, don’t do it. It’s not the same at all.)

I realise that my review of Fumerie Turque has descended into an ode to Karl Lagerfeld Cologne, so let’s return to that Basenotes thread. It’s interesting because the chap had an equally brutal start to Fumerie Turque, which he bought blindly based on the positive praise for the fragrance. Though he subsequently fell in love with Fumerie Turque, I think his experience is illuminating, in part because it also references some other well-known fragrances:

I sprayed some on my bicep. OH NO!!! I REALLY SCREWED UP BUYING THIS STUFF!!! Immediately, I got this sickly powdery feminine stale urine porta-potty smell that some of the negative reviews had mentioned. Totally, totally unwearable. […]  five minutes later I noticed that tobacco note– and it was actually a very nice specimen of tobacco. If only that other “pissy, honey, rose” stuff wasn’t going on…

Yet, he gave it a second shot, mostly due to the many, many raves for Fumerie Turque from people he respected. And, this time, he noticed some differences. First, there was a strong similarity between Fumerie Turque’s “beeswax and the emerging red currants/fruit” and the smell of Chanel‘s Antaeus, a fragrance that he had initially hated but then grown to love. Second, with a little time, Fumerie Turque developed into something lovely on his skin:

… the pipe tobacco was starting to come out very noticeably. I’ve truly NEVER experienced a fragrance that did such a 180 in the wearing and bloomed into something so cool. It still had a bit of that Habanita powdery quality and that dense honeybun beeswax in the base, but the tobacco was starting to steal the show in a big way. Some people call this scent “smokey” but thankfully, it’s not smokey to my nose– at least not in a negative manner. The first time I smelled it, it did conjure the back room of a bar where there had probably been a lot of second hand smoke, but once it started to blossom, it was smooth and ethereal. Again the beeswax is right there in the beginning and it almost makes you nauseous, but it only takes about two minutes for the composition begin unfolding into what it will become. As time goes on, the scent becomes more “blonde” as in blonde tobacco, and begins to feel lighter, but not lesser.

To compare this to a tobacco scent like Pure Havane almost makes me laugh now. I like Pure Havane a hell of a lot, don’t get me wrong– but this stuff is on a whole different level. This is adult, it’s grown up seduction in a bottle. Pure Havane is the most playful, fun tobacco scent I’ve tried, but Fumerie Turque is not for children. […]

What Fumerie Turque is, is an ACTUAL PERFUME.  […] Christopher Sheldrake has created a real masterpiece here. Top to bottom. Something that relies on a little necessary chaos out of the bottle to get on its feet, but once it does, and starts walking upright, god it’s beautiful. [Emphasis in bold added by me to the perfume names.]

There are numerous gushing, quite poetic raves about Fumerie Turque on Fragrantica (where it is enormously loved in both of the perfume’s listings), but I chose that particular Basenotes review for a reason. It highlights how some people can have a very positive experience with Fumerie Turque at the end, despite the sour, “pissy” start.

It also shows that, as many Basenotes commentators agree, Fumerie Turque is a perfume that can sometimes take a few tries. A number of Lutens fragrances require patience but, given the trickiness of honey as a note, Fumerie Turque may require more patience than most. In all candour, if I didn’t already have my beloved Karl Lagerfeld and Chergui, I probably would have given Fumerie Turque the necessary second chance that so many people say it requires, especially as I found some of the vintage bottles (which are supposed to be far better than the current version) available online for a significantly cheaper price than the current Bell Jar formulation. But I do have Lagerfeld and Chergui, so I’m not hugely motivated. Plus, there is also the simple reality that some honey fragrances never work out on a person’s skin, no matter how many chances you give them.

Would I recommend that you give Fumerie Turque a shot? Well, never as a blind buy, no. However, if you love Chergui, then yes, by all means, give Fumerie Turque an exploratory sniff. Get a sample, see if it works for you, and, if you love it, then you can get the more affordable vintage version that I’ve found on some of the online retailers below. (Actually, I would highly recommend the Karl Lagerfeld above all else, especially if powder notes don’t go south on your skin.) On the other hand, if you don’t love Chergui, or if you already know for a fact that honey is always one of your fatal notes, then I would advise that you stay clear of Fumerie Turque entirely. If it didn’t work on my honey-loving skin, I can’t imagine how badly it might turn out for those who never have any luck with the note. I suspect you’d end up in a foetal position, crying for a Silkwood shower….

DETAILS:
General Cost & Discounted Sales Prices: Fumerie Turque is an eau de parfum that Serge Lutens now offers only in the large 2.5 oz/75 ml bell jar version that costs $290, or €135. However, you can still find the smaller 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle (that is now considered “vintage” or discontinued) on some U.S. and European perfume websites. About seven of the usual, big, online perfume sites (Amazon, FragranceNet, etc.) have Fumerie Turque listed, but the fine print shows it as “Sold Out.” However, I found the perfume at several smaller vendors. Buy Beauty Deals sells the 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle of Fumerie Turque for $108.50, A Matter of Fax for $117.11, Perfume Mart for $121.50, Fragrance Zoo for $127.49, Planet Aroma sells Fumerie Turque for $130.63, Islander Mall for $132.92, and SurfAvenueMall for $140. I have no idea how reputable any of these vendors may be.
Serge Lutens: You can find Fumerie Turque in the bell jar option on the U.S. and International Lutens website (with non-english language options also available). It’s priced at $300 or €135.
U.S. sellers: Fumerie Turque is exclusively available at Barney’s in the bell jar format for $290. The site has a notice which states: “This product is only available for purchase at the Madison Avenue Store located at 660 Madison Avenue. The phone number for the Serge Lutens Boutique is (212) 833-2425.” I did not find Fumerie Turque listed at Luckyscent or any of the big, niche perfume vendors.
Outside the U.S.: In Canada, I think you can find “Fumerie Turque – Retired” at The Perfume Shoppe for what is US$120, since it is primarily an American business with a Vancouver branch, but I’m not sure what they mean by “retired” and if the perfume is actually in stock. For Europe, I couldn’t find the 50 ml bottle sold at a single online vendor. It’s the expensive bell-jar, or nothing. In Australia, you can get Fumerie Turque on sale in the discontinued 50 ml bottle from Brand Shopping for AUD$199.65 with free shipping. In the Middle East, I saw the “vintage” Fumerie Turque listed on the Universal Perfume‘s site. However, there is something weird going on where there is no pricing, and it won’t let you put it in your cart until you give one. Elsewhere on the site, the perfume is priced as $189.99.
Samples: You can test out Fumerie Turque by ordering a sample from Surrender to Chance where prices start at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. There is also a Serge Lutens Sample Set of 3 Paris Exclusives (Fumerie Turque, along with Borneo 1834 and Chergui), which starts at $11.50 for a 1/2 ml vial of each. Fumerie Turque is also included as an option in a Lutens Sample Set for $18.99 where the vials are also 1/2 ml each, but you get your choice of 5 Lutens Non-Export fragrances (ie, those that are Paris exclusives).

46 thoughts on “Perfume Review – Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

  1. I had read many recommendations for this and had a couple of different samples on hand. I had tried a dab sample a while back and didn’t think much of it as I recall. This time I tried the spray sample. I don’t get the horrific notes and I am enjoying it so far. I also love Chergui and enjoy most tobacco fragrances. So far it’s an animalic honeyed tobacco on me. I love to smell it but I’m not sure I’d want to smell like it, if that makes any sense. So disappointing to read your experience Kafka. You are due for a new all-time favorite 🙂

    • “I love to smell it but I’m not sure I’d want to smell like it, if that makes any sense.” — That makes total sense, Cohibadad. You find the smell fascinating, almost intoxicating, but it may not be how you want others to smell you. But you know, someone somewhere wrote that FT was a scent that was perfect for them on a selfish, purely individual basis for the same sort of reasons. It was something that gave them pleasure, even if others didn’t like the scent combination too much. So, if you love it, give it a few more tries and then consider getting a bottle for your own comfort, chill times.

      You got the KL and loved it, right? How do you think they compare?

      As for new modern, favorites, I have Alahine! 🙂

      • I didn’t think KL and FT were similar so I just did a head-to-head comparison. It’s interesting because on a note for note basis, they are very different, but when taken together, the overall fragrances are similar. Kindred spirits so to speak. Like the same song played in two different keys. Or different strands of a rope going in the same direction but when one goes high, the other goes low. Toe may toe versus Toe Ma Toe. FT is overall sweeter and more animalic, Having one on each arm is quite enjoyable. One pulls my nose in one direction and switching arms pulls it a different direction and the combination makes each better.

        • First off, let me just say one more time how very glad I am you love the KL, Cohibadad. Second, yeah, it’s strange how the notes are quite different but the overall fragrances are very similar. The differences that I note are different than yours, since it seems that Fumerie Turque is much sweeter on your skin than it is on mine. On me, the honey took a … different…. route than just pure sweetness. But FT is definitely more animalic, and the leather is a whole different dimension. More raw, whereas it’s more subtle, burnished, smooth, aged and oiled in the KL. But I really think that the KL is like the best parts of Chergui and FT mixed into one. An amplified Chergui, if you will, with strands of Fumerie Turque, but with none of the difficulties (for me at least) that FT may entail. It’s only in the very beginning where the KL and the FT differ widely, as the KL follows the Shalimar path of bergamot and citruses for a brief time before swerving head-on into the tobacco, leather, incense smoke, honey, and powder.

          • I couldn’t agree more, except about the sweetness of FT. And I didn’t quite know how to describe the difference in the leathers, but you nailed it. The sweetness lasts for a couple of hours on me but fades as FT and KL converge. I will have to throw Chergui into the comparison one day.

  2. Love the dry dry desert wind of Chergui. KL was the 80’s for me. But then Classic, and did you try Photo, ended the admiration. What an interesting start to your perfume writing career. Thank you Mr Lagerfeld.

    • Karl Lagerfeld’s Cologne is definitely 80s in its forceful power at first, but it doesn’t compare to the big booming ones like Giorgio or Poison. (Thank God.) I think it’s 80s in a good way. I think I tried the Photo, didn’t like it and never thought about it again, but I have no memory of what it smelled like. The new “Classic” (talk about a contradiction in terms) was a big disappointment. 🙁

  3. Poor Kafka. It’s so discouraging to try something that you’re sure you’re going to love, and have it smell awful on you. It happened to me with the very first sample I bought, but it did confirm my decision to never buy blindly again.

    • I used the thrill of blind buys for a while, and then I had a few go terribly wrong all in a row. That taught me a big lesson. LOL! Never again, if I can help it. One just never knows how things will be on one’s actual skin. But, really, given the notes and how I’ve never once had problems with honey before, Fumerie Turque really should have been a shoe-in. 🙁

  4. I’ve owned Fumerie Turque for some time now. It’s been a great comfort scent, so when I read your review I had to go and apply FT just to revisit! The Fumerie Turque I own is a honeyed tobacco with saffron and spiced leather, some floral notes including rose dancing around the smoke and tobacco and a booziness that helps hold it all together. The components waft in and out just as the name suggests with the prominent notes yielding the stage, then reappearing. The fragrance conjures visions of souks, men smoking hookahs, mysterious exotic places. It’s quite evocative – like sitting in the shadows of a bazaar in the late afternoon or early evening, sipping tea, and eating dates…watching as they say, the world go by.

    So I am so disappointed for you! I do understand that there are revisions of the Lutens fragrances…my personal disappointment has been a new purchase of Chergui which on me is a light sugary scent with something screechy that gives me an instant headache. Reviews on Basenotes suggest Fumerie Turque too has been dramatically reformulated. (I wish I had experienced Chergui before it changed!) Shouldn’t fragrances come with a date stamp or some version numbering – some way to tell what one is getting?

    I am also really looking forward to trying the Lagerfeld cologne and Thank You! for helping me navigate the mine field of Classic and vintage and the confusing pricing and naming conventions in between. (It seems that the longer elongated lettering of LAGERFELD as opposed to the squared lettering on the boxes and bottles is a good way to differentiate.)

    Agree it’s time for the Fates to send a new all-time favorite your way…heh heh, because as soon as you review it, I’ll be on it’s trail as well!

    • A date stamp would be a brilliant idea as would numbering of some sort. I don’t think the perfume companies want us to know when they’ve changed things though.

      • I agree with all of that, Poodle. 2twoaHorse’s suggestion would be brilliant and so, so helpful, but that’s probably why it will never happen. As you noted, the perfume houses wouldn’t want us to know that there are different batches and formulas. Plus, numbering may trigger that sort of batch madness that Creed seems to have, with people hunting down or talking about some bottles of Aventus and not others. It’s one reason why I’ve avoided reviewing Creed. How on earth am I to know which Aventus version I’m testing and writing about? Of course, Creed perfumes seem to vary MUCH much more than most, as opposed to having just 2 different Lutens versions of the same perfume due to a one-time reformulation.

    • I’m genuinely envious of how glorious FT seems to be on your skin. My word, it sounds absolutely and positively stunning! Exactly what I had thought it would be. It also sounds like you may have the vintage kind — and that makes me really tempted to go do a blind-buy and get one of those bottles that I found. Their rarity, plus the difference in price from the bell jars, also appeals to the bargain hunter in me. I really am tempted! But, then, I think about it logically, and it seems too great a risk. So, I’m very torn right now. *sigh*

      As for the Lagerfeld, you’re very, very welcome. And thank you for the astute observation on the sizing of the font/letters on the bottles. I hope you win your bottle and that you love it, my dear. I can’t wait for you to try it and to tell me what you think!

  5. How disappointing to have a scent you are sure you would like go south! So sorry, dearest Kafka. I don’t remember smelling this on skin, only on paper. Like you, honey notes usually are completely fine on me. And like you, I love Chergui (am saving Lagerfeld and Alahine for a bad day when I need a little pick-me-up). I wonder how Fumerie Turque would be.

      • LOL, someone’s on the hunt to make her Preciousssssssssss be beloved by everyone everywhere. 😉 I’d actually love to see what Baconbiscuit thinks of Iris Silver Mist.

        • Dear Kafka, I should have specified that we have to visit Atelier Cologne. There’s a new cologne “Silver Iris” that is a big fat lemming for us. On ISM, I may need to catch baconbiscuit in a weak moment to make it happen 🙂

          • Ah, right, you said Silver Iris. It shows you how much heed I pay to Iris perfumes as a whole, that the name differential just went over my head completely. Now, if it had been an oriental or amber, I would have noticed. 😀 LOL

    • This seems one of those best assessed on the actual skin, rather than paper, given that honey note. Plus, the tobacco which quite a few Fragrantica people have found smells just like an ashtray, instead of the gorgeous tobacco in Chergui. 🙁 Next time you’re out with Hajusuuri in Barney’s, I hope you can get a sample and see how FT works for you.

  6. With the weather being reasonably good today, I took a walk to Barney’s and tormented the Lutens SA and smelled just about every bell jar. Coincidentally, I snagged a generous sample of Fumerie Turque! The universe may be back in order again with our frequently opposite likes and dislikes. The true test is skin time and I may not get any this weekend with family in town again.

    • Yeah, it seems it’s all about how it works on the actual skin! Did you smell Mandarine Mandarin while you were in Barney’s? Fille en Aiguilles or Rousse? I know you wouldn’t waste valuable skin time, but I’m curious as to what you thought about them on the paper or in the vials. Let me know what you think of Fumerie Turque whenever you get around to a skin test, my dear.

  7. this is one of the absolute stinkers (on me) from the lutens stable. ultimately, it is that honey that make it cloying then in short order, quite rancid. have you tried miel de bois? that has virtually no mitigating qualities and goes straight to honied-urine yuck. i tried this a few times (lutens often rewards perseverance) but no dice
    btw, i am immensely enjoying this lutens cycle on which you’ve – how ambitious! – and am only waiting now for your verdict on the ‘classiest of all’ (imo)….sarrasins 🙂

    • I haven’t tried Miel de Bois, though I want to. Normally, honey works like a charm for me, and it’s one of my favorite notes. Honey perfumes that make even honey-lovers sometimes run in the opposite direction (ie, Onda by Vero Profumo) work so well for me. Until now…. *sigh* I get the feeling that even perserverence won’t fix things for me with Fumerie Turque, but I keep wondering if the vintage, pre-reformulation version would do better. I guess I’m just not willing to spend the money to find out.

      As for my Lutens marathon, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it so much! Yay! I feared I was boring everyone silly at this point, so I’ve actually decided to cut it a little short. Partially out of potential reader boredom, mostly because it’s exhausted me thoroughly and completely. I may have bitten off more than I could chew…. LOL. So, I shall actually save the few that I have left for future reviews, scattering them in between other things. I had wanted to get to Sarrasins at least, this time around, but I simply don’t have the energy. 11 Lutens in a row, without a break, is bad enough but pushing it to 14 requires a sort of craziness that even I don’t have. *grin*

  8. Oh dear this one doesn’t sound like a good one at all. So sad that on paper it seemed so promising, on skin… Ugh. I suppose with as many perfumes as Lutens has there’s bound to be a few duds for everyone in the line. I hope whatever is next in line is better for you. I’m loving this SL theme too by the way.

    • Have you tried this on skin, Poodle? I’d be curious to know what you thought, if you have. As for my Lutens marathon, I’m afraid my draining experience with Fumerie Turque has cut it short by about three perfumes. 11 Lutens in a row was a little challenging, mentally more than even physically, so I’m going to save the remainder to intersperse over time. Uncle Serge was starting to feel like a Panzer Unit, stomping all over me. LOL.

  9. Sorry to hear this didn’t work for you. I wish I had been able to read this before I left Dubai because I would have brought you a sample of the older “discontinued” version which I love! Maybe the issue really is in the reformulation. And don’t worry, you’ll get to try Miel des Bois soon (or whenever you feel up to trying more SL scents, that is!) since I brought you that one. Thanks again for doing all of these reviews in a row, I have thoroughly enjoyed them all!

    • You know, I would bet it is a reformulation issue. Many of the greatest raves for FT seem to be dated quite a few years ago, though there are more than enough for it in its present incarnation. I bet FT in its old version would have worked much, much better on my skin. As for Miel de Bois, thank you!! I’m very excited, though there are a few trepidations as well. LOL. 😉

  10. I didn’t dislike Fumerie Turque quite as much as you did, but it still wasn’t anything to write home about. On me it was a generic dry tobacco note battling with a weird melted/burning plastic scent. And I absolutely love the smell of honeyed pipe tobacco (which is what I was hoping for), but It Was Not To Be This Time.

    OTOH, that Karl Lagerfeld Cologne sounds verrrrrry nice… oh look, a lemming just popped into existence! 😉

    Your reviews are so meticulous and intricate (and well-written) that I can see why a writing marathon like this would induce Lutens fatigue. Granted, that’s why I enjoy reading your work so much (the meticulousness and complexity, that is), but I don’t want you to get full-blown blogging fatigue either! It’s definitely time for some (olfactory) palate-cleansers; sprinkle in the SL reviews judiciously, like wasabi or Limburger. 🙂

    • That weird burning, melted, plastic smell is undoubtedly and probably what I describe as “sulphurous.” It’s definitely a burning smell with an incredible sharpness. On me, however, it had a definite rancid undertone as well. Extremely unpleasant. At least you didn’t get the ashtray note and just got generic dry tobacco!

      As for the Lagerfeld, you can find it easily and quite cheapily on eBay by searching for “Karl Lagerfeld vintage cologne.” In your case, however, I would probably stay away given your issues with powder turning horribly sour on your skin. I really don’t think it would be a good fit, my dear, since there is definite powder that arises later on.

      And thank you for your huge kindness about my blogs and reviews. It really means so much to me, Stina. More than you can know. I’m so glad you found me, in part because your sense of humour is really something else. Serge Lutens as Limburger Cheese….. *grin* Absolutely hilarious!

  11. Oh I am SO bummed you had such a bad experience with Fumerie Turque. I of course, had to go spray some on immediately. I do not get any of the icky crap you smelled. On me, it is soft as a feather, sweet tobacco leaves with wispy honeyed amber. Never does it go into the horrid realms you describe. I bought mine maybe 3 or 4 years ago. I am going to send you some of mine. Maybe it is a re formulation issue.

    • Now I’m starting to wonder when the reformulation occurred. You bought your bottle in 2009 and 2010? Another poster’s bottle is about 4 years old, too, and he gets a glorious scent as well. Yet another commentator who got a sample recently from Surrender to Chance also smelled a burning note and rather uninterestingly dry tobacco. It *MUST* be a reformulation issue. 🙁 How very, very sad. The thing is, what on earth in FT could possibly warrant reformulation to comply with IFRA? There is no oakmoss or orange blossom, no coumarin or lavender. It’s bewildering, and somewhat sad. Thank you for the generous offer to send me a sample from your own bottle, sweetie, but I wouldn’t want to impose like that. You’re been far too generous as it is, and I would feel terrible for you to give up that precious, vintage juice. xoxoxo

  12. I also had high hopes for this one, but it left me pretty ambivalent. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not my favorite SL. It’s maybe just too much smoke for me? Or something? I don’t know – I’ve worn it a few times but can’t really get a handle on it and don’t feel much joy in wearing it. This one feels like a chore to me. LOL.

    • The comments here make me think that the reformulation did a real number on Fumerie Turque. It simply seems to be a much lesser scent than it once was. All those who love it are wearing the vintage version, and their experiences seem very different not only to mine but to those who’ve commented recently on places like Fragrantica about ashtrays, etc. etc. If it were cheaper, I’d buy a vintage bottle just to find out, but it’s still over $110 at the very least, so I’m not hugely inspired. But FT must have been gorgeous at one point given how people used to describe it!

  13. Sorry, Kafka, for being late (as usual) to comment on your posts. I just had to leave a comment here and say, oh rats! Just when I think I have a good perfume “profile” on you and can predict your tastes, then you prove me wrong! I thought you’d love this one, knowing of your love of Chergui.

    I bought a bottle of FT back in 2011, and it’s all gone now, but while I had it, I loved the hell out of it. If it was possible to make the campfire confection known as S’mores with tobacco instead of chocolate, that’s how FT wears on my skin. Like yummy tobacco, campfire smoke and marshmallows. I divided my bottle up among friends, including my brother-in-law. He was wearing it one day when he was waiting to pick up a prescription at a pharmacy in Florida. He said that some young girl got in line behind him and was very impatient, loudly complaining to everyone about the wait. Then after a few minutes, she settled down and asked him, “Do you smell something really good?” A little while later, she said to him, “It’s you!! You smell really good!” And after a few moments more, she told him that she didn’t mind standing in line anymore – that she could stand there all day. 🙂 True story

    • I think you have a perfect grasp of my perfume profile, my dear! It’s only that — in this very unusual case — the perfume unexpectedly went pear-shaped on my skin. I think it’s a purely a question of skin chemistry and, perhaps, reformulation. One of my other readers who has extremely similar taste to my own and who adores Chergui too had a similarly bad time with FT, so I think it must be quite an individual thing. But how interesting that you bought your bottle in 2011 (I wonder if it was a lingering old version that had stayed on the shelves?), and it smelled so perfect on you. I had started to think that it may be solely a reformulation problem, but perhaps not. And how funny about the girl in the pharmacy with your brother-in-law!

  14. I am very much a lurker and far too late, but just wanted to say that for me your review is a description of precisely what Chergui smells like on my skin. Sour, astringent, rancid, headache inducing, and yet I love the smell of it on other people. In comparison FT (the new version) after the initial leathery opening – leather of any sort being something that I associate with the scent of toilet soap – it becomes a warm, slightly dry scent that reminds me very much of a particular agarwood incense that I love but can no longer get because of import restrictions. I am not quite sure why given the listed ingredients, but I am going to embrace the fact that a bell jar is still cheaper than me buying a ticket to Japan, buying the incense and then paying a massive fine/jail time for smuggling restricted goods.

    • I’m very glad you’ve found one that is true love and that is cheaper than jail time for smuggling restricted goods. lol 😉 🙂 I hope you find Fumerie Turque in the cheaper, non-bell jar version to make it even better. 🙂

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