Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer

Joan of Arc. Source: cosmovisions.com

Joan of Arc. Source: cosmovisions.com

It’s hard to live up to a powerful name. Even harder when that name is something that seems to reference both Joan of Arc, and perhaps the most notorious of all medieval torture devices, the Iron Maiden. So, I put all titular and symbolic considerations aside when I tested the latest fragrance from Serge Lutens, La Vierge de Fer, and looked at it in a vacuum. With deep regret and sadness, I have to say that I think it is the worst perfume that I’ve ever tried from Serge Lutens, and more suited to a cheap department store. 

La Vierge de Fer is a floral eau de parfum whose name translates to “The Iron Maiden” (or virgin). It was created by Christopher Sheldrake, and released in September of this year as one of the famous, pricey, bell jar “Paris Exclusives.” The perfume is not sold world-wide, but is limited to Serge Lutens’ Paris headquarters, the Lutens websites, or to the Lutens section of Barney’s New York. 

The inspiration for the fragrance seems to vary depending on which source you read. Some say that La Vierge de Fer was inspired by Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, others talk about Joan of Arc, or the medieval torture device called the Iron Maiden. A few mention Serge Lutens’ mother and how the fragrance is partially an homage to her. (You can read about Serge Lutens’ childhood, and how his mother was forced to abandon him as a baby in the first part of my profile on Monsieur Lutens.)

An Iron Maiden. Source: museumofman.org

An Iron Maiden. Source: museumofman.org

In an interview with Ozmoz, Monsieur Lutens seemed to give a nod to a few of these things:

The name you picked, La vierge de fer (The Iron Maiden), is pretty intense. There’s a reference to torture. Is there perhaps a connection to Joan of Arc, too?

SL: All maidens have a connection between them. Joan of Arc kicking the English out of France is one of the loves of my life. Whether she’s wearing armor or crowning the King of France, she’s a reference, absolutely, but not here. The Iron Maiden is more of an attitude. My own attitude towards what creates beauty. You can’t conceive of anything without a certain fragility, a scar at the bottom of it all. Opening that scar to make it universal is the basic principle of Art. An iron maiden used to be an instrument of torture. And if the term ‘to create’ means anything, it means that whoever does it is tortured and sacrificed on the alter of something.

La Vierge de Fer bell jar.

La Vierge de Fer bell jar.

On his website, Serge Lutens doesn’t add any clarification, writing and describing the perfume rather cryptically:

The religion of iron needed a Virgin, and the Virgin, a lily.

“Have you smelt it?”
“Yes, I have.”
“And how is it?”
“As striking as the fleur-de-lis seal on the arm of a criminal.”
“Never?!”
“And deep down, as itchy as a hair shirt on the skin. In fact, a sublime torture!”.

As always, Serge Lutens keeps the perfume’s notes secret. Surrender to Chance says they are:

Lily, jasmine, amber, vanilla and sandalwood.

The notes I detect are slightly different:

Lily, aldehydes, muguet (or lily of the valley), jasmine, generic amber, white musk, vanilla.

Source: cosmovisions.com

Calla lilies. Source: cosmovisions.com

La Vierge de Fer opens on my skin with notes that are, indeed, as itchy as a hair shirt, though the torture is far from “sublime,” in my opinion. There is a heavy layer of soapy aldehydes that have a lemony undertone. They are followed by lilies that don’t smell like indolic Stargarzers so much as the fresher Calla lily shown in the photo. I also detect a subtle, green whiff of dainty, dewy lily-of-the-valley which I’ll just call by its French name, muguet, in order to avoid any confusion. The whole thing smells as fresh as Dior’s legendary Diorissimo, which would be fine and dandy were it not for the white synthetics.

Bounce dryer sheets.

Bounce dryer sheets.

The green-white floral bouquet is infused with a sharp white musk that sends a piercing pain through my eye every time I smell La Vierge de Fer up close. It starts off resembling expensive hair spray, which is bad enough without its fast transition into the most potent of laundryesque dryer sheets. It is astoundingly bad, astoundingly cheap, and just plain astounding — period — from a house like Serge Lutens. One reason why I like his perfumes is because they generally (with some exceptions) eschew very heavy amounts of synthetics, and, even then, it’s rarely the cheapest form around: common white musk. I don’t go to Serge Lutens for a fragrance that smells like any white florals found in Sephora or Macy’s. I don’t pay his prices for what a celebrity might put out for $30, and I most certainly do not expect such a scent in one of the uber-expensive bell jars whose price has just gone up in the U.S. to $310. The depths of my disappointment and disbelief knows no bounds.    

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

Source: wallpaper.metalship.org

As I struggle to stop wincing at the shooting pains in my head from the Bounce fabric softener sheets, I notice the odd contrasts emerging in La Vierge de Fer. The fragrance runs hot and cold, metallic and gourmand, in a mix that is both discordant and perplexing. The top notes are soapy aldehydes, piercing white musk, and fresh, green-white lilies, but there is a metallic clang surrounding them that goes beyond mere coldness. It’s as though there were a vein of chilled silver running through the notes, no doubt due to the bloody white musk and the aldehydes. The latter quickly lose their lemony overtones, and turn into pure soap with a tinge of waxiness. 

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

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

Appearing underneath the cool, white bouquet are sudden flashes of something warm, dusty, and sweet. At times, it feels like richly custardy, sweet vanilla. Other times, it’s like dusty, dark, vanilla extrait in unrefined, unprocessed powder. The rich sweetness in the base acts like a wave hitting the green-white floral shores before pulling back, then returning once more. It’s almost like a sort of relay race between the sweet gourmand notes and the alternating cool, metallic, clangy element, the soapy aldehydes, and that piercingly sharp, laundryesque, white musk. It’s rather brilliant on an intellectual, theoretical level, but somewhat disorienting and perplexing on a purely olfactory one.

I’m not happy. I have not been happy on any of the occasions when I’ve tested La Vierge de Fer. Lily is perhaps my favorite floral note, and white floral bombs are the one kind of floral scent that I gravitate towards, but I can’t decide which part of La Vierge de Fer I find more off-putting. So, it’s probably a small mercy then that the perfume has such incredibly weak projection. Within minutes, it feels as though it were evaporating off my skin. Well, everything except that revolting white musk. In less than 10 minutes, in fact, La Vierge de Fer is a complete skin scent on me, which is pretty astonishing. I have problems with longevity, not sillage, but 10 minutes? For an eau de parfum?!

Lily of the Valley, or Muguet.

Lily of the Valley, or Muguet.

La Vierge de Fer also suffers from the cardinal sin of being utterly boring. I have nothing against soliflores — perfumes celebrating and revolving around one main note — if they are interesting or well-done. For me, however, La Vierge de Fer is tedious and banal. Exactly 20 minutes into its development, the perfume loses that odd metallic clang and coldness, and the relay race with the vanilla ends. I wasn’t keen on it, but at least it was interesting, and I could see how the metal might be a symbolic representation of either Joan of Arc’s armour, or the steel spokes of the Iron Maiden as it pierced flesh warm from vanilla and white from lilies. Once that extremely clever bit of elegiac sophistication vanishes, you are left with nothing more than lilies infused with soapy aldehydes and horrific commercial musk. Even the more green muguet note vanishes, if it was even there at all. It’s hard to tell under all the synthetics, especially given how wispy the fragrance is on my skin.

Source: hdwallpapers.fr

Source: hdwallpapers.fr

It takes about 75-minutes for La Vierge de Fer to change, though it’s minor at best. At first, there is a subtle, nebulous change in the perfume’s temperature and feel, as though there were a growing warmth in the base. It’s not vanilla, and it’s most definitely nothing that is actually ambered, but La Vierge de Fer seems less crisp and fresh. The jasmine starts to come out, slowly vying with the lily for dominance, and turning the fragrance sweeter. Eventually, by the end of the 2nd hour, La Vierge de Fer begins to shed some of its laundryesque sharpness like an unpleasant snake’s skin, though the jasmine can’t erase all of it. The perfume is now jasmine and lily on an abstract, sweet, warm base that is infused with Bounce dryer sheets. By the end of the 3rd hour, La Vierge de Fer is nothing more than a blur of whiteness (and synthetics) that feels as though it’s about to die entirely.

To my surprise, La Vierge de Fer hangs on tenaciously, chugging away in the most translucent smear on my skin. It still gives me an immediate pain in my head every time I smell it up close, but the perfume is definitely there if you put your nose right on your arm and inhale forcefully. What is surprising is an odd, unexpected fruitiness that suddenly pops up alongside the clean, white musk in the base. To the extent that I can make out anything from La Vierge de Fer’s thinness, it almost smells like dark grapes. It has to be the indoles so prevalent in white flowers like jasmine; indoles can be broken down to something called methyl anthranilate, a natural compound which has a fruity aroma, often like that of Concord grapes (among other things). Whatever the reason for the sudden fruitiness, it is a fleeting thing that shows up on in the tiniest of ways and towards the end on my skin around the middle of the 5th hour.

Source: backdropsforyourlife.wordpress.com

Source: backdropsforyourlife.wordpress.com

The perfume dies shortly thereafter, giving its last gasp just a little over 7 hours from the time I first applied it. In its final moments, it was nothing more than cheap, synthetic white “cleanness.” The 7 hours comes from an average quantity of about 3 smears, or about 2 sprays. At a smaller dosage amounting to one good-sized spray, La Vierge de Fer lasted only 5.75 hours on my skin. Were it not for piercing musk, which my skin clings onto like glue, I suspect the whole thing would have died after three hours, no matter how much I applied.   

If I were to be diplomatic about the reactions to La Vierge de Fer that I’ve observed in groups or on various sites, I would say that they are mixed. Some eventually grow to appreciate the perfume as was the case for Bois de Jasmin, who wrote, in part:

La Vierge de Fer is neither punk nor bizarre. It’s not particularly dark either. I would put it as one of the more approachable and easy to like florals from Lutens’s impressive collection. It’s quite demure and delicate next to the bombshells like Tubéreuse Criminelle or Fleurs d’Oranger. The tender sweetness of jasmine is contrasted with the champagne of aldehydes in the top notes, and this beautiful contrast between softness and sparkle is carried on into the drydown. [...][¶]

Jasmine and lily fireworks notwithstanding, La Vierge de Fer was not love at first inhale for me. I found it too simple and not challenging enough. But as I continued to dip into my sample, I found it more and more compelling. It’s simultaneously comforting and sophisticated, which makes it versatile enough to wear for just about any occasion. You simply have to love being showered with white flowers.

Well, I do happen to “love being showered with white flowers,” but I personally wouldn’t wear La Vierge de Fer if it were given to me for free. And no amount of time or testing is going to change my feelings.

In my opinion, La Vierge de Fer could go right next to the sort of clean, fresh, white, Spring-like floral scents found in Dillard’s, TJ Maxx, or Sephora. There’s nothing wrong with that if that is your taste, but I doubt anyone would want to pay $310 for it. One spends that sort of money on a Serge Lutens bell jar to get a wholly unusual, creative, innovative scent with a twist — a scent that has a complex, morphing character that is different from everything else out there, and that doesn’t come with a massive wallop of cheap synthetics. I realise that Serge Lutens has veered as of late towards lighter, thinner, simpler fragrances, and away from the complex (often Oriental) perfumes with which he began his line in the early 1990s, but I think La Vierge de Fer suffers from more than mere simplicity. I find it tedious and absolutely terrible. In almost every case with Serge Lutens — even when a particular fragrance doesn’t suit my personal tastes — I can admire the artistry, think it is well-done, and respect it. That is not the case here. I don’t think La Vierge de Fer even deserves to carry the Serge Lutens name. 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: La Vierge de Fer is an eau de parfum that is part of the Serge Lutens “Paris Exclusives” line, which means it is available only in the larger 2.5 oz/75 ml Bell Jar size. It retails for $310 or €140 for a 75 ml/2.5 oz bottle. You can buy it directly from the U.S. Serge Lutens website or from the International one
In the U.S.: La Vierge de Fer should be available exclusively at Barney’s New York store, but for some reason, the fragrance is not on the website at the time of this review. Normally, you can call the store to purchase their Lutens bell jars. The number is (212) 833-2425.
Samples: You can order samples of La Vierge de Fer from Surrender to Chance starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. The fragrance is also available as part of a Five Piece Non-Export Sampler Set, where you can choose 5 Lutens Paris Exclusives for a starting price of $18.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. 

55 thoughts on “Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer

  1. Knowing how much you respect Serge Lutens, I really appreciate the honest review! I almost bought a decant just to smell this, but reading descriptions of it I had a feeling it wouldn’t be worth my money. It appears as though my instinct was correct in this case. Sounds abysmal.

    • Also, I found it a bit odd – I know people were excited about La Vierge de Fer’s release, but once it did I felt like the silence was sort of deafening. I didn’t read a lot of rave reviews about it, though I’m sure they are out there. I guess not everything can be a winner!

      • I’ve noticed some very tactful, extremely diplomatically couched language on a few sites, like NST. Even CaFleureBon seemed to struggle to have its usual effusiveness, and had a few parts here or there in the review where the person’s lack of excitement was abundantly clear.

        For the most part, I think a lot of people who are Serge Lutens fans have been put off by the shift since 2009 or so into the lighter stuff, like his Eau Froide or Gris Clair, or whatnot. Fille en Berlin was met with mixed reviews, and disappointment too, by and large, though it seems to have grown on some. But, as a whole, I think the new trend of light, metallic, simple fragrances has disappointed a lot of his fans. And the new one in February is supposed to be more metallic in nature, more prickly. It’s called Laine de Verre, which basically means fiber glass or scratchy glass wool. I shudder at the synthetics that will be involved to create that textural dissonance in perfumery, and at the continuation of the metallics theme started in Fille en Berlin, then continued here.

        I’m generally all for people trying new things, but I wish he’d get back to his true love and his roots. I really can’t take another one like this one.

        • Hear, hear! (Here, here?) I’m with you completely on the sheer metallic stuff. Metallic isn’t a note I ever really seek out, so I can’t get too enthused with that at the forefront. In the meantime, I will continue to lust after his other creations, and that can keep me occupied until he comes out with something that has me drooling again. How I wish Une Voix Noire and De Profundis would become part of the main line so I wouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg (not to mention the logistics/risk of shipping a Bell Jar). I know I’m dreaming, but let me have my moment! :D

    • I was astounded. Honestly. I ignored how gloriously wonderful the name is, what it may imply stylistically, and tried to approach it with no expectations other than the fact that it was a Lutens. Even with all that, I could not believe what I was smelling.

      No matter how great my respect for Monsieur Lutens personally, I couldn’t pretend that I enjoyed this even a tiny bit. It would be perfectly fine for a $30-$60 commercial fragrance, but for a Lutens? And a bell jar Lutens at that?! I can’t wrap my head around it. Last year’s Bell Jar exclusive was the fascinating, brilliant, emotionally evocative Une Voix Noire. This year, it’s this?! They could have at least put it in the regular line, next to Un Lys or something. But much better that we all pretend it’s not a Lutens at all. Even his lighter, simpler fragrances are nothing like this in terms of banality. A La Nuit is a glorious soliflore. Un Lys isn’t to my tastes, but it’s well done. This is a shocking disappointment.

        • Haha, I was actually trying to AVOID building up the legend because there is such a crazy backstory involved. And the chunk quoted by Fragrantica is like reading an acid-trip, so I eschewed it entirely. I mean, seriously, read this and then think how much higher the hopes or the madness might have been:

          Let there be light! And darkness no more. He who wishes does not have a black soul! “I will come as a thief …” said Christ; certainly in silence and probably, for him, wearing shoes. To deserve his title, the Thief must act under the wide-open eye of the absent owners. In this case, it is not that tenuous eye with which Cain stares without regret, but another, which in some way will make an accomplice of Abel. If the fetishes, idols and charms of the Museum of Man, in Paris, had not met the 20th century, everyone would have missed that incredible mockery of Eros which The Young Ladies of Avignon certainly is. “The Negros had understood that everything which surrounds us is our enemy”, the wizard Picasso said to his paintbrush. Who, if not one of them, decided on life, by death, would dare, to unclench the teeth of this sex of the world: fear. Since it is the fruit of our entrails, it must be elevated. For that, not fearing incest, we will embrace it. In this way, she will give birth to our most beautiful monsters. That is how, a little rusty by dint of doubts, my steps have rejoined La vierge de fer (the Iron Maiden); that lily amongst the thorns.

          I tried to save everyone the massive drop down the cliff to reality, by skipping that entirely.

          Oh Neil, you have no idea how much disbelief I felt at what I was smelling. Fleeting, dying, and synthetic laundry. For $310, no less!

  2. I have a small decant of this. I find it very pleasant and wish it was stronger, my BF liked it too. I agree though that it belongs more in the export line than the bell jar exclusives. Being a fan of metallic notes and not opposed to white musks, this part didn’t bother me at all. 140 euros is a lot for what it is though.

    • Well, if love metallic notes and don’t mind white musk, I can see how this might be enjoyable. I’m glad it works for you. :) But I’m equally glad that even you agree that it’s not worth €140, or worthy of being one of the traditionally complex, bell jar exclusive line.

  3. I recently tried this. My comment was “cleaning product” which seemed totally improbable considering the Lutens name on the decant. Guess I wasn’t totally off the mark.

  4. Hey, Kafka,
    Are you sure my husband hasn’t gotten ahold of you asking that you write several of your latest reviews? ;) Between the YSL (Ig) Noble Leather, and now, of all things, a Serge stinker?? I guess my wallet will be happy, but as for my heart and soul, sigh…

    • So hilarious about your husband! (What sorts of fragrances does he like, btw? Any leathers? heh.) Were you really interested in Noble Leather? In that case, I’m glad I could spare you. LOL. As for Vierge de Fer, it hurt my heart to dislike it as I did, so I understand your feelings and regret completely.

  5. To be honest,I wasn’t even curious about this one. You know that Serge Lutens parfums and I are not best of friends. Whereas I like many from the line,we all know that nowadays,with so many wonderful choices around,a simple like just doesn’t cut the mustard.I want to slowly start buying some decants in the Lutenses that pique my interest( so far I have De Profundis,but Chypre Mousse is much,much better).But his Iron Maiden didn’t even make me want to seek a sample,never mind a decant. I have a perfectly serviceable lily in DKNY Gold,thank you,and for 25 euro for 50 ml of EdP that lasts a day and a night on my skin.Aha,by the way got my Teo Cabanel sample set ant that Alahine is a beaut!She’ all be joining me shortly. Thank you,Kafka!

    • Hurrah about the fabulous Alahine! Another convert down, only a few more thousand to go…. ;) Joking aside, and back to Serge Lutens, you’re right that a simple “Like” isn’t enough these days in such a crowded market. Thinking something is merely pleasant is definitely not enough for €140! BTW, have you tried SL’s Fille en Aiguilles? You may want to see if you can find a sample of that one. It’s gorgeous.

      • I have tried Filles en Aiguilles a couple of times,and is indeed one of the Lutenses I like more than others ,but my problem with the line is,while many start beautifully,they become too much of a skin scent in too short of a time.2 hours later and I can barely smell them.Very odd,as most people get good longevity out of a Lutens.So thats’it, I like the line,admire the concept,design and the art director,but I have yet to buy a bell jar. We’ll see.

        • It’s funny, someone else was telling me something else similar the other day about a few Serge Lutens, including some that are generally reputed to have super long duration! Well, if I were in your shoes, and only got 2 hours of projection or life, I wouldn’t want to buy a bell jar either! Do you think there is a chance that you may be anosmic to some of the things he uses in his base? Then again, I haven’t really heard of anyone being anosmic to amber, generally, and it’s usually things like musk, but maybe it happens? Hm, I’m going to do some digging when I have time and see if there are any reports of anosmia to amber in specific, just for my own general knowledge. Your case seems to be a much more likely case of some really unfortunate skin chemistry. Man, I thought *I* had it bad! :(

          • Yes I was thinking about anosmia too,but I can smell them it’ s only that ,sillage,projection and all round intensity drops so much in a relatively short time that it’s heartbreaking.Or maybe my nose just gets used too quickly to them.Or maybe just weird case of skin chemistry.Or maybe I’m thinking that in recent years many have been reformulated and generally thinned out

          • Sadly, a few Lutens seem to have been thinned out and/or reformulated. Fumerie Turque, for one. Daim Blond seems to have been as well. That said, I tested current versions and my crazy skin held onto things like Serge Noire or Fille en Aiguilles for ages. But my friend? He had a lot of the same situation that you did in terms of sillage. (Plus, he thought it became “boozy” surprisingly quickly, like after an hour or so.) Generally, Lutens have duration, but the sillage can depend on which perfume it is and the amount used.

            I suspect that, in your case, it may be a combination of various different factors. Plus, you know, some people have skin that eats sillage, not longevity. One of my closest friends has that problem and things will last for ages on him, but the sillage and intensity vanishes with almost everything! (It’s one reason why he loves Chypre Mousse and vintage Opium so much. They actually *project* on him. And in a big way.) Another friend has only 2-3 of the most powerful Tom Fords which project on his skin. So, there does seem to be such a thing as sillage-eating skin, though it’s certainly not as common as the other problem!

  6. This had a fruity note that I found offputting. Metallic doesn’t seem to bother me –I enjoy Bas de Soie! My samples from Oriza arrived today, and I’ve recently applied Deja le Printemps, and am struck by the quality ingredients…it really evokes le printemps. Can’t wait to try Chypre Mousse. Thanks for the tip!

    • I can definitely see where you’d smell something fruity! What was it on you? Peach, grape, something else? Or was the perfume too weak and limp for you to be able to distinguish it? ;) lol

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Oriza fragrance. Hopefully, you’ll find a few others in the line that you like as well. :)

  7. I sincerely appreciate how honest and judicious your reviews are. I, too, am unhappy with La Vierge de Fer and for rather similar reasons. It saddens me because, like Lutens himself, I adore the figure of Joan of Arc but I’ll stick to Leonard Cohen’s song when I wish to honor her.

  8. Fabric softener sheets? Yechhh. Looks like Eau Froide has a challenger for the title of Worst Lutens Ever.

    Sadly, a small decant of LVdF is on its way to me, courtesy of StC’s sale last week. Perhaps I’ll create a collection of Perfumes to Torture With; I’ve already got a vial of Eau Froide.

    I had a vial of one of the stinkier Burberries (I forget which one) at one point, but it was so nasty I had to throw it away. I almost left a note apologizing to the garbage man; one tiny vial was so pungent that it stank up the whole garage just sitting in the trash can.

    Think I need a refreshing sniff of Fille en Aiguilles now; I splurged a few weeks ago (just in time for the holidays, yay).

    Thanks for another no-holds-barred tell-it-like-it-is review!

    • Heh at the Eau Froide. That one is not…. liked. ;) I haven’t tried it, and I’m not very keen to, either. I tried one Burberry that was so sharp, so killer synthetic, I remember physically recoiling in the store. I’ve blocked the name out of my memory banks.

      On the subject of good Lutens’ fragrances, have you tried Fourreau Noir? That one completely and unexpected brought me to my knees, and ended up being my first bell jar. Despite having notes I struggle with! So, if you missed that review, look it up and then perhaps you can find another Lutens to try. A much better Lutens than this one….

  9. I got a sample of La Vierge de Fer from Barneys sometime in October. I only wore it once and commented on NST as follows:

    “On me, it was an initial blast of juicy peach, sweet with a hint of sourness and then it was just a slightly fizzy blend of flowers which I term “anyflower” because I know it is more than one flower but cannot really distinguish what kind of flowers. With 3 spritzes, it had moderate sillage but longevity was poor (< 4 hours). Overall, while I think it is well-done, it is not for me – money saved!"

    I did not quite get the offensive clean, Bounce, and it seems I don't mind musk (well, except animalic musk) but I did find it too weak. Who knows, there may be some who like this type of perfume.

    I will need to try this again. I guess the fizzy blend is the aldehydes but I have to see if I got the juicy peach again at the beginning as you didn't and your sense of smell is definitely more evolved than mine.

    • It lasted less than FOUR hours with 3 spritzes on your glue-like skin???!?! That’s…. that’s unbelievable. Your skin normally makes things last forever.

      I’m glad you were spared the Bounce dryer sheets, but the sourness doesn’t sound pleasant and the longevity issue is terrible.

  10. One of the managers at the office was wearing something that totally smelled like dryer sheets yesterday. It wasn’t this, I’m sure, but every time she walked by I wondered why anyone fancies smelling like a laundry room. I don’t get it. I like Bounce. I like fresh smelling clothes. I do not want to smell like I just stepped out of the dryer though. I love the name of this but the scent seems very un-Serge.

    • He’s had a few really light and/or metallic things, but I can’t recall anything quite like this. As for smelling like dryer sheets, I understand if a person’s preference is for “fresh and clean,” even if it’s not mine. But I doubt one would want to spend $310 or €140 when there are so many cheaper, similar options out there in commercial perfumery. It’s disappointing.

  11. Uh-oh, Kafka.. Forreau Noir??!! I’ve never even HEARD of that one!! What class- no, never mind, I’ll look it up. Damn, thought I was safe for a moment!! :)

  12. First of all, Congratulations on your blog’s first year anniversary Kafka :D , the number of perfumes that you have reviewed in such a small period is truly amazing, and I wish you many more great years to come. Now on to the perfume, as always your honesty shines considering that this is a fragrance from a perfume house that you really love and admire. I don’t mind light or metallic as long as it’s done in a unique and tasteful way, but I’m afraid I’m not a friend of synthetics. Yesterday, when I stumbled upon Sephora, I decided to try the makeup and later the perfume section. I sampled about 20 different perfumes, got a headache and after some point had difficulty to breathe so I had to leave the area. I did like two of the ones I sampled, but now I don’t remember which ones they are! Anyway, I so regret to not have had enough courage to go to Serge Lutens when I was in Paris, hopefully I will be able to go next time. From the descriptions I might have liked this, since I do like floral scents and white musk, but I’m not a big fan of soapiness.

    • Getting a headache from perfumes at Sephora doesn’t surprise me one bit. ;) If you don’t like soapiness, then the icy aldehydes in La Vierge de Fer will probably be difficult for you. And let’s not start on that lethal white musk.

      Thank you for the congratulations on the blog’s first anniversary. :)

  13. I have a 10 ml decant and I use it to go to bed. It’s confortable to go sleep with this cleaness smell! But I would never pay so much for this! I ‘m also disapointed with this :(

    • It’s definitely a clean smell! But the thing is, there are so many similar scents on the market, for so much less. The Lutens Bell Jar series are meant to be really innovative, complex, original scents with depth, layers, and a non-linear scent. To pay the Bell Jar price for a simple, mostly linear scent that has a generic profile, cheap synthetics, is hard to detect, and (just as bad) doesn’t last… it’s a disappointment. For me, personally, by the Lutens standard and as compared to many of his others, it’s an astoundingly bad perfume.

      • Perhaps The worst Lutens? I don’t know…
        I know you don’t like Chypre Rouge (it smells very good on me!), but at least it’s a Lutens! By the way, there’s no rewiew about this one, I would like to read it, even if you are going to say it’s not at all your cup of cofee! ;)

        • Chypre Rouge may not be my cup of tea, but at least it feels like a Lutens! It has structure, depth, nuance, and something funky about it. I don’t have a sample to do a full, in-depth test, but I tried it in Paris. I’ll get a sample one of these days when I finish my pile of existing Lutens samples that I have to go through and write about. :)

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    • I’d actually be interested to know what you thought of this one, though I know you don’t like lilies very much. I doubt you’d find it worthy of bell jar prices, but I’m curious as to what you thought of the rest of it, including the aldehydes and synthetic white musk. So, if you ever get the chance to try it, do let me know.

  15. I must be the freaky outlier that this perfume was made for because on me, Vierge de Fer smelled like white, white lilies in a stainless steel vase in a freezer! I actually really liked it. Not enough to pay bell jar prices, but if if I saw it for less, it would seriously fill a gap in my lily-less collection. I did like it more than Un Lys, which sadly smelled like grape Fanta on me :-( and if a bottle of VdF fell into my lap, I would gladly wear it.

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