Serge Lutens Cannibale

Art by Mark Molnar via creativebloq.com (Direct website link embedded within.)

Art by Mark Molnar via creativebloq.com (Direct website link embedded within.)

Smoky leather corseted by frankincense, then enveloped in resinous amber, spicy patchouli, and fiery cloves lies at the heart of Cannibale, one of Serge Lutens‘ new parfums in his Section d’Or Collection. It’s a fragrance that took me all over the place. Images of wild tribal dances around smoky fires competed with flashbacks to France’s Madame Pompadour and the powdered aristocrats of the ancien regime wearing old-fashioned rice powder and acidic floral vinegars at Versailles. Those flashbacks were later replaced by flashforwards in time to modern niche hits like Mona di Orio‘s Cuir, Annick Goutal‘s Ambre Fetiche, and Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute (or its tweaked parallel version, Sahara Noir).

And, throughout it all, there were loud reverberations of several past Lutens‘ creations, first and foremost Serge Noire, then Ambre Sultan and L’Incendiaire. At times, parts of Cannibale drew me in appreciatively before another element repelled me, sometimes making me recoil quite literally. There were also glimmers of the old Luten’ innovative whimsy and originality, but they occurred early on, before being drowned out entirely by a bouquet that made me feel I was wearing fragrances from other brands. When you spend a small chunk of time mentally cataloguing all the possible amber, leather, and Serge Noire combinations that could create the same scent — one bearing a far higher price tag than those individual parts — then I think there is a problem.

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Serge Lutens Sidi Bel-Abbes (Section d’Or Collection)

Source: the Serge Lutens Facebook page.

Source: the Serge Lutens Facebook page.

Sidi Bel-Abbes is one of five new releases from Serge Lutens, and part of the second wave of the Section d’Or or Gold Collection that debuted last year with L’Incendiaire. The press release at the time described the series as “Serge Lutens at the culmination of his art.” I see it more as a return to Luten’s signature dark orientalism after a flood of drippy releases over the last five years, most of which I find to be icy, metallic, watery, and/or excessively clean. The Section d’Or collection differs in other ways, too: they are extrait de parfums instead of the usual eau de parfums, and their prices are not cheap (to put it mildly). Sidi Bel-Abbes and its compatriots were released at Serge Lutens’ flagship Palais Royale store in June, and I’m very grateful to a dear friend of mine who picked up a sample of it for me on a recent trip to Paris, along with one of L’Haleine des Dieux (Breath of the Gods) which I’ll cover next time.

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Tauerville Incense Flash

Photo by Ryane Brook on Flickr. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo by Ryane Brook on Flickr. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Close your eyes and imagine a ghost town in the Old West. It lies at the base of rocky mountains dotted with pine trees and as dusty as the Hindu Kush. The desert looms just beyond. From it, a dry wind blows large, desiccated tumbleweeds that roll past the old, abandoned wood buildings and the crumbling adobe huts. The sky is dark with smoke from a wild-fire that licks the mountain trees, making them shed pine needles and a sweet, aromatic sap. A sweet, musky, ambered warmth hovers in the air, vying against the dust and desert dryness. In the center of town, a man dressed in cracked black leather leans against the ruins of the old church whose wood still bears strong traces of the incense that once filled the air, traces which continue to weave their way around the town, the desert, the baked red earth beneath his feet, the smoke from the camp fire he just lit, and the leather on his back. This is the town and world of Andy Tauer’s Incense Flash.

""Bodie Ghost Town" by Ben Pacificar via discardstudies.com

“”Bodie Ghost Town” by Ben Pacificar via discardstudies.com

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La Via Del Profumo: Ambers, Incense, Woods & Florals

Six fragrances ranging from leather wrapped in incense and vetiver, to chocolate lava cake, amber roses, incense laced with green herbs and powdered roses, and green white florals splattered with chunks of juicy fruits — these are some of the bouquets represented by six creations from La Via del Profumo and AbdesSalaam Attar. Each fragrance caught my attention or stood out for some reason or another during the recent perfume seminar I attended in Italy. They are: Amber Rose, Amber Chocolate, Acqua di Angelica, Grezzo d’Eleganza, Tasneem/Tasnim, and Oasis. I’ll look at each one in turn, and provide comparative reviews whenever possible.

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