Bapteme du Feu, the latest release from Serge Lutens, is not a scent that lends itself to easy characterisation. What I can say is that it’s different, puts a sometimes bizarre twist on traditional fragrance categories or genres, and that the old Lutens eccentricity and creative twists are back. Wearing it left me flummoxed at times, highly ambivalent at other times, but at least it feels like a Lutens, for better or for worse.
A song of fire and ice, to use George R.R. Martin’s words, is one way to describe Sarrasins, Serge Lutens‘ legendary animalic jasmine bell jar fragrance, but it is only the start. White flowers are stained purple, then given a fiery (carnation) bite that is also icy at the same time. Sweetness and a touch of girlie femininity come with a snarled lip and haughty contempt, cloaked in tough black (castoreum) leather. Delicate powder is juxtaposed with feral civet. Thick purple grapes and pink bubblegum that evoke an almost Andy Warhol-style of Pop Art run through flowers that bear a gothic feel at times. All of it, somehow, unexpectedly, works well together, and all of it repeatedly makes me think of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones and the progression of her character.
“Snow” is a word that comes up quite a bit in Serge Lutens‘ descriptions for La Religieuse, his latest release that debuted in Paris at the start of February and one that is officially characterized as a jasmine fragrance. I think the word “snow” is absolutely accurate in describing the opening of the scent with its icy and “crystalline” aesthetic, but La Religieuse was hardly the jasmine soliflore that I expected. It was nothing like A La Nuit, Sarrasins, or any other jasmine soliflore that I’ve tried for that matter. Frankly, if I smelt it blindly, the word “jasmine” would be at the very end of my list of descriptors. Instead, the name “De Profundis” would come up within minutes, which might make some of you very happy indeed.
L’Orpheline is a brand new release from the venerated house of Serge Lutens, a scent that seeks to symbolically explore the line between the cool, silvered, smoky blackness of the moon, and the richer, spicier ambered warmth of the earth. To that end, “High Mass” Avignon church incense and aldehydes transform into creamy Cashmere woods with almost a Mysore sandalwood-like veneer from spices, black incense, and amber. It is a fragrance that I have very mixed feelings about, but one which I think will be incredibly appealing to a certain segment of the perfume-wearing world.