Sarrasins by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens 2007

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Post by Liam

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Sarrasins: A severe perfume.

There are a lot of noir scents on the market. Or better put, there are a lot of noir flankers on the market. Tom Ford’s Noir, Chanel’s Coco Noir, and Van Cleef and Arpels’ Cologne Noire to name a few fumes.

The word noir, whether it’s used to mod a title or used as a title on its own really fascinates me.

On one hand, noir and nuit go hand-in-hand and evoke feelings of a cool and steely midnight in winter. On another, noir seems to be a term impetuously placed on labels as it suggests a darkened fragrance that is largely more severe.

Unfortunately, this is not the usual case. Coco Noir is described as a ‘nocturnal baroque scent’ … with grapefruit?! No no no. That’s not noir. That’s a flirtatious teen girl late at night.

Sarrasins by Serge Lutens 2007

Sarrasins by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens

Sarrasins Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Blossoms
Heart: Carnation, jasmine
Base: Musk

Sarrasins is noir. True noir. Sarrasins wraps me in its beauty and then strangles me gently. A metallic note opens floating ephemerally at the top of the overdosing of rich moreish jasmine. I suspect a drop of aldehydes lifts the fragrance and adds some initial space in the beginning, as the narcotic flower begins to bloom on the skin. This effect, a floral dipped in a touch of something artificial, reminds me of Serge Luten’s masterful Tuberuse Criminelle where a scene plays out on the skin as a murder occurs in a room full of tuberose flowers. This almost bloody accord is further tweaked with something undeniably clean – a Luten’s style musk note; camphoraceous and cool.

From here, the jasmine reveals itself emerging like a spike from the skin. It poses danger but never cuts as it is placated with its innate white floral creaminess. Thus its sweet and indolic moments are to be expected and these are spiced with a carnation note that recalls many early vintage scents I have smelled before. Despite the linear nature of the scent, the jasmine note pulls itself down into darker regions. It sways between dead and alive like flowers limply wilting and wrinkling like old leather.

Serge Lutens Palais Royal

‘Warm’ is best used to describe this stage, underscored with a majestic leatheriness and animalics as the jasmine showcases its green facet – here we find resolution between two clashes that learn to exist together in harmony. The sweetness now comes off as fruity and herbal, yet it appears to forever colour itself nostalgically purple and melancholically grey with its impossibly dusty undertones.

So, a noir scent like Sarrasins recalls something tender, tragic and emotionally palpable. Longing but not obtainable. It’s everything you expect from the Serge Lutens’ aesthetic and the noir labelling, a style of fragrance possessed only by truly the most exhaled scents. Anyway, evil is not a bad descriptor at all…

Sarrasins Serge Lutens Moon UnSplash PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

In terms of longevity and sillage, Sarrasins trails me like a spectre. Close, intimate, and radiating energy and a cold stately mood. Moderate.

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Smelly Thoughts
Serge Lutens can be purchased at Serge Lutens online or in most larger department stores
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

So! What do you think a true noir perfume is?

-Liam (turning 18 soon – how should I spoil myself?)

13 comments on “Sarrasins by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens 2007

  1. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there Liam,
    I’m sure I smelled this one but have absolutely zero recollection. Maybe it was during a Serge marathon in store. It reads like a slice of heaven though. Totally me.
    Portia xx

  2. Jackie b says:

    I don’t know what noir should be as I have never tried anything yet with that label.
    What amazes me is that this review is so evocative and beautifully written…are you seriously turning 18?
    Birthday treat…anything your heart desires!

  3. ElizabethC says:

    Sounds like something Barbara Stanwyck would have worn in the film “Double Indemnity”. Perfect noir!

  4. Azar says:

    Great writing, Liam! Happy Birthday and spoil yourself rotten.
    I have an odd and discontinued dark fragrance that I consider true noir, Night Blooming Cereus by RoguePerfumer…a scary night in a haunted beauty salon!
    Azar xx

  5. poodle says:

    Most things called noir usually aren’t noir at all. I can’t figure out why perfume companies slap that name on practically anything.
    I think I’d love Sarrasins if I had the chance to try it.

  6. Fazal says:

    Finally a review of my most favorite lutens 🙂

  7. Holly says:

    Liam, your writing is absolutely stunning, and I love your review.

    To be honest, the word “noir” has lost all meaning for me. It has an almost campy ring to it now.

    I adore jasmine – my current favorite is Tawaf. I know I have an untested sample of A la Nuit, and I’ll add Sarrasins to the list.

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday. I’m sure you have plenty of ideas about how to spoil yourself!

    Holly xo

  8. Sun Mi says:

    Ah, this sounds quite lovely!! Honestly, I struggle quite a bit with Serge – I’ve tried several, and so far I’ve only found a couple that work for me. But you make this sound so ridiculously amazing that I really want to give it a go! Thanks for the great review – and happy birthday. 🙂

    • Liam says:

      I used to struggle with the house too – but, try, try, and persist. You’ll find one you love and then a loose thread can be drawn from there.
      Give it a go (if the opportunity arises)

      -Liam
      Liam recently posted…Chaperone by FleurageMy Profile

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