Vitriol d’œillet by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2011


Post by Ainslie Walker


Portia gifted me recently with a bottle of Serge Lutens’ Vitriol d’oeillet. I cherished the bottle and violet coloured juice, only giving it a good airing yesterday. It was perfect for a late afternoon BBQ in autumn. Powdery, airy and floral it felt beautiful and delicate to wear.

Vitriol d’œillet by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2011

Vitriol d’œillet Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Nutmeg, clove, pink pepper, pepper, paprika, carnation, wallflower, lily, ylang-ylang

Initially waxy and slightly creamy, carnation and some sweet nutmeg. I expected it to be a clove spice bomb, but its pretty and floral on me. It is like smelling a bouquet of carnations in a vase, without any fresh or green notes. It’s also reminiscent in parts of a good powdery pot pouri, however not grannyish or dated. The ‘clovieness’ that people complain about on me is rounded out and far from medicinal.

An hour in, after a little soapiness something deeper is revealed: ylang ylang! An essential oil I used to wear a lot as a teenager, but I seem to rarely see now in the perfumes I wear. I really enjoy it in this fragrance. Chilli and pink peppercorns bring a sparkly element in for me. The chilli is not as strong as the chilli infusion in Arquiste’s ‘Anima Dulcis’ but the sharp lash of its tongue is most certainly present.

From Serge Lutens: “What is it, Doctor Jekyll?” Listen, my child, and I will tell you everything. Take a carnation and a sufficient quantity of Cayenne pepper. Firmly drive it into the very center, using the “nails” of a clove. Before committing the final act of violence, let wallflower throw in a few punches.

Vitriol d’œillet Serge Lutens Carnation_flower WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

So what exactly is wallflower (botanical name: Erysimum)? It’s a little yellow / orange flower from the mustard side of the brassicaceae (cabbage) family. Known as the ‘fragrant kings of the cabbage family’ they don’t sound glamorous to me! Found commonly in public parks and gardens as they are easy to grow. Originally from rocky parts of Syria, Turkey and Greece. They flower through spring and summer bringing a scent that is sweet and heady, somewhere between carnation and sweet peas.

In perfumery wallflower is a fantasy note, a unicorn of sorts. Thus ‘wallflower’ is usually made from a combination of salicylates, geranium oil and acetate, para cresyl acetate, eugenol, carnaline rhodia and nerol. Interestingly many of these ingredients are used when making carnation and sweet pea too – it’s all in the ratios for these flowers with similar chemical makeup.

Vitriol d’œillet Serge Lutens Wallflower GeographPhoto Stolen Geograph

To train your nose to pick Wallflower, first smell some at your local nursery and then try the following:

1991- Dior’s Dune mixes wallflower in the floral heart with jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily, wallflower, lichen. Accentuated with bergamot, mandarin, palisander, aldehyde, peony and broom in the top notes. Base notes include vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, and musk.
2014 – Fendi’s Furiosa contains top notes of Calabrian bergamot, wallflower at the heart and amber in the base.
2000- L’Artisan’s Oeilet Sauvage is a honeyed carnation made of pink pepper, rose, carnation, ylang-ylang, lily, wallflower, morning glory, resin and vanilla.

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Black Narcissus
FragranceNet has $110/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

Do you have wallflower growing in your garden? Can you pick it in a fragrance?
Ainslie Walker XX

Une Voix Noire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

Hey there APJ,

This is what I wrote about Une Voix Noire in a mini review. With more wear my views have changed, not hugely but a bit.

Une Voix Noire by Serge Lutens: Gardenia done with a berry intro and a dark breathy dry down. A boozy gardenia that sits quietly on my skin, extremely beautiful, sensual, exotic and alluring but a close set beauty that has good sillage but not too strong projection. Excellent movie or theatre choice.

Une Voix Noire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2012

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica


The stars rise in chorus. The night sky is filled with the light of the moon.

Une voix noire : jazz, drinks and the night, and, beyond all that, a troubling line of white, gardenia-scented smoke.

GOSH! This is an extremely polarising fragrance. Made in honour of Billie Holiday, the sultry voiced chanteuse whose life was grim, grim and tortured. She was abused, a drug addict who came from very little and ended up with tragedy. Yes, her voice was velvet and she sang so heartbreakingly because her life was what it was and so she could sell her pain and angst in song. How does Une Voix Noire bring this life and voice alive?

Hairspray, booze and white flowers to open, that fabulous old fashioned hairspray that they called Lacquer. It is still used by Drag Queens to hold our wigs firm for months. The white flower is not at all Gardenia to me but a mix & match of all the white flowers and there’s a plastic/make up feel like the swipe of an expensive lipstick over a heavily powdered greasepaint and pan-stick. These smells are a Drag Queens stock in trade, so beautifully woven together in Une Voix Noire. I can imagine this being a part of how Billie Holiday would smell after a performance, there is something very lived in about Une Voix Noire.

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens Billie_Holiday 1946 WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

The heart feels sweaty and floral, white flowers and some wet-ish lily of the valley or peony perhaps. I’m getting a herbal back beat but no idea what it or they are, it’s sweet green and a little spicy and I think some buttery ylang goodness floating through too. Sweet white flowers, not sugared but like marzipan is both sweet and not sweet, actually there is a mintiness and the whole heart has a very interesting smell that reminds me of those fake teeth you used to get, remember? They were so fun to pretend you had these glamorous buck teeth in ultra white.

Sadly I miss out on most of the smokiness and Une Voix Noire stays pretty linear after the heart merely warming through with some sweet resinous vanilla/amber but still over the top is this white flower, not living Gardenia but kind of a drug store fragrance simile to it, and hairspray.

Une Voix Noire Serge Lutens Sydney Queens WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

From my description it reads like I don’t care for Une Voix Noire, you couldn’t be more wrong. I freaking LOVE it. The lasting power is not so great for me though so I rarely reach for it to leave the house for work or play. Maybe I’ve used four or five of my 10ml decant that I bought in a split from AndreaW ages ago. When I do wear it I love it sick though.

Further reading: Now Smell This and
Une Voix Noire is available in the Exclusives line from Paris, Barney’s New York (I think) and online at Serge Lutens
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

How do you feel about Une Voix Noire? Is it one of your Serge Lutens favourites?
Portia xx

Tubereuse Criminelle by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1999


Post by Trésor


Have you ever in your life encountered a fragrance which so emphatically mirrors your personality to the point that it seems to capture your very essence within those precious drops of sacred aromatic dew? I feel incredibly lucky to say that I have. From start to finish, this wicked brew embodies my identity in a way which no other fragrance I’ve experienced truly has. From the incipient beryl glow to depths of the exquisite drydown, it seems to manifest “me” and coincidentally enough was the very first bottle of niche fragrance I’ve ever bought for myself (unsniffed, no less!). You already know from the title which fragrance I am speaking of, the inimitable Tubereuse Criminelle from our dear friend, Uncle Serge Lutens.

Tubereuse Criminelle by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1999

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Jasmine, orange blossom, hyacinth, tuberose, nutmeg, clove, styrax, musk, vanilla

The opening sequence of Tubereuse Criminelle is perhaps my favourite in the entirety of perfume and also what’s come to be one of the most polarizing among the fragrance community. On my skin the inaugural fusillade is a breathtakingly intense bravura of jasmine petals which have been profoundly doused in densely mentholated gasoline. I’m often told I am rather strange for this, but I absolutely adore the smell of gasoline so this entire progression is a bit euphoric to me. I relate to this genesis so deeply because I feel her and I are so much the same in this way, just a little off the beaten path.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Cold_Wind MizuSasori DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Upon occasion I sense the slightest hologram of orange blossom but if I am being absolutely honest with you I have never been sure if it’s actually there or if I am imagining it simply because it’s included on the list of notes. Beneath the icy petrol fumes lay a tuberose, one who’s beauty beguiles me and leaves me breathless. You can detect every facet, every single atom of her velvet white petals and the narcotic ambrosia bleeding from within. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful realization of tuberose I have found within a fragrance and worth every ounce of praise it receives.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Folson St Mendolous Shank FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

As the composition progresses something quite fascinating begins to happen, the tuberose seems to further and further meld with the skin but never loses the depth, splendour and unadulterated hypnotism that drew me in so close before. Around about the fifth hour on my skin I can detect just the most delicate tendrils of softly spiced vanilla rising off of my skin. The note is not confectionary in any way, shape or form but a beautifully Lutens-esque vision of a skinscent that leads the way into Tubereuse Criminelle’s final breath on the skin.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Flower Bomb Tree WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

This isn’t a fragrance that wears a terribly long time on my skin, about 5-6 hours, usually and the sillage is quite moderate. Though not incredibly long, the journey is magnificent and I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world. From the initial glacial zephyr which greets you to her intimate swan song, Tubereuse Criminelle remains a study in the paradoxical nature that defines the very best of the offerings from the house of Serge Lutens.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Australian Perfume Junkies
MeccaCosmetica has $166/50ml (in Australia)
Serge Lutens had €166/75ml
My Perfume Samples start at $3.50/ml up to $10.50/5ml

Have you fallen under the Tubereuse Criminelle spell?
Trésor x

L’Incendiaire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2014


Post by Tina G


Lying in the palm of my hand; a small vial of dark-golden intriguing mystery. There are few reviews, and fewer notes lists for me to get a pre-conceived impression of what I may experience on opening, so the next step is obvious – there is a little bubble of liquid here that simply needs to be on some skin.

L’Incendiaire by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2014

L`incendiaire Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

A moderate swipe of L’Incendiaire releases a resinous incense with dry wooden undertones. It is loud, silage has a massive kick initially but there is also something elusive about the scent that soon makes me want a few more swipes, so I do. This brings the woods to the foreground, and the incense/resin/wood combination is not dissimilar to those I’ve come across in other fragrances. This changes in the first half hour though…

L`incendiaire Serge Lutens Mednyanszky, Laszlo Autumn Field at Twilight Quick Fix FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

From this initial dry opening, things start to get darker. I’ve stepped out of an autumnal field onto a path which heads into the dark forest. There is a damp sweetness. I can smell thick heavy treacle and the over-ripeness of slightly decayed wind-fallen plumbs. The oudh note gives a hint of animals out of sight in the undergrowth. The wood notes are wet, like fallen logs covered in leaves. The fragrance has a physical coolness through a menthol note which gets stronger during the first hour, which becomes a cold sensitive spot on my arm like the heat is being extracted from my skin.

L`incendiaire Serge Lutens Gumpy_Forest DieAndBeholdMyWrath DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

After the first hour, the mentholated sensation spreads into an overall greenness. There is also a smoky note like clean fresh cigarette ash. Strangely, the damp wood smell feels like it has dried out – the decaying wood from the forest floor has found the sun once more and the rotting has been abated temporarily.

Longevity for this parfum is good, 8+ hours, although it does become stale after that time on my skin. The silage is interesting – I mentioned above that my first swipe was followed up with a few more as I found L’Incendiaire elusive, but it is more than that – it is fragmented. It sits neatly on the skin, but it doesn’t project so much as ‘waft’, dancing around, influenced by movement and breezes. Testing L’Incendiaire I found it consistently has three stages but the amount of application can race them through. Larger applications brings the oudh into play in the first 10 minutes. I quite enjoyed a slower story though, so even if the silage twists and turns in its playfulness, I’d recommend the less is more approach.

L`incendiaire Serge Lutens Russell Patterson Where there's smoke there's fire 1925 TrialsAndErrors FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Colognoisseur
Barney’s New York has $600/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $8/.25ml

Will you be trying L`Incendiaire by Serge Lutens?

Tina G

L`Orpheline by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens 2014

Hey All,

Am I too late to the party? Just received a decant from the lovely Ruth (thanks buddy) and can’t wait to wear it a few times. Why don’t you join my on a first experience journey? It will be fun.

L`Orpheline by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens 2014

L`orpheline Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Musk, incense

I have read quite a bit about Serge Lutens L’Orpheline already. It may interfere with my first impressions because I think they may already be coloured.

So I find a jagged, pristine, metallic opening from Serge Lutens L’Orpheline. It’s weird and uncomfortable and though I don’t have it on hand reminds me a little of Lainne de Verre, like the idea of crawling along fibreglass insulation. Underneath though is a very pretty something. Some lovely alluring floral that keeps me glued to my hand trying to find it. Then I get this hilarious gust of coconut, no one else has been writing about it so I’m thinking my nose probably invented it, but to me it’s there clear as day.

L`orpheline Serge Lutens winter metal Antranias PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Then everything tilts and I am in cool incense laden air, slightly fetid and dank and earthy and metallic. Then I am reminded of Balmain’s Amber Gris, which smells little like ambergris to me but has a feeling of perhaps what a 100 year old nugget of exploded whale internal secretions might smell like if they were flowers. Then woods, both cold on the woodpile and smoking from the fire, suddenly there is a warmth to L’Orpheline that is not hot but merely lack of cold. Then I get a balmy woods and flesh fragrance that fades slowly to gone, but I can’t tel;l when exactly it left. (Ha Ha Ha!! This fragrant monologue reads NOTHING like anyone else’s experience, I am a perfume DUFFER! Ha Ha Ha! I don’t care, this is how my nose smelled this fragrance on first wearing on my skin)

Timid. L’Orpheline is timid. Interesting, arresting, challenging and fun but all on a very small scale. Like a wallflower awaiting a moment to shine that never really comes.

L`orpheline Serge Lutens Wallflower N_Rockwell Bev Sykes FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Of all the freaky Serge Lutens masterpieces I think L’Orpheline the most wearable. It’s not big enough to torment you with its constantly changing story. A bit like riding a horse through trees in high summer and the dappled effects of the light searing one second and the cool of shade the next, the uncomfortable way your eyes need to adjust again and again. Yet L’Orpheline does it so quietly, and in such a muted fashion that it becomes beautiful background noise and you can still concentrate on your life but should you wish to come back and really smell what’s happening you will find it changed markedly from your last sniff.

Please don’t take my word for it, try L’Orpheline by Serge Lutens yourself.

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Perfume Posse
Serge Lutens has €99/50ml
Everywhere else will get Serge Lutens L’Orpheline in September
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

Have you yet tried this hot/cold frightened child of a fragrance? What did you think?
Portia xx



Fille en Aiguilles by Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens 2009


Post by Portia


Hey Hos, Frag Hos that is.

Today I am chatting about a fragrance that has been on my radar for a while. I remember testing it when it first came out and LOVING it but I think at the tiome I was financially recovering from some holiday and it was an inconvenient purchase moment so it went on the list. Special thanks to Michael Edwards for gifting me his bottle.

Fille en Aiguilles by Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens 2009

Fille en Aiguilles Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Pine needles, vetiver, bay leaf, spices, fruit, incense

WHOO HOO! Spices, stewed fruit, pudding. When Fille en Aiguilles opens it is all about food for me and this amazing moment lasts about 5 minutes until the incense comes on in and dries the whole shebang out. The incense is dry and smoky, unisex and rose-ish.

So I never get the pine. I get the FEELING of walking through pine needles. That dry, dessicated, rustle and shimmery crackle of the pine needles under my feet. It’s a soft but freaky feeling underfoot that is both comforting because it was a commonplace experience in my childhood and freaky because I’ve felt nothing on earth yet that I could compare it to. Many of the beaches in Sydney have conifers of one kind or another on their foreshores and we would run through them and kick them and make whole games and stories with our trucks, cars, barbies, whatever was at hand. Instead of the scent of pine needles I get a balsamic vinegar, a sweet and sour edge that is quite alluring, inviting me to stick my head in my T-Shirt and really enjoy the scent.

Fille en Aiguilles  Serge Lutens manly-beach TripAdvisorPhoto Stolen TripAdvisor

My skin throws a boozy undercurrent too, maybe it’s the fruit, warmed, sweetened and spiced that reminds me of mulled wine. Actually Fille en Aiguilles goes dry and moist in waves, such an interesting fragrance. Sweet/Sour, Light/Shade, Dry/Moist a multiple contradiction re-proving Sheldrake and Lutens genius partnership. A circular scent that grabs the notes and rearranges them in different groupings and asks you again and again, how about like this, or like this, or like this? You sniff deeply to find out how it smells and by the time you’re ready to sniff it again it has changed itself like a chameleon and you must run to keep up. In the end I let myself float on a sea of Fille en Aiguilles, just a beautiful fragrance that I really love.

I usually get excellent scent longevity from Fille en Aiguilles, though not always and I don’t know why. First hour is pretty big but then it calms beautifully. You will be decidedly fragrant and could easily skunk your office if you aren’t careful. Depending on your work of course, I find it perfect for hosting a trivia night.

Fille en Aiguilles  Serge Lutens Pine Needles AJ Cann FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Smelly Thoughts and EauMG
Beauty Encounter has $89/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

I am overwhelmed every time I wear Fille en Aiguilles by its loveliness but it could easily be a comfortable wear for someone who merely wears fragrance, rather than a perfumista. A lovely rich and warm scent and I would have bought my Mum a bottle of Fille en Aiguilles had she still been around and I am pretty certain she would have drained it dry and asked for more.

Have you tried it? Did Fille en Aiguilles sing for you? Was it overwhelming or did you think it too like some of his other releases?
Go on, leave a comment. I love to read your thoughts.

Portia xx




Laine de Verre by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2014

Woo Hoo!

Always a little frisson zings through me when I read of a new Serge Lutens. Living on the other side of the world from most of the fragrant action I usually get my sniff on through samples or splits and so I have in my hot little hands a decant from Surrender To Chance, have you seen their New Perfume Releases page? Broken down into the last couple of months of release, it means you can tell as soon as something new hits the store, excellent if you are living in a fragrant backwater.

Laine de Verre by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2014

Laine de Verre Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Citruses, aldehydes, musk, woody cashmeran molecule

So loads of people not loving this one. Usually I don’t read reviews before I sniff but a way back in November 2013 I was introduced to Laine de Verre by Denyse at Grain de Musc and then caught Victoria’s post on Bois de Jasmin both of whom were interesting for the differences in their wear story. Because they had such different experiences, these two women I revere, it caught my attention though I did not feel that this would be a fragrance that I could like, or love. So my sample is here, it’s a beautiful sunny 20C in Sydney and I have been out sunbaking. Time to try Laine de Verre or Glass Wool.

Laine de Verre Serge Lutens Rockwool WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Whoa! Cold, sharp, sparkling. The moment I spritz I think “This is what the palace in Disney’s Frozen would smell like.” CLEAN! Stainless steel spoon on tongue. Brand newly finished cycle on the dishwasher after all the heat has gone. It doesn’t stay this shiny for long, maybe 20-30 minutes, then something a bit feral crawls out.  All clean, angular, reflective lines and an antiseptic clean hiding filth, well not filth but something jarringly unclean.

I’ll give you an analogy, sometimes after a huge day out on holidays you run back to your hotel lobby and have to use the toilet immediately because you’ve been out all day. So you walk into this frigid, antiseptic and cover fragranced toilet, everything is immaculate. As you sit down to use the toilet up huffs a whiff of your humanity, you aren’t dirty or anything more than a bit sunburned and slightly sweaty but in this arctic smelling environment you are a surprise. All the while though you can still smell the UBER clean bathroom smells. Does that register?

Laine de Verre Serge Lutens Hotel Toilet WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

So I originally spritzed Laine de Verre at around 5pm tonight, it’s now midnight and there is a lingering metallic musk with a dash of rubber that is both interesting and slightly freaky. It’s very close to the skin but I smell completely other and quite inhuman, I imagine this to be the smell of a humanoid robot trying to pass for life. Though I can’t imagine spritzing this regularly I will keep the sample and see if the mood does take me. Do I like it? Only on an intellectual basis, it doesn’t move me towards it. Actually it might be a good scent for giving the stay away vibe…

Laine de Verre Serge Lutens  space PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

LuckyScent has $110/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $5/ml

Did you try Laine de Verre? Lover or hater? Is Serge Lutens a house you feel fits you?
Do something nice for yourself today, something simple like walk for 10 minutes in the day to enjoy the weather if it’s good, or under an umbrella if it’s rubbish. Maybe spend 10 minutes pulling weeds in your yard or cleaning out your fridge. I always feel good after doing any of these.
Portia xx