Bas de Soie by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2010


Post by Portia


Hiya Fumies,

For some reason I have always overlooked todays fragrance. Not sure why. Nothing about it has ever jumped out at me but I’d also never read the notes list. Having fallen truly, madly and deeply in love with Apollo Hyacinth by Eric Buterbaugh Florals it suddenly seemed necessary to try another hyacinth fragrance and Serge Lutens often creates the benchmark, so it was to his that I gravitated.

Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens 2010

Bas de Soie by Christopher Sheldrake

Bas de Soie Serge Lutens FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Iris, galbanum, hyacinth, spices, musk

One year when we were kids my Mum splurged on a packet of Hyacinth bulbs. We were great gardeners, Mum & I, and spent whole weekends together creating and recreating the garden. Sydney is a funny climate and most bulbs get one year of fabulous and then rot in the ground. Anyway, this year the Hyacinths came up and were a beautiful blue, Mum was thrilled. Bas de Soie reminds me of the feeling that Mum & I had really achieved something to have these beautiful flowers to show for our efforts.

Bas de Soie reminds me of that spring. It’s alive, fresh, hopefull springlike green opening is so like the sap of freshly cut hyacinths. It has that glorious galbanum which smells both incredibly cool and aloof while also giving me a smooth, resinous, shiny and reflective smell. I am explaining it very badly but hopefully you understand.

bas-de-soie-serge-lutens hyacinth PixabayPixabay

Iris is green and only lightly powdery. Actually it’s like the cool spring morning air blowing through the lovely green and grey leaves of the iris, that makes the flowers shiver of their impossibly long stems. Then the startling cascade of colour, a positive riot of purples, yellows, oranges and pinks.

About 30 minutes in and then Bas de Soie changes. It warms through slightly, while still being green and light as air, maybe the spices and musk but it feels woody and earthy.

Now you will be fragrant, people will smell you, but there is little chance of your fragrance ever skunking anyone if you’re wearing Bas de Soie. It’s a very pretty floral. Maybe if CHANEL No 19 is a bit too severe then the friendliness of Bas de Soie could quite well be a better fit for you.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Megan In St. Maxime
LuckyScent has $135/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/0.5ml

Do you have a hyacinth fragrance you love? Maybe something that smells so fresh and new?
Portia xx

Datura Noir by Serge Lutens: LIVE Video Sniff


Post by Portia


Hello My Lovelies,

This was a Blind Buy! Yes, I know, that’s the way to penury but I was pretty sure I would adore it. So you guys get to come along for my initial Opening Ceremony and sniff!

Datura Noir by Serge Lutens 2001

Datura Noir by Christopher Sheldrake


Datura Noir Serge Lutens FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica Gives these featured accords:
Coconut, tuberose, tonka bean, almond, lemon blossom, mandarin orange, musk, chinese osmanthus, heliotrope, myrrh, vanilla, apricot

It’s always fun with Scotty on the lanai and as usual we blunder through a fragrant masterpiece missing all nuance and generally behaving like a bull in a china shop.

Sarrasins by Christopher Sheldrake + Serge Lutens 2007


Post by Liam


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?)

La Religieuse by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2015


Post by Gabriella



Jasmine is such an important scent for me. Like gardenia, jasmine is the scent of my childhood summers in Sydney. Jasmine blossomed all around the neighbourhood and in our backyard. It was the scent of swimming in our pool on a long, sweaty December night; it was the scent of walking the dogs in the early summer evening when the humid air would gently caress the white petals and fill the pale sky with their intoxicating perfume; it was the scent of carefree and happy, languid days.

And yet, when it comes to perfume, jasmine is a really difficult note for me. The indolic nature of the flower tends to overwhelm on my skin, turning the scent from something that should be magnificently beautiful to something that more resembles, say, cat’s pee. Jasmine can often go so wrong on me, sour, sharp and just generally dreadful. I’ve tried so many in an effort to capture that wonderful scent of my childhood, often to no avail.

La Religieuse by Serge Lutens 2015

La Religieuse by Christopher Sheldrake

La Religieuse Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Jasmine, musk, civet and incense

Therefore, it was with a mix of trepidation and excitement that I tested the latest release from Serge Lutens, La Religieuse, some weeks ago. I’d read that it was a softer jasmine than the houses other offerings: A La Nuit and Sarassins, but would it be a mess on my skin or would it be that gorgeous soft jasmine that I really wanted?

I can happily say its the latter. La Religieuse is one of the only new releases lately that has gone straight on my full bottle to buy list, it is that beautiful and perfect to me.

La Religieuse Serge Lutens Jasmine fence Allan Henderson FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

I find the notes list quite misleading because the scent for me is a light, green and sweet jasmine. La Religieuse opens up sharp and slightly indolic but with a beautiful verdancy that keeps my nose to my wrist. The overall effect is of being enveloped into masses of jasmine bushes awaiting to bloom – you get the green, lush smell of the leaves and just a promise of scent from the delicate white unopened tendrils.

The jasmine then comes to the fore and it’s quite fruity and playful, underscored by the almondy powder scent of mimosa. It’s this slight marzipan-sweet vibe that I find unusual and beautiful and such an interesting twist and contrast to the green to white floral vibe. It’s a fairly linear scent, somewhat quiet and yet resolute and yet joyful at the same time.

La Religieuse may not please those who like big, thick indolic jasmines, but it’s just a perfect scent for me that has just felt completely right every time I’ve worn it. It’s also a good choice for any occasion, light enough for the office, elegant enough for a little black dress and comforting enough for those days when one just wants a sense of solitude and peace.

La Religieuse Serge Lutens Mars & Venus WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Further reading: Persolaise and Perfume Posse
Luckyscent has $150/50ml
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $4.50/0.5ml

Have you tried La Religieuse? What did you think? What are your favourite jasmines? What perfumes remind you of your childhood?

With much love till next time!
M xx

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