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

16 thoughts on “La Religieuse by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2015

  1. Hey there Madeleine!
    Lovely piece, as usual. I too remember lazing in the pool by the backyard fence full of flowering jasmine. It took Mum nearly a decade to kill it all off after it went feral and started ripping stuff apart. The smell though, heavenly…
    Portia xx


      • HA! It was not a super big drama but it started pulling down the fence and got into the neighbours roof. Mum took immediate steps but those suckers kept appearing for about 10 years every spring.
        Portia xx


  2. Hi Madeleine. This is exciting news! You must be absolutely thrilled to have finally found something that’s just right. I have yet to find my perfect orange blossom, but hope springs eternal.

    My personal jasmine favorites are both by La Via del Profumo: Tawaf and Surrender(for STC). I also use jasmine eo and CO2 extract when I just want that straight-up jasmine fix.

    A childhood scent I’m missing is one that I recall from a perfect summer day. Unfortunately, that scent would include a chlorinated pool, a wet standard poodle, and boxwoods. I’ve tried Margiela’s Untitled, but nope. Perhaps CB of CB I Hate Perfume could do a commission for me when I win the lottery.

    Spring has always been my favorite season, and I recently tested Penhaligon’s Ostara which is gorgeous in the first few hours: daffodils with a zing of hyacinth. It reminds me of skipping about on the lawn on a sparkling spring day, the scent of cut grass lingering and the happy little faces of all the flowers blooming.


    • Poodles smell fabulous. Just saying. 😉
      When my little one was sick every now and then she smelled like maple syrup. My standard smells a lot like popcorn at times. At least when they’re wet they don’t have that true “wet dog” smell.


      • You’ve gotta be right, poodle. My memory of that day does not include a “wet dog” smell. But that poodle contributed to whatever my scent memory is. Gosh, could it just be that I love popcorn? I even like the maple syrup note of immortelle.


    • Hi Holly,

      What a beautiful description of Ostara! I need to try it now.

      Hoping you win that lottery and get the CB. What an evocative smell that would be.



  3. I loved and bought this one immediately, despite all the negative reviews I read about it online. In fact, yours is the first positive review I’ve read! Glad to hear someone else is enjoying this.


    • Hi Tara,

      Glad to be in good company! I think that, as Poodle says below, there’s heaps of expectations around Serge perfumes to be odd and challenging and when he does pretty people get disappointed. But I happen to love Serge’s more simplistic florals.

      M x


  4. So glad you found a jasmine you love! I had totally forgotten about the pastry of the same name until Tresor mentioned it, so the gourmand quality took me by surprise! Having grown up on the California coast, jasmine was a huge part of my childhood as well. All summer long the nights were so perfumed! Near the driveway, near the pool, walking to the supermarket etc…. To that ens I found that VC&A’s California Reverie was a better jasmine for me! But this Serge spin on it is damn pretty, that’s for sure!


  5. I’m happy to see that not everyone dislikes this. It sounded really nice to me but the reviews have been less than stellar. I wonder if people expect a certain level of oddity from Serge Lutens and when he releases something that’s just soft and pretty his fans don’t like it much. A lush, green jasmine would be perfect once in a while. Glad you found a jasmine that works for you.


    • Thanks Poodle,

      I’m totally with you on that. There is such an expectation for his things to be odd, people are disappointed when he does pretty.

      M x


  6. Jasmine and gardenia are very special to me too! I grew up on a tiny island in the South Pacific and the scent of gardenias and jasmine always make me feel nostalgic!
    I have also sniffed this one from Lutens.. It is utterly divine!! I have yet to purchase it but will definitely soon!
    I agree with the full on jasmine scents out there. I’ve yet to find a gardenia note perfume that don’t Snr make me feel heavy and overwhelmed!
    I love the raw scent but someone in perfume on my skin it’s different, always .. Too much, like I’m in a room filled with gardenias and no windows and I can’t get out.. Not in a good way too.

    So for now, I’ve found my perfect jasmine, still searching for the gardenia one.

    There is another flower, we call it ‘pua’ but I don’t know the English translation.. It’s a beautiful flower that reminds me of the traditional flower garlands that we make with all different kinds of flowers and when we finish wearing it at an event or something.. We hang it in the bathroom.. The smell is always so beautiful and lingers long after the flowers wither


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