Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier perfumeSerge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier perfume

Fleurs de Citronnier was launched in 2004 by Serge Lutens, who founded his eponymous line in Paris in 1992. The fragrance was created by perfumer Chris Sheldrake, and has notes of lemon tree blossoms and petitgrain, neroli, honey, tuberose, nutmeg, styrax, iris and musk.

Serge Lutens, alone among niche perfume houses, never disappoints me. It is not that I love all of the perfumes in the line (there are several that I cannot stand); nor is it because he is known for creating such eminently wearable fragrances (even some of my favorites, like Miel de Bois, can hardly be characterized as wearable). Rather, it is because the fragrances are almost without exception intriguing. They tend to evoke the kind of love-it-or-hate-it emotional responses that indicate a perfume worth trying. If he has ever created something absolutely dull, I don't know what it is, although perhaps we'll see some opinions to the contrary in the comments.

Fleurs de Citronnier, along with Clair de Musc, strikes me as relatively high on the wearability scale for this line. The opening is slap-on-the-face sharp, with soapy neroli over a hint of citrus, but it softens nicely as it dries down to a honeyed, well-blended floral with prominent musky undertones. The iris smooths the florals down to a satiny finish, and the nutmeg, while too subdued to call attention to itself, gives Fleurs de Citronnier just a touch of the spicy exoticism that this house is known for.

It is not really a summer fragrance, or at least, it isn't the kind of sparkling, effervescent citrus floral that immediately calls to mind hot weather. I like it best on a cooler evening in early spring, when the warmth of the musk feels cozy and hushed; on a humid day in late summer, the combination of honey and musk can be oppressive.

Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier is an Eau de Parfum, and is sold in 50 ml bottles for around $92. For buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I confess, there are some Lutens florals that strike me as pleasing and wearable, but too simple to really be intriguing. I'm talking about Fleurs d'Oranger, Sa Majesté la Rose, Un Lys, and À la Nuit (after the first bombast of jasmine subsides). The other Lutens florals are more interesting, no doubt: Tubéreuse Criminelle, Rose de Nuit, Iris Silver Mist, and Datura Noir come to mind.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was just popping in before starting on my review of Un Bois Vanille and there I see you paying homage to a Lutens' creation as well!

    I remember that the drydown on Fleurs de Citronnier was particularly striking; it wafted back at me after some time and I thought this wonderful thought: What is this? Is it coming from me? Always a sure sign that you need to prolong your acquaintance with a perfume.

    I face the exact same dilemma regarding SL's fragrances; I find that his creations are always very thought out, artistic, and interesting, but not always wearable or let's say, that pleasing to wear.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think some hardcore SL fans find Clair de Musc kind of dull, and I admit by SL standards it's fairly tame. However, I love to layer it with other things. It is a warm, rich, honeyed musk that never fails to brighten my day. The only other SL I really wear regularly is Chergui and the Fleurs d'Oranger (I just ignore the cumin!) Citronnier was a funny one; I loved the opening but … after awhile it begins to annoy me (and the Serges stick around forever on me.) It's the sort of thing I should love, note-wise, but somehow didn't. The MdeB is just stunning after 5 hours…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Lutens never disappoints me either. When one of his scents doesn't work on me, I say to myself, it must be me, it cannot possibly be the scent's fault.

    Signed, Lutens groupie.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Although Fleurs de Citronnier is not my favourite out of the range, sometimes it works perfectly–a silk slip of a perfume. I find that in the summer it dries down better on my skin than in the winter, but the moderation is the key here. It can be overwhelming, just as you point out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I like this one a lot, but it lasts FOREVER on me and after 8-10 hours of it I've had enough and need to wash it off.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There's something very comforting and familiar about FdC, don't you think, R? And while it is not exactly boring, there are others in the line (we know what they are) that captivate us with their strong sense of place and intrigue.

    Speaking of Bois de Miel, Rochas Byzantine may be a very pleasant alternative. It smells like honey floating above aqueous flowers, without the dreaded cat p*ss odor.


  8. Anonymous says:

    I like this one for cool spring evening and in the summer, but yes, it needs a light hand; otherwise, it can get too soapy-musky. On the whole, for something very similar, I prefer Clair de Musc.

  9. Anonymous says:

    T, even the simpler fragrances don't bore me, but I figured I'd find someone who didn't find them intriguing. Would guess that by & large the ones you love are the ones I can't stand, since you listed many of my favorites.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Un Bois Vanille, I would say, is another of the more wearable of the scents, maybe? Need to try it again, it was not one of my early favorites.

  11. Anonymous says:

    LOL at “stunning after 5 hours”…even I won't wait that long for stunning! Yes, the Clair de Musc is perhaps the least intriguing of the line, although I like it anyway.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes, FdC is much less otherworldly than most of the others. Still, I don't find it dull.

    I am one of the few though that likes Miel de Bois the way it is. I just recognize that it is best worn in the privacy of ones own home :-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    The musk part is extraordinarily long lasting — I can still smell it after showering — so know what you mean.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Not in my top 5 either, V. “Silk slip of a perfume” is perfect!

  15. Anonymous says:

    LOL — that is good of you to blame yourself! SL couldn't find a better customer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This was one that a consultant at The Perfume Shoppe picked out for me based on some of my preferences. Some was spritzed on my arm, and I went home to see how it developed.

    I have to say I absolutely loved the opening notes of this fragrance: lemony, but a beautiful flowery lemon blossom rather than tart fruit. I happily floated home in a soft lemon haze.

    As the afternoon wore on, I began to find it a bit much and no longer wanted to wear it (as someone mentioned SL's stick around forever – even on me!). The lovely blossom top notes de-volved into a musky powdery mess.

    After this and an unhappy encounter with Fleur d'Oranger, I had to conclued that SL and me are not meant to be. I would think that if anything would work on me it would be citrus blossom.

    I still want to try SL Un Lys though!

  17. Anonymous says:

    It took me a while to like this one, but now I do enjoy it in limited quantities, and I don't find it boring either. I'm a huge fan of pretty. Serge really has something for everyone, but it's always a little askew.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is one I almost bought – got Un Lys instead. I will get it in the future, however, along with a Jeroboam of A La Nuit if they have it. So far there is nothing SL I do not either like or just love, whether I can personally waer it or not.

    /Another Lutens groupie

  19. Anonymous says:

    Robin, I absolutely agree with you about MdB, it's best worn in the privacy of your own home. It's such a bizarre scent…I do love FdO, too. It's very wearable…truly, I love all of Serge Lutens' line. Even if I can't wear them, I love them for their strangeness, their originality. I've been playing around with a sample of Gris Clair – very intensely lavender, which I do like, but it's not the most wearable scent either. I will admit, I too am a SL groupie. I feel the man can do no wrong. He's also an amazing makeup artist, which makes me a little biased, as that's what I do for a living.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love that one! I've found that men love it, too. Very wearable…I love the woody vanilla, it's not as foody as some vanillas.

  21. Anonymous says:

    They are similar in the dry down. On the right day, FdC doesn't strike me as overly soapy-musky, but on our very humid summer days, it is too much of both.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh, don't give up just based on those 2! Although of course, it will save you lots of $$ if you do.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “A little askew” is another perfect description ;-)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Love Un Lys too, although it isn't in my top 5. Will have to review it soon.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Still haven't tried the Gris Clair, but will have to do so soon. Don't expect to like it! And yes, an incredible makeup artist, although I've only seen the pictures that are available online & would love to have one of the lovely books.

  26. Anonymous says:

    FdC was one of the SLs that seemed almost possible for me to wear. I have tried a few, including some of the famous (or infamous) exclusives, and a few of the export range.

    I don't see a future for me and Mr. Lutens, although I agree he is never boring. I think of him as a sort of fancy meal that is fun to have once and a while, but not something you'd live on.

    He is a truffle, but I would reach more quickly for a Mounds bar. That is about how I would describe my everyday fragrance loves. Yummy, but readily available :).

  27. Anonymous says:

    If SL doesn't suit you, there isn't much point in paying the extra cost. And love Mounds bars, BTW :-)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Funny, but I don't really love that many Lutens things at all! I like Ambre Sultan a lot (find it the most wearable Lutens there is), find Bois de Violette simply gorgeous, am wowed by Iris Silver Mist, am delighted by Cuir Mauresque, and there are some more I'm sure I could think of if I gave it a chance, but for a lot of them I have loads of admiration but not love.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Can't wear Ambre Sultan or Bois de Violette. Iris Silver Mist is my favorite of all. But sounds like I love the line more than you do!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wanna smell like a mounds? Try Musc Maori from PG. You wont believe your nose! JK…I know you don't really care for overly sweet and gourmand.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I love Musc Maori though, and I reviewed it — thought it smelled like an egg cream :-)

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