Serge Lutens Daim Blond ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Daim BlondSerge Lutens Daim BlondSerge Lutens Daim Blond

Daim Blond, by Serge Lutens, launched in 2004. That was the same year as Chêne, Vetiver Oriental and Fleurs de Citronnier — a good year over at Serge Lutens, no? Chêne especially stole my heart (I'm wearing it now for the first time in months, and I'm falling in love all over again). Daim Blond — French for white pale suede — was nice, but it was Chêne and Fleurs de Citronnier that went on my buy list.

I've gone through a handful of samples of Daim Blond since, and I still haven't really made up my mind about it. This is the perfect time of year for it though: a spring day, when there's still a slight chill in the air. That helps to keep the opening — a rich, sweet mixture of stewed fruits and spices, and if you know the Serge Lutens line, you already know exactly what I mean but it's not nearly so rich, sweet or spicy as some others — in check.

The dry down is softer: dried apricots drizzled with honey and lightly dusted with cardamom (and surely other spices as well, although if there's cumin, it's soft: this is not one of the Serge Lutens fragrances that veers into curry) over a butter-soft, pale-but-warm leather, smoothed over with iris. The hawthorn does not stand out unless you go looking for it; the heliotrope I don't notice at all except that I suppose it adds to the sweetness. There's a shade of something vaguely medicinal (some people say cough syrup, some people say bandaids) in the early stages, and a shade of the wood pencil from Santal Blanc in the later stages.

On the right day, when Daim Blond works, it's cozy and sexy at the same time — the perfect leather comfort scent. On the wrong day, gosh but it's sweet.

Serge Lutens Daim Blond was developed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. It is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum Haute Concentration (reportedly 20% concentration) for $140. For buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.


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78 Comments

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  1. Kelly Red says:

    This was my first SL and I love it. I wear it year round and always get compliments, or at least they say “what is that unusual scent you’re wearing” and I take it as a compliment! :D I have to admit I don’t think I pronounce it correctly, I try very hard not to say Dumb Blonde. Any french speakers who can write it out so I don’t feel like a fool?

    • Robin says:

      Go here:

      http://belabela.posterous.com/alphabetical-list

      And leave a comment — maybe we can get Bela to do a sound file for Daim Blond.

      • Bela says:

        Kelly very kindly followed your advice and asked me to do it. Since I had already recorded for posting later, I put it up straight away. :-)

        • Helle says:

          Bela, I love your frag name of the day site!

          • Bela says:

            Thank you very much indeed.

        • Robin says:

          Thanks J, and thanks for the correction on the white suede -> pale suede.

          • Bela says:

            You’re most welcome.

        • Robin says:

          A direct link, for anyone who needs it:

          http://belabela.posterous.com/daim-blond

    • Joe says:

      Kelly Red: Closest way I can think of spelling it phonetically for English speakers would be ‘demm-blawn’.

      • Bela says:

        Not, really, Joe. The ‘m’ is not sounded at all.

        • Bela says:

          What’s that comma doing between ‘Not’ and ‘really’? LOL! Silly fingers!

        • Joe says:

          Please to forgive.

          It’s a little hard typing out pronunciation without use of the International Phonetic Alphabet without just writing “deh + nasalized sound thingy” And still not quite sure if it’s ɱ, ɳ , ɲ, or ŋ…. Oh well!

          Thanks for the link.

          • Bela says:

            It’s not just hard, it’s absolutely impossible for sounds that do not figure in another language, like all those nasal French sounds. One can only do an approximation.

            Phonetically, the ‘aim’ in Daim is ɛ̃. Another difficulty is that not everyone is familiar with the IPA.

  2. HemlockSillage says:

    I’m so glad you’ve reviewed this! Have to say I’m with you in being on the fence with this one. It fascinates me. . .and sometimes repels me.

    I think Le Guide describes it as apricot suede, and Katie Puckrick has a fun video review of it as well. It *is* apricot suede for me, with that strange, synthetic note, almost harsh, that I think of as the tanning material. . .but not sure what aroma chemical gives that edge.

    Daim Blond is a fragrance I’ve blown through 3 samples on, and still can’t decide if I want a full bottle. I rarely think of things as sexy, but this one is for me, except when it is NOT, and strikes me as too sweet and synthetic. It’ll be fun to see what other NST folks say. . .

    • Robin says:

      Even though the leather here is smoothed over with iris, sometimes it does feel harsh — definite tobacco undertone, and maybe some hay as well. Gives it a barnyard aura, and on the wrong day, barnyard + sweet jam is not a great combo!

      Wore this several times this week and liked it very well, but Chene — Chene is simply gorgeous. Really had forgotten how much I love it.

      • Angela says:

        I am a huge fan of Chene, too. I have been since Erin first hooked me up with a decant. It’s definitely in my top 10 cool weather scents list.

        • Robin says:

          I got really lucky & got a half price bottle a couple years ago. It is running down though — and there are so many SL scents I need to buy…

  3. LaMaroc says:

    It was between Daim Blond and Chergui when I bought my first Serge Lutens. Chergui won, but Daim Blond is still on the top of my list after I finish buying out the world’s supply of CSP Eau des Artes. :)

    • Robin says:

      Never got to smell that one — what year was it? And how much world supply is left??

      • LaMaroc says:

        See, it’s on a site called “rare cosmetics” so you know it’s rare. I got a bottle on ebay last Christmas from a woman in Malibu and I’ve been wearing one spritz on the back of my neck every day since. It’s just a very happy, uplifting scent for me. The juice itself is florals with resin. It’s one of the few fragrances that I love from first spritz to last of the dry down. The first time I bought it was in ’96 at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom (before the move to the current flagship location). I moved from my little Midwestern berg to Seattle without knowing a soul out there. It reminds me of a time of adventure, excitement, fear, anonymity and more importantly all the great friends that I miss so much since I’ve had to move back to the little berg (due to family issues).

    • odonata9 says:

      I too was curious about this one since I had never heard of it. Only thing I found was here – http://www.rarecosmetics.com/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=4959
      A reminder to always try misspellings when looking for things!

      • LaMaroc says:

        So true. I originally thought it was called Eaux des Beax Artes lol so I had a *really* hard time finding it for awhile. I think I found out the true name either on Makeupalley or Basenotes. Luckily the bottles I’ve found so far have stood the test of time with very little change to the juice – to which I’d like to thank CSP for using very practical aluminum bottles. If anything the juice smells a bit more “vintage” now, which I love. I have never found a scent out there quite like it.

  4. Jill says:

    Daim Blond didn’t work for me — but it’s been several years since I tried it and I wonder what I’d think now. Now I’m tempted to look for that old sample! You’ve reminded me how lovely Chene is, too. I also had forgotten how beautiful it is.

    • Robin says:

      It’s outstanding. And despite the fact that I don’t wear it all that often, my bottle is sadly nearly gone.

  5. meadowbliss says:

    Someone just passed me a sample of Chergui– so beautiful. Thanx for the link, Robin. I’m having an imaginary conversation with myself as I repeat it over and over in flawless French. I went to the next page on the Bela link but I guess there’s no sense in continuing since cut and paste is where I get off. Or leave off. hehe

    • Robin says:

      Doesn’t that sound nice? I can’t say Chergui correctly at all.

  6. Joe says:

    Oh dang. Now I wish I had a sample. My only memory is of doing a skin test at Aedes in the dead of winter, and it didn’t seem too sweet in that kind of weather at all. I loved it, and it’s been on my “decant” list ever since. Obviously many other things have excited me a lot more. This would be a good everyday scent, I think… it’s not exploding with *too much* personality, as some Serge scents can do. I imagine it as a good cool-weather office scent. As you said, very soft, comforting leather… no cause for concern for those who fear leather. And I’ve since become the type of “leather ho” that loves Cuir Mauresque, so for all I know, I’d find Daim Blond too tame now. But Mauresque is certainly a nighttime scent!

    Thanks for the review … and for the reminder (though I’m not sure I wanted the craving to smell this right now!). Also, I LOVE Chêne — it was the second Lutens I owned; an unsniffed partial bottle. You must really be enjoying wearing it today; every time I wear it I feel cozy and happy.

    • Robin says:

      I know that at some point I also had several fragrances I liked to layer with Chene, sadly I’ve entirely forgotten what they were. Brain.Dead.

  7. janjan says:

    I just couldn’t jive with this – it smelled too much like … expensive scented makeup smeared on a suede purse. Wish I got honey, or even cumin, for that matter. I found it quite nice in Fleurs d’Oranger

    But I have never tried Chene on skin, just a blotter when I was in a hurry. Must try again.

    • Robin says:

      Do try Chene again, on skin — worth a shot!

  8. NaturalSelektion says:

    Just took a look at belabela and she has already posted the pronunciation. Jeez that site is helpful! A friend of mine purchased a bottle of Surge this weekend, and it was devine. He says his boyfriend smells different every time he wears it. I love that! We’re both new to Serge, sounds like we’ll be taking a stroll to Barneys to test the Chene and this Daim Blond. Although, I dont plan on purchasing a full bottle. Maybe he and I can do a split…

    • Bela says:

      Oooh, thank you very much. It’s nice to have feedback. :-)

      • Veroushka says:

        I just wanted to interject here to tell you, Bela, how much I also appreciate your efforts. I had no idea how to pronounce the names of any of my perfumes, and I just happened to find your site while I was looking for some kind of phonetic spelling guide (or something)… what you do is so much better! Thank you so much for doing it. :)

      • RusticDove says:

        Jumping in to add my thanks also Bela. Your site is so helpful for someone like me who doesn’t speak French! You have a lovely speaking voice too!

  9. pyramus says:

    I liked Daim Blond the first few of times I wore it–from a sample, thank goodness–because the iris in it was very restrained, but I put some on last week and I could hardly smell anything but iris, which I do NOT like. The apricot-drizzled suede-ness of it is beautiful, but that quantity of iris is the kiss of death, for me.

    • Robin says:

      It does have a fair amount of iris, although perhaps because I adore iris I don’t notice it as much as the fruits & leather.

  10. Karin says:

    I’m slowly going through samples of SL scents that Musette over at Perfumed Posse very generously sent me (thanks again, Musette!!!). Hadn’t tried any before. So, now I’m diving in! So far, I’ve appreciated them all, but none are wearable for me. Chene is in the stash, so I’ll bump it up to the top of the to-try list! So far, these are the ones I’ve tried, and my impressions:

    Santal Blanc – curry, raisins, wood, then a Sensuous-like drydown
    Filles en Aiguilles – pine tree! Bet it’d smell great on a lumberjack.
    Chergui – rich pipe tobacco! Not for me, but great on a man, I bet
    Fleurs de Citronnier – soapy orange blossom
    Rousse – potpourri cuminator

    Don’t have a sample of Daim Blond. Guess I’ll need to seek that one out! Also in the stash – Nuit de Cellophane, MKK, Datura Noir, and Fleurs d’Oranger.

    • Robin says:

      LOL at “potpourri cuminator”

    • RusticDove says:

      Your little mini reviews are very informative Karin! ;-)

    • SmokeyToes says:

      Karin-do try Daim Blond, it’s fantastic, and not as difficult to wear as the other SL scents.

  11. Zootgator says:

    I do know what you mean. I like Daim Blond very much when I pop into Liberty and spray myself with it, but I haven’t yet bought a bottle. I love the sueded warm apricot thing, but some days it’s just not right. For me it’s a coolish weather scent.

    I must try Chene.

    • Robin says:

      It is a coolish weather scent. I like it best in spring, I think, but bet lots of people see it as a winter thing.

  12. Helle says:

    Daim Blond was not for me, but I still have a sample so will probably try it again now after reading your review. I remember it being both subtle and annoying, strange, and sweeeeeeet.

    • boojum says:

      See, and this was one of the *very* few SLs I’ve tried that *wasn’t* too sweet on me…and thus, one of the very few I can stand.

      • Robin says:

        Interesting!

      • Helle says:

        Boojum, which are the other SL:s you “can stand”? I want to try more of the line but I’m a bit scared by the sweet fruits and curries, so can never decide which samples to order.

    • Robin says:

      Wonder if it layers well with something that would make it drier…

  13. Robin R. says:

    Interesting comments, y’all. For me, if there were only one single Serge I could pick, it would be Daim Blond. I’m actually surprised it’s not really gettin’ the love here. ;-(

    • Robin says:

      Maybe the love isn’t showing up because I don’t love it? Always hard to tell, some times people are afraid to speak up.

      • Robin R. says:

        Oh, you used to intimidate the heck out of me, R. And now look. ;-)

  14. violetnoir says:

    I love Daim Blond, and I think it was the first SL that I purchased, along with Ambre Sultan.

    I have not worn either one of them all year. Guess I’m not as much in love with it anymore. But, if this weekend is cool and cloudy, and it should be, maybe I will wear it to the Dodger game!

    Hugs!

    • Robin says:

      Or you just forget about it? I do that with my favorites all the time.

  15. nicolibba says:

    Daim Blond was my first SL purchase and I do love it. I feel wrapped in sueded comfort that feels quite sexy. I must be lucky because it never veers too sweet on me and do enjoy the iris and hawthorne.

    • Robin says:

      Sueded comfort…nice.

  16. sneaky pie says:

    I am glad you reviewed this fragrance. Daim Blond, along with Chergui, has been my favorite SL. It has a slight bitter accord on my skin (perhaps what people have called “medicinal”), and I find it perfect for Spring, too. It is really not sweet on me. It is crisp, and the fruit note is understated.

    • Robin says:

      Funny how differently it strikes people! I would never call it crisp.

  17. chapter10 says:

    A note sang all the way through…Beautifull symphony but it has an unerving pitch…
    Sorry that was a bit flowery.X

    • Robin says:

      We don’t mind flowery :-)

  18. Philippe says:

    For some reason, it didn’t work on me. It smelled like…play-doh? It was quite strange.

    • Robin says:

      That is weird. Rahat Loukoum is the one I’d call play doh. Although I do love play doh.

    • Helle says:

      Though I’ve never smelt Play-doh I think this is very similar to how I experienced Daim Blond. Synthetic goo.

  19. Absolute Scentualist says:

    I actually bought Daim Blond and Clair de Musc at the same time, and both were my first SL purchases. I went through two sample vials of DB, one a few years back when I was just beginning my perfume journey and another last autumn. I fell so hard for it on the second try that I knew for sure a bottle would be in my future. I wore it out to a dinner gathering with heels and a favorite black dress and felt like the bee’s knees the entire time. ;)

    Of the leathery frags I own, Daim Blond is the definite cozy, snuggly leather of the group. It’s beautiful, not too heavy, unique and is perfect for wearing to bed. I recently tried a sample of Keiko Mecheri’s Cuir Cordoba and it is quite similar, though it smelled a bit heavier on the fruit. I don’t know if I’d need to own both, but KM’s take is nice.

    When I don’t want anything too “take charge” like Narcisse Noir, Daim Blond is great. Though thanks to misskittyv, I am now jonesing for a bottle of Bandit, which is so much Daim Blond’s opposite that it makes me smile to think what would happen if the two frags could ever get in the ring together. I imagine DB would merely stand in her corner, arms folded and expression aloof as she tossed her hair and pointedly ignored her competition, while Bandit would busily be filing her nails into points, pacing and taunting her competitor with obscene gestures while flirting with DB’s boyfriend outside the ring. ;) They’re both great in different ways and I’m always a sucker for a good leather frag.

    • Joe says:

      That was so vivid I was envisioning it. Thanks for the description. Must try Bandit again… and Daim Blond for that matter. So wishing I owned a sample.

    • Robin says:

      Nice :-)

    • mals86 says:

      That was great!

      Bandit skeered me. Haven’t tried DB.

  20. SmokeyToes says:

    Ohhh I love this scent. I burned through my bottle, time to get another. I admit I didn’t “get” this at first. Then I wore it on a particularly cold dry winter day last holiday and something just clicked.
    The notes were smooth, warm and buttery, almost like a velvet aura. The middle notes on me are soft, I get dried fruit with honey, a touch of iris and spices and leather. I don’t get hawthorn or heliotrope, just a hint of sandalwood at the very last stages of drydown (12-14 hours later).

    Robin’s right, when Daim Blond works, it’s cozy and sexy, a perfect leather comfort scent.

    • Robin says:

      They should not allow people to try it in summer, LOL…

  21. Pimpinett says:

    The sweetness is a bit over-the-top in most of the few Serges I’ve tried. I like Cuir Mauresque, for example, but I would like it even more of it was less syrupy. Bandit is still my favourite leather, but I have lots of classic leather scents to smell yet.

  22. Mikie says:

    I’m THA man. I bought this from department store ! Try and Oh! I really like this scent . Could man wear this scent?
    No matter ! I ‘m wearing .
    My driver said ‘ What is ur scent ? smell like a mecinal syrup?
    Who care?

  23. Mikie says:

    I’m falling in love with this scent.
    And will try every SL scent.
    DB is very solf, modern , pleasant, so calm.
    Simply great!
    I LOve it , love who wear it as well.

  24. Mikie says:

    Can we layer DB with other SL scent?

  25. bookgirl says:

    I remember the first thing that popped into my head when I tried Daim Blond for the first time was S-E-X. It just smelled so seductive and come-hither to me. Later wearings produced an initial not-so-sexy screechiness that sort of made me nauseous (I’m blaming that blast of apricot at the beginning). I’ve actually worn it predominantly during the warmer months, but after reading so many comments about how great it is in colder weather, I’ll have to give it a try this winter.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, shame it didn’t live up to the first sniff! Hope it will work better in cold weather.

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