…I’d rather say that it is a perfume at the center of doubt; that the beam balance never settles between iris and hyacinth in the main accord, which is what makes the composition interesting. — Serge Lutens
It is rare that Serge Lutens says anything about his own fragrances that I find helpful, but in this case — he was doing an interview with Grain de Musc — he has so neatly summed up the experience of wearing his new Bas de Soie (silk stockings) that only a few more details need to be added.
First, the iris is that cosmetics-powder sort of iris, far from the turnips and dirt-caked roots of Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist. The whole fragrance is cold and spiky early on, and very peppery, and the hyacinth is green and slightly bitter; later, Bas de Soie is warmer, softer and sweeter, and as advertised, the two notes seem to weave in and out (or struggle for control, depending on your outlook) for hours without ceasing until it rather suddenly fades away. The base is musky and slightly woody, and clean, maybe even very clean.
Despite the clean finish, Bas de Soie has something of the retro feel you’d expect from the name, although perhaps not in the way you might expect: it does not feel like a perfume from the classic age of perfumery so much as a functional product from the classic age of perfumery, and although I enjoyed wearing it, I cannot disagree with the folks at MakeupAlley who have compared the smell to old-fashioned hairspray.
Do I like Bas de Soie? I don’t know. It is not boring — far from it — and I did not by any means find it unpleasant. Still, at the moment I have no desire to wear it again. Into the purgatory basket it goes; it can keep Nuit de Cellophane company.