Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire ~ new fragrance

Serge Lutens L'Incendiaire

French niche line Serge Lutens has launched L'Incendiaire, a new unisex fragrance. It is reportedly the first of a new luxury series, Section d'Or. 

Sensual and opulent skin perfumery. Rare resins, saps, ambers and tarmac…. insanely elegant and deep.

Serge Lutens L'Incendiaire is available now at Barneys, $600 for 50 ml.

(via barneys)

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  1. sayitisntso says:

    $6oo? I have no words. Oh wait, yes I do: No. #flatline

    • Robin says:

      I’ve been having this conversation lately, here in the comments and also with Kevin via email….brands are finding, I think, that the upper limit of what they can charge is much higher than they thought…there are people out there willing to spend an awful lot of money on perfume.

      It isn’t that long ago that a Serge export scent cost $80.

      • sayitisntso says:

        Ok, I get that brands will charge what the market will bear but when I see prices like that I think the only people buying are customers who are not so much interested in perfume but only want to talk about how much something costs. Bragging rights. Maybe I’m just super cranky today and should go back to bed but ugh, there is no scent in existence that I’d be willing to shell out that much money for. And this from someone who has a couple of full sized Malle’s. Gotta draw a line in the sand somewhere! :)

        • Robin says:

          I wouldn’t spend that either — I’d like to think I wouldn’t spend it even if I could afford it.

        • plume says:

          I think it’s very unfortunate to accuse someone of something like ‘bragging rights’ simply because the price is high. I love perfumes like Richwood and Puredistance M, both $600+ and worth every penny to me. I understand you when you say $600 is too much for you to pay for a perfume, but you should probably end it there instead of being critical of those who aren’t opposed to the higher price tag.

          • Robin says:

            Gosh. I said I’d like to think I wouldn’t spend it, not that I care if anybody else does. Ditto when I say I think a perfume is meh — I assume some other people think it is fabulous, and that’s fine. This is, to a great extent, a blog about people’s opinions about perfumes. Otherwise we’d stop having reviews & we’d not allow comments.

        • Joe says:

          You know, it’s okay to be critical. Always. Who knows what people’s motives are, but it’s just an opinion.

          And the price is truly ridiculous. The way a $40 hamburger is ridiculous.

        • Undina says:

          If you look at the latest damage poll, you’ll see that there were 70 people who bought at least 5 full bottles in the second quarter of this year (5-9 – 51 vote, 10-15 – 10 votes and more than 15 – 9 votes). Nobody really needs even 5, leave alone 15 bottles of perfume in 3-months time frame, no matter how great deals were. So it’s OK if somebody chooses to buy just one but very special bottle – whether they know anything about perfumes or not.

  2. Merlin says:

    Robin, I remember in the original advert for this, your noticing the gold color, the new line and predicting a new line of super pricey Serges!

    • Robin says:

      Ha, I win!!

      • Merlin says:

        I think your comment was the most cynical one there, lol! I went on about it being pretentious, some found it profound, others artistic – but I remember you pointing out the ‘bottom line, lol!

        • Robin says:

          Probably so — I have become extraordinarily cynical about price. And I readily admit I have lost some respect for the brand with this release. He won’t care, of course, he’ll just buy another rug for his house in Morocco.

          • Coumarin says:

            I lost a bit of respect for Monsieur Lutens as well: I really cannot fathom what he could chuck in there to make it so pricey! I have a hard time with the line of thinking, “I simply could not make this perfume cost ~$130 for 50ml. It really must be $600 to express my (whatever he expresses. I forget how he phrases it).”

            I have not been around so long as to remember $80 exports, and I do understand that prices for literally EVERYTHING are going up. I don’t begrudge Hermes for my bottle of Epice Marine being $240 when my Brin de Reglisse was $180. But $600 for 50ml? Eesh.

            Maybe I’m just bitter that I can’t afford to even smell it, but I have a hard time believing that such an established brand needs this upper tier.

          • Merlin says:

            I agree, there is something plain audacious about charging astronomical amounts. It does ‘turn me off’ the brand a little – my being ‘turned off’ won’t affect his income much but I guess thats not, essentially, the point. Perhaps its a tribal thing? I don’t want to associate with a brand that is so utterly divorced from the reality of most people living on Earth.

  3. thegoddessrena says:

    Smelled this on skin the other night. Nice enough but not $600 worth of nice. Not even wonderful enough to make it onto my full bottle wishlist

    • Robin says:

      Interesting to me, the idea that there “could be” $600 worth of nice in a perfume. That should be a poll discussion one day! But glad to hear you didn’t fall head over heels.

      • thegoddessrena says:

        Not that I’m particularly willing to cross the $300 threshold. I think Iris Ganache at $275 before tax was my highest and I’d been wanting it for years before I bought it (under the gun of discontinuation)

        • Coumarin says:

          I think my limit is $300 as well. I don’t know what I’d pay that much for but I’m sure it’s out there. ;)

  4. pyramus says:


    Man, I felt like I was in too deep when I spent about $175 each for a couple of bell jars in Paris a while back. $200 is the going price for Santal de Mysore and I just cannot bring myself to spend that much.

    I still want to smell this and I guess I can see ordering a sample or a small decant but short of winning the lottery I could never, ever pay that kind of money.

    • songeuse says:

      I was thinking the same thing, it makes the bell jars seem like a bargain.

  5. relleric says:


  6. I wonder if these prices are going to drive the decants and splits market more and more, especially for perfumistas who have sizeable collections already.

  7. Dilana says:

    Boy, did that get removed from my interest list fast

  8. plume says:

    Not sure what all the fuss is over the price. Lutens certainly isn’t the first line to sell at prices $600 or higher. I’m very much looking forward to testing this.

  9. stinker_kit says:

    Tarmac!? Is that not asphalt? Fresh Tar? I have an idea, you pay me $600.00 and we will drive around until we find a crew laying fresh roadway and you can sniff to your heart’s content.

  10. stinker_kit says:

    And I am sure I have some rare resins, saps and amber lying around here somewhere so you can hold those in your lap until we find the road crew!

  11. Joe says:

    Might be nice for those who have more money than… perfume.

    It’s not a perfume for me at that price and I have little interest in trying it unless I hear it’s amazing.

  12. songeuse says:

    I just hope if this sells well that it doesn’t inspire them to scale up the prices of the bell jar line and the export line accordingly…

    • meganinstmaxime says:

      Yes I’m slightly worried – but hopefully they will keep the other lines at more ‘reasonable’ levels.

  13. nathanthomas50 says:

    Of course there’s a fuss about the price, the same way there is when a celebrity spends $50,000 on a handbag & people naturally question how and why anything could possible cost/be worth that much. When I worked for several luxury brands up to 90 % of the retail price was profit margin. I’m guessing the same or more for perfume, where the work and raw materials probably account for a few percent of the price (especially on something like the lutens line which doesn’t spend tens of millions on advertising like chanel/dior etc).
    It’s a matter of taste, but Very few of these super expensive perfumes I’ve tried smell any better than similar perfumes at 1/10th of the price.

    I have liked a few of the Roja Dove perfumes (especially the Diaghilev Parfum which is over $1000 for 100ml) but at that price point I always question whether I don’t have better things to spend my money on and always wonder what my mother would say if I told her I’d considered spending $1000 on a bottle of perfume – I think she’d probably be disappointed in my bourgeois superficiality ! Lol

  14. meganinstmaxime says:

    Eek! I wonder if it will be a little less pricey in France? Very interesting comment above about the 90% profit margin on some luxury brands. Can’t say it surprises me and of course it is all about the branding and how the brand positions itself and its products to its customers. The emotional and aspirational attributions play such an important part in the purchase. I have to say that perfume has for some time been playing this game from what I can tell with the Roja Dove line and others. For people who spend 15000 on a handbag 600 on a perfume is just par for the course. Serge Lutens is my favourite perfume house so I have to say I’m still keen to try it but at that price it will be a fantasy buy!

    • nathanthomas50 says:

      Re the pricing, when roja dove did Diaghilev as a 1000 bottle limited edition EDT it retailed at £68 as it was being sold at the v&a museum to tie in with a Ballet Russe exhibition so they deliberately capped the price so it would sell in a museum gift shop setting. The EDT was great, but when roja dove re-formulated it into a Parfum, suddenly the price rocketed from £68 to £750 ! Yes, it’s a Parfum concentration now and deeper and richer but basically it’s still Diaghilev and smells like the EDT version – but as a richer concentration of the same fragrance is it £680 better than the £68 EDT version?!

  15. Undina says:

    Every time I read about a very expensive perfume I wish it could actually live up to my expectations. Why? With the collection that I have already I can plan on not buying anything at all for the next, let’s say, 5 years. So if I were to absolutely love some perfume that costs $600 or even $1,000 for a bottle I could decide to stop buying those “good deal”, “nice to have” and “I kind of like it” perfumes/decants/minis and in a couple of years add that amazing but very expensive perfume to my collection. So far I wasn’t really tempted. And if I were to look into my current collection, there are probably just two or three perfumes for which I’d pay that price. So it’s very unlikely there will be more than one or two new ones that fit the bill over the course of the next N years I have left in front of me.

  16. kindcrow says:

    I’ll bet that I can find a nice perfume that contains “rare” resins, saps, and ambers that is made by an indie perfumer who will sell me a 10 ml bottle, wrap the package themselves, and include a nice handwritten note.

    As for the tarmac note, they just coated the street in front of my house, so I’m already getting that for free.

  17. kindcrow says:
  18. johanob says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of the brand.So I might be in the big minority here,but if the juice is fantastic(in MY opinion!),I’d buy it.In South African Rand,$600 is roughly R7500…that’s a cringer,but….lol.I paid somewhere in that range not so long ago for a Vintage long-lost perfume,sealed intact and with GORGEOUS juice!I’m by no means wealthy,but boy oh boy…I don’t need enablers,I can do it all by myself!!Lol!

  19. johanob says:

    Oh,and there was a recent Armani Prive release,with the same price tag,more or less.I think many Niche perfumeries and lines try to keep their “exclusivity”, by incorporating these kinds of fragrances and prices into their lines.Having said that,I’d be willing to pay top Dollar for a bottle of Malle’s Outrageous,which has become near impossible to find!!

    • Undina says:

      Armani’s was a 100 ml bottle, not 50 ; -) (though I agree with your previous comment)

  20. Kankuro says:

    My first reaction was. “Dear LORD! What’s up with that sudden price increase?”. So I can absolutely comprehend everyones reaction on this one. But here is some food for thought: This new fragrance is an Extrait de Parfum. If we look at some other perfume houses, like Guerlain, we see that Extraits are usually priced at about $340 for 30 ml. Serge offers us 50 ml of Extrait de Parfum for $600. If you think about it that way, Guerlain would probably charge a similar price for 50 ml Extrait of Shalimar or Jicky. And yet, most Perfume lovers will pay these prices for Chanel, Guerlain and Dior Extraits, but if brands like Serge Lutens and Roja Parfums charge it for their Extraits, it’s “too expensive”. I guess the main problem is the size of these brands bottles. If they would sell 30, or even 15 ml bottles, I am sure a lot less people would accuse them of being overprized.

  21. raymond says:

    This product is for the 1 percent. You will see ladies at the counter in Barneys who have never worked a day in their lives order 10 of these at a time to hand out as gifts to impress their friends. A $600 price tag for a bottle of perfume is not merely ostentatious, it is obscene. That’s my opinion.

    • nathanthomas50 says:

      Not sure it’s ostentatious as when they’re wearing it 99% of people would have no idea of how expensive it was from the smell – that’s not ostentation. Even if they hung the bottle on a chain around their neck 99% of people would still have no idea who Roja Dove or Serge Lutens were or how much it cost. A fur coat or a designer garment covered in logos is surely far more ostentatious than a perfume.

      It’s a democracy & People can spend their own money on what they want. No one needs sports cars, or Michelin starred restaurants, or designer garments, and women don’t NEED 50 pairs of shoes but if it gives enjoyment why is it obscene?

      It’s also not necessarily the 1% of ‘ladies who lunch’ – as mentioned above some people if they love something are happy to save and buy it knowing it will bring them happiness.

      • raymond says:

        Tell that to the fast-food workers who got arrested yesterday because they have the audacity to demand a $15-an-hour salary.

        • raymond says:

          Not long ago I saw an advertisement in the New York Times for a silver dog bowl made by Gucci. The price tag? $2400. I suppose one could argue that the embossed logo is on the underside of the bowl and no one would know by looking at it how much it’s worth. And the dish may also bring the dog much happiness. So by your definition it is neither ostentatious nor obscene.

          • nathanthomas50 says:

            All perfume is a luxury product, no-one needs perfume so by your own standard anyone who buys any perfume is ostentatious and obscene as they’re buying a product which is unnecessary (like a silver dog bowl – which if it’s unbranded could easily pass for steel or aluminium and therefore is not obviously ostentatious).

            You seem to take a communist approach to life where everyone should only be allowed to buy one type of car, eat basic food and everyone should have to wear a uniform to avoid some people wearing more expensive clothes than anyone else etc

            If someone wants to spend that kind of money on a dog bowl it’s their money, that they have earned it and they can spend it on whatever they want – it’s nothing to do with you really. I’m sure you spend your money on things that other people may consider stupid or irrelevant too.

            I also think you’ll find that companies like primark (whose clothes are certainly not luxury items) pay their manufacturers in India/Bangladesh pennies, whereas much luxury clothing is made in Europe especially Italy where workers are paid a decent wage – the idea that minimum wage in a fast food restaurant somehow has something to do with luxury products seems simplistic especially when it’s estimated that luxury brands contribute billions into the economy and employ many millions more directly and indirectly

          • Merlin says:

            I see both sides of this argument, to some extent. Capitalism enables people to spend massive amounts of money – and sometimes just for the pleasure of owning something expensive – while others, ultimately, are denied the most basic necessities of life. In a capitalist system it is often the act of possession which yields the pleasure rather than any property intrinsic to the item owned. I live in a country with massive economic disparities and yes, I think that ultimately there is something perverse about me spraying my $100 perfume on, in the morning, while a few kilometers away, there is a malnourished child. So far I have continued spraying away, but I do recognize that something is wrong with the system – even if I have no idea of how a better one can be created…

  22. nathanthomas50 says:

    Social inequality exists in most countries – the US is one of the richest countries in the world yet also has appalling poverty and inequality. Even in communist countries where everyone is supposed to be on an equal footing you always end up with a ruling elite swishing around in limos and doing deals to enrich themselves while 99% of the public pay for it (look at the number of soviet billionaires now living in London – at whose expense was their money made?)

    Does not spraying your perfume improve the life of that impoverished child you mention? Not really I guess, unless you stop buying perfume or anything else frivolous and give that money to charity instead. But if many people stop buying these frivolous items you reduce sales which means these companies fire workers as the market for their products reduces and I’m not sure how more unemployed people helps things – maybe those people who lose their jobs will end up desperate for the $15 and hour jobs mentioned above.

    But hey, this is a perfume blog – I’m not sure we can solve world poverty and inequality in one evening here!

  23. melanie says:

    Like some people have mentioned already the pricing is a bit of a bummer from Lutens. One of my favourite things about niche perfume relative to regular department store stuff was that it seemed like it was better value – higher quality ingredients, less spent on marketing, etc. – so even while it might’ve been more expensive it still felt (relatively!) sensible. I’m sure I actually have read a breakdown somewhere that showed that when compared, per ml, it generally was better value (in the sense that there was less of a profit margin on the actual perfume – but can’t think of where this might’ve been published). I think SL was my first and favourite niche house, but for them to follow the crazy high price trend makes me feel like the better value thing is not a generalisation I can make about niche vs mainstream anymore.

  24. bluegardenia says:

    In the last year I have learned more about perfume and the materials that go into it than I ever imagined I would, by making my own. I can assure everyone on this thread that it is most definitely possible to fit 600 dollars worth of exquisite, precious, natural rare ingredients into a 50ml bottle. In some cases you really do get what you pay for. But not in all of course. I haven’t smelled this and have no idea what’s in it, but please believe me when I say that the perfumes people regularly pay a couple hundred dollars for cost not even a small fraction of that to make. I know of one popular niche line in particular that charges upwards of 200 dollars a bottle and spends less than 75 cents per bottle on juice. I promise you, the margins are ridiculous. Maybe knowing this will help people understand why 600 dollars isn’t actually ridiculous at all, if it smells incredible and has amazing rare ingredients in it.

  25. Persolaise says:

    Just a quick FYI for any UK-based readers out there.

    In Britain, the scent will be a Harrods exclusive and it will cost… £380 for 50 ml… which makes me go Yikes too.

    In relation to a comment made above, I should also say that, according to my info, the scent is an EDP, not an extrait… but this could turn out to be wrong.

    £380 for 50 ml. The future is scary. Or just very, very lean.

    • Persolaise says:

      Okay, forget what I said about the scent being an EDP. My info was wrong. It’s an extrait.

  26. Bela says:

    Late to the party, sorry.

    I have only one word to quality the price of that perfume: obscene.

    I have been a fan of SL from the very beginning (many years ago now), but this is ridiculous. Of course they will have no problem whatsoever selling this fragrance. I see the very people who will buy it every week, when I visit the luxury shopping mall close to where I live (Westfield, in Shepherds Bush). Those same people can be spotted in swarms in Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty, etc. I’ll give you a clue to where they come from: it’s very hot there. Oh, and there are also the Eastern Europeans who bankrupted their own countries back in the 1990s by buying the utilities. They have made everything go up in London beyond reason. Very soon no one who earns an average income will be able to live here. Serge & Co. are just taking advantage of the situation. But it means it’s not just property one can’t afford to buy in London any longer, it’s also smaller luxuries.

    I used to live in a fairly grotty street in Paris (around Place de la République). My block of flats was next door to the Louis Vuitton factory. Every morning, remnants of the famous initialled material overflowed from the rubbish bins outside, on the pavement. I knew very well that *nothing* could justify the prices they charged for their stuff even then. Their margins were huge. They are gigantic now.

    Blatant social inequalities make me sick. I am not a communist, not even a socialist, just someone with a bit of compassion – and common sense.

  27. Flagstad Brunnhilde says:

    As a Libertarian who strongly believes in free enterprise and individual freedom, I’m deeply shocked to hear there are people who believe in Socialism and redistribution of spite.

    Caron has a limited $2,000 POIVRE bottle, Guerlain has a few highly expensive perfumes as well. Serge Lutens would be really stupid if he didn’t have his pure perfumes line as well!

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