Serge Lutens L’Orpheline ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens L'Orpheline

Do you ever think of certain scents as “warm” or “cool”? I do. Amber, leather, oakmoss, and wood smell warm to me, while herbs, citrus, green notes, and ozone smell cool. Florals can go either way, especially rose. Most perfumes seem to have an overall warm or cool flavor to them, too, or they start out cool then turn warm. Serge Lutens L’Orpheline bucks the trend by straddling both cool and warm notes at the same time. In the end, the fragrance feels like a worthy complement to a rainy autumn afternoon.

In true Serge fashion, the press material surrounding L’Orpheline’s release is more mystical than practical. (I imagine members of some future cult bowing to a huge black-and-white portrait of Serge Lutens while chanting bits from leather-bound perfume box inserts.) We do know that the fragrance was developed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake and includes notes of incense, ashes and musk…

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Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque with wild tobacco images

It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a new Serge Lutens perfume release. Today, I’m reviewing an eleven-year-old Lutens, a personal favorite. I’ve referenced Fumerie Turque1 in almost every tobacco-perfume review I’ve posted over the years, yet never got around to writing about it. I’m down to my last half-inch of Fumerie Turque, so it’s now or, maybe, never!

Tobacco perfumes are varied, but the actual tobacco note I smell most often in colognes is domineering. Even when surrounded by other strong fragrance notes, eventually, tobacco will triumph.

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Serge Lutens Chergui ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Chergui, doubled

Dallying with Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Oud sent me looking for my sample of Serge Lutens Chergui. It had probably been a couple of years since I’d smelled it. When it took more than a minute to find the tiny vial in a shoebox of samples, I wondered why I was going to all the trouble. Chergui is tobacco and hay. A nice spicy oriental. I know what this one is all about, right? Wrong.

As I’ve been discovering lately with other fragrances I’ve haven’t smelled in a while, Chergui is not exactly what I remembered. Maybe it’s because I’ve sampled so many perfumes between now and the last time I sniffed Chergui and so have a larger frame of reference. Or maybe my taste is changing. But today Chergui to me smells much more complete and complex than I’d remembered…

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Like nighttime and strawberry jam

We wanted to keep this jasmine because it has a particular smell. What is special about this jasmine is that it has a slight green tea smell and a sweetness -- a molecule that is also found in strawberries.

It doesn't smell like flowers in fact, rather a sensual potion. Like nighttime and strawberry jam.

— Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake on the jasmine grown for Chanel by the Mul family in Grasse. Read more at In Essence, at Ireland's Independent.