Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens L'Incendiaire brand visual

“The fire is not within the perfume but within me. I want to ignite the smoldering embers of the perfume world, to put the fire back in perfume!” — Serge Lutens, on his fragrance L’Incendiaire1, the first release in his “luxury” Section d’Or collection

Many creative directors wax rhapsodic (and incoherently) about their perfume lines and themselves. Just this week Roja Dove claimed he introduced OUD to the niche fragrance world in 2011…over a decade after he was beat to the punch by many others (niche, and non-niche). I smiled when I read this bit of hyperbole on the Serge Lutens webpage: “Section d’Or is infinite. Serge Lutens takes infinity to a new level.” Only Lutens can bottle, nay, expand infinity! Read his “writings” if you don’t believe me — read too much, and you’ll want to head beyond infinity yourself for some brain-rest…

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Serge Lutens La Religieuse ~ perfume review

Serge Lutens La Religieuse brand graphic

Deliver us from Good!
Jasmine petals are as white as snow.
Black is my religion.1

I will say this for Serge Lutens, he continues to tempt me. And if you find elaborate but cryptic back story appealing, he is obviously your man.2 But it’s been some time since I’ve parted with my money for a new Serge Lutens fragrance, and my piggy bank is safe from La Religieuse.

La Religieuse, if you have been paying attention, is billed as the brand’s latest take on jasmine, following A La Nuit (“This jasmine has only one thought in its head: paint the town white!”) and Sarrasins (“I took white jasmine and contrived to make it as black as a panther, as black as night, which is embodied in this fragrance.”).3 The name has obvious religious connotations, but also calls up the pastry, shown just below in a (likewise enticing) violet version from Ladurée. Add to this the few notes mentioned in the press besides jasmine — musk, civet and incense — and yes, you could say I was interested…

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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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