One Thousand Scents

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dramatic Soprano: Serge Lutens Sa Majesté La Rose

Music and perfumery seem to be allied in some mysterious way (all that talk about notes and chords/accords and compositions), and when I was wearing Serge Lutens' Sa Majesté La Rose, I couldn't help thinking, repeatedly, of this piece by Anna Russell, who took music criticism and turned it into high comedy:

"To be a dramatic soprano requires not so much the attributes of a singer as those of a successful auctioneer or hog-caller. I mean, to blast your way through a Wagnerian orchestra, for instance, a beautiful tone is an absolute waste of time. You're much better off with the factory-whistle or buzz-saw type of voice, with a good cutting edge. I'm going to make an entrance for this number, because it's a good idea to use shock tactics. What I mean by that is, it's very effective to come in and stun your audience right away, with a very loud bellow. You know, it has been established in science that a sufficiently loud noise can actually kill a bowl of goldfish--did you know that?"

She may as well have been describing the perfume.

Sa Majesté La Rose is undeniably beautiful, as a rose scent can hardly help being, but it's enormous. It uses shock tactics; a colossal, larger-than-life rose, decorated with greenery (and a hint of spice), and nothing more. It takes up an ungodly amount of space: it's room-filling. Apartment-filling. It is pitched very high. It could probably kill a bowl of goldfish.

At first. And then something wonderful happens; the rose slowly, slowly modulates, becoming softer and quieter, and equally slowly, a pearly warmth begins to rise up around it. There is a bit of honey to it (a frequent guest in a Lutens scent), and a creamy woodiness that lasts for hours without actually eclipsing the rose until the very, very end. It is enchanting.

There is no point even looking at Sa Majesté La Rose if you like a nice, demure rose scent; this one makes a statement, and the statement is, "You will pay attention to me."

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  • I'm new to your site, but happy to be swinging by...

    I thought I hated all things SL, (Daim Blond? Arsenic. Miel de Bois? Cough syrup + rose + beeswax= why bother?) until I got bitten by the Arabie bug. Now I am a believer. (And an owner-- I bought a bottle.) SMLR, while the thought of killing a poor goldfish does give me pause, sounds dreamy. I will try!

    By Blogger The Left Coast Nose, at 12:34 PM  

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