One Thousand Scents

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So There

Helg from Perfume Shrine engaged in an absolutely justified bit of nyah-nyah yesterday after having leaked in February the (not one hundred per cent correct , as it turned out, but close enough) information that Serge Lutens was discontinuing four of its scents: Clair de Musc, Chypre Rouge, Miel de Bois, and Douce Amere. It soon transpired that 1) it was actually Santal Blanc, not Clair de Musc, that was being discontinued, and 2) they weren't actually being withdrawn from production, but transformed from the Export line (tall, rectangular spray bottles available for sale in many parts of the world) to the Exclusive line (curvaceous pour bottles available only at the Palais Royale in Paris).

I am really only telling you this because you should definitely be reading Perfume Shrine, and because I wanted an excuse to post pictures of those gorgeous, gorgeous bell jars (each of which you can click to see it its larger-than-life-sized glory).

My first full-bottle Lutens (just last November!) was the thrilling Chypre Rouge, the very definition of a niche scent: absolutely unique, a little odd--well, very odd--and resolutely committed to its own vision, despite the fact (or really because of the fact) that it would never appeal to more than a small handful of people.

The second Lutens I bought was Miel de Bois, the first one I had ever really immersed myself in and gotten to know intimately. Many, many people hate it ferociously; a quick Google will tell you all you need to know. But I adore it.

My third and fourth Lutenses were the sublime Un Bois Vanille (which will never be discontinued, being a warm, sweet vanilla scent very much in the modern style, one of Lutens' most approachable scents) and Douce Amere, which I bought because I thought it was being discontinued, and I knew I could not live without its arresting balance of bitter and sweet.

And then last May I used the excuse of being on vacation to buy a whole batch of Lutenses: Fourreau Noir and Fumerie Turque in bell jars at the Palais Royale, and Ambre Sultan and Santal Blanc in Edinburgh.

And that, I hope, is where I will stop. There are other Lutens scents that it would be fun to have, but I think I have enough to keep me going for quite some time. I have all the scents of his that I really require. (The if-you-had-to-pick-one conversational game is boring, but if I did have to pick one line, it would be Lutens, unquestionably. If I had to pick one scent? Couldn't do it. Would actually rather do without.)

It's a shame that those four excellent scents are going to be so hard to come by, particularly the ravishing Santal Blanc and the melancholy Douce Amere. But at least they're housed in those beautiful bell jars, and they're all still available, even if you have to go a ways to get them.

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