Prize Fighter: Serge Lutens Boxeuses
A heads-up about the batch of Lutens samples I'm determined on reviewing. And with that out of the way…
My favourite reaction to a scent is an agog, drop-jawed "OH MY GOD!" It is rare: it happened with Ambre Précieux, my gateway into niche scent, and Parfum d'Hermes, I think the first extrait I ever bought, and with Lutens' Jeux de Peau and a very few other things besides. Something in my psyche or my olfactory setup steers me toward big lush heavy things, warm sexy orientals and chypres, leathers and woods and balsams: they are my drug of choice, and every few years I encounter one that has all the right elements in the right proportions and the right order, and then I am helpless within its steely velvet grip.
And that is precisely how I reacted to Boxeuses (this version of Boxeuses, I feel compelled to add, this slightly evaporated and possibly altered version that I find myself with). Everything about it is exactly right, every box checked. It is leather, and it is glorious.
I have always found Lutens' first attempt at leather, Cuir Mauresque, kind of boring — nice enough, but inoffensively, almost cringingly nice — and his second, Daim Blond, not much better, too restrained and also too irisy (irises and I do not get along so well). Boxeuses is the unexpected pairing of capital-L leather, warm and sultry, with piercing black licorice, garlanded with a little of that dried fruit we expect from Lutens (plums, I think, this time). True to its name ("boxeuses" are female boxers), the two main notes are big, and they duke it out for supremacy, neither getting the upper hand for hours: despite this struggle, they get along so well, leather and licorice, and who would have thought of that until Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens put it in a bottle?
As you can tell from the bell-jar bottle above, Boxeuses is not an export but an exclusive, which means you can find it at the Lutens boutique in Paris and probably nowhere else: you can't get it in the tall, slender 50-mL spray bottle. Yet. (Lutens does release one or two exclusives a year to the export market and then withdraws them again, to give us commoners a chance to get our hands on them without diluting the brand too much.) If Boxeuses is one of the 2013 export releases, or if I should get to Paris next year (we're hopefully planning a trip in celebration of my birthday, the big 5-0), then I will try it again to see if it still affects me as my sample did, but I have complete faith that it will and then I am getting this, or rather it is getting me.