One Thousand Scents

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rose's Turn: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin


As Serge Lutens had already done two roses before, the bright soprano Sa Majesté La Rose and the dark contralto Rose de Nuit, one might think he was done with the theme, but there is always room in the line for a rose soliflore, and La Fille de Berlin is it. (I am not sure what roses have to do with Berlin girls specifically – it seems to have something to do with 1920s style – but then I am often baffled by the names Serge applies to his perfumes, so perhaps we can assume it's a typically French flight of fancy.)

La Fille de Berlin starts out with a brilliant, fresh, wet tea rose, and gradually introduces a daub of honey, a grating of pepper, and what might be a wisp of incense. Otherwise it's just roses through and through, roses all the way down: they get darker as the scent evolves, but never truly dark. If I am not in a rose state of mind — hey, it happens — then it's just too much rose: but if I am feeling the roses, then it is charming, beguiling, endlessly enchanting as only roses can be. If anything could brighten a dark mood it's a sunshine-on-dewy-petals scent like this. I absolutely think a man could wear this: in fact, I think a lot of men ought to wear it instead of those drearily repetitive aquatics I can't get away from.


These pictures are slightly misleading regarding colour: the liquid is a startling magenta-pink that I suspect might stain clothing badly, so if you are the kind of person who likes to spray perfumes on your clothing, rethink that.

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