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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Eureka Moment ...And a Bit of News

Review by Tom

First off, the news:

Serge Lutens' heartwrenchingly lovely Un Lys has appeared at Barneys as the spring guest-export scent. It's a gorgeous and very feminine lily scent that opens with the barest touch of green and dries down to notes of vanilla and musk. The eponymous lillies are heady and voluptuous: masses of lillies. Bowers of them in fact. I can see that with a heavy hand, this could be overpowering. But I think this all-lillies-all-the-time wonder is fantastic. Just the thing for a big night out, whether that's a night out at the Opera in opera length gloves or a dinner out where you want to capture the attention of the men (and quite a few of the women). $120 for 50ml at Barneys

Sometimes it takes a while for a scent to... acclimate is the best way I can put it. It happened years ago with Annick Goutal Sables, which took a try to two before its immortelle went from maple candy sweetness to peaty caramelly swooniness. Miel de Bois was another: it took several tries for it to work. It's almost like learning a foreign language; you study and study and drill and drill and at one point those meaningless syllables cohere. What was once random babbling now is conversation, easy and comfortable. Suddenly you get it, it works on you. I call it "the eureka moment".

This one seems to take the cake as one of the longest between complete indifference and utter infatuation: Serge Lutens Rousse. I wrote that I was indifferent to it, Colombina wrote that she rather like it more, but she wouldn't need a full bottle. She had a subsequent change of heart, and is very much enamored. I wasn't until I was at Barneys today (Sunday the 22nd) and the lady at the counter convinced me to respritz. Suddenly, it was delightful: playful cinnamon red-hots and wonderful woodiness. Cloves and a certain doughy immortelle are in the middle and the drydown, but those slightly scorched woods keep it from becoming too literally pie-like. The musky drydown is reminiscent of Mandarine Mandarin but slightly less dense, being tinged with spices rather than fruits. Do I have to tell you that I bought a bottle?

Rousse is available at Barneys, $100 for 50ml.

If I run across another one that turns from "meh" to "oooooh baby", I'll write about it. Somehow I doubt that "Blue Sugar" will ever have that thing happen...

35 Comments:

Anonymous Flora said...

Wonderful review of one of my all-time Top Ten perfumes! So glad to hear it's back for awhile. (Note to self: sell grandmother on E-Bay, use proceeds for stocking up on Un Lys....)

10:29 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Flora-

I can see where Un Lys would be in anyones top-ten: it's Glamour with an emphatically capital "G"

10:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Tom - glad you found a new love. I liked Rousse from the beginning, but it certainly seems like it has taken a while for some to warm to it. It is more minimalist than the standard Serge, and so I can see how it might have been a disappointment for people initially.

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Faizan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:29 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

erin-

I don't know what it was. At first I got nothing and one day this week it opened like a flower. I am enjoying its embrace.

1:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Rousse is just a slice, I adore it and Un Lys, and they couldn't be more different.

Glad to see you came around... finally! :)

2:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Tom, what a wonderful analogy, between learning a foreign language and catching on to a new fragrance!

I love that poster or label or whatever it is for Rousse.

2:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

*Does shameless 'I told you so' dance, shamelessly*

Good news about Un Lys too - it's still available in the UK in its export bottle. Not that we need worry - we can get the non-export line pretty easily.

*goes off to slap self into less pompous mood*

3:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous markdavid said...

Yes I adore Rousse! I'm going to buy a bottle by fall. I still think it was released at the wrong time of year, but what do I know?

-MD

5:07 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

How delightful for you, Tom !

I love them both..still have my indolic bell jar of Un Lys[am protecting it from the elements].

I agree w / MD about the release date [ no surprises here]; i often think that they time these things poorly.
But then, who the hell am I ?

Enjoy your new crushes.

7:03 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Oh, I don't need to hear this. I was with you on my initial impression of Rousse. I am afraid to retry it (I really can't afford it)!

7:06 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Dang! I already sent you that bottle of BS! And samples for all your friends! To "try at home" (remember that SA's sage advice?!?) Heh heh. I also threw ... lessee... some Hummer in there (does that name make you snort, or am I just immature?), some Unforgiveable ... oh, and Baby Phat Golden Goddess!

Rousse, shmoose. I got wet potpourri or something. (wanders off sulking in search for the right fragrance for 62 degrees and raining...)

7:18 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

PS Blathering on here -- if I had a dollar for everything I've done a complete turnaround on, I could buy that bottle of Lys. Some I think I needed to grow into.

7:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

*dances with Leopoldo*

Everyone should give Rousse another try, but please SPRAY it, don't dab. Spraying is the key here :-)

Great article, Tom, as always!

7:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

I love when meh turns to love. It really is like a Eureka moment. This doesn't happen very often for me now, maybe because I have less patience to re-test things, but it happened with Fifi a while back.

7:45 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

It's always incredibly dangerous for the budget to retry scents. And I'm w/ Maria B - that was a brilliant analogy.
Adore Rousse, but, although I think Un Lys is gorgeous, it's not one I need to wear more than once a year.

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Now I need to try Un Lys - thanks Tom! Does sound rather wonderful. I like Glamour and indolic together. As for Rousse I loved it on first sniff and have ear marked it for purchase in the Autumn. Somebody has remarked on its minimalist nature which I think was what did it for me - often I find SL can be a bit too baroque for my taste. Love the poster - would have envisioned something reddy brown but blue and bare back works!

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

I know that phenomenon well. I am the proud owner of a bottle of Sables (thanks to you, Tom). At first it was maple syrup and honey and sugar and Equal and saccharine and more maple syrup. I just didn't get it. Then I tried it again and washed it off. However, this doesn't wash off easily so I kept getting whiffs of turpentine (one of my favorite smells...I want to be pickled in turpentine when I die), and musk and burning carmel. I was hooked!

What about the phenomenon of owning a bottle and giving it away because you don't really care about it (and hardly ever wear it) only to start craving it to the point you buy it again? This has NEVER happened to me.

10:26 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Patty-

Me too. Well, my wallet wasn't happy about it, but I was

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

maria-

thanks, and I love that poster as well..

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

lee-

(looking balefully in Great Britains direction)

Soooooo glad it's easy for you to get bell jars.

(skulking off to pout)

11:09 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

markdavid-

I agree about the release time being off. I think both of them (MM and Rousse) should have been Autumn releases.

But nobody ever checks with me on these things...

11:10 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Chaya-

I have a dear friend who picked me up a bottle of MKK in Paris, and she bought a couple for herself. She got Fumerie Turque and Un Lys, which is interesting because her previous fave was l'Eau d'Issey!

Hidden depths!

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Lily-

It's evil. Pure evil. Smells like Hostess Apple pie and butt.

Now read no further.

11:14 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March

Thats okay. I sent you that bottle of Human Existence, and the vial (vile?) of Secretions Magnefique.

Golly, I hope they didnt get busted in transit! :-)~

11:16 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March-

I thinnk that's true, especially with Lutens.

BS however.... I could get to love SM before that.

11:17 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Columbina-

I think that was it exactly. I had the sample that Patty kindly sent and was dabbing. Spraying made all the difference. It was like decanting red wine or something: the fragrance just bloomed when sprayed.

11:18 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

newproducts-

It doesn't happen as often as it used to for me either, but when it does, whooooaaa!

11:19 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

elle-

It is dangerous to the budget. Mine is sitting in a corner whimpering giving me that "you said you'd stop!" look.

Sorry budget.

11:21 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

donanicola-

I think you will like Un Lys. It's lustrous without the usual Lutens oddness. It's like someone asked him "Can't you just do something pretty?" and he thought "You want pretty? I'll show you pretty!"

And then he came out with drop-dead gorgeous.

11:24 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Kelley-

Glad you love the Sables as well. That's one you won't steal if we ever get together ;-)

I've had that happen with bottles I've given away. It's a sad, sad event.

11:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous ghostranchguy said...

"eureka moment" seems more of a glorified "duh factor"... a person's gloating on "this is it!"... how fortunate for those that can... how calm it must be... for me scents are so fleetingly emotional... ever-illusive phantoms that haunt... they never conjure the feelings of a found moment... and if ever they do provide that moment an instantaneous "next?" slips into consciousness

1:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Billy said...

I just had this Eureka moment happen with Bois d'argent by CD. When I first bought a decant, I thought it smelled like a petting zoo, mulch, and BO. However, I had yet to try it on the skin. After it dries down on the skin, the top notes (which still disgust me) leave me with the most gorgeous, sweet, light, yet somewhat dusty and pungent honey. I am not one for sweet scents, but the drydown is simply amazing.

1:59 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ghostranchguy-

how interesting.

5:20 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

billy-

I think the petting zoo ones are the most likely to not be gotten on first whiff. but they always seem worth a second or even fifth try.

5:21 PM EDT  

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