Perfume Review: Sarrasins by Serge Lutens
Review by Tom
In 1984 (when I was 7), a good friend of mine managed to scam the second of many jobs for me, this time at the Olympic Arts Festival an adjunct to the 1984 Olymics in Los Angeles. I was an East Coast boy, having grown up in New England and at that point living in New York. I sounded (and still do when I am tired) a bit like Katharine Hepburn, had milk-white skin, pale grey-green eyes and dark ash-blond (according to my last hair-guy matching what's not grey now) hair. In short, I did not look like your stereotypical Californian. For the first few weeks I stayed at a college friends parent's house in Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills; I shocked my hosts by walking down the long driveway and strolling down to the Beverly Hills Hotel to buy cigarettes- I think they thought I was slightly insane, and that I would be picked up by the police. Since this was the evening and the gift shop was closed, the staff directed me to a vending machine they used; I felt like I was in a special club. A few times I would have a drink at the Polo Lounge. Even though I must looked like a total rube, with my pink button-down, chinos and topsiders and a tweed jacket of my Dad's from Cahill and Hogges or the red Eisenhower jacket I bought at Canal Jeans I never felt unwelcome, they were warm and pleasant. Then I would take myself back up the canyon road to my hosts house, my pack of Lucky Strikes in my pocket, stopping every block or so to sniff the wild profusion of bushes of night-blooming jasmine that were perhaps more heady than the glass of peaty Laphroig I'd spend three hours pay on.
Sarrasins opens with exactly that jasmine: heady, but blameless and unexpectedly clean as it draws you in. There is a dusty, slightly ozonic note to it, like settled car exhaust. There's a taste of green to this that's true to the jasmine here; something about the general of the dryness of the climate that flattens the sort of rot aspect that Jasmine has in say the deep south. Like our "June Gloom", a seasonal onshore flow of moisture from the Pacific that makes for morning and evening fog despite daytime heat and dryness, Sarrasins as it develops becomes more moist and more animal, then oddly fades. It becomes sepia-toned, like my memory of my strolls through that Benedict Canyon evening nearly a quarter-century ago. I truly wish that I could write that it builds upon that initial, transportive opening, but it doesn't. From Colombina's review, and from their website "a sumptuous jasmin which smoothes its fur... a sigh of time". I didn't want it to smooth it's fur; I don't want it to sigh. I wanted it to go further, bolder. It settled from exuberance into flattened middle-age. So, perhaps have I, but I don't want scents to reflect that. I want it to deliver on it's Welches grape colored promise.
Mssrs Lutens and Sheldrake, we know you have it in you and you know we'll jump through hoops to get it.
Wow us. I dare you.
Image sourse, about.com.