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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens: Five O'Clock Au Gingembre

Has the speed and amount of releases exhausted the inspiration behind this formerly Great, no, make it GREAT, line? To me, the downhill movement started with (so-called) Chypre (so-called) Rouge. Louve was shockingly uninteresting, and frankly I thought that the only way from there would be up, but no...Five O'Clock Au Gingembre does not, in my view, signify the new beginning. Rather, it is the rehashing of the same old, once exciting and unique, but by now over-done, spicy-warm-oriental themes, which, I know, are what made the Lutens line, what made it coherent and well-edited ...but would you not agree that the time has come for the house to break free of its oriental restraints and come up with something that wouldn't smell so... same-y?

When I first tried Five O'Clock at Barneys the other day, I thought that the bottle was mislabeled and that the juice was in fact Rousse. It had the same powdery spiciness, the same enveloping warmth, the same tasteful smokiness. I actually said out loud that, wow, this smells so similar to Rousse, which seemingly offended the SA, who then proceeded to lecture me on how Rousse is cinnamon and Five O'Clock is ginger. And, of course, she is right, but you know what, the spices might be different, but the feel of the composition is the same. I am not going to go into details, because, 1) I have nothing to say apart from "it smells of sweet smoky tea infused with vanilla and spices" and 2) if you smelled Mandarine Mandarin, Chypre Rouge and Rousse, you already know what Five O'Clock au Gingembre is like. And what I want for Serge Lutens Parfums is to become completely unexpected again. I want to wait for their next release (which I sincerely hope will not come any time soon) with bated breath and wonder what it would be like and fantasize and try to predict based on its very obscure description and then be completely surprised and blown away.

Five O'Clock au Gingembre is available at the usual Lutens retailers, $120.00 for 50ml.

Image source, Senteurs d'Ailleurs

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53 Comments:

Blogger tmp00 said...

Well I obviously liked this a lot more than you but I too wish they'd get off it and just wow us once again, even if it's unwearable...

Because if the next one is Oriental clove I am done

9:48 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

and I love the new header!

9:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Tom,
If the next one is Oriental clove, I will do hara-kiri. :-)

10:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

And thank you!

10:15 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

А как ты посмотришь на идею экскурсии в какое-нибудь злачное парфюмерное место, где ты мне, чайнику, покажешь Lutens и другие разные экслюзивные диковины и расскажешь, чем корица отличается от имбиря? )

10:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Аноним,
Почему вам не спится в такую рань в Праздник Труда? :-)Посмотрю на идею положительно :-)

10:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Хороший вопрос, наболевший ) Просыпаюсь как заведённый в одно и то же время.
Спокойной ночи!

10:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

А вам, аноним, хороших и безопасных долгих выходых

10:35 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Rousse. Exactly. My first thought when sniffing Gingembre was that it was the fraternal twin of Rousse. What has happened to my beloved Serge? He's either drifted into extreme apathy or has developed a form of originality phobia.

10:44 PM EDT  
Anonymous 2scents said...

Gosh, I really did not like Rousse (my cinnamon associations are too much along the gum, redhots, toothpaste lines, my grandmother did not make jam like Serge's did) but I am really digging 5 o'clock. It's atmospheric--almost a 'virtual reality scent--with that name. It's got a true ginger note and is my new favorite tea fragrance. I do get what you mean about not pushing the envelope. I have also enjoyed the challenging journey of discovery presented by some of the other Serges.

12:55 AM EDT  
OpenID quinncreative said...

Serge is too busy being enigmatic in Morocco, waiting for the Sirocco and a translator who can understand him.

I like the idea of guessing his next fragrance. It will follow your delightful new header and be gray and seemingly vanished, leaving a whiff of cardamom smoke and candied nectarine with mushroom musk.

2:05 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I quite liked 5 O'Clock, with the "virtual reality" aspect 2scents refers to -- it's as though I walked into a place wafting this smell and was impregnated with it. But I agree with you, Marina: it's not quite what we had come to expect of Lutens, and seems to bow to more commercial concerns. Mind you, that seems to be the case for most of the fragrances launched specifically for the export line. Which makes sense, really.

2:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

I hear you!

Actually I had a strange experience with G5O. When I sampled it the first time, I thought that it smelled very much like Let it Rock by VW. I have since tested them side by side and (to my nose at least) they are extremely similar. The Lutens unfolds a little better and is slightly more complex...but seriously, half and hour in, they smell really similar and the drydown is practically identical.

5:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

I meant "half an hour" of course.

5:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

L,
I really think he is overtired by the sheer amount of his new releases. No one can have THAT many great ideas for perfume per year.

6:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Anita said...

I keep faithfully sampling my way through SLs, wanting very much to smell what others rhapsodize over. With two exceptions, they do nothing for me. 5 O'clock wasn't one of the two. Love your new spring look!

6:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

2scents,
Challenging is a great word to use. I don't even ask to like the scent. I just want to admire its originality :-) Have I reached some bizarre level of jadedness? :-)

6:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

quinncreative,
LOL at the first paragraph (and it rhymes!).
Does it look grey? It is supposed to be "misty rose". I guess on my monitor it is more of a rose, on yours it is more of a mist. :-)

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Denyse,
That is true. I still love Daim Blond dearly though.

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Divina,
Oh? So I guess Let it Rock is an interesting scent then. See my double standard? What's boring for an SL is exciting for a VW :-)

6:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Anita,
Thank you!
Which two do you like?

6:51 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I would say I was very disappointed in this scent, but by this time I pretty much expected it. I did NOT immediately run to Barney's or send away for it (whereas I used to be desperate to smell the minute a new Serge was announced), and when I finally sniffed--meh. Unfortunately, I have felt more or less the same way about all the recent SLs, export or non-. Admittedly, he has already created enough wonderful scents to secure a place in the Perfume Pantheon forever--but it would be sad to think that this is the end. . . .

I love both your picture and the new look!

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Judith,
Thank you!
And you are right, the recent non-exports were not that Wow either :-(

7:11 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I like this, and Rousse-
Easy to wear, lovable, not particularly generic-

But no WOW. No Earthquake. No True Love, alas.

Pressure to produce must be exhausting to the imagination- which is tragic.
I feel similarly about JCE's newest, Mousson-

Less IS more- do less releases, give us more quality !

[THIS- from the Queen of Excess, mind you...lol]

8:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, this rather kills my interest in seeking it out. All in all, I have not been enjoying latest Lutens, although Sarrasins has grown on me.

Vika

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Jenavira13 said...

I admit I haven't smelled this ginger one (I really didn't want to write full title), but I was so disappointed with Louve. It would be nice if he went off the beaten path of his spices and we know he can do it. Personally in my day dreaming I would love to see his take on osmanthus.

9:40 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

Oh, dear. I've been wanting to sniff this since it's ginger, which is something I dearly love, but I'm with you on the general decline. The Serge Lutens Tour of Your Spice Cabinet is not what we signed on for. If I want cinnamon, I'll go with Musc Rav. If I want almond, I'll go with Ambra del Nepal (because a little dab'll do me). It's like he's turning into the French Jo Malone -- everything seems so literal.

OTOH, he (& Sheldrake) brought me Ambre Sultan and Tubey Crim. For these two gifts I will be forever in his debt.

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

I have to confess I've never smelled Rousse. I know, I know.

I liked 5 O'Clock quite a lot, but didn't think it was "me." However, the partner thought it was delicious (hardly surprising, as he loves ambery scents and smoky tea scents) and my brother grabbed my hand and would not willingly relinquish my wrist. We were in a movie and me is conspicuously 6'8", and even the giggles of the people behind us didn't make him let go until he had had his fill of sniffing it. "That's my favorite on you so far," he proclaimed.

What I WANTED from the scent was more lightness, more fresh ginger lemony bite, more zip, more morning, less evening. But I am going to give it a faithful few more tries, if only to amuse my hubs and brother.

10:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

And the header IS lovely! (Observant thing, aren't I? Heh heh.)

10:20 AM EDT  
OpenID divalano said...

Gingembre was a snoozer on me, too. Started spicy & fun & settled into unremarkable complacency. Piffle.

10:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Denise said...

I liked it, but I wasn't wowed either. And I haven't even smelled Rousse or Chypre Rouge. I still haven't found a Serge that's FBW for me.

Love the new header!

12:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Thanks for your candid review: it makes me so glad that I didn't get caught up in the hoopla and order this one (though the thought of a ginger perfume was sooo tempting). I realize it's not fair to expect to be nothing less than dazzled each time SL launches a scent, but it's true...I want him to slow down and create dazzlers again!

Btw, I love the new design and smoky rose color of your site -- as well as the lovely photo of you!

1:28 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I liked Rousse much better than 5:00, but whatever, I think we all agree that whatever SL is up to lately, it is very different. I'm wondering if it will be easier to assess the recent scents 10 years from now, you know what I mean? He has switched gears so radically that it is hard not to be disappointed.

1:43 PM EDT  
Blogger knidonovan said...

ohh.. with reviews such as these he may get willful and either develop another exotic pastry scent or head to fresh grass land!

I just always want a perfume to make swoon and puzzled!

2:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is C. Sheldrake in Chanel?
Maybe that is why the SL perfumes have been predictable, because Sheldrake is not working on the perfumes anymore?
Arwen

7:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Ida,
Only True Love will do :-)

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Vika,
You and The Guide make me want to revisit Sarrasins.

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jenavira,
Datura Noir has a big osmanthus note, no? or did you want an osmanthus-osmanthus?

8:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Amy,
The Serge Lutens Tour of Your Spice Cabinet - LOL!!

8:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Linda,
You know what if he loved it so much on you and you don't hate it...you have got to get it :-)

8:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

M,
I love the word "piffle" :-)

8:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Denise,
Thank you!
I think the only truly "my" SL is Daim Blond.

8:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Suzanne,
Thank you so much! So it is smoky-rose on your monitor? It is a pale lilacy-pink on mine. :-)

8:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

R,
10 years sounds about right for re-assessment :-)
I like Rousse much more too.

8:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

knidonovan,
If I were SL I'd create an Oriental clove, as Tom suggests, just out of spite :-)

8:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Arwen,
I think in an interview somewhere SL said that they still work together. I am not sure.

8:50 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I love your lovely new pink spring dress ;-P and I want Serge to do a fruity floral with a big ol' fresh accord, and some "frozen" lychee. And some pink pepper. Now, THAT would get my attention.

PS Maybe with a skanky drydown. Hold the stewed fruits, thanks.

10:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenavira13 said...

Marina, I want him to go osmanthus osmanthus, really explore the amazing juxtaposition of leather and apricots that can be found in the orange colored osmanthus blooms. While Datura Noir is lovely (I do have it), I want him to explore the other part of osmanthus.

11:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

March,
Reading things like that make me feel unwell, early in the morning. Eww. :-)

7:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jenavira,
Oh, I love that idea!

7:04 AM EDT  
Blogger the oblitterati said...

Aw shucks. I quite liked it. I agree that it isn't really breaking new ground, but I thought it brought a nice Lutens coolness and subtlety and complexity to the warm-kitty-curled-up-by-the-fire ginger-spice genre.

I'm confused by the "exclusivity" of scents. I was told this one was a Barney's exclusive but I now see it available at Luckyscent. And perhaps it has been sold in Paris for years. What does it all mean?

1:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Mercedes said...

Ohhhh, I own Rousse and five O´Colck. I love and wear both of them a lot. But....Are they similar???? absolutely...Very similar. The drydown is different, though. Great blog, Marina, by the way.

6:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Beauty411 said...

I appreciate your honest appraisal, although I'm sure I will be reading more than my share of "oh this so fab--another winner from SL" blog reviews, as well. I'm sure the pressure is there to keep cranking the scents out.

5:02 PM EDT  

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