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Friday, November 21, 2008

Perfume review: Serge Lutens El Attarine

The ever-obscure and loquacious Lutens press release calls El Attarine "sweet-smelling", "gold", "sun-drenched" and compares it to a "topaz". All of which is true. The scent does evoke an image of a golden-brown precious stone with its facets reflecting rays of sun. It also makes me think of an exotic dessert that mixes vanilla and cream with cumin.

El Attarine might be the most enjoyable of the recent Lutens creations, enjoyable due to its creamy softness, its non-overwhelming sweetness, its subtle, warming spiciness. It is superbly comforting. It also seems to me to be one of the least original new Palais Royale releases. The honeyed woods in the top notes bring to mind Feminite du Bois. As cumin and immortelle become apparent, and the scent intensifies further and gets sweeter, I am reminded of the buttery, fiery confection, Arabie. And as the fragrance settles back into the woody creaminess dirtied by a hint of cumin and musk, I smell one of Feminite du Bois' offspring, Bois et Musc.

I still hope that Lutens will at one point get wood-immortelle-cumin (also, elsewhere, cinnamon!) out of his system and will move on to different notes. There are, after all, other ways to depict Orient in perfume. I for one would be curious to see what the dark genius would do with an oud note. He would probably mix it with immortelle...

El Attarine is available exclusively in the Salons du Palais Royal in Paris, 110€ for 75 ml

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28 Comments:

Anonymous joe805 said...

I find myself going back to my sample (a tiny one that is almost gone) of El A, and enjoying its warm comfort more and more. However, my first impression remains much the same -- like a creamy dessert, as you say -- or in my case, like a beautifully honey-sweet, fragrant, cumin-flavored couscous studded with dried fruits. I will just need to cave in and buy a bigger decant. (And sadly, I don't have experience with other points of reference such as Arabie & FdB.)

10:42 PM EST  
Blogger Bryan said...

Marina,
I think we've mentioned this before to one another, but we are scent twins or at least scent close relatives.
I do think I love this a bit more than you, in fact this is my new "comfort" scent. I have finally admitted to myself, after much "pointing out" that I am addicted to florals. Big brash florals and soft "silly" florals....(except violets). So I don't usually do the typically comforty scents...if that's a word. I do find this however to be calming and well, you said it...bright and sunny.
I definitely love it more than any recent export scents.
I read you every day and although I don't comment much, you are a bright spot in my rather frantic life.
XOXO
Bryan

11:50 PM EST  
Anonymous leopoldo said...

I love it!

1:54 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

I'm so with you on that : he should try something with oud !

5:20 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Joe,
Your description of it as of honey-sweet, fragrant, cumin-flavored couscous is perfect!

8:24 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Bryan,
Yes we are! Thank you for your kind words, as always.
As for EA, I agree that it is very comforting, and a comfort scent doesn't have to be super original.

8:24 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Lee,
You just like to contradict me :-)

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Melinda,
Yeah! Let's hope he does something like that.

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

I get no sweetness at all from Attarine. :-( It goes in a purely savory direction on my skin. And from your mouth to Serge's ears. PLEASE let him do an oud! I'm extremely skeptical about his upcoming Cellophane scent. I really feel like the only new scents I'm seriously interested in these days are the vintage ones I read about (obsessively) in the H&R Guide. Thank God for ebay!

10:13 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

L,
Yeah...Etat Libre d'Orange wrote, they want the name, Nuit de Cellophane, back :-) I can't imagine wearing a scent with that name. I know it has a nicer connotation in French, but I am not French, alas. :-)

10:16 AM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Hee hee! But immortelle essence is such a fabulous scent and very tempting to add to one's concoctions. There are a few oils like it that I really need to label "think twice before you add this" because they are so dazzling.

Incidentally, I finally tried Arabie and found it yummy, but not-quite-for-me: a less wonky and rounder Dinner by Bobo. Conversely, if Dinner is too weird for you but almost-there, Arabie is probably your HG.

11:30 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Linda,
Ah, so you can relate to SL's obsession with immortelle? :-)
I agree re: Arabie vs Dinner

11:32 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Hey, at least he isn't doing melon ;-)

4:59 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

R,
:-) If he did, it would be mixed with immortelle and/or cinnamon.

5:03 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

This sound really good, but I think Arabie is just fine, no need for me to obsess over something from the Exclusive line. I DO want to see him do an Oud though, that would be grand.

3:13 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Donna,
Wouldn't it? I hope he does do it.

7:19 AM EST  
Anonymous uonim2 said...

Oh, no! Anything but oud! I could never understand why anyone would want to walk around smelling like a barnyard ;-(

9:13 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Dear U2
I find ouds to be an acquired taste. Keep trying. Perhaps test some of the finest, like Royal Oud. It is sublime.

7:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Uonim2 said...

Since you've never steered me wrong, Colombina, If I ever come across a bottle of oud I promise to keep an open mind ;-)

4:21 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Arabie but on me it is so spicy and peppery that it is almost too heavy/masculine. Is El A more feminine/lighter in that regard? How does one get a sample (isn't it only sold in France)? I'd also love to get your opinion of good ouds to start out with--is Royal Oud easy to find? Thanks---Jen

5:49 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Dear U2,
I am confident that you will love ouds, if only you give yourself a chance :-)

8:37 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jen,
I do find ElA to be lighter than Arabie.
Royal Oud is the rarest of the rare. But there are of course plenty other great ones.

8:37 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marina--Thanks for the info on El A--hopefully one day I will get to try that SL too! If it is lighter than Arabie--it should be right up my alley! I am very curious about the ouds and will try to find some to test--- Jen

3:59 AM EST  
Anonymous natalie said...

mmmmm....seems fantastic perfume with heavenly fragrance! Marina, I've just visited your blog. Very impressive!

5:32 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jen,
You could start with Montale line of oud scents, they are available fairly easily.

6:36 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Natalie,
Thank you and welcome.

6:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marina--After doing a search on Montale I see that they have a very extensive collection of ouds. I'm now very excited to sample some. Thank you for your suggestions--I'm always eager to find a new and unique scent!!! --Jen

12:07 PM EST  
Anonymous faizanjax said...

The house of Lutens is suffering from a severe lack of innovation. By the numbers samey juices, which while well composed, are just too lacking in their composition content and catering to the spicy-sweet-gelatinous loving Lutens fanboys (scream: fanboi service!).

Someone resuscitate this house from the cardiac arrest please..

12:24 AM EST  

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