Serge Lutens Filles en Aiguilles: Perfume Review
The newest Serge, available at Barneys. My French isn't nearly up to snuff for the ideography of the name (Girls in heels? Girls in needles? Huh?) I do get the idea of the needles as being pine. Growing up in New England I of course remember the smell of pine forests: the earthy smell of the resinous needles and the coldness of the brace of trees that stayed cool on the hottest summer day. We have pine trees in my neighborhood too, lining Coldwater Canyon Drive. Coming from the valley you can tell when you've entered Beverly Hills from Los Angeles by the canopy of the pines and the drop in temps.
According to Robin at Now Smell This the notes are "pine needles meld(ed) with vetiver, frankincense, fruit and spice notes”. I certainly get some of that but I think I also smell camphor in there: vetiver alone wouldn’t provide the forest-floor chill. There’s a part of pine that smells like creosote or turpentine and there’s just a dash in here too. It dances from hot to cool in a delightfully, well, Serge-y way that I find captivating. Yes, it’s an oriental, yes there are woods and yes there are fruits. But on me the fruits are a barely discernible sweetness and the woods are there to hold up the pine boughs. Oh, and that pine.. I used to love to steal off to the pines on a hot day with a book. I’d pick wild berries at the edge of the woods and could stay for hours in the shade with the slight breeze making what sunshine could manage its way in dappled. The flow of the Mill river a muted trickle, my afternoon reading “A La Recherche de Temps Perdu”, oh okay, Stephen King seemed Byronic because of the location. Uncle Serge never shies away from letting you smell the rot that produces a flower, and there’s a fair bit of skank in this one: cool earth, hot sunshine and fresh, resinous pine needles layering over the dried and going-to-mulch stratum of the previously shed.
In my mind I want Serge Lutens to shock me. But I think that’s sometimes not the essence of the house. Nuit de Cellophane was shocking in that he took on the fruity-floral and drove a stake through the heart of the whole genre: it’s sophisticated yet young, heartbreakingly lovely but flirty. Like the best of Lutens, it doesn’t come to meet you halfway, you have to come to it.
This is Lutens answer to those of us who wanted green. In this case, I am more than happy to come to him.
$140, at Barneys