She’s Cute When She’s Mad… Serge Lutens’ Vitriol d’Oeillet
I spent a few years translating the journals of a French archaeologist into English, so trust me when I say that “Vitriol d’Oeillet” translates as “Pissed-Off Carnation”. Really.
I’m a colonial, so I don’t associate carnations with funerals, grim states of mind, and so on. They were just those cute little flowers boys bought for girls in school when they couldn’t afford roses. We used them in science experiments in freshman biology. And they used to smell so good, now, not so much. The scent has been bred out of commercial carnations, but you can grow heritage varieties that are full of clove-y goodness. That spicy kick is due mostly to eugenol, which I think IFRA banned, or exiled to Capri last year.
So I was really looking forward to Serge’s carnation perfume. The only one in my collection is Guerlain’s Voile d’Ete, long discontinued, and I’m down to my last 5ml!! Would Serge save me? Alas, no. V d’O is really…cute. No anger, no shouting of personal remarks. No Medusas or Medeas here. Just cute little teddy bears throwing cute little tantrums.
Not that it’s a bad perfume. It’s nice. There’s some peppery smoky spice in the opening, just a tad to whet your appetite. Then it settles down into a comfy, old-fashioned floral, more rose than carnation, with some gentle musk and soap. Then in a few hours, it’s gone. Phhft. I could wear this anywhere, it’s quite pleasant, but I don’t want to put on a Serge and then forget that it’s there. You know what I mean?? Chergui overpowers and haunts me (and passersby, too). Serge Noire is a real feast, a scary Tim Burton sort of feast, but truly compelling. Even Gris Clair and Bas de Soie get me to thinking, dreaming, over the many hours I can smell them on my clothing and hair. And don’t get me started on La Myrrhe or Iris Silver Mist or my prose will turn purple.
V d’O? If carnations are for funerals in France, then this funeral is for someone you barely knew, you feel obligated into going, you’re too far from the priest to hear the eulogy, and then you sneak out a little early so you don’t get caught in the cemetery gridlock. Sigh….
Did anyone get more out of this than I did?