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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Chene

Review by Tom

Colombina has reviewed several of this house's scents, and I could hardly hope to add anything. So I will start on one of the scents she hasn't, and I hope that I can be a fraction as entertaining as she.

Serge Luten's Chene is almost an anomaly in the panlopy of his scents. It's fairly linear and very concise. There are none of the carnival tricks of some of his other scents, like Douce Amere's spiky opening or the biting on tinfoil sweetness that starts Miel de Bois (both of which I love, and happily own). As a matter of fact, Miel de Bois is my people repellant- I can spritz it on and nobody will sit next to me on the bus, but by the time I've walked into my office, I am nothing but slightly honeyed goodness. At least, that's why I think they aren't sitting next to me....

Chene is of course French for Oak, and Chene is a very woody scent. It's the smell of a walk amongst the tall trees of an oak forest in the warmth of summer, the secret earthiness revealing itself under the crisp leaves on the forest floor. There are hints of what smell to me like cumin and lily, with immortelle and honey and rum absolut adding a rich earthiness that never threatens to overpower. The scent is powerful, but not especially "masculine"; women I know wear it and wear it well. Like most SL scents, its staying power is excellent, unlike most SL's its sillage is also quite excellent, so men should use a light hand.

Chene is one of the Lutens exclusives, available only from the Salon in Paris. If you have friends in Europe, you can order from the Salon's website and have it delivered to them and you can have them ship to you in the states. The cost is about 115 Euros wish shipping in the EU.

Next (if you people want a next. No, I'm not above shameless begging.) Ambre Sultan.


Blogger Marina said...

Being such a bois-lover, I was very disapponted in myself for not getting along better with Chene. It had this intensely "burnt" smell on my skin, not in an altogether pleasant way. I so wish I smelled what you are smelling and so beautifully describing!

11:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great description! Yes, please come back with Ambre Sultan. ;) I adore Chene. It mostly smells like tree bark to me. It's just so mysterious and haunting. I imagine it'd layer well with honey scents. Hmm, must experiment. Actually, not that I think of it, I might have layered it with Ambre Sultan before.

11:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful review of Chene. Makes me ache for oak forests. I don't often wear Chene on its own (usually layer w/ Cherguie or some other scent), but now I'm going to have to try going solo w/ it again. Great to see a fellow MdB lover. :-) LOL about the bus! I hope you do come back w/ an Amber Sultan review.

7:12 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Great review! I love Chene--woody goodness--and you captured it perfectly. I do wear it on its own, although I also layer it--often with Chergui, as Elle describes. Please do return! I have had trouble with Ambre Sultan in the past; I need to try it again--and who knows, perhaps you can convert me!

7:19 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Okay, I'll retry it. I think of SLs as fall/winter scents, can't think of one that wouldn't kill me in this heat. I have Chergui, and I think the idea of layering it with Chene sounds perfect.

Do you have a favorite SL (or three?)

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Ina- haunting is the word..

Elle & Lily, I've never thought of layering Chene with Chergui- I'll have to give that a try.

March- I usually think of most of them as cool-weather scents. But I work in an office that's kept very cold to make the computers happy, and the bus in summer could store meat. So I am briefly in the warmth at best. As for favorites, I'd say Chene, Borneo and MKK, with Chergui and Gris Clair as very close runner-ups. But I've never tried an SL that I really hated

9:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you tried La Myrrhe? That is the only SL I hated. I can even deal with Miel de Bois (which you love). La Myrrhe, however, was a scrubber.

9:04 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

La Myhrre i have not tried. I am trying to stay away from the bell jars. If I love them then it's torture until I can find a way to get one. It's a bad enough addiction with Barneys being right down the street.....

Thank gawd you've reviewed some less expensive ones- Yatagan was a true find, and I am seriously considering an order of that Russian patchouli- it sounds wonderful...

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That Patchouli is realli nice, and I'm not just being patriotic :-) And the price is what, $14? :-)

9:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

such a nice review. I would love to read your thoughts on ambre sultan (which I only recently got a sample of and I think it's mysterious and really good).

10:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am butting in to say that I am going to try that combination. I am curious to see whether by combining two almost-unwearable scents I won't get something gorgeous and wearable.

1:13 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Great review! I'll try Chêne next chance I get -- it's one of the few Lutens that never touched my wrist.
I'm with Columbina on La Myrrhe. I got it as a gift when it came out and never liked it much. I've tried it in the heat, as I've just discovered that lots of Lutens actually seems to thrive on it -- Santal de Mysore and Fleurs d'Orangers, definitely blossomed into complex, mesmerizing summer scents. But La Myrrhe just didn't cut it...

5:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I received a sample of Chene that I purchased on eBay from the owner of this blog.
It is indeed a linear, one-note fragrance. And it smells just like the freshly-cut oak firewood that I purchase every autumn, whose fragrance changes and gradually disappears over the course of a year as it cures in the open air.

5:58 PM EDT  

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