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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Perfume Review: Rousse by Serge Lutens

Review by Tom

In response to a really unattractive public whinge over at Perfume Posse, kind Patty sent me her sample of Lutens newest (rather than just writing "man up and deal with it, Pansy" which is most likely what I deserved). I have of course read some of the other reviews, but I will add in my impressions.

Well, people have been pretty love it or deeply disappointed with it.

I guess you can color me deeply indifferent to it.

Unlike practically on everyone else, Rousse on me goes on too light: it actually makes L'Antimatière seem like, well, a Serge Lutens scent. Trying to get in close to smell it in the crook of my arm, I can barely discern it, move away from it and I get the barky cinnamon woodiness. I also get the same sort of listless imortelle that I get from Chypre Rouge. There's a coolness that reminds me a bit of Gris Clair, but so muted as to be almost non-existed (this must be March's "Gris Clair light"). The drydown is very nice, a rounded vanillaed amber. I don't think it's like Idole that much. I actually wish it was, since I find Idole far more interesting. Actually, I much prefer Chypre Rouge to this, and it makes me gnash my teeth that Mandarine Mandarin is sitting in a bell jar in Paris mocking me and this one will soon be at Barneys doing the same.

In the Auto world in the late 50's through to the early 70's, there was something called the yearly new model. Unlike today where the difference between the 2007 Belchfire SUX and the 2006 before it might be a new paint color or making power ear-muffs standard, the car companies would trot out almost completely new sheet metal each year in the attempt to seduce you into a new car purchase by making your 1966 Impala look so last year next to the shiny new 1967 in the neighbors driveway. This was apparently a very expensive and designer-frustrating experience, since it meant that designers were putting the finishing touches on the 68's, firming up the 69's, working on the clay models for the 70's and sketching out what might become the 71's all at the same time- and all had to look different. I somehow wonder if Mssrs. Lutens and Sheldrake, in locking in the idea that there will be (at least) two new scents every year aren't giving themselves the same problem: how many variations on a theme can there be?

Of course, it could be that there just wasn't enough in the sample for me to retrain my nose to the point where I "get" it, and I will simply need to douse myself in it when it appears. It could also just be that they have veered from what I personally like, and this is just another great big unattractive public whinge on my part.


Rousse will be available at the usual suspects soon.


Blogger Marina said...

I loved the comparison with auto world and agree with what you said. I can't, however, understand where you and March find Gris Clair in Rousse :-) There is nothing Gris-Clair-ish about it, on my skin. Oh well.

So, Tom, you got me addicted to Top Chef, I am loving it. D'you think Sam is going to win. God, that man has no personality, so boring. And yes, I know, it's not about personality. :-) Sorry about the off topic.

10:21 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

well, dearie, you're three hours ahead of me, so you've almost gotten the answer. (haven't you?)

I don't know, I thought they were setting up Baby Wolverine to be the winner, since they were making him seem more sympathetic, or at least less of an a$$ than Ilan who should really admit that he wants to have gay sex with someone. Anyone. Not only is Sam a snooze (if he prefaced serving one more chocolate dish with the info that he's diabetic, I was going to run amok), but he isn't an interesting cook. I actually hope it's Elia, she was the most interesting chef. (/off topic)

I think on me the Gris Clair note is that slight contrapuntive coolness aginst the cinnamon warmth, the same (if very muted) way the menthol makes bracing the drowsy lavender in GC

10:57 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

BTW- there's the new show with Todd Oldham coming.

Jus sayin'...

11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, I can't believe what just happened. I also can't believe that you call Marcel Wolverine, just like I do, hahaha Great minds! I will only say that I was wrong in my guess and you were right. Watch what happens, in 3 hours ;-) I am very pleased with the results of semi-finale :-)

11:21 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, I am definitely watching Top Designer next week. Bravo TV can make Top Plumber and I will watch it, I am that pathetic. :-)

11:22 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on variations. All of the recent three releases have been in the same vein and not truly stunning, in my opinion. Like Marina said earlier, why not create a floral? While I consider Rousse the best of the three, I don't think I'll be getting a bottle.

P.S. Gris Clair? Huh? Lavender and cinnamon. *confused*

12:28 AM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

I am also baffled by the Gris Clair. The open on me is pure red hots, cinnamon toothpicks and cinnamon toast all rolled into one. So bizarre.

I want Elia to win TC -- she is too cute for words.

5:33 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

yesssss! valiDATION.

Gris Clair Lite, baby. I am NOT insane.

6:01 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still a big Rousse fan. It's still striking me as pretty different to CR (which entertained me with its uber sweet opening and mixed up middle note medley) and MM (which was a high quality marmalade), but belongs to the same rustic, spiced grouping overall I guess. Best and also most subtle of the last four releases to me.What I get bored of with SL is the loud blastiness - once in a while, it wears me out.

I'd like the Chris and Serge team to go green next time (and might even be prepared for a bit of galbanum loud blastiness, in spite of what I've just said)...

6:17 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, YES, LEE..
GO GREEN, boys !

Tomski, you're crackin' me up w/ Belchfire SUX !
[It's as if you knew how my evil widdle mind works...]

I'll reserve judgement 'til I sniff...
I like cinnamon, [as long as it doesn't scorch my skin!], and woody is good for me, if it isn't harsh, linear, and boring.

Why don't you 'tell us how you feel, how you really, really feel ?', lol...

Kisses to you !

7:20 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

If someone out there in an appropriate field is still agonizing over what to choose for a doctoral dissertation topic, hello!!! Skin chemistry and perfume. Need I say more? People would actually even check it out of the library once completed (unlike most I know in which you can more safely stash cash betw/ the pages than at the bank).
This one was really quite powerful on my skin. And delicious. Extremely delicious.
Tom, Marina...sob! Must you remind me of my tragic Bravoless existence? I'm just going to have to call Time Warner mercilessly till they agree to add it on.

7:28 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Sounds like this is a must-try-on-your-own-skin-to-know-what-it'll-be kind of scent. But then, what else is new, right? Great review, Tom.

7:53 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Tom, sorry for butting in into your comments, but I have to say:

Leopoldo, yes, GREEN!!! we need a green Lutens scent.

Patty, sorry, ain't gonna happen. I am still fuming from yesterday. What pathetic losers those 3 were. Are they 12 year old? I wish they were eliminated on the spot for being morons. Go Marcel!

OK, I am done now.

8:35 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK--the results of my researches on this scent leave me firmly in your "indifferent" camp: red-hots opening and disappearing drydown. I probably wouldn't have thought of Idole if it hadn't been mentioned, but I can see some similarity--and Idole disappears on me too! Gris Clair (which I love) I don't get.
In sum--meh.

9:27 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


No lavender, just the same sort of feeling of cool versus warm.

I hope the go wildly off track and do a floral next too

11:06 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I wish I got heat. I got not much. Oh well.

11:07 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If you're insane, we're insane together. Insane skank-monsters!

11:08 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Go green? Even better!

11:09 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


The one thing I can say about it is that it's not harsh. It's the most self-effacing Lutens I've ever smelled, nad I think that's what put me off.

11:10 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Skin chemistry is fascinating, isn't it?

We promise to keep the Bravo talk to the realms of IM until TimeWarner caves, or you get the dish.

Email Bravo and complain!

11:12 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think this one in particular is: I've never had a scent that on me was so wildly different than it was on others..

11:14 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I agree- go green! Shoots and roots and earth! Whee!

Also, Team Wolverine! Go Foam!

11:17 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Meh is it for me.

I think I'd like it more if the Gris Clair part was more literal than figurative.

11:28 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Give me your email address- I'm checking to see if there's some little thing I can go to help, Vis Bravo

12:02 PM EST  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

I still want to try it. I'm a fiend for cinnamon, and it's really nice on me. (When I wear Musc Rav I'm the world's biggest, sexiest box of Red Hots.) I should say, it's *usually* nice on me, but you never know what's going to happen to a note once Mssrs Sheldrake & Lutens get hold of it.

10:12 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure it will be gorgeous on you then!

10:20 AM EST  

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