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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Rousse

The latest export scent to join the Serge Lutens collection of fragrances, Rousse, was inspired by cinnamon and is said to be a perfume that “tells us about the essence of wood”. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and Cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum) are trees, the bark of which is used to produce the cinnamon spice and essential oil. Those who might be worried that, with cinnamon as the center of the composition, Rousse might be straying into a gourmand territory, should not be concerned. Rousse will not greet you with the comforting smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns. Nor would it make you feel as if you stuck your nose into a jar of cinnamon powder. As the official copy promises, this really is all about the (cinnamon) wood.

Putting on Rousse is akin to being transferred, Peter Pan style, inside a magical tree. The smell of the spicy, powdery bark, of the resinous wood is all around you, like a warm cocoon. The top accord features a sweet, vaguely fruity and candied note (what I take to be mandarins), cinnamon and woods. As the scent progresses, it loses practically all of its initial sweetness and acquires a slightly powdery, slightly “buttery” violet note, as well as a brighter, spicier floral smell of carnation, which complements the cinnamon very nicely. The drydown is dark and balsamic, with plenty of amber and some vanilla to soften and round the composition. This is a melancholy, contemplative scent, an adult’s day-dream of an enchanted world.

Like Leopoldo, I can't help but notice the resemblance between the new Lutens fragrance and Idole de Lubin. In fact, for me, the two are rather too similar. I smell Idole in the spicy candiedness of the top notes of Rousse and in the resinous drydown. Rousse is woodier, drier, much less “boozy” and has a slight powdery undertone (the powder of the grated bark), but the two are still very alike, on my skin. Because of that, I can’t help but feel that I’ve been there, done that, got a bottle. Although I like Rousse quite a bit, I doubt that I will want to own it.

Rousse will be officially released on February 15, 2007, and hopefully will become available in the US not too long after. It will retail for €75.00 for 50ml.

The first image is from, the second from


Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a dilemma you present. Do I try both--or do I try neither because Rousse and Idole sound like the sort of scent I will not be able to resist?

I clicked back to your Idole review. Oh, do quote Beaudelaire more frequently! He was the Poet of Scent (maybe of all the senses). "La nature est un temple..." Oh, I must dig out the complete works.

1:33 AM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Sweetie, you've just saved me mucho euros. While I'll certainly smell Rousse when I get the chance, I already own a full bottle of Idole, which I've been wearing again a bit after last year's "it's out, it's new" binge. It seems that Rousse follows the same red-juice line as Chypre Rouge and Mandarine Mandarin, which somehow isn't my favourite period in the Lutens Sheldrake oeuvre.

2:43 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rousse is softer and woodier than Idole, and although their dry downs are similar journeys, they take different routes. And I think Rousse is more of a comfort scent really, even if that comfort is wistful and slightly wide eyed with sad wonder. I love it, much more (*whispers*) than Idole. In fact, it grows on me and in my imagination, daily. I NEED a bottle.

But I guess I made this obvious in my effusive review!

7:52 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, this one sounds so good; you make me forget that I have not loved one single Lutens. I like Idole quite a bit but find its transparency (the trademark of Giacobetti) a little frustrating. The focus on woods in Rousse (and also my experience with SLs in general) makes me believe that this one will not be as transparent.

8:06 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

"This is a melancholy, contemplative scent, an adult’s day-dream of an enchanted world."
That was *so* perfect. It's exactly how I feel about Rousse. And why I adore it so much.
I agree that it has similarities to Idole, but like Leo, I find they go in different directions on my skin. And, um...again, like Leo, I also far prefer Rousse to Idole. :-)

8:13 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you should try both. The similarity- if it even will be apparent on your skin- might not bother you at all. I mean, I find Feminite du Bois and Guerlain Exaltant to be kind of similar, but that doesn't bother me :-)
Please don't tempt me with Baudelaire. Others won't say thank you to you if I start quoting him again at every opportunity :-)

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

But what if it is not like Idole, on your skin?
I agree with you though. I am ready for Lutens to move on into another "period". I actually would love him to make a floral. A nice, unusual floral, Lutens-style, for export.

8:36 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I absolutely agree about softer and woodier and comfort. And still, as soon as I apply it, the first thing I think is - Idole! I can't get over it. It is not helping that I am very much over Idole. :-(
PS. I loved your review!

8:37 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You are lucky! Why do I get so much of it. Unfair.

8:38 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You may or may not find the two similar, it may or may not bother you, but one thing for sure, Rousse is not transparent at all. It is not heavy or dense, mind is opaque, it has "matted surface" :-)

8:39 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you Elle.xx

Thanks M - always love yours, even if I can't go down floral corridors with you just yet.

8:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

If only I still loved Idole like I used to, I would have adored the fact that Rousse smells kind of like it. I mean, again, Feminite and Bois et Fruits. Does the similarity bother me? No, ma'am. As my dad would say, shaking his head in disbelief, Vooooman!

8:41 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Perhaps if Lutens gets over this woody-spicy-red-oriental thing for just a bit and makes us a nice new floral scent, maybe then you could be persuaded to go down the floral path :-)

8:42 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

I just got a few drops of Rousse from a wonderful person, and I am still experiencing the opening. So far, it is just like the candy "Red-hots" on me--which is fine, but not swoonworthy. I will have to wait for the drydown. Idole was nice but it came out too light on me, so maybe this will be better--but Lee says it's softer, so. . . well, we'll see!!

8:43 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you hold my hand (I'll spray Yatagan on it...)?

8:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Please share the impressions, as it progresses. It is softer, but not lighter, you know?

8:49 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I will, I promise. :-)
(I am still a little scared of flowers myself)

8:49 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, frankly, it was Idole that gave me that "been there, done that" feeling... perfectly nice, but sort of in the vein of many of my favoured scents, and not interesting enough (plus, I find Giacobbetti's scents much too fleeting on my skin; I'm the kind of gal who finds MKK or Bandit a bit on the feeble side) to swoon about. So I'm now officially very curious about Rousse! ;-)

8:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, Idole reminded me of Chaos, A LOT. So by default Rousse reminds me of that too. :-) I would love to hear what you think of Rousse, when you try it.

8:56 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Leo -
Love you too. :-) And your review was brilliant. Also inspired me to get my derriere out and find some Cinnamon Tiger Balm. Wow. Fab stuff!

9:42 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK--It definitely dried down in an Idole-like fashion on me: pleasant, comforting---and a bit too soft. BUT remember, I only had a couple of drops to play with. I clearly need to douse my perfume-eating skin with more before making a final judgment, and will do so when it arrives at Barney's.

9:43 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

L and L,
And I love you both :-)

Does Tiger Balm smell like Idole too? :-) Then I don't want it.

9:52 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It is kind of soft, but quite long-lasting on me. Do you think Aedes would sell it too? Do they sell Chypre Rouge? Of course the info is a click away, how lazy am I?

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

...yes, they do. So they would probably sell Rousse too, I guess.

9:55 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Very interesting review thank you. It gives me hope! The only SLs I have enjoyed so far have been Arabie and A la Nuit when the testers have presented themselves most generously. I suspect I need to investigate the non export line. I had worried about cinnamon - thought it might too strongly suggest apple pie but it seems not. (and anyway, why am I worrying when I'll happily smell like a christmas pudding after I've sprayed myself with Arabie!)

10:08 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm yet to see a cinnamon tree but I can relate to your review - it's about the bark plus I also get some floral undertones. I don't find it similar to Idole, though. Feminite du Bois or even Guerlain's Exaltant a little. I've tested it more, and I don't think I'll need a bottle. It's one of those "conceptual appeal" cases... Yes, Serge! Give us a nice floral!

10:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Fear not :-) It absolutely does not smell of apple pie (not at me, at least).

10:30 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I read your review, and I hoped that if Rousse must smell like anything, it would indeed be Feminite, but no such luck. No Feminite for me. Just Idole. :-(

10:30 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'll have to see- I was hoping that it would not be cinnamon red-hots with an Idole drydown, but from the comments perhaps it is. Well, I guess I'll find out.

11:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Can't wait to hear, or rather to read, what you think!

11:19 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Thanks Columbina - you and Leopoldo have convinced me to try it with a much more open mind!

11:36 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Why am I not excited about this, or about the last few SLs? Does anyone else think the line is getting too large for its own good? With so many scents, it is harder & harder to surprise...I feel like I know them before I smell them.

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree. And last couple of them are sort of along the same lines. It might help if they released somethng entirely different. I don't know...a floral maybe.

11:49 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It seems to be all wood and spices, all the time. Oriental. Evocative of exotic lands. Brooding. And yes, that's what Lutens is famous for, but maybe it's time for him to surprise us with something completely different.

12:12 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I agree with you, M., I'd like to see Lutens work on an interesting floral... And I think Chypre Rouge marked the onset of Lutens fatigue for me. Proof is, I didn't rush out to sample this the minute it hit the Palais-Royal. I'm getting the same feeling as V. and R. on this... Oh well, we still have plenty of SLs to play with.

12:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, for me too. Chypre Rouge was just so reminiscent of everything else Lutens has done. Actually, tiny alarm bells started to go off for me when Gris Clair was released. No, it is not identical to Encens de Lavande, but not THAT different either.

12:37 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Okay, still sulking. I got Gris Clair lite, as you know. :-( Consoling myself that a friend did, too.

Judith and Patty got excellent cinnamon.

1:36 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting. Hard as I try, I don't smell anything Gris-Clair-like in Rousse. Hmm.

1:52 PM EST  
Blogger Justin Goldberg said...

I absolutely adore essentialrose oil

12:50 PM EST  

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