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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Santal Blanc

Review by Tom

I've decided to go back and cover a few of the Serge Lutens that I've liked but haven't reviewed yet (in other words I'm being lazy), starting with

Santal Blanc

This one starts off with an effervescent accord that both sweet and tart, reminding me of the home-made Sasparilla my father used to make. My parents had their own little Martha Stewart corner: my mother would bottle tons of jams and pickles to be laid down in the old coal cellar, and dad liked to bottle Sasparilla and root beer. Invariably, over the first days of laying them down, one or two of the bottles would blow up in the plastic bins he put them in to contain the explosion, and the fizzy-sweet rooty earthiness reminds me of the scent of the cellar when he opened them to remove and rinse off the survivors, along with a peppery almost pickled smell.

Sounds delish, yes?

Actually, it's divine: bright and spikey and peppery. It's what most ozonic fragrances want to be and aren't, perhaps because it doesn't use ozone; it's an olfactory "whoopee"! The very woody iris and creamy sandalwood (a sandalwood that I have received many compliments on) come in to ground this scent, but like Daim Blond syrupy opening blast, that "whoopee" opening is never far off; any bit of movement that would make you glow will bring it right back in a more muted form. When it does finally drop out after several hours, if you are like me you can't wait to respritz.


Santal Blanc is available wherever Serge Lutens export line is sold.


Blogger Marina said...

That totally reminds me of the way my grandma's preserves would blow up in the closet/cupboard. At least one of them. Every season. Aw, I want to be a child again, hang out with my babushka. :-)

10:15 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Me too! Adulthood sucks!

Well, except for the ability to order perfume online. And an open Barneys charge.

I think we just need babushkas for our inner child. Or better yet, Auntie Mames!

11:16 PM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

Ach, one of my faves! It lasts all day on me, though, and even then, I'm using a fairly light hand. It's got that funny aromatic tingle (like mint does) on the top, which is very enjoyable, too.

"any bit of movement that would make you glow will bring it right back in a more muted form" Oh, yes! I never have the words to describe it anyhow, but you said it much better than I could. Perhaps this is why it's such an addictive fragrance? What a great way to express that. It's not quite a circular quality, but very satisfying nevertheless.

11:35 PM EST  
Blogger Gaia said...

I have yet to see a Serge that I don't like. It's lovely, though I have no pickled memories to go with it.

12:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much to my shame, I've never ever sniffed this one. I'm feeling like a bad boy though. I am, in addition, a real fan of sarsparillla and root beer. Hum.

Now, bring on the fun anon stalker prontisimo!

4:19 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...


I offer to be your Auntie Mame-
ask Leo, I'm up to it...

I love this one, and layer it-
Because solo, I simply smell like the most elegant, glorious pencil in the world.

7:12 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Really? Huh. Okay, I'll go re-smell it. This is probably one of the ones I stupidly overlooked (like Eau de Merveilles) because it didn't reach out and throttle me.

7:38 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love that "whoopee" feeling and wish I got it from Santal Blanc. Santal Blanc was more suede-like on my skin than like sandalwood. I like it but don't love it, like most Serge Lutens scents.

8:03 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Love this one too distraction. Total comfort scent. Reminds me of eating cinnamon toast w/ a bit of fruit preserves on my imaginary sandalwood table. I've never smelled Sasparilla. Now I've got to go find some. Today.

8:15 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, sounds great. How does it compater to SL's Santal de Mysore? Oh, did you get your Montales yet? I sent you six or so...

10:42 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Goodness, I meant to say "compare". Please excuse the bad spelling!

10:44 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Circular is almost what it does. A lot of Lutens do that little trick on me and I love them for it.

11:18 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I agree, but I am told that perhaps La Myrhh wouldn't work on me. I am hoping to get to Paris one day and find out..

11:19 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Try this one. It's great fun.

Don't shoo him away! I'm too much of a attention whore!

11:20 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If you're up to it I am.

I promise to never subject you to the Uptons of Montebank either.

11:22 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It started out sort of mid-pack to meh in the gotta have it sweepstakes (I didn't buyt it at Barneys, I bid on it on eBay and won by a fluke), but having worn it a couple of times I suddenly was captured by it.

Luckily I don't get the eau-de-Faber-No.2 that Chaya does ;-)

11:25 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


What ones do you love? I'm always curious (and always looking for new stuff!).

11:26 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't know why it reminds me of Sasparilla (and I haven't had any in about 100 years) but it just does.

Now I want cinnamon toast...

11:28 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think I misworded that. I meant that I don't love any Serge Lutens scent, though I like some of them.

11:30 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have never smelled that Serge so I can't compare. And I am almost afraid to- I'd hate to get hooked on another exclusive!

They have not arrived yet, but with the post office that's not a surprise.

11:32 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


No, your wording was fine. I was wondering what other lines or scents you really love.

I know on some people Lutens can be unwearably odd. Most of the ones I tried work well on me.

11:35 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...


Don't you mean the "Upsons from Montebank"? As in Upson Downs. Is that not the funniest movie in the universe? And, what about "How bleak was my puberty!"?

12:55 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Yes, I meant "Upsons". My typing is ghastly. Just ghastly! Bunny Bixler is always on my back about it!

2:12 PM EST  
Anonymous Jade said...

Leave it to Serge to blow your mind each and every time. There is absolutely no humanly possible way of predicting how any of his creations might smell.

You can find my take on this scent here:

Too much to say for a simple comment box. ;-)

3:48 PM EDT  

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