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Monday, April 20, 2009

Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens: Perfume Review

As undeniably pretty and conventional as a bouquet bought as a present, when one doesn't know what else to give - this is, to me, Nuit de Cellophane. Does that sound like a Serge Lutens scent to you? To me neither, but I am glad that it is not "an obvious Lutens perfume", i.e not oriental, not all base notes and does not have immortelle. For a long time now I wished the maitre would move on to pastures less dark, and Nuit de Cellophane might be a sign of such a move, or at least it might provide a welcome temporary break from the orientals.

Since I am not a French speaker, the "cellophane" part of the name seemed rather morbid to me at first in a Twin Peaks sort of way. But I got over it, and now feel that "cellophane" is there to point out the- probably intentional and stylized- conventionality of a composition. The crinkly, sparkly conventionality of transparent cellulose covering a bouquet of pastel roses. The generic aspect, to me, starts midway through the development of the scent. The beginning is actually very interesting, a bright, fresh fruity-green accord that blends already apricotty osmanthus with more (unripe) aprictots and something verdant and dry. There is liveliness and effervescence in the top notes of Nuit de Cellophane that I adore. When the blend becomes creamier, and what makes it so I am not sure (more osmanthus, jasmine, almonds, honey? all of the above?), it becomes, as a dear friend put it, a smell of a perfume section of Sephora. Sort of a collective image of various pleasantly smelling fruity-florals. The base notes continue on the creamy road, but make it a tiny bit darker, muskier and woodier; this is where, if you didn't know who created the scent, you might possibly, if you are super knowledgable of the line and super perceptive, intuit that it is by Lutens.

I do wish Nuit de Cellophane was all about the elegant vivacity of its top notes and nothing about cream and honey. Just like a cellophane wrapped bouquet of conventionally pretty pastel roses, this is not something I would buy for myself. Just like such a bouquet, this is something I would accept with much pleasure and enjoy...all the while secretly wishing that the giftor had more imagination and presented me with something like Tubereuse Criminelle instead.

Available at Aedes and Luckyscents, $120.00 for 50ml.

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Blogger Flora said...

I am still holding out hope for this one, and I should be trying it soon - the reason is that I have been waiting for Serge to do something with Osmanthus, which I love to distraction and which loves me back, and I am hoping it amplifies that lovely apricot-floral note on my skin. Yes I love Tubereuse Criminelle too, and Datura Noir, but you can't take those naughty dames anywhere. ;-)

12:31 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

I actually really loved this when it came out, and then got a little sidetracked when Octavian of 1000fragrances told me it was a dead ringer for J'Adore Absolu -- kind of like I'd been fooled, you know?
Lutens hasn't always done edgy: Fleurs de Citronnier or Clair de Musc come to mind. My qualm is more with the lasting power, which isn't stellar for something that's got jasmine in it. Otherwise I still find it quite lovely.

2:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If you do love osmanthus so, you might like this one a lot.

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It lasts very well on me, strangely. Now I need to find J'Adore Absolu to sniff :-)

7:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love osmanthus and was really looking forward to this, but sadly, it' wasn't meant to be. All I get is harsh, soapy jasmine & plastic, and it lasts all day without evolving much. Luckily, I've found that OJ Osamnthus is similar but somehow a million times better.


9:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I get soap too, creamy kind, not harsh, but still soap.

9:23 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, I wish I had your skin chemistry! On me this went straight to dryer sheet territory. :-( I love almost all the notes listed for this, so can only assume it's a tragic case of a mismatch w/ my skin.

10:56 AM EDT  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

I like this scent. I have about used up my decant. Sadly, though, I think it contains something I am allergic or sensitive to as it leaves a welt near my elbow. And I really liked it. I wish I could identify the component.


8:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Oh, I really disliked this one :( On my skin, it smelled completely generic, like several other perfumes on the market. You're right, SL does get a little mired sometimes in deep, dark oriental territory, but this isn't what I'd like to see (or smell) for a change of pace.

9:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Suzanna Mars said...

I found it unwearable, which came as a bit of a shock. I need to try it again, but I am hesistant.

On me, there was a distinct hairspray note at the top; while trying to bear this out I came face to face with the osmanthus. Osmanthus is never apricot-like on me but more like a jammy Gummi Bear orange. Then it got musky. The overall effect was a difficult, synthetic floral and I scrubbed it off.

It is kin to J'Adore, another fragrance I dislike and do not understand.

9:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous surely-shirley said...

I loved the picture, really ;0)

5:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous faizanjax said...

No, no, no...what is going on at the house that Lutens built? Smelled without the lutens-tinted glasses on, this is a generic and mediocre fruity floral which fails to impress even in the quality of ingredients dept.

11:12 PM EDT  

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