Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“When Every Leaf is a Flower”: Serge Lutens Cèdre

By Marina

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus

It seems, I blinked, and the autumn was over. And it was such a beautiful autumn around here, an ideal, joyful, opulent, picturesque autumn, a visual feast of auburns, reds, ochres, terracottas and golds. No melancholy, almost no rain…autumn in Utopia. And I asked myself, what scent could have represented it the best? The answer came immediately and unexpectedly: Cèdre.

But why the scent so heavy on tuberose, this ultimate flower of eternal tropical summer, would make me think of fall? ...Then I remembered Camus’ quote. Imagine if, as the chlorophyll disappeared from the leaves and the green faded away, so did the fresh, verdant smell, and the leaves started to smell as sumptuously as they looked… wouldn’t that smell be exactly like this rich blend of creamy tuberose, balsamic wood and warm spices?

In fact, I believe that it is thanks to the spices in Cèdre, to fiery cloves and honeyed cinnamon, that the fragrance has such an autumnal feel. Their smoldering aroma hints on bonfires, on that smoky perfume that seems always present in the air in the fall, the perfume that always makes one a little wistful, a little restless, as if aching to migrate to the warmer lands with the birds for the winter... The sweetness of the spices alludes to the fruits of harvest and simultaneously to the festivities that will come when the ideal autumn transforms into the perfect winter.

Available at Luckyscent etc., $140.00 for 50ml.

Image credit, Ben Hassett for Vogue China January 2009.


  1. I bought Cedre unsniffed several years ago when I had no fear. It was one of life's biggest surprises when I detected absolutely no cedar. It's a lovely "Fall" tuberose as you suggested. Thank you for the beautiful review.

  2. Wow. Great description. I seriously want it for your description only. Cèdre is one of my most overlooked Lutens. I remember sniffing it ages ago and thinking it was some kind of Tubéreuse criminelle with training wheels, but it really was ages ago. I'll go fetch my sample NOW!

  3. Anonymous7:30 AM EST

    Cedre is indeed gorgeous, your imagery is spot on! Though I've rarely sniffed a Serge Lutens I didn't want to own, Cedre is at the top of its class.

  4. Anonymous8:28 AM EST

    I have always overlooked this one, seemed uninteresting. Ha, I really should know better by now ;)

  5. Thank you, M! "Years ago when I had no fear". :) Yes, I remember the first years of buying frenzy :)

  6. Delfina,
    To put it very, very simplistically, to me, TC is a "cold" tuberose and Cedre is a very "warm" one, if that makes sense.

  7. Marla,
    I started by being puzzled by Cedre, but that was when I was in an anti-floral frame of mind :) Now I'd wear it non-stop.

    Right? Sometimes one finds stuff to love among the dismissed samples.

  9. For me, Camus has a wonderful way of capturing sensations. I love this autumn quote.
    Cedre is a clever joke, as it is a tuberose instead of cedar. I like it too, although Tubereuse Criminelle is still my favorite tuberose.

  10. Vika,
    mine too. With Carnal Flower right there at the top too

  11. Wearing Cedre today, what a co-inky-dink. Also discovered in the fall... after avoiding it for years because I had the ridiculous notion it would smell like cedar, particularly in a Lutens scent. :) One of my FBs of Serge. Lovely review.

  12. March,
    well, it's called Cedar, so...fair assumption. I am sure there is some elaborate, obscure Lutenesque explanation in a copy of why it doesn't :)

  13. Tamara*J3:47 PM EST

    Hello Marina,
    I have never tried Cedre but can I just say I'm really glad your "back". I mean that, really.
    Missed your writing like the desert misses the rain....


  14. I got this in a trade and never thought I'd wear it. But it's absolutely lovely, and you're right, fall is the perfect time for it. Since out winter is like your fall I think it might be time to pull it on out..

  15. Tamara,
    You are too kind, thank you very much!

  16. Tom,
    I don't want to move from NYC, but I want it to acquire a different winter weather :) (it's been snowing by the way...)

  17. Anonymous6:57 PM EST

    This is amazing-
    I bought Cedre almost 2 years ago. I kept saving it and saving it, hoping for a special occasion. I was just considering giving it to a friend (it's still sealed in its cello wrapper) but-I want it.
    I have an enormous cerde tree by my door. It smells incrdibly good, especially when it's snowy. The aroma is intoxicating, and Cedre captures the memory of shovelling snow with the smell of honeyed cedar sap. Thank you for this review!

    Carole MacLeod

  18. Purdysturdy11:06 AM EST

    Tuberose and autumn are both so voluptuous. May your life be filled with bounty and beauty, as are the perfume and the season!

  19. Purdysturdy,
    Thank you! Love your nickname :)

  20. Carole,
    no no don't give it away. It will be such a comforting warm scent in winter too1

  21. I don't know how I missed Cedre until a few months ago. I'd sniffed all the Lutens, I thought. Somehow, I always overlooked this one, thinking I'd smelled it and not liked it before. So it was a big shock to find I loved it. This is a spot on description of it. I agree, there's a weird warmth to it, a body heat thing.

  22. What a perfect description, M. And you make me want to dig out my little decant tomorrow and wear it. This one gets under my skin--I wear it awhile nonstop, then I'm done and I...forget. But now you have reminded me, thank you.

  23. Brian,
    I think it is often overlooked. Lovers of woody notes have heard that it is too tuberosey. Lover of tuberose are confused by the name.

  24. Alyssa,
    It's how it is for me with Cedre too, funny, eh?