Tag Archives: Serge Lutens

Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens – And A Giveaway

Iris Pallida, Galbanum, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Clove, Incense, Vetiver, Labdanum, Musk, Benzoin and White Amber

 

When I visited the Serge Lutens flagship store in Paris back in April, I was talking to a member of our group about how we loved fragrances that evolve on the skin. Then I promptly purchased a perfume that pretty much stays consistent from beginning to end: Iris Silver Mist. It’s a reminder that we don’t always need twists and turns. Sometimes consistency is what we crave.

 

 

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The sleek black atomiser of ISM I bought in Paris

 

I owned a small decant of ISM maybe 5 years ago and wanted to fall in love with it quite badly. Howver, it was a bit too metallic; as if a cold knife were pressed against my skin. Like a lot of the Lutens fragrances, it appears to have been reformulated since then. It is not only less metallic, but less reminiscent of freshly dug carrots. For once, reformulation had worked in my favour to make Iris Silver Mist considerably more wearable.

While it may not be as evocative of orange vegetables as it used to be, it is still satisfyingly rooty. I love this about it because when I’m in the mood for iris, I want it in all its raspy, rootsy glory.

Released in 1994, I’d forgotten that this Paris Exclusive was composed by Maurice Roucel and not Christopher Sheldrake.

ISM

 

It’s not worth spending much time pondering the notes list. This is such a cohesive composition it’s hard to unpick and really, why would you? It’s all about that spectacular overdose of orris. Everything else is merely there to enhance and complement that striking effect.

Iris Silver Mist is likely to cause the uninitiated to take a step back. It’s unearthed bulbs, freezing fog, green shoots, rich soil, purple violets and even a crisp ream of paper. The dusting of powder serves to soften its edges somewhat and gives it a silky feel. However, it is still most definitely a statement fragrance rather than a pretty perfume.

On me, it swathes the skin so closely, others’ reactions are not of any concern.

ISM is as much an atmosphere as a scent. It’s introspective and wistful but it is also rarefied and mysterious. Has a name ever fitted a pefume more perfectly? I doubt it. You inhabit it the way you might inhabit an otherworldly mist at dusk.

It doesn’t need to mutate. It just has to be.

I find it more soothing than sombre, though I lean towards the melancholy so maybe I simply feel at home. Lately my nerves have been on edge and Iris Silver Mist has been s supremely calming influence, grounding and pacifying me. It’s a beautiful, ethereal filter through which to view the world.

 

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When people ask me what my favourite perfume is, I now have an answer: Iris Silver Mist.

A Giveaway

When I bought my atomiser the SA at Serge Lutens gave me what I think must be close to a complete set of wax samples. If you’d like them, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do a draw next week and announce the winner on Thursday 28th June.

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24 Hour Perfume People – A Parisian Photo Essay

Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies invited me to join her and pals for an April trip to Paris a while ago. I thought I had better give it a miss considering I had booked a big holdaiy for July. Then last Wednesday I had one of those “life is short” moments and got on to fellow frag fanatic Lisa, to see if I could travel with her for the weekend. (Look out for her write-up on I Scent You A Day).

On Friday we boarded the Eurostar at St. Pancras.

 

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‘I Want My Time With You’ – Tracey Emin’s new pro-EU artwork.

 

On arrival at the Gare du Nord, we headed straight for the Metro.

 

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Photo credit: Lisa Jones

 

Lisa was staying at a hotel in the Latin Quarter while I was sleeping on the sofabed at Portia’s Airbnb, conveniently located in Les Halles. Before we met the others we found time to visit a huge French pharmacy. These places are full of amazing skincare that is often cheaper than back home. My usual Nuxe lip balm costs £9.50 but I got a couple here for 6.99 euro each.

 

 

When I arrived at the apartment, Scott was sorting through his precious scent strips from their trip to The Osmotheque the day before. He kindly let me sniff the recreated Iris Gris.

 

 

That evening we walked past the amazing Pompidou Centre on our way to dinner in the very cool Marais district.

 

 

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Pompidou Centre

 

 

The next morning we had croissants by the pond in the Tuileries gardens. Portia harassed the ducks and we messed about in front of The Louvre.

 

 

 

Then we made our way to the Jardin du Palais-Royal to meet up with the others (14 in total) for a 10am appointment at Serge Lutens.

 

 

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Jardin du Palais-Royal

 

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Tim and Lisa, with Margo in the background being fabulous (as per).

 

 

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A Portia Photobomb

 

 

 

 

 

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We went up the hallowed spiral staircase where few mortals are allowed to go.

 

 

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Each of the three tables had 4 different bell jars – and macarons!

 

 

After an introduction about Serge Lutens – the man himself – the staff passed around paper strips dipped into each of the twelve fragrances in turn. With strips in hand, they then read some corresponding background information about them.

The bell jars included Santal de Mysore (spiced), Miel de Bois (happily urine-free), Iris Silver Mist (bliss), Borneo 1834 (yum), Cuir Mauresque (greasy leather – in a good way), Chene (great), Un Bois Sepia (ugh), Fumerie Turque (very popular with the room), La Myrrhe (classy) and Rose de Nuit (own it).

 

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Afterwards, we were able to request others. I asked to try Une Voix Noire (which I thought I might buy) and De Profundis on skin along with Iris Silver Mist.

 

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Une Voix Noire turned out to be a transparent, almost honeyed, white floral. It was rather lovely but because it wasn’t the smoky gardenia I’d expected, it threw me.  I reckoned it was too much of a risk to purchase on the spot (I need a decant first).

 

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The Cool Kids Table

 

The one I decided to buy was Iris Silver Mist because I’m trash for iris and it isn’t as carrot-y or metallic as it used to be. When I thanked one of the SAs on my way downstairs and told her I was buying ISM, she told me it was currently available as a 30ml travel atomiser with a 30ml refill. At 120 euro for a total of 60ml (which I can spray!) compared to 190 euro for the 75ml bell jar, this was a result.

Just about everyone came away with something. In Portia’s case, three somethings – La Myrrhe, Chene and Chypre Rouge.

 

 

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Le Waft

 

 

Below left is the box and then below right is the black travel atomiser full of ISM, with the refill alongside it. I’ve worn it every day since and adore it. Anna-Maria bought the same and accidentally but brilliantly renamed it Irish Silver Mist 🙂

 

 

After lunch, we stopped off at Dior on our way to Jovoy. None of the swath of new perfumes in La Collection grabbed me but it’s great they do 40ml bottles now. Apparently Mitzah is released as a limited run each year, but only available in Paris.

 

 

 

Jovoy is a large store stocking a lot of luxury niche brands.  I tried Niral by Neela Vermeire Creations and a couple of the fragrances by Anatole Lebreton. I wanted to love Grimoire because of its wonderful name but sadly, did not. (You can read about my visit to the new London branch here).

 

 

A few of us wanted to visit the Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre so we left the others to it.

That tiny baby – bottom right – squealed and scared Portia out of her skin. Hahaha.

 

 

Before heading back to the apartment we made a visit to Divine Perfumes. Apparently L’Homme Sage went down well.

 

 

We spent the evening at a very nice restaurant where I tried my first oyster.

 

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The Last Supper

 

This fantastic group of perfume people made me feel included even though I was piggybacking on their trip at the last minute.

Lisa and I headed for the Eurostar home the next morning so it was essentially only one full day in Paris but wow, what a day.

Huge thanks to everyone involved for making it so special.

 

 

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A Favourite Bottled Rose – Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens

Rose petals on hot skin…

Notes of Turkish rose, yellow jasmine, apricot, amber, musk, sandalwood and beeswax

If I was forced by The Perfume Police to wear one kind of fragrance for the rest of my life, it would probably be rose. Rose perfumes make me feel feminine, beautiful and loved, which all happen to be affects attributed to rose oil in aromatherapy.

Last week my gift to myself arrived from Paris: a glorious bell jar of Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens.

Rose de Nuit bell jar

It was my treat for a year of pushing myself to do things I was afraid of and succeeding beyond all expectations. I’ve learnt that it’s not just important to do these things but to reward yourself when you do them. It marks the occasion and cements that feeling of accomplishment while encouraging you to keep going.

I’ve never drained a decant as quickly as the one of Rose de Nuit sent to me by my pal Val the Cookie Queen from her own bottle. Most decants end up languishing around the house, only partially used. This one I emptied in record time and mourned the going of. Proof if it were needed that I’d fallen for this perfume in a big way and it should be placed directly onto my Full Bottle List (which was completely empty).

I think of Rose de Nuit as a fur-trimmed rose the colour of dried blood. Dabbed onto my skin, it is as much about lightly fruity musk as it is about rose.  I find its character to be knowing and seductive.

Accompanying the dark rose and velvety musk are sticky beeswax, sultry jasmine and apricot flesh on an amber/woody base.

A wild, dirt-smeared bloom which has been weathered by the elements; this animalic rose chypre is most definitely a creature of the night, embodying the heady feeling of release after tortuous temptation.

Like a few of my favourite fragrances, it took time for me to fully appreciate its beauty. Sometimes you know it’s real love because you’ve taken the time to get the know the object of your affection, rather than fallen blindly for their superficial charms.

That’s how I knew Rose de Nuit was a keeper.

 

My full review on Olfactoria’s Travels can be read here.

If you could only wear one type of perfume for he rest of your life, what would it be? 

 

 

 

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Boxeuses by Serge Lutens

Up for the fight…

When I was on a personal development retreat recently, one of my many favourite things was the boxing moves we did to extremely loud rap music. There was something hugely powerful and energising about it and it’s made me want to find a Boxercise class. In the meantime I listen to the tracks and do the moves in the privacy of my own home.

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

I greatly admire the 2010 exclusive Lutens release Boxeuses (female boxer) although I’m yet to fall in love with it. I keep coming back to it because I find it sophisticated and mysterious, empowering and sensual.

As usual the perfumer is Christopher Sheldrake, also as usual, there is no official notes list. However, the consensus seems to be that it contains violet, plum, anise, leather, labdanum and woods.

Boxeuses is a fragrance full of violet, plummy goodness with a hint of licorice, underscored by leather. On the face of it, it’s in the vein of Bois de Violette and Faminite de Bois but I don’t find it as intense as either of those other two Lutens creations.

In the early stages you’re hit by smoky fumes emanating from underneath the purple fruit and flowers. This is leather that’s been processed to a smooth finish. More chemical than animal. you could mistake it for plastic or vinyl.

Violet and plum stop it from becoming that typical dry, masculine style of leather: There’s a reason Boxeuses is written in the feminine form.

This is a dark, seductive little number. The fruit is not too stewed, the spice is not too strong and I enjoy the contrast with the smoky leather.

However, as it develops it becomes rather too gourmand for my taste. It’s now more about plummy, spiced caramel over woods than it is about leather. The gooey syrup laced with curry spice makes me think of immortelle, which is a tricky note for me.

The base is pure labdanum on me; fuzzy, ambery and resinous.

Usually Lutens orientals are thick and opaque, but Boxeuses feels surprisingly sheer and intangible. It bobs and weaves, staying light on its feet. It’s everywhere and nowhere.

The same way boxers sometimes hold onto one another as if in a awkward embrace when tired, Boxeuses holds on close to the wearer. At the same time it keeps its cool and remains detached, never cosy.

Woman boxing in dress

Boxeuses is a lesson in how simplicity done well can create the illusion of complexity. You can pick out the components but they combine in a way that is intriguing.

I’d like to feel at home in it because the Boxeuses woman is prepared to fight her corner.

It’s the perfect perfume to wear when you feel like you’re heading into the ring, whether it’s a workplace confrontation (see Undina’s memorable post Round One – I won) or a more personal conflict.

Boxeuses will have your back.

 

 

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