Before I actually review a few things I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my absence. Life happens as they say and an emergency never schedules an appointment. Having said that, thank you Patty, Lee and March for your unending kindness and patience. I must say I love Patty dearly and I feel like I let everyone down a bit. I can not apologize enough.
OK, on to the reviews. I know the title of this post is a bit “Etat”ish, but I was called G-wood(last name Garwood) way too much during High School. Childish I know. What can I say?
There is a magical forrest somewhere, I just know it. Perhaps it exists only in my dreams, my imagination, which is aided constantly by such Masters as Shakespeare and the infamous Romantics. It manifests when I close my eyes. Thanks to Serge Lutens (and Chris the Magnificent) I can smell it now too.
Chene. Say it out loud. It just oozes elegance. Not the same in Germanic English, huh? Oak. Ok, I digress. Notes are: oak-bark tannin, cedarwood crystals, birch, immortelle flowers, wood saps, Tonka bean, rum absolute, black thyme, and beeswax. No wonder it took me so long to fall in love with, or even find this beauty…tuberose is not listed. OK, I admit it, I adore Tuberose in all its glory and a day without it is, well, one not worth smelling…for me…but I digress again. (I do that, sorry).
I spray on Chene and imagine Ophelia (think Millais, Tate Britain) floating so morbidly yet beautifully next to a tall oak. Perhaps her loss of identity hasn’t so much pushed her over the edge (pun intended) as the intoxicating scents surrounding her soon to be watery grave. It’s a thought. I never imagined how beautiful and complex a scent based on oak could be. This is a scent built upon layers of rich accords, touched by melancholia. I could fall in love with Chris Sheldrake thanks to this magnificent juice.
There’s chene, that’s for remembrance.
Santal de Mysore is another beautiful story. Desdemona’s wedding sheets smell of this powdery, yes I’ll say it, sexy wood. I know Othello could have worn this too, but I imagine the scent lingering on the bed, their marriage pre-Iago and blissful. This is a woodsy scent for happy days, with a hint of darkness undercutting the romance. Notes of Mysore Sandalwood, cumin, spices, styrax, balsam, caramelized Siamese benzoin. The scent of sweaty skin is pronounced on me, which I believe is thanks to cumin, though it is understated enough here, in case you fear the reformulated Femme de Rochas. As the scent lingers, the resins sweep in and begin to smother the santal, though not in a fit of jealous rage.
These two Lutens woods are beautiful on either a man or woman. I chose to visualize two famous albeit fictitious women only because I love them as I do the scents. Both of these are Paris exclusives worth seeking out.
I planned on reviewing Mayotte (a luscious Ylang/Tuberose from Guerlain). I am running out of space (and probably your patience), so another time….it’s beautiful, I promise. (The perfume more so than my review no doubt!).
Hello, Bryan !
We are scent twins, I think.
When you smell Santal Mysore, you’re smellin’ ME, baby.
Hips, lips, breasts, legs, and mezzo…
Can you dig it ?
Dig it? Lay it on me. Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE. Form of: a leather wearin’, tuberose craving, musc hunting scent fool. What’d I say!
What a lovely thing to say. I do enjoy writing, but I try not to overthink my reviews. I just sit and go. If I ever do write fiction, I guarantee the characters will be scented. :d
What else is on your list?
This was meant as a reply to Kelly up above. Yep that’s me…two graduate degrees, working on another, and can’t navigate my way around a blog that I read EVERY DAY. Kinda sad, right?
Fellow adorer of Chene here. I always say I smell like the world’s sexiest Number Two pencil when I wear it. It is a lovely, soothing, mysterious ‘fume. Most of the SLs don’t do it for me, but this one definitely does.
That IS one sexy pencil. I have heard Santal Blanc is pencilish, though I love it…especially the drydown. I am so cheesey…I sprayed it on my arm and then took a blow-dryer to my appendage….just so I could smell the heart and drydown.:d
I swear if there are cameras around when I do stuff like that…hmmmm!
Hey, Bryan: Great to have you back. I am afraid that I join March in my loathing of the SL “note” (odd because I like cedar in other things — SL must do something different with it). Chene is one of the few I like.
Looking forward to more reviews from you. Due to your tres suave visage in your icon, you will HAVE to review the new Malle French Lover for us, no? –Ellen
I second Ellen’s motion – French Lover pour nous!!!
Ellen (is it?),
Thank you so much for the welcome. I do adore perfume. The icon is so not me (I don’t even drink). I do think it’s adorable and for that, thank you Patty. I am all over the French Lover…I love most of the Malles and will sample it ASAP. What do you tend to favor?
Thanks for asking, Bryan. Being kind of a newbie, I tend to favor things that are dry & airy — all-time favorites are prob. Artisan Tea for Two and Miller et Bertaux Spiritus/Land. (And Comme des Garcons Rhubarb. Go figure.) I’m just starting to try more Guerlains and am getting to like some florals, like Patou 1000. It’ll be quite a while before I’m ready for Big White Florals! :d –Ellen
Oh dear Bryan-
Fisrt off let me write also that I hope everything has settled for you- missed reading you..
I loooove Chene, as I’m sure you’re well aware. Have not tried Santal de Mysore, and you are forcing me to hunt a sample. You might be forcing me into another escapade to score a bell jar.
First let me say I love your reviews. If you drop me your address ([email protected]) I’ll be happy to send you some Santal. I have plenty and love to share. Thank you for the kind words.:d
Bryan I hope the emergency was resolved without too much stress. Thank you for such evocative reviews. I have not yet tried Chene (but love the diptyque candle) but intend to do so. I recently got a sample of SdM from FF and I love it! Love sandlewood anyway and have a thing for cumin (yep re orchestrated femme is so me)so it was always going to be a shoo in but am interested that Carmencanada noted that it smelt wonderful in Parisien heat – I’m not going to worry about wearing it in a bit of London heat now.
I’m so happy you can pull off the Femme. I think it speaks to your elegance…yes. I love it, but can’t wear it. Though, now that I think of it, you have me thinking I need to try it again. Tell me, what else do you like? And what’s your name, by the way…I’m just getting used to who is who and Patty, Lee and March are so much better at that.:”>
Hello Bryan. My name is Nicola. I use donanicola because it’s what my godsons call me – as in godmother nicola – rather cute of them I think! Thank you for the elegant comment! I’ve got to the age where I feel I must make an effort – can’t rely on youth to get me through so I aspire to elegance. On the cumin side of life I also love McQueen’s Kingdom and Roudnitska’s Eau d’Hermes. Stepping out of spices for a moment I also love Mitsouko,Bandit, Tabac Blond, Chanel Cristalle edt, Diorella and oh a fair few others! Do you do lists?
Bryan, don’t sell yourself short – I could have read this review for another hour and been happy. Your mama’s got nothin’ on you! 😉
Onto “The List” they go!
(But we’ve got to talk to Patty about that pic – looks like a cross between Marcel Marceau and one of the kids from the “Hey Arnold” cartoon)
OOPS! Comment number 15 is a reply here as well. It seems I’ve been in school so long, I’ve lost touch with the daily technological advances. I’m used to Westlaw and now PsychInfo.
Bryan: I shudder to think what you must do for a living! Forensic psychiatrist? What? — Ellen
Great reviews, Mr. Bois-yan, sir! Why did we have to wait so long for your lovely romantic impressions, I ask? 🙂
I’ll forever be grateful to the wonderful Tigs for gifting me with a decant of ChÃªne. It’s… magnificent, starts with post-rain damp undergrowth and wet, bitter tree-bark and sawdust and brigthens into a looming, sun-drenched primeval forest. Awe-inspiring!
Have never tried SdM, but I would think I should know what it smells like having played Othello in a high-school production. Imagine me, medium-height, slim with fair hair and blue eyes, babyface painted with three coats of dark foundation to bear *some* resemblance to the ragingly jealous Moor! =)) Hilarious! Or, as the French would say – pathetique.
Oh, Dusan, I bet that was adorable! That is most of the fun of elementary and high school plays — the wildly inappropriate casting! Oh, that, and, rumors about who smooched who behind the sets… but that’s kind of like adulthood… -Ellen
Ellen, ten years from now I’ll probably look back at it (and watch it cos I have it taped) and think how adorable it all was. Well, maybe… 🙂
But you are so right about the behind-the-scene goings-on – I had my ex-gfriend opposite me as Desdemona and I’m telling you she wasn’t all demure and saintly. You should have seen how gutsy she was responding to my (Othello’s, that is) accusations of infidelity. The lines were Shakespeare’s alright but her tone translated roughly as: “WTF are you going on about, you moron? Iago and I? Have you been smoking that Moorish weed again?” tsk-tsk-tsk
Plus she was taller than me! Scary, I tell ya =))
But I guess it *was* kinda sweet… 🙂
You are too kind. I am a romantic; a tragic one. Melancholia is a beautiful thing, methinks. I am going to try and not be such a stranger, with reviews so few and far between. I really have so much fun with it. Drop me your address ([email protected])and I can send you a couple things to try for fun.
When I read beautiful reviews like these, I get goosebumps. Thank you, Bryan!
Now you know how I feel when I read you…DAILY. Thank you for the lovely and extremely generous words. I have been wanting to chat you up, as I think we have a LOT of notes in common. Send me your address ([email protected])…I want you to try something.
Wonderful reviews. i know how you adore these two personally. chene is just a wonder. i’ve still not found the magic with Santal de Mysore yet. Not sure why, i think sandalwood just isn’t my thing. 🙂
I do love these two. Please keep tryin’ SdM…if you do, I’ll re-try ether. And this time I’ll spray. :d
I get something musky from Santal de Mysore too. I thought it was the sandalwood, a note that sometimes seems sweet and buttery and musky to my nose rather than dry and woody. But perhaps it’s the cumin. I don’t normally like cumin in scents – not because it’s dirty (I love dirt, I think we have established that by now) but because it’s “off”. As much as I love cumin in food I can’t appreciate the cumin note, they seem to have nothing in common (like saffron, I’m yet to encounter a saffron note that actually smells like the spice). SdM is a scent with so much character, it feels like it has lived for a bit and has some stories to tell!
You know, I usually really hate cumin. I must say that here it not only works, but without it, something would be very, very wrong. I agree that it is a scent with a story. 🙂
Wonderful reviews! Both of those scents make me swoon. And Chene layers beautifully w/ Chergui. Chris Sheldrake is nothing short of genius – am deeply in love w/ him, but, tragically, am the wrong sex. 🙁
I still think of your silence yesterday as an elegant, mysterious artistic statement. 🙂
Aw, shucks. What a kind think to infer. I wish that were the case. Alas, um, nope. And as if I’d have a chance with Chris. :”>
Note to self, put on Chergui with Chene…Thanks!
I love these two woods. However I’ve only tried them as the wax samples that Serge Lutens does in the beautiful booklet presentation. Can anyone tell me how much the wax samples differ from the real deal?
Haven’t been introduced to ChÃªne properly… Santal de Mysore I utterly adore, down to the sweaty cumin. I feel in love with it again last summer, coming out of the Palais-Royal boutique. Searing, dry heat like a fever. A woman was walking in front of me in the shade of the Valois Gallery, wafting waves of Santal de Mysore, smooth and heady yet fine enough to blend in the heated air. It was an epiphany.
Bryan, as another well-thought-of poet from the British Isles wrote (as usual, obscurely): “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/ Gang aft a-gley.” Stop beating yourself up. Life happens. (Hey, I wonder if March is still in Scotland.)
I love Chene. It makes me feel part of a primeval fortress–as a tree. Lee mentioned a wee while ago (aaarrggh, Robert Burns, leave me alone!) that Chene might be released as a limited edition export, as Un Lys is now. Has anyone heard news of Chene’s release? My credit card is saving itself.
I guess I should try Santal de Mysore sometime. And, Bryan, very nicely drawn analogy with the two Shakespearean women. I wish I were channeling the Bard instead of the National Poet of Scotland.
Och aye the noo.
Two of my favourites too, B. And no worries about the snafus. Life3 is at the normal setting when it’s full of em; once in a while, it’s a little better.
Hey, how come you’re the French sophisticate in your pic, and I’m the down-on-the-ranch-cowpoke? What’s that Patty saying?:d
So, Lee, does that mean yes or no? Fortunately, Robert Burns has departed to haunt someone else–probably someone with a stash of single malt.
Okay, after an extensive Internet search I am now able to understand Lee’s response to me about whether Chene will be available as a limited edition export. :-w
“Och aye the noo” is a phrase that English people use when they are creating colorful Scottish fictional characters. It is supposed to mean “Oh, yes, for now.” The Scots disavow usage.
Thank you Maria. Everyone is so sweet on the scent blogs, honestly. As for the Bard, I hope I wasn’t trying too hard, but I adore him and thought why not.
Bryan, it was seamless and fun.
Hi Bryan! Ok, I have to thank you for getting me to pull out these two SL scents that I really haven’t given a good try before. I’m in heaven. The Chene is lovely, sort of a sharp, pine-y wood on me and the Santal de Mysore is just delicious, sweet, fresh cut wood, very sexy indeed…ahhhh! Thank you!!! Must get decants…
Ok, I’m probably posting this in the absolute wrong place, but does anyone have Norma Kamali’s Incense? I’m sort of obsessing over trying it.
Beautyhabit.com has it-but not sure if they have samples-maybe some of our great decanters do?
Thanks Louise, I did see that Beautyhabit has it…not sure if they offer samples and I’m not quite ready for the full bottle commitment:). Thanks again though, for seeing my post and letting me know!
I totally agree…a huge freakin’ genius. What others do you like? I do the nose-to-the-arm thing so often I’ve had stares. Not that I care…:d
Oh man, I don’t think there’s anything he’s made that I don’t like. I have full bottle of Arabie and Un Bois Vanille (I know that’s so predictable, it’s probably his most wearable), but I love the weird, too. Love Borneo, I know many don’t, love Miel de Bois, but I can’t wear it because it doesn’t love me:(( (sometimes I do anyway). Seriously, I don’t think there’s a Sheldrake that I dislike, they’ve all got their beauty and strangeness. It’s that weirdness that I adore, like the blast of Vicks Vapor rub at the beginning of Tubereuse Criminelle…he just floors me.
Sorry I posted my last comment in the wrong place. I’ve got my head up my butt sometimes.
I don’t know what took me so long to review these. I have been rotating them in quite often now that I cherish them. Let me tell ya, they play nicely with others. Try layering Santal with Divine (the big white floral). Heaven.
Bryan, both scents kept evolving while I wore them, so beautiful. That Sheldrake is a freakin’ genius. I had my nose glued to my arm all night long.
Bryan, that is a layering combo I would’ve never thought of… How did you stumble on it? Or, better put, what made you think they’d go together? I’ll try it tomorrow!
Well, let’s see. I usually do my playing around before bed…I know, too much information. Seriously, though. That way I can be very, how should I put this, liberal with the application. I try random things then too. (If you haven’t guessed, I sleep alone). I wanted to try this with a big, brash (as March calls it) white floral. I thought it was wonderful so I wore it the next day. I also love it with Carnal Flower, but I’d wear anything with Carnal Flower, as long as CF was the star of the show….I’m loyal to my precious (uses gollum’s voice).
Gina, sweetie: I offered to send you some the other day, but probably too late in the day for you to see my post. If you belong to the PP Board, you can click on me (“pitbull friend”) & go to “send a private message,” and send me your info. I have 5 ml of NK Incense sitting around unloved with your name on it! — Ellen
YAY! Ellen, thank you. Ok, now I’m not sure if belong to the PP Board, but I’ll check it out. I’m so happy, thank you!