Serge Lutens Bell Jars at Bergdorf?

Y’all heard that rumor? Sniffa attendees report that there were two bell jars at Bergdorf Goodman this last weekend — Un Bois Sepia and Bois et Fruits.  The other part of the rumor was that they won’t be sold in the bell jars, but will be in the square bottles with black labels, like the LE’s they send over, and they will run more than the LEs, like $180 for 50 ml.  No real news on whether it will eventually be all of them or a few at a time or what.  So what have y’all heard? And what do you hope for? 

Also, to all of you that recommended the Mariage Freres red tea candle… I should could will kiss you!  Perfection. Wonderful throw, perfect dry tea scent, not sweet, just perfect for fall.  I’m stocking up on all of their candles and burny things when I’m in Paris. My new favorite line. ♥

Anyone know where in the world Serena Franco of Ava-Luxe has gone?  I assume she’s either doing a site re-design and catching up on orders or she’s vamoosed, and it better not be the latter, just when things were getting interesting.  I’m hoping site re-design and back open for her annual sale.

Sin, with notes of black opium, amber, musk, and vanilla. This appears to be pretty much her signature musk scent, but she’s given it an interesting twist.  I’m not sure I know what black opium smells like — well, I’m pretty positive I don’t know what opium, black or otherwise, smells like. If I did, y’all may be reading a different blog like “How I escaped the opium dens of Five Points.”  Well, that’s the title I might use, even though there are no opium dens, that I’m aware of, in Denver — just your standard crack corners.  Regardless, this has another quality in it from the other notes that change her musk into something else, and the word “sin” fits it well enough, but it is sin that feels the pang of regret.  There’s a slightly seamy or wicked feel to it on the open, while staying beautiful, just something hurt and slightly raw rolling around beneath the surface.  It never settles into her creamy musk smell that I’ve come to expect of her perfumes centered around musk.  It’s interesting without being too weird, and I can see myself wearing this one quite a lot, even though my days and opportunities to sin, with or without regret, have decreased to almost nothing. 

She also has a Limited Edition for the holiday Season, Madeline, with notes of musk, woods, vanilla, fig, liquorice, milk, brandy, and spices.  This is definitely a holiday scent —  very gourmandy on the open, with a slightly figgy/musky backdrop.  March, you might include this in your fig obsession, it’s the sweet fig angle that I’m not sure you’ve covered yet.  This is really quite perfect for the holidays, which is one of the few times when I do appreciate something more gourmandy, but the drydown on this could work year-round.  It ends as a lovely musk with a liquorice tonality to it, sprinkled with just some spices. Once you get past the more foody aspects of the open, it’s got a very addictive quality that keeps you coming back to sniff.  This isn’t a masterpiece, like I think some of her perfumes are or are becoming, but it’s pretty great for holidays and is a very well done gourmand.

As I said when I reviewed Shisha a while back, Ava-Luxe is becoming an interesting perfumer, moving from the more basic body scents/smells into much more sophisticated fare that stands up on its own just as a perfume, with no “buts.”  While I won’t go into it in any depth in this post, Madame X is another interested scent she’s done recently –  sultry, naughty thing that really does scream slut with a heart.   If you have never tried something from her because you thought she was just doing lotion scents, I encourage you to give her a try.  She should be open again shortly, I would think, and the price point on her perfumes are great and even better if she’s doing a sale.

Last one for today is my personal favorite of everything she’s done — including the addictive Love’s True Bluish Light, which is a staple for me in body cream — Midnight Violet.  I am a total violet freak, and this comes the closest in feel to the original Caron Violette Precieuse.  Dry and smoky, with the ethereal sweetish violet smell floating all around it, but never taking it into a sweet scent. Notes of Violet, Blue iris,Orris, Earth, Black hemlock, Galbanum, Pink pepper, Cinnamon, Cedar, Sandalwood, Incense, Wood balsam, Moss, Civet, Cashmere musk.  It is dark and beautiful, and I need her to open back up so I can get it in the parfum too! I already have it in shower scrub, lotion and edp.  I NEED MORE!!!

So what’s your favorite Ava-Luxe scent, or have you not tried any?

  • tracyellen1619 says:

    :(( I had recently discovered Ava Luxe and am in love with #23, perfect, perfect, and now she is on hiatus! I do hope that she can find some help to take over the non creative portion of business, so she can come back and sell us more beautiful creations. This happened to me with my fave candles, Soyology – the gal was doing everything by herself and she suddenly dropped off. She was from San Diego too, I think. Serena…please come back!!

  • Lucy says:

    I just saw her site on myspace, saying she is not up for working seven days a week for awhile, and may or may not get back into perfume after a much needed break. That is too bad, I love her new Honey! And so many other things! I didn’t realize the girl was only 25 years old, some kind of prodigy…Still doing her jewelry and selling it through Etsy though, and willing to send what you request if you email her through that site…

  • rosarita says:

    I’m on the same page with luv bug. An MUA enabler sent me a sample of Madame X and I have fallen for it hard! Alas, only a sample to see me through. I also have a crush on Bond New Haarlem at the moment and I can’t wait to try AL Cafe Noir, along with about twenty other things. She has so many incense scents that sound wonderful. I join the crowd in hoping that Serena is all right. CNN said that evacuations for the fire are the largest in the US since Katrina, very worrying all around.

    • Patty says:

      It is worrying, and I do hope she’s okay.

      Bond New Haarlem is the bomb, isn’t it? It’s one of the couple of Bonds I love, along with Silver Factory, which I need to make sure someone at Sak’s has my name on a big ole bottle of it!

  • Solander says:

    Midnight Violet is one of my favs too! I’m not a huge fan of violet scents although it’s one of the few floral notes I do, but this one has such a lovely mossy/powdery quality, a bit like CB’s To See A Flower but richer and more vintage-styled.
    Vamp is a pleasant spicy/sweet oriental, Fire Wood is the best fire scent ever, it beats CB Burning Leaves, Film Noir is an interesting, complex scent on a creamy leather base, Biba has a fascinating hot and dry spiciness, quite a bit like Dzongkha, Silk is a decent copy of FdB and Royal Parvati is naughty/musky/buttery/coconutty in a very pleasant way, an extremely smooth scent. Oh and I love the kinkiness of the X-treme versions of Kama and Rasa, they’re really barnyard level animalic!

    • Patty says:

      MV does have an old-world feel to it. I think that’s what makes it so special. I though the vintage violet would have it, and it was okay’ish, but nothing like MV.

      I was going to order firewood will all the recommendatios for it here, but she had shut down before I got it!!

      Hmm, may need to try the x-treme of kama and rasa!;)

  • luv_bug says:

    The fires are still going strong. I live in the middle of Los Angeles, and we can see the smoke from here–it’s even affecting the light so that it looks like dusk before noon. A lot of people were hit hard, forced out of their homes or worse, and I hope Serena wasn’t one of them.

    I have just fallen head-over-heels for Madame X. I’ve never sniffed anything that straddled that line between dry and sweet, comfort and sexpot, masculine and feminine so deftly. Everything about it is just brilliant. And all I have is a dwindling sample!

    • Patty says:

      You stay safe! We have several employees in my real-life job that live in the San Diego area. One has been evacuated, another is perilously close to getting the “get out” order. They’re all pretty stressed.

      We had bad fires outside of Denver several years ago, and the fire was within bout 60 miles, and the skies were just black for days. Depressing, no matter whether you’re directly involved or not.

      did you get the Madame X in parfum or edp? I got a sample in EDP, and I’m jonesing to try the parfum. It’s a skanky little thing, but, you’re right, it’s got a rock-slid comfort feel in the notes. Just perfect.

      • luv_bug says:

        I have the EDP, and I can’t see how it would get much better. I’m afraid the parfum will be too much of a good thing.

        I *will* stay safe, thank you. Best wishes for your friends, too.

  • sybil says:

    Patty, I’m w/ you on this one. Midnight Violet is the best! But Rasa isn’t bad if you’re a dirty rose girl.

  • sweetlife says:

    Hmmm…my AL samples, which I ordered after reading about Shisha here, arrived after an email warning me about slow processing time. I wonder if its a combination of fire, fatigue and just a leetle too much perfumista love all at once… I’ll add my good wishes to the chorus.

    I’ve been slowly going through my generous number of samples (ordered six, received eight!): Honey, Madeline, Palisander, Shisha. Not sure on the first three — on me Honey and Madeline share some kind of sweet,waxy bottom note that also appears, but to much better vantage, in Shisha, which I love. I have to try Palisander again–I’ve been wearing CDG’s version and I don’t think I sufficiently cleared my mind before applying.

    • Patty says:

      The honey one totally didn’t work for me either time I tried it. But the Madeline, despit having a wonky note running around just seemed perfect for holiday, festive wear, but I doubt I’d wear it much outside of the holiday season, which is I guess why she made it a LE> 🙂

  • JuliaForsberg says:

    I’m so relived she was able to send my $220 order before shut-down:d

    My favourites AL are No 23 (woody perfection!), Nude Musk (my skin but better), Moss (green chypre) and Black Tea (just yummy). I do prefer her musks and orientals.

    • Patty says:

      I know she’s definitely sending out all orders. I think she first temporarily shut down to catch up on orders, which she does from time to time.

  • rachael says:

    I love Film Noir and Kretek, and I’ve been dying to try Kama. She has so many fans! I hope she comes back soon…

    • Patty says:

      Def need to try the film noir and some others. Why is it when people go away, it becomes imperative to try them now? How weird.

  • musetta says:

    I spoke to (aka interrogated) Michael at Bergdorf’s about the Serge frags on Saturday, and he said that BG would definitely be carrying two bell jars (to start out? He definitely implied that the rest would come eventually) and they would be Un Bois Sepia and Bois et Fruits. He did have both in the 50 ml bottles, but he said that that was just so he could make samples from them (which he was doing, furiously), and he was taking names and numbers so that he could call when the bell jars came in.

    But I didn’t ask what they would cost….$180 is obscene, in any case.

    • Patty says:

      Someone that goes to SL in Paris talked with them, and they said black label bottles, and others said 50 mls and others said bells. who knows!

  • barbara says:

    Funny thing at Mariage Freres-I had heard about the rose tea there that I HAD to have-I searched every location, and lugged it home in my baggage-my treasure. One day the label revealed to me that it was made at Repbublic of Tea in (gasp) Novato, California, complete with its rose petals and tiny pink buds,,,,worth the trip, but read the labesl(maybe you can get it here for less).I will be watching for the bell jars in America until I can get back to Paris…

    • Patty says:

      I believe it. I think someone said they think an incense stick they have comes from the Shoyeido people, which I totally believe.. I think they make incense for everyone. I’ve certainly given them enough of my money!

  • Judith from Boston says:

    I was in love with Shisa in the EdP sample I had, but somehow not so moved by the parfum decant I bought. I wonder if there’s a significant difference in the concentrations, or if I had just fallen out of love. I like Viva a lot and have received compliments on it; I think it’s a good low-cost alternative to Ginger Ciao (although I believe you disagree).

    But, more important–do you realize that we are now mortal enemies, deadly rivals!?? GO SOX!!!!! (I normally don’t care about these things at all, but. . . ). I heard there was snow recently on your so-called “field”! :d

    • Maria says:

      Oh, baseball rivalry–I love this! I’m mostly neutral, though I did live in New England for a while… 😕 Actually, while I was there, I rooted for the Yankess.

    • Patty says:

      Uh-oh, we need a wager, girl! I saw we sweep in four, but I’ll just take a win. We need to make it interesting… some perfume, perhaps. I have some vintage Mi Mai and POis de SEnteur and maybe a couple of interesting parfums that I’ll put on the line. 🙂

      The only one I’ve compared parfum to edp is the Madeline. The parfum was much stronger. If a person though madeline was too much, the edp would be the way to go. I preferred the parfum just because I love that licorice note in there. Who knew?

      I’ll be interested to try some others in parfum versus edp, especiall Madame X and No 23 and midnight violet… NEED that in parfum.

      • Judith says:

        Hmmmm. . . Never tried either of those (is the second Guerlain or Caron?) but they both sound, well, sorta light. Is there a reason for that? Actually, I would be glad to set up some kinda wager if you want, but I don’t know what to put up. I think we should keep it tokenish in any case. Email if you really want to do it. Good luck (NOT) tonight!:)

        I do have the Viva parfum–and also some others which I really like–esp. Chypre Noir (forgot about that one–great–works much better than Film Noir on me). It’s only the Shisha that doesn’t work as well in that concentration for me.

  • Divalano says:

    Ava Luxe can not be gone. I’ve been drooling & lusting & considering which to sample, mulling it over & now she’s gone? I’m too late? Can’t be, I won’t have it. Doesn’t she know we’re all here clamoring for her products?


  • I suppose it’s too much to hope for that Mandarine-Mandarin will someday find it’s way across the pond.

    Ava-Luxe: I really like her way with sandalwood and incense. Hope she is okay!

    That candle sounds wonderful! I’ve been looking for a great tea candle.

    • Patty says:

      Tea candle is awesome, but the hubs and I are disagreeing on that. He hates it, and I love it, and the boys think it’s fine.

      I’m not budging on it. I did get two of the Diptyque holida ones, the ginger and the frankincense, and they are wonderful too!

  • Suzanne says:

    Last week when you did a post on coffee scents, I followed up on the recommendation of Maria and others to try the AL Cafe Noir. My husband, who roasts his own coffees, wanted to try a coffee scent too, so I purchased a 5 ml decant of it (love ya, Perfumed Court!!!), and since it arrived, it’s all we’ve been wearing. (Um, scent-wise, that is.) Cafe Noir is such an intersting fragrance and reminds me of having Turkish coffee; it’s not too sweet or gourmandy, but has the quality of making me feel transported to another part of the world. I’d like to order the parfum version, and hope that the Ava Luxe site is not down-and-out for long.

    • Patty says:

      Haha! I never did try that one, or if I did, it’s been too long ago. I did get a nice fresh roast coffee candle from Votivo that is amazing! I alwasy forget how much I prefer the votivo candles to just about anything else.

  • Lucy says:

    I just received my order for Honey from Ava Luxe this past Saturday, and I love it, I wore it yesterday while getting over a short bug, and it really was simple in the best sense of the word, pleasant and comforting, it agrees with my skin chemistry very well. Plus her usual generous inclusion of three free samples — Madeline, Love’s True Bluish Light, and No. 23. I love Midnight Violet too! Also have samples of Linden Blossom — I keep looking for that flowering linden tree scent and she has the closest thing — and Fire Wood — soft woody incense, the cedar note is very uplifting — Chaya sent me a slew of samples — among them Midnight Violet, Silk, Madame X and No. 23 and got me addicted — AL has so many in her listings that I would like to try. I do like her simpler scents too, for layering especially. I know she does everything herself, from making the perfume to packing and shipping, so the whole thing is resting on her shoulders. Getting her package this past Saturday shows she is working on getting her orders out. Let’s ask Chaya to try to reach her to make sure she’s ok…

    • Lee says:

      Chaya will know. She’s a wonderwoman, no kidding (even though she’s waaay too modest to admit to it).

    • Patty says:

      I know, I worry that she’s burned out, and I hope not and that she’s okay, the fires aren’t too close, that she’ll be back. She really adds something to the scented community.

  • Gail S says:

    Here’s another wish for Ava-Luxe to reopen soon! I had just ordered Love’s True Bluish Light when I received a sample of Sweet Almond and fell in love. So I thought I would be good and wait at least a few days to order again. Hmmmph!

    Let’s see, I also got decants of Shisha, Madeline and the re-worked Honey and put them all up for swap immediately. I can’t remember why I didn’t like Shisha, but Madeline was too Christmas-spices-simmering-on-the-stove to wear as perfume and as for Honey….well, honey’s one of those tricky notes as I’m sure we all know. Think I’ll stick with Botrytis for now.

    I am really fond of Firewood and Palisander in addition to LTBL. Especially layered :d And now I need to go dig out my samples and try more of them!

    • Patty says:

      honey didn’t work for me either. I think I tested it in the original formula and in this one, and it’s just… not .. too strong… bleah.

  • Lee says:

    I do hope Serena’s okay. I’ve only tried one of her scents- Royal Parvati – but it seems like she offers so much…

    Are you all packed and ready to roll, Patt?

    And what’s Ann Coulter (feels stomach lurch) doing up there by your glorious sig?

  • Maria says:

    The message on the Ava Luxe site is ominous indeed. A few days ago she had just shut down the shopping cart while she caught up with orders. Then there was just her e-mail address. Now there’s an announcement about an extended leave. I hope she comes back. The changes started happening before the fires, but Serena Franco does live in San Diego, which is being assaulted by terrible wildfires. That will make getting back to speed even more difficult. Maybe Chaya can enlighten us a bit about what is happening.

    My absolute favorite Ava Luxe fragrance is Cafe Noir. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I sure love this fragrance. It has coffee, patchouli, spices, woods, chocolate, and, of all things, lavender. It’s a strange but arresting concoction. I have it in the parfum and was going to oder the body lotion when the site shut down.

    Other favorites are Kretek, which is much more aesthetic for clearing up the sinuses and providing warm-cool comfort than Tiger Balm. It has a hefty dose of clove bud and cinnamon. It’s named after clove cigarettes; it does also have some smokiness.

    Another favorite is Absinthe. Patty, I believe you don’t like mint in fragrances. Well, this one does have some in the topnote. But that is soon over, and you’re left with Artemisia (wormwood) and cedar. It’s a dry, cooling summer scent that I could happily wear in winter.

    Then there’s Fire Wood. It’s more wood than fire, but it does have some smokiness. My DH adores it, and I enjoy it very much both on him and me. A nice combo is Fire Wood with Hermes Eau des Merveilles.

    I’m not finished yet. I have the ultra moisturizing lotion in Amber Essence, which has a base similar to Avignon’s. One day I’m going to put on the lotion, spray on Avignon, and dab behind my neck some Crazylibelulle Encens Mystic. On a very churchy day.

    I may be missing something, but I have tried to be thorough. 😉 Here’s hoping Serena returns.

    • Vasily says:

      I was just about to order Cafe Noir, Kretek, and Feu de Bois for my winter scents when her web site went down. All three are truly awesome. I ordinarily don’t care for mint as a note, but her Absinthe is a wonderful, cooling and refreshing warm weather frag. So are Moroccan Mint Tea and The Beach (and I ordinarily don’t care for tea or calone notes, either). Whatever is going on with Ms. Franco, I hope she realizes there are many people out here who appreciate her work and are wishing her well.

    • Patty says:

      I agree, I hope it’s just a short hitch, but I understand she does everything herself, and the burnout has to be high, especially looking ahead at Christmas time, which is so busy for her. Ack!

  • Rita says:

    Bell Jars at Bergdorf just sounds to good to be true, of course I am not a big fan of the Bois series. Just got my decant of MKK from Diane, and if I do not get a full bottle of this stuff soon y’all are going to have to put me in rehab. I feel the same as Renee, why am I unworthy? I haven’t tried any Ava-Luxe scents yet-the Lutens, Guerlains and Carons are keeping me pretty busy. I’ve bought three full bottles this week(finally have enough Mitsouko to drown myself in it), so I really cannot add anything to my list. On the other hand, these all sound beautiful..and I do need more fig, Arabie has me hoooked.

  • Vasily says:

    I’ve tried dozens of AL’s frags, and I think my absolute #1 favorite so far is Midnight Violet. Sleepwalking, you find yourself in the deep forest in the middle of the night; the frigid light of a full moon filters down through the great trees overhead. Suddenly you smell violets, and looking down you see violets of the deepest hue blooming in a discarded rubber tire. Is this a dream?

    I’ve always liked violets – when I was a kid, I liked the breath mints called Sen Sen, which combined violets and licorice. A shocking juxtaposition. Similarly, the dirty, rubbery, woodsy qualities of Midnight Violet play off against the loveliness of the violet in this perfume. Not at all sweet, and unisex IMO. Of the dozens of AL frags I’ve tried, I’d say this one is very nearly perfect, and an AL masterpiece.

  • Renee says:

    There is a message on Ava Luxe that says she is taking an extended break. No date on when she will return. I like her Loukhoum and Pearl Musk scents.

    Serge….I hope ALL of your scents make it here! You and Shiseido make me feel like I’m uncouth, unkempt and unworthy by keeping your stuff out of American’s reach! I love Feminite du Bois but can never find it here. I finally had a friend in Ireland order it and sent it to me. I kept waiting for the parfum police to arrest me while I skulked outside my mailbox everyday.

  • March says:

    Seriously bummed about the Ava-Luxe site. She has five fig scents I went over there to order samples of, and no dice. A commenter on my fig post said the original message was “no new orders while I catch up” but now the whole site is down.

    I’ve emailed but gotten no response.:((

    • Patty says:

      so why do people bail when it was just getting good? Hopefully she’ll catch her breath and be back next year. I have a hunch that doin git by herself, headed into her busy season was exhausting just to think about.

  • Marina says:

    I supposed I *could* drag my lazy self one ave. over to the 5th and torture a SA till (s)he tells me all the truth about what’s going on in BG Lutens-wise…*sigh*

    • tmp00 says:

      You know, I remember the tall drink of water telling me that there would be special edition bottles as well. But I was under the impression they would be bell jars.

      Sorry, I am not paying $180 for 50 ml. :-w

      • Divalano says:

        I think I spoke to the very same gentleman 2 months ago. He was airy & vague about what they’d be bringing over, you obviously got more information out if him than I did. All he told me about was Louve & then some *air of great mystery* perhaps some other Thing from Paris but hmmm we don’t know What yet. And then he offered to spritz me with something I don’t like. Clair de Musc, probably.

        Tom, I agree about the $180 price but gee, I’d so go over just to sample Bois et Fruits if it’s actually there. Does anyone know if it is???

  • Elle says:

    OK, I clearly need to retry the A-L line. Midnight Violet and Madame X sound extremely intriguing.
    I am lighting all sorts of candles and looking for appropriate incantations, mantras, whatever to ensure that Serge releases *all* the bell jar scents from Europe only bondage and lets BG have them. If he really is losing interest in the scents, I suspect he may let them all go.

    • Patty says:

      So far I’ve heard that he’s not abandoning the line, so not sure what gives there. It would be nice if he’d bring them over, even if it’s just 3-4 at a time. He’d still get some exclusivity, like Disney does, taking thing out of rotation, bue eventually, with patience, everyone could have their bell jar.

      I hope they don’t do the square bottles, I think it takes all the charm out of it!

  • CindyN says:

    I’ve tried shambala tibet (sp)– very patch, incense and sandalwood-loved it. Also, Vintage Violet, Heart of Glass, Bohemian Rose and Vamp. Oh yeah, and Kashmir Spice.
    I also had (a year or more ago) one of her gardenias (forgot the name) and another jasmine one. While I liked her florals, they tended, on me, to all smell similar on the drydown. I do hope that she is OK, though. The message on the website seemed a tad ominous.
    Enjoy your Paris trip, TONS. I haven’t been back in many years (was a double lang. and biz major in undergrad and went to school over there and Florence for a year —decades and decades and decades ago, well, you get the idea!)

    • Patty says:

      I had less luck on the florals, except that violet one, which hits on all four cylinders for me. Just perfection. I did try a vintage violet one that I did not care for. it was okay’ish, but not for me.

  • Patty says:

    Wow, almost first here. A lurker delurking to say I love your site. After ordering a sample off the Perfumed Court, I was all set to order a bottle of Ava Luxe’s Cafe Noir for my own birthday, but it does seem that her site has been down for quite some time, disappointingly so.

    • Patty says:

      Hi, Patty, and welcome!!! Glad you de-lurked.

      It sounds like she will sell things by e-mailing her for something you very much need.

  • Erin says:

    I keep meaning to try a few more Ava Luxes (Angie sent me two very foody ones a while back), but I’m always overwhelmed with all the choices. Thanks for suggesting some scents that sound very interesting.

    • Patty says:

      She appears to have shut down for a while, waaah! But says she’ll be selling some things out of her etsy shop.

      Well, I hope she gets a much-needed break and shows back up in a month or two.