All the time?
Just Rosemary and Thyme?
No, silly! It’s none of those. It’s time to announce the winners, that’s what time it is…
The most competitive draw was for Bois Farine – Sue won!
Voleur de Roses – well done Cheri.
Habit Rouge – congrats to perfumequeen.
Jo Malone Amber and Lavender – it’s yours, Sylvia.
Ungaro III is heading to its rightful owner, Erin K.
Jaipur pour Homme – quick out of the draw was perfume nut Mark David.
Arpege pour Homme is heading south to Matt S.
Rochas Lui is off to frolic in temperate climes with grizzlesnort.
No-one wanted Hugo Boss Soul…
I’ve managed to contact all winners except for Cheri, so if you’re reading this, please hit the contact us button. Commiserations to those who lucked out. I’m expecting some little return packages and am excited to see what’s what. I’ll be letting y’all know.
The other time reference in today’s post is of course to Serge Lutens’ latest release, Five O’Clock au Gingembre. However, I’m not sure I have that much to say about it, seeing as all I’ve been able to get through the post is a tester strip, still almost damp on arrival – they must’ve soaked and soaked before sealing.
It’s supposed to be very bergamotty in the opening, but seeing as this is a tester strip, I get little of that (and take the fact that I’ve not done a skin test as a proviso please). First off, it has that Serge and Sheldrake something that fans – and enemies! – of the line will instantaneously recognise. To me it’s the beeswax (not honey) and spice accord that seems a signature flourish in his orientals. Ostensibly, there’s nothing particularly new here. It is yet another variation on a theme. And, if you’re bored of Lutens’ exploration of the spice theme, and the postured blending of contemporary European sensibilities with nineteenth century Orientalism, you’re not going to be excited here.
My initial sniffs made me think of Bois Oriental and ginger, though on subsequent returns to my little plastic pouch those thoughts have changed. Whilst not especially sweet, some of the candied, or perhaps even stewed, quality of the ginger comes through – there’s none of the harsh astringency you get from the raw root, or the burn of the powder, either. Likewise, this is very low key on the citric elements you find in that freshly grated knobbly rhizome. Instead of the yellow associations I might have had with such descriptions, I’m taken into a world of burnt umbers, shadowed shades of browns and oranges. And there’s a masculine element at work here – the vetiver, patchouli and cistus combination perhaps, though none of those notes are as distinct as they are in other Lutens and Sheldrake creations. This one is all about the blend.
Whilst the ginger and pepper may give the scent its raspy buzz, its alert quality, the cocoa works as a baritone, lowering the frequency and harmonising the tune. Once you see the cocoa here, a gourmand quality does become far more obvious, though the scent itself never becomes foody. It’s definitely too abstract for that, in spite of its name that seems to be a bizarre re-imagining of the types of English tradition I’ve never known (I wish, in the words of Noel Coward, everything did stop for tea). There should be tea here, I suppose, and perhaps there is. I don’t pick it up in any obvious way, and though the scent has stylistic similarities to Giacobetti’s Tea for Two, it has none of the verisimilitude of that l’Artisan number.
Summary thoughts – it’s a quiet Lutens. Like Rousse, there are no oddities, startling juxtapositions or surprises here. To quote a truism of our times, it is what it is. I don’t get the fresh elements described elsewhere, but then I haven’t yet smelled the whole scent. I’m really only focused on the base here, and for me, Serge is the king of the bases. I will be buying it: I’ve been carrying the tester strip everywhere with me, and it’s pushing more and more of my buttons every hour (and I mean every hour) I’ve been sniffing it. I can only imagine the beauty of its trail.
I asked the SA – Lydie – at the Salons whether any other perfumes could be expected this year. Though I received the usual gnomic evasions, I did get the impression that there might be two more yet to be released, before 2008 passes into history. There seemed no knowledge of last year’s rumour that the line has reached its end.
Painting is Alexandre Cabanel’s Cléopà¢tre testant ses poisons sur des condamné, French Orientalism at its most fantastical.