Replowing Serge Lutens 5 au Gingembre

Lee gave a great review on this last week, and I did a short blurb as well, but I am so much in love with this stuff, I have to write a little more about it – mostly because I’ve put it on every day since I got it.

This goes on like thick honeyed smoke, a more palatable Miel de Bois with some dark, rich Tea for Two and CdG Tea thrown in.  It can change back and forth from smoke to tea to honey being more prominent, with ginger overarching the whole composition, bubbling, but never getting oppressive, which is what I would expect from something with these strong notes.  This is one of the few scents I’ve worn out that I’ve gotten a compliment on – I do try to be careful about my sillage in public, though my private sillage is just embarrassingly ridiculous much of the time.

I stuck my sprayed hand under my youngest son Harry’s nose and asked him what he thought, and he kept my hand and just drowned his nose in it.  Since he’s only done that with a couple of scents, that is high praise indeed.

If you despise tea scents or smokey scents or all of the ones referenced above, The Five may not work for you, but I am guessing this will wind up being one of the better sellers for their export line. It’s brilliantly done.  And freaking hot.

A question, if you had to pick just two of the Serge exports and two of the Serge non-exports that you could have a constant supply of for your whole life, which would you pick?

95 Comments

  1. Serge and I have a love/hate relationship. I keep wanting to love him without reservation and he keeps wanting to drive his black Rolls Royce over me while cracking a leather whip embellished with roses. We all love in different ways.

    I love Arabie in the same way you love Gingembre (which I haven’t smelled yet), for all it’s sweet dates and sticky honey. I wear it at inappropriate times and don’t care.

    With the same unreason, I love its polar opposite, Gris Clair, for the wild and windswept way it does and doesn’t smell of lavender. Oh, and it’s probably for men and I don’t care about that, either.

    Don’t know much about the ones I can’t get.I’ve always been inrigured by Borneo 1834 and Mardarine, Mandarin. They might even smell great together, but of all the scents i don’t layer, it’s Serge’s. Every time I’m tempted, I hear him revving up his Rolls and checking the tread to see if he’d be pleased with the impression he’d leave, so I haven’t. yet.

    • Hee hee! You’d probably adore Encens et Lavande, which is like the older, hipper, more worldy sister of Gris Clair. 🙂

      Serge is trying, and I think people probably try harder than they should if his stuff doesn’t work for them, but I do manage to find a lot of his scents interesting, even if they just don’t work at all on me.

      • Patty –

        Dang! My post got lost….

        My Newbie votes (seriously noob – just sampled Serge last week) are Gris Clair, which I’m trying out to great success…with Daim Blond a close second.

        The Ambre Ambre (not sure…is that the name of it?) oiled up on me. Ick.

        I just read above that people tend to try way harder with these scents (and that the line is trying) – I agree. Except for GClair I got the sense I would have to struggle with this line.

        Then again, I just fell in love with tea and smoke via T42 (once the flea-spray note dies down) and 5 au Gingembre sounds like a softer, warmer riff on those notes….we’ll see! It’s on my list for the next Spritza.

  2. I’m off to sample 5 O’Clock this afternoon at the Palais-Royal… Non-export favorites? I’d be hard-pressed to name just two. Tubéreuse Criminelle springs to mind, as well as the newly-rediscovered (for me) La Myrrhe. I had a long falling-out with aldehydes but I’m very much into them now: La Myrrhe feels to me (but I think Victoria F. said it first) like a late 20th century response to Chanel N°5. But Muscs Koublaï Khan and Santal de Mysore are also on the lifetime supply list.
    As for the exports, I haven’t explored them as much, but I’d say Un Lys and Fleurs d’Oranger. Lovely, dirt-tinged florals.

      • I did a try on my skin. Unfortunately my sample spilled in my makeup bag, so I won’t be able to re-test quietly at home. My first impression, such as it is, is that this feels more like an atmosphere that impregnates the skin and clothing than a perfume-y perfume. I really quite like it, more than I expected, actually. There’s a pepper-pimiento accord that seeps through the ginger, with a camphory veil throughout. I could swear I smelled a floral something at one point but that could’ve been another Lutens being applied in the shop. Or it may be a facet of the honey-beeswax accord which I’m sure is there. My friend Karin though there might have been a tobacco note.
        It’s very atmospheric and seductive. Needs another try. Would be stunning on a man — my BF, the Chypre Rouge/Borneo thief, wants it after smelling the tainted makeup bag!
        The S.A., a lovely Spanish young man named Marco, joked that trying to get notes out of Mr. Lutens was pretty much mission impossible, even for his staff.

  3. Non-exports are easier for me than exports. Encens et Lavande and Santal de Mysore (sorry ISM). Exports – Arabie (sorry Patty) and erm, er, well, oh, eeh, aah, umm, Santal Blanc? Maybe I’d actually choose 5pm, just because I can.

    I’m waiting for my bottle to arrive…:-w

    • The nonexports have worked better for me too, and that’s why I’m surprised the gingembre has worked so spectaculraly for me. The exports always feel like a more mainstream version of one of the nonexports.

  4. uhhhh…OK-exports-Arabie and Ambre Sultan (and a bonus-DT). Non-exports-FT and Bois Oriental.

    Ah, I am tempted to order the Ginger unsniffed…restraint called for here 8-|

    • I’d definitely wait. I think you’ll love it, but I always feel horribly guilty if people buy something based on what I say and then despise the darn thing. 🙂

      • Luckily, I found a sample to try later today! Way excited…:d/

      • I wouldn’t worry too much about that. If they know about MUA, they could make a killing swapping decants of this. I assume it comes in the pour top….that would make it easier to decant too.

  5. Hmm, exports: maybe Daim Blonde and…ok, I have to pick two “limited editions,” Fumerie Turque or Chene.
    Non-Exports: Iris Silver Mist, no question, and…Chene again? 🙂

  6. Tea, smoke & sweet spice … wow, I need to try this, it sounds like Tea For Two (which is love or eh for me, depending on the weather & phase of the moon) only with more guts & glory. I’ve not read one bad review & glad to see Serge getting so much love after Sarrasins & Louve.

    You say choose? Easy. Datura Noir & Un Bois Vanille on the exports. Cuir Mauresque (& I don’t care that my bf suddenly decided it’s powdery, he’s WRONG) & hmm … perhaps this newcomer Gingembre? Or if we don’t get along & if my spring test drive of Tubereuse Criminelle falls flat I’ll go with the ltd ed, Fumerie Turque. I’ll be receiving my bottles by tomorrow’s post, yes? 😉

    • Yes, it’s all cleared at Palais Royale, they’ll start shipping immediately. 🙂 I wish!!!

  7. My top 3 life time supply required SLs: Chergui, Douce Amere,
    and Santal de Mysore. Reading your post, this new one could very possibly be number 4. This is a kind of perfumista torture – reading this and waiting for my decant to arrive!

    • Sorry! The mail never moves fast enough, does it? I will be interested to hear what people think of it and if my prediction holds up. I’m always surprised that people don’t love eau de fier from AG and T42 and CdG tea more… so this could be a peculiar thing to my taste?

  8. non-exports – the only one I must have is Rose de Nuit, although I also love Borneo 1834 and Chergui

    exports – 2, 2 you say, ONLY 2? I don’t think so!
    Douce Amere (not sure why more people don’t rave about this one) and Un Lys and Une Bois Vanille – all three are marvelous alone or layered with one of the others. And if 5 au Gingembre is that marvelous, I’ll take it as well.

    And with those choices, woe to anyone downwind from me!!

    • Douce Amere is really gorgeous. There are a good number of the exports that I very much enjoy wearing, they’re not too much in any way, but they don’t usually seem like rave material, more like the stuff you like to have in stock at all times because it’s really easy to wear and love, but you’re not in love with it.

      • what really amazes me about the line is that the ones that I wear gradually grow on me and join the ones I immediately love – and seem to be different on me in different weather, moods, etc. Amazing artistry, no?

  9. Non exports: Bois de Violette and Chêne
    Exports: Fleurs de Citronnier and Miel de Bois (though I’m hearing such wonderful raves about 5 au Gingembre, I think I’m very close to buying it unsniffed…)

    • I don’t know that I’d do that unsniffed thing. Serges being Serges and all. It should be in pretty wide distribution by the end of the month, I would think, well worth waiting to try!

  10. Isn’t it just brilliant? I love the mastery of the composition, echoing the fresh/zesty and spicy facets of ginger all in one smooth, demure, wonderful package.
    To me, Five o’clock wasn’t only FBW, it was an instant purchase, too, and that’s sayin’ somethin’ 😉

    Also, choosing only two of Serge’s lovely offerings is too difficult, and cruel to boot, so… 😉

    (oh, and hi! (Very-)long-time lurker here, finally taking the comment plunge!))

    • Glad you plunged!!!

      Ah, good to see the Gingembre fan club starting. It really felt more like one of their nonexport scents than the exports, didn’t you think?

  11. Kind of hard to tell nowadays what is an non-export and what is not. What is Fumerie Turque, for example, or Un Lys? If we count the more reliably available LEs, my exports are pretty easy: Ambre Sultan and Douce Amere. (Though this new one sounds brilliant.) That also leaves me in a better position with the non-exports, which are harder, because I can honestly say Chene and MKK. If we count Chene as an LE, then I have to choose between something I love and admire, but don’t wear very often (TC and to a slightly lesser extent Bois de Violette or ISM) and the Serge that I wear the most, but am vaguely uncertain about, Mandarine Mandarin.

    • I should have clarified. I always think of the LE exports a nonexports just because that’s how they started, even though they are all constantly available. My guess is the nonexport piece of it will shrink or maybe disappear. Gingembre feels much more like a nonexport in statement than most of them have.

  12. LE- would be Santal Mysore and Bois de Violette; exports are Ambre Sultan and Un Lys.

    Awaiting my samp, to see what it does….

  13. I kept my expectations for this one low. Very low. Didn’t even race to try it when I got it in the mail. When I finally did I wasn’t bowled over and figured I’d been right to hold back on the enthusiasm. Then about a half hour later casually resniffed my wrist to see how it was progressing. Complete change of attitude. *Love*. Definitely along the lines of Rousse on my skin. I agree w/ you – think it will be one of the better sellers of the export line. But…choose just two faves from export and non?!!! No. Brain starts to scramble, comes close to exploding. Can’t. Do. At. All. I love far too many too deeply. However, I could do two least favorites from each group. The honors for export would go to Louve and Clair de Musc. Hmmm…am finding I can’t really choose for non-exports. I’ll just add two more to the exports – Sa Majeste (and this coming from a rose lover) and Gris Clair.

    • It is pretty wonderful, huh? I didn’t love for about the first few minutes, though I liked. Harry loved instantly and deeply, so it’s definitely got a more masculine/gender neutral feel to it.

    • Really? For some reason, I thought you’d have a couple more must-haves in there. Though the line lends itself more to admiration on the interesting factor and less on the must-wear all the time level.

  14. Serge doesn’t play nice with me, have yet to find an Export I could live without, much less wear in public – my skin just magnifies them…and they put me in a bad mood. :-w

    Maybe BdeViolette for non-export…maybe the Encens et Lavande, but again, they usually make me sullen and cross. Will I be banished from the Posse posts for admitting I’m not an undying fan?:o

    Maybe this Gingembre will be the break-through – it just sounds heavenly. But that’s my problem with SLs – they always sound/smell so much better in theory for me…

    • No banishment here!!! :))

      I think Serge can be difficult, and I don’t think he works for everyone or even most people – skin chemistry, taste, whatever – and sometimes you just have to say, don’t love what he does on me. 🙂

      • Thanks for letting me stay :d

        He’s just complicated and dark – and not in a comforting way to me…but, I’ll tell you what I do *love* is that wax sample booklet from the Salons – anyway, whenever I get a whiff of that whole thing in a drawer I swoon – but not *one* scent alone will do that for me on my skin…

  15. Hmm…this sounds amazing! Any idea if I can get my hands on some in the DC area?

    • I’ve checked at my usual stomping grounds, Saks, Neimans even Barney’s COop. None carry it. I even took a chance with a couple of specialty shops in Leesburg, no luck yet. Do you have any other ideas?

      • Art with Flowers at Tyson’s will likely carry it-just call Bill and ask when they’ll have it in-they have most or all of the exports.

        • Speaking of Art With Flowers, Vetiver Oriental has reappeared there–if you like your vetiver on the rooty spicy side, now’s the time to try it.

    • Serge always does a weird thing where it shows up everyone but the U.S. first. So the Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver has it, but so far the U.S. shops don’t,but I’m guessing it will be coming in soon.

  16. This shouldn’t be too difficult an exercise since I like/admire many SLs but love relatively few. On the exports I’d choose Daim Blond and Chene (I know it was an LE so a bit of a cheat but I bought it as export so am claiming it as such)and the non exports, Rose de Nuit and either Bois de Violette or Bois et Musc or (maybe, because my sample is on the way but I think I’m going to like it)Bois et Fruits. However this gingery one may throw a spanner into the works.

  17. Oh my goodness, that sounds amazing!

    I’m a dummy and don’t even know which are export … I haven’t had much trouble getting my hands on samps :d

    So my faves are EetL, Fleurs d’Oranger, The Big Pencil and the (vastly underrated) Clair de Musc. Chergui I loved until it bit me.

    • I think this is an SL that’s really going to do it for you, just a hunch. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my perfumed hat.

  18. I tried several SL’s a long time ago and wasn’t impressed at all, until I tried Chergui. That is THE ONE for me. How I love it.

    I want to retry the SL’s at some point, and I definitely want to try 5:00 Ginger. I am kind of concerned, however. I read somewhere that it’s more like Rousse on the skin that something more pronounced. I thought Rousse was just soft, round cinnamon and rather boring.

    • The Five has the ferocity of Chergui, but in a more understated way that’s gently insistent. I think that’s why I lvoe it, the thing just stuck to me like a three-faceted diamond for better than a day, not overpowering, just lovely.

  19. Oh gosh I’m waffle-y on this one… I haven’t tried it and don’t know if I want to. Tea and Ginger = LOVE. Smoke = wretch. I know, I know, take away my Perfume Lover’s Card. I’m afraid I’ll try it and hate it and if I don’t try it, I can imagine something really wonderful. How twisted is that?

    Whaddaya think, Patty?

    • Oh brother… please also make that silent W an invisible W…

      coffee = good thing :”>

    • Oh, Lord, I don’t know!!! I thought about you liking this, and it really could go either wya. It’s not terribley smoky, like he smoky feel to a good tea, not earthy smoke. Does that help?

  20. Longtime lurker (and big-time fan) here, emergring sheepishly to declare my loooove for Gigembre– which took me by surprize since I’ve never been one much for tea. But doesn’t an unexpected swoon like that just make you fall even harder?

    As for the SL game, export would be Chergui (LEs count, right?!) and now the lovely 5 O’clock, and non-exports would be Borneo 1834 and bois de violette, no question.

    • Oh, lookie at all the Gingembre lovers! I’m so tickled. I’m always afraid that I”m going to be the freak again and everyone will point and stare.. Ew, she really loves that. 🙂 I kid, I kid!

      Gorgeous stuff, huh?

  21. Non-Exports:
    Tubereuse Criminelle
    Iris Silver Mist

    Exports:
    Ambre Sultan
    Chene (this is technically cheating since I have a bell jar)

  22. Non-Export:
    MKK
    Mandarine Mandarin

    Export:
    Chene
    Borneo 1834

    I was told by the lady at Barneys that Chene is staying in the export, and I read that Borneo was going to be the next one to join the list so I am counting them. I am now sticking my fingers in my wars and loudly saying “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” in case anyone tells me I can’t count them.. :[email protected]

      • I know I read it too. Can’t remember where. I don’t share your enthuasiam. One of the nastiest fragrances EVER on me.

  23. uhhmmm, let’s see. My four are Encens et Lavande, Chergui, Vetiver Oriental, and Un Lys. And Fumerie Turque if my Un Lys-loving DD1 isn’t standing over my shoulder…

  24. non-export-bois de violette(people swer they smell incense-and it is me) and mandarin mandarin
    export-vetiver,chene,un bois vanille(really captures sweet cinnoman in creamy horchata)daim blond-which disturbs me, and keeps me coming back

  25. I have a suggestion for the next Perfume Posse club scent experience: tea. You could take the sampler on TPC, add 5:00 Ginger. Hopefully, you could keep them all, but if you’ve found that it would make for something too expensive to have alot of participants, then take one or a few out of the sampler. We’re in between seasons, and tea would be a great bridge between winter and spring. Think about it. Or is the Perfume Posse Club Scent a thing of the past? :(( Or has nearly everyone here experienced all of these scents already? :-s

    • I like this idea and hope the Perfume Posse Scent Club is still around! I’m eagerly awaiting the next picks.

      • Me too! I’m new and haven’t had a chance to play yet. Also, the only Serge that I’ve tried is the Encense Lavande, jury is still out. Heavy duty lavender.

    • ooooo! love this idea… have to include CB’s Tea/Rose… still makes me gasp every time at its perfection. Yup… crazy for the tea…

  26. Hmmmm. . . hard question. I don’t know whether to follow Billy’s example and pick some LEs for my exports, or to play it, um, straight.

    If I could choose LEs I would do FT and Chergui. If I can only pick standard exports, it would be Gris Clair and Daim Blond.

    Now, assuming I have chosen standard exports, I would choose Fumerie Turque and Rose de Nuit for my nonexports. But if I have already chosen FT (clearly a must-have for me), I would choose either MKK or Encens et Lavande (well, if I have Gris Clair, I guess I would go for the MKK). I think that covers all possibilites (and lets me mention more perfumes than would otherwise be permitted):)

    Of course, all this might change when I sniff that Gingembre!

    • I think you’ll dig the gingembre, but I can’t remember if you’re all about tea/honey or not? Think you like AN and Miel, right?

  27. What a horrible question, making me choose only 2 non-exports! I’d have to say Borneo and La Myrrhe, but if I could I’d put the entire Bois line there. While I admire the non-export line, they don’t wear particularly well on me, Miel de Bois being the exception. I wish I could wear Arabie; it smells so lush on my husband, on me it’s currants and taco mix. Can’t wait to try the new one–it’s sounds like something I might be able to wear.
    BTW, will definitely start experimenting with the AG EdF as a base layer, even though by itself on me it’s all Jiffy Lube and ashtrays.

  28. Um, is there a chart or something out there of the exports vs. non-exports? For the ‘n00bs’ (isn’t that what we’re called…) who can’t remember which is which.

    All I have from Serge are decants; my favorites are: Encens et Lavande and Fumerie Turque, although it sounds like Five O’Clock will be joining the list once my sample arrives!

    • That’s a little more complicated, that list, because some came over as LE exports, but were suppposed to go back, like Fumerie Turque and Vietiver Oriental, Cherguie, etc., but they appear to be permanent additions to the export line now.

      I don’t think there’s a list out there, though, but I know someone at MUA at one time had a list of all of them and where they were classified.

      Easiest way is to look at Aedes or Luckyscent and see which ones they have. Those they have are exports, and everything else is the nonexport.

  29. Is Chene a non-export or an export? Is its exportness only temporary? Will it revert to non-export? Whichever list it goes on, it’s the top.

    Non-exports after Chene: Iris Silver Mist and Rose de Nuit.

    Exports: A la Nuit and…here it comes, Patty…Arabie. :d

  30. Just received my bottle of Gingembre from the Perfume Shoppe this Saturday and it’s LOVE! I was scared when I heard it was like Tea for Two and Arabie, neither of which I can stand, but it’s not – it’s a lovely ginger tea scent on me, which starts out strong but dries down quickly into a fabulous warm thing.

    My two non-exports are Tubereuse Criminelle and Iris Silver Mist. Export are Bois Vanille and Fleurs d’Oranger.

  31. I feel like a retard, but after all these years, there’s only one SL that has really got me going, and that is Daim Blond.

    That’s it P…I can’t think of any others that I absolutely have to have, although I do receive compliments when I wear Ambre Sultan.

    Maybe this new one will do it for me???

    Hugs!

    • I’m trying to think. How do you feel about Tea 4 2 or miel or Ambre narguile? I’m trying to triangulate the things I know you like, and I can’t come to a conclusion on this one for you because I can’t remember about the honey/ginger/tea notes.

  32. MKK
    Iris Silver Mist

    FT (I’m going to count is as a non export so that I can include it, because I have to have it)
    torn between Gris Clair and Douce Amere, truth is, I haven’t had a really good chance to sample all of them, yet, so my options are limited.

  33. Ok, I’m going to cheat here – my lifetime SG supplies would include SdM, FT, EeL, La Myrrhe, MM, BdV, FdO, Chene and a few others. What, you don’t expect me to make such a major decision at such short notice, do you? Tsk.Tsk.
    You’ve got me dying to try that 5 o’clock shadow… um, ginger, you evil, wonderful woman! 😡

  34. To date, I’ve had NO luck with SL. Tried the entire export range and a couple exclusives yet, same thing occurs, the notes are too heavy for my skin and I’m forced to wash/scrub it off. That being said, this post has been pulling me like nothing else. I’m going to take the plunge and order my bottle today from The Perfume Shoppe. I need to have it, I really, really do:) I ‘feel’ that this will be the ONE!!

    • I dunno. If Serges haven’t worked so far, I’m not sure this one will change your mind. It’s a heavy honey/ginger/tea. Not as heavy as some, but if Serges are generally heavy, I don’t know that this will be perfect.

      The good news is, if you hate it, that bottle will be way easy to swap or sell on eBay

      • Patty,
        I’m having high hopes for this one. Since I adore Ambre Narguile, I figured that this might work as well. I also love cinnamon accords and I noticed a few people detected this note in the blend. Tea is easy for me to work with so the only thing will be the honey note and how sweet it comes off. If it’s as dry and warm as I assume it to be, I’ve got a winner!! I already took the plunge and ordered it so wish me luck.

  35. I’m still sampling my way through Serge but the ones I’ve tried and liked enough to buy decants of are Encens et Lavande & Clair de Musc. E&L is amazing; one deep sniff and I can put an entire rotten day behind me. I’ve read so many reviews of CdM, saying it’s boring, other muscs are way better etc., but imho it smells wonderful, so there. :d

  36. Of the dozen or so I’ve tried, I suppose my four would be Fumerie Turque, Bois de Violette, Arabie, and either Encens et Lavande ore Mandarin Mandarine. Chene very nearly makes it into the top four club, too. Oddly enough, the very first SL I tried, Chergui, left me cold and made me wonder what all the buzz was about. There are still about eight SLs on my To Try list – mostly winter frags, so I won’t be getting to them until the fall.

    • Oh yeah, 5 au Gingembre is at the top of my list of To Trys!!

  37. Ahh… I sense another SL lemming in the horizon. How evil this particular critter must be to come at a time when I’m leaving my cubicle and going on welfare? :-w

    So, if somebody kind would volunteer to finance by SL addiction indefinitely, I would go for the following non-exports: Mandarin Mandarine and Chergui. Exports: Gris Clair and A la Nuit for that slayer jasmine that just knocks the socks off my BF. (literally, he’s swore to shoot that jasmine on site.)

    Anyway, please pass the hot tea down this way….

  38. Tea with ginger, I’ve got to try this one… Though the honey note scares me – Miel de Bois is pure men’s room awfulness.
    My non-export favs are MKK (of course!) and, I think, Ambre Sultan. My export… ummm… Fumerie Turque and… does Chene count as export?

  39. I haven ‘t tested it yet, but I had fun reading reviews online, how interesting cultural perceptions on fragrances are; for the french FOCAG is honey honey honey and it ‘s all about tea tea and more smoky tea for anglo-americans but in both cases reviews are rather good.

  40. Well, I didn’t separate them into export/non-export, but: Douce Amere and Un Lys. I also enjoy Chene, and sometimes Gris Clair. I like Mandarin Mandarine, but it doesn’t work on my skin.

    I’m looking forward to sniffing Gingembre!

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