Serge Lutens Serge Noire – Perfume Review

Hey, It’s almost August, so that means it’s time for two Serge releases.

First up, Serge Noire, which joins the export line, available in Europe now and in the U.S. in late August to September’ish.  Notes listed for it are patchouli, cinnamon, amber and black woods.   The marketing hype goes on and on about the phoenix, grey something, swirling night.  The scent says: “Hey, I’m cinnamon, nice to meet you!”  Well, that’s what it says to you as it slams on the brakes of its black, dusty Porsche right in front of your house.  Because you are then in a swirl of dusty incense and cinnamon is as close as I can get to it in the early stages.  There is a healthy amount of incense that develops early after a pretty slight start and that camphorish smell that’s in Tubereuse Criminelle and Sarrasins that kind of tickles the nose and you can’t decide if you like or no.

Those of you that aren’t fans of the cinnamon aspects in Rousse will likely be a little skeptical in the first 15 minutes of so of this scent, but the cinnamon recedes on me, and has more of the cinnamon bark snap to it than red hots.  This is a hot, dusty, earthy scent.  I’m not sure how else to describe it, but it keeps me sniffing because it just has a lot of facets that go in and out – dust, warmth, cool incense, woods.   I swear, somewhere deep in there is a hint of Borneo… must be the patch.  It’s a beautiful, interesting creation from Lutens and one of the best things he’s done in a good while.

It’s hot red dust swirling through the evening breeze. I don’t know about a Phoenix, but this is a scent I’m happily wearing.  Hey, and you can be too. It’s a new release, it’s Serge, let’s give away a couple of samples. Just put a note in comments if you want in the drawing, and I’ll announce the winners on Thursday!


  1. sounds dreamy. i’d love to be entered in the drawing!

  2. well of course I’d love to be in the drawing…

    How much shameless begging is unseemly? :d

  3. yum! this sounds right up my alley. i’d love to be entered!

  4. I’d love to be entered in the drawing! (fearful of the temptation to buy without sniffing 🙂

  5. Me, too, me, too! In the drawing, please!
    Hot red dust swirling through the evening breeze, incense, intimations of Borneo … I couldn’t wait for this one before, and now I’m more eager than ever.

  6. Please count me in too. I’m one of the few people apparently who loved Rousse and bought a bottle, so I’ll even love the first 15 minutes!

  7. It sounds divine…spicy/hot/dusty/unpredictable. Please throw my name in the hat!

  8. Wow, this sounds like quite the whirlwind of a scent. Please enter me in the drawing.

  9. I’m DROOOOOLING over the way you have described this!!! Please enter me in the drawing! Thank you!!!!!

  10. Who wouldn’t want to be in a drawing for this one. I can see a bottle somewhere, taunting me, calling to me. The vixen.

  11. Always when a new SL appears, I am impatient to try it. Thus, I would be thankful for entering me in the drawing, thanks Patty 🙂

  12. Sounds great! Wouldn live to be in a drawing for this perfume,please 😡

  13. Mmmmm…we all want to love Serge again, don’t we??? Please include me in the drawing :d

  14. I have a somewhat different take on this one. I’ve been getting a ton of benzoin when I dab this, and I suspect that’s where most of the cinnamon comes from. When I spray, it’s pepper and clove in the top notes, with a powdery carnation feel in the drydown; neither amber nor patchouli are overly strong, the incense shines through but it’s not austere or sad. I agree it’s the most interesting thing Lutens has done in a long while. No need to include me in the draw, I’ve already got my full bottle!

    • I did not read you say powdery carnation. Ignoring that, focusing on the amber. Yes. And benzoin. And pepper. And the not austere or sad incense.

      • We’re talking clove-y, pepper-y carnation rather than sweet-powdery. Closer to actual carnation flowers (the very fragrant type) than to face powder. Actually, I find it quite close to the clove note in vintage L’Origan.

  15. Mmmmm…sounds perfect! Dying to try it. Will it be the Serge of my dreams? Please enter me in the drawing!

  16. Ooh ooh ooh! Please include me in the drawing! This sounds amazing…loved hearing your description of it…

  17. I’ve been on the look-out for this one, but it hasn’t arrived here yet (when it comes to exporting fragrances, Switzerland is right next to Burkina Faso on the priority list of fragrance houses). I’c love to be entered in the drawing!

  18. I have trouble with Rousse, in part because of the cinnamon shifting over the musk. SN sounds as if it moves away from the Rousse grotesquerie, but nevertheless I’m in no rush to try it. Your review was excellent plain-speak!

  19. I’m glad to finally read something about this scent other than the promotional copy from Serge. Phoenixes are great but it’s nice to actually hear what it smells like. And it sounds like it smells pretty darn good. I’d love to get a whiff; I’m so excited, everything is making me feel like fall is on it’s way. 🙂

    • The promo copy made my eyes glaze over, evoking twee poetry readings in overcrowded cafes with wobbly tables more than anything else. I agree, so happy to read an actual descriptive review.

    • Wait … so it doesn’t smell like Phoenix? The city?

      I was picturing arid lands, gasoline, creosote, roadkill baking in the desert sun…

      • Wait…we could do that. Layer Lonestar Memories, Yatagan, and maybe Secretions Magnifique…:-&

  20. Hm…I was debating until I saw Borneo thrown out there. I would love to throw my hat into the sample ring! Thank you for finally giving a description of the scent!

  21. Not a Rousse fan, so the cinnamon doesn’t excite me, but “hot and dusty” pushes my buttons; and carmencanada’s comments made sure that they stayed pushed. Would love to try!

  22. I am so so looking forward to smelling this one… please enter me in the draw, many thanks.

  23. Okay, you got me. Even if it’s over 100 here in Memphis this time of year, hot and dusty still sounds interesting. We all need a little bit of interesting in our lives,right? Count me in.

  24. Yes, please, count me in too! Incense & woods, mmmmmmmmmm

  25. Please, include me in the drawing !
    It seems… perfect ^:)^

  26. Sounds really intriguing – is it August yet? 😉

    Please enter me in the draw and thank you for the review!

  27. Dang! That DOES sound interesting! I like Tubereuse Criminelle and Sarrasins, so this may work out for me, since what a lot of people don’t like is that camphor-ish smell — I enjoy it. If it turns out to be more what carmencanada describes, well, I’d be happy, too. (obligatory lament: Why, WHY can’t my perfume budget allow for a couple of bottles a month of the good stuff? :-w )

    As Matt said, its nice to see something other than promotional copy — phoenix’s, etc. only get you so far.

    Please do enter me in the drawing!

  28. Ooooo yes please on the drawing. I adore cinnamon. Cinnamon & incense sounds like maybe an incense with enough warm that I can wear it. Woods? I like woods. Yes. Want.

  29. I’d love to try this scent. Please add me to the draw. The only two I’ve tried from Lutens are Un Lys and Daim Blond…and both only on paper! Need to get crackin’ and try the others – especially on skin. Un Lys knocked me out with its likeness to lilies. Smelled a bit too authentic to me, though – not sure I’d want to smell like lilies. I definitely want to try Daim Blond again, though. I’ve been wanting to try Borneo, so Serge Noire sounds intriguing to me, too. Of all new scents, I’m especially curious about Sublime Balkiss…

  30. Surely the woman with the Serge Drawer is deserving of a sample? Sounds wonderful, by the way. 🙂

  31. I keep searching for my HG Serge. Could this be The One? Actually, I shouldn’t ignore the lovely Chergui, but I wouldn’t mind finding another contender for the title, so please enter me into the drawing.

  32. I’d like a ride in that dusty black Porsche! Please enter me in the drawing.

  33. Ok, I’m hooked. I’ve been trying to ignore everything about this until September, when I can actually get my hands on some… An early sample would be perfect! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  34. Oh, cannot wait to try this!
    Please enter me in the drawing as well.
    Thank you!

  35. The photograph you posted paired with “hot red dust in the evening breeze” is wonderfully evocative. If Serge Noir could take me there, at least in my dreams, I’d love it. Please enter me in the drawing, too.

  36. I’d love to be in the drawing, please! This sounds fascinating.

    Thank you!

  37. Thanks for the review. I’d love to be entered in the drawing!

  38. Oh…sounds like everything I’m looking for…Would love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks!!

  39. Sounds divine … please include me in the drawing. Thank you.

  40. Ummm! Patch, cinnamon, dusty black Porsche – Shamelessly begging for a chance at the samples, please.

  41. Matt, pity your parcel went on its way before I bought the bottle! I’ll toot my own horn and direct you to my review for another take on this…

    • Silly me, I never even realized you have a blog, a beautifully written blog at that. And between you and Patty, I suddenly now really wanna get my nose on this. I have a feeling, come fall, I’m gonna be broke what with this, Vetiver Dance, and Onda all making their U.S. debuts.

    • HI CARMEN!

  42. Wow…nothing like a Lutens/free sample to pile on the comments! :d

    Everything in the export line seems to blur together for me…I’m hoping this one will stand out! The incense sounds great…the cinnamon, not so much. I trust your opinion that it’s his best in a while!

  43. Oh, gosh, sounds so yummy…just what I need, a new object of scent-desire. Yes, please enter me in the drawing!

  44. Oh please, let this be another one of Serge’s miracles!
    Would love to be in the drawing, thanks!

  45. sounds absolutely delicious and right up my alley! beautiful descriptions too–love the black porsche especially!

  46. sounds absolutely delicious and right up my alley! beautiful descriptions too–love the black porsche especially!please enter me in the drawing!

  47. Sounds delicious, I’d love to be in the drawing.

  48. SOOORRRY! did not mean for more than one post! impatient with the dial-up and haven’t had my coffee yet! :”> embarassing!:”>

  49. I’m another coming out of the woodwork for a chance at the free sample..I’d love to be entered, thank you!

  50. Hi Patty,
    Count me in please! Your review has me ready to buy this one unsniffed!!

  51. Oooh! Me too! Wanting a cinnamon that takes my breath away without any funky green (Maharadja, my former love, I’m looking at you.)

  52. sounds interesting- would love to be in the drawing!

  53. Holy Cow! Nothing like a great draw to make the post numbers increase by the quarter hour. 😉

    What can I say? Add me to the line up… ;)) …and thanks.

  54. This sounds really interesting – as a newbie to the perfume world, I don’t know that I’ve ever smelled a true cinnamon note in a fragrance. Would love to be entered in the drawing!

  55. Please enter me – I am becoming a bigger Serge fan (and of the spicy, smoky “unusual” scents) all the time.

  56. Oooh, I want to try this one…sounds worth it, esp. compared to the last 2. Please put me in the drawing.

  57. I’d love a sample. I’ve been eager to try this as soon as I read about it.

  58. Mmm, I’d love to try. I’m new to Lutens and want to smell them all. Please put my name in your hat!

  59. Sounds yummy, although you’re scaring me a bit with the TC reference. But I love all the rest of the description.

  60. Sounds wonderful, incense+ Lutens, great! I Would love to be in the drawing for this perfume!

  61. Don’t need a sample, but just wanted to say how psyched I am that this new Serge sounds so fab. YAY! Can’t wait to try it. And hope that Aedes does indeed get it in mid-August.

  62. Geeze,I’m really a Serge junkie….love them!….Please enter me in the drawing.

  63. Oooh, can you throw my name in the drawing too? All the SLs you mentioned do really well on me (guess I’m one of the 5 people in the world on whom Rousse smells fantastic), so this sounds like another bottle for the to-buy list already.

  64. I am so excited by this scent!! Please put me in the drawing. Thanks Patty.:d

  65. I love cinnamon scents, but my skin seems to eat them. Please add me to the drawing, I would love to try this one!

  66. Can I still get into the drawing? This sounds crazy good!

  67. This sounds intruiging. Count me in for the drawing, please.

  68. Ooh, I love cinnamon and incense, please count me in for the drawing, and thanks!

  69. Sounds good to me! just hoping the camphor falls more on the love it rather than the “ooh, I think I’m going to be sick” side of camphor. It’s one or the other on me.

    Please enter me in the drawing!

  70. I’d love to try this! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  71. Sounds so incredible and I cannot wait to try it! Please enter me in the drawing.

  72. Yes, please! I would love to win a sample of this- sounds delish.

  73. So glad the new Serge is getting a lot of positive press. I was afraid it’d be rather bland, considering some of his latest ones. Would love to be in the drawing to get a chance to smell this newbie!

  74. Since I am restricted (by Hubby) on bringing more Surge into the house….can you enter me in the contest please?

    • I thought of you this weekend, love…I went to a biker bar for the first time in my life. Walked in with some trepidation and found some of the nicest people I’ve ever encountered. For all the black leather and biker gear, there was nary a bar fight, just friendly people who made everyone feel welcome. A couple of shots of tequila and a couple of Marlboro Reds and I felt I’d made lots of New Best Friends.

  75. A new Serge? And I somehow missed it? Darn it, I can already smell the burning plastic!:-O
    I did like Rousse, just not enough to buy it, and I love cinnamon leaf, and I worship at the altar of Serge. I now own four – Bois de Violette (a favorite for summer, so I guess it’s true and I really Am weird! ;-), Un Lys, which is heavenly, Iris Silver Mist, my favorite for winter, and finally Mandarin Mandarine, which might not work for everyone, but it’s incredible on me.

    Please, enter me into the drawing. Do you take bribes? 😀

  76. This sounds all spicy and dark, just the way I like my ‘fumes. Please enter me in the drawing.

  77. Oh please enter me! Dry, dusty, spicy earth sounds wonderful! (Sniffed some Hermes men’s scents this weekend; eye-opening and intriguing! My mother watched in horror as I happily inhaled Terre d’Hermes, D’Orange Verte, and Guerlain Vetiver-hilarious!)

  78. Sounds delicious! Please enter me. I’m on a hot-and-dry fragrance kick lately.

  79. I’m a Serge whore– ready to jump in the dusty porche and ride off into the sunset. Enter me please.

  80. You had me at *camphor* =p~

    This sounds amazing! I would love to be in the drawing!

  81. I’m a Serge whore– ready to jump in the dusty porche and ride off into the sunset. Enter me please…

  82. The Borneo part sucked me in, even thought I’ve not yet sniffed Rousse. Dry, dusty, spicy earth didn’t hurt either! Count me in, please?

  83. Sounds like a wonderful fall scent. Please enter me too.

  84. I’d love to try this. I’ve never had the opportunity to smell a Lutens, living in the boonies. Please enter me in the drawing!

  85. sounds like one I want to try, please include me in the draw!

  86. Wow, the cinnamon in Rousse was a bit much for me, so perhaps (just perhaps) this creation would suit me better. I’d love to be in the drawing as well.

  87. Luv to be in on this I enjoy mostly all of the Serges luv Rousse, daim blond, iris silver mist, tuberose crim, cedre was waiting patiently for Aedes to email me on this one when its in would love to sniff asap please enter me

  88. Oooh, cinnamon, incense. Two of my favorites together. I’d love to be entered in the drawing.

  89. Are you going to find me clear down here? I loved your description of Serge Noire…the black Porche was a nice touch. Please enter me in the drawing, and thank you!

  90. Any Serge Lutens frag is always worth a sniff, and this one sounds very intriguing…I’d love to roll around in the hot red dust with this one, please!

  91. I finally fell in love with Iris Silver Mist so would love to be in the draw for another Lutens that I can slowly fall in love with – cinnamon, dust, clove, pepper – sigh :0 Glad to see you get soooo many people out of the woodwork for the draw!

  92. hey,

    I would love to be entered in the drawing. SL is my favorite, I’ve been dreaming of the new ones.

  93. I am just beginning to explore the world of niche fragrance. And what a wide wide world it is! The Serge Lutens line is actually where I have began. The fragrances are so unique and utterly compelling! A perfumistas dream: a line of non export bell jars on one’s vanity 😉 Please do enter me in the drawing as I’d love to smell the latest SL offering.

  94. Very excited for Serge noire. Though I’m relying more on incense than on cinnamon. Yes please for the drawing! Thanks

  95. Sparkling review! Please add my name to the drawing. I’m a “Winter”, a fair-complexioned brunette who would feel like both a sprite and a queen in Serge Noir. Thank you!

  96. Rousse is right up my alley. This sounds very interesting! Hope I win a sample so I can try it before my fall NYC trip….

  97. I’m another Rousse fan — but then, it’s raining in Seattle and 60 degrees and I’ve actually started dabbing on the Fumerie Turque…I’d love to catch a whiff of a new Serge!

  98. Please enter me in the drawing, love SL and this one sounds right for me. BTW I live near Phoenix, and the city has a rich smell, perhaps a combination of all the wonderfull desert plants and cactus and mesquite, all mixed in with a light, dry wind meandering thru the trees, picking up a dollop of the hot little rocks that make up most of the “lawns” here. Perhaps CS has captured this ellusive fragrance.

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