Serge Lutens Cà¨dre

I joked with someone recently that I was going to do a blog post of the fragrances I love that nobody else does.  I could list them, then quote from places like Perfumes: The Guide, or Makeupalley reviews, articulating the many ways people mock and dislike these sadly misunderstood gems that are dear to my heart.

Today’s pick: Serge Lutens Cà¨dre, which garners a tepid 43% rebuy rating on MUA along with comments like “mishmash” and (not entirely undeserved) criticism along the lines of, where the hell is the wood?  You’d think something called “cedar” from the line that’s killed us over and over again with cedar would have some cedar in it.

Fortunately for me I am an idiot.  Having avoided this thing like the plague, because it’s called Cà¨dre, which I learned in Serge-speak translated to “hamster-cage”  early on in my complicated relationship with Maison Lutens, I am pretty sure I had never actually put this on my skin.  But there we were at Sniffa and the guy was showing us some of his favorites, not the usual stuff, please, and Santal de Mysore was nice enough.  And of course I love Fleurs d’Oranger.  So when he waved a scent strip under my nose I wasn’t paying much attention to the name, and …. gosh, that’s gorgeous.

The folks at Serge Lutens don’t usually issue a list of notes, or anything else coherent for that matter, but I found this: cedarwood, tuberose, musk, amber and cinnamon.  And that, I suppose, would be a decent guess.  The cedar is there, but it’s in the base and buried under a lot of sweetness; this would kill me in the summer.  The tuberose is nicely counterbalanced, not to say smothered, by the amber and spices.  And I, the person who might reasonably be expected to dry-heave at what I have just written, found that on my skin everything came together.  It is … zsheenyus.  I get something that smells quite strongly like honey, with a little of honey’s muskiness, and a soft sweetness that is simultaneously woody and milky.  It’s a strange smell, I admit, and one I find quite beautiful.  I bought a bottle.

Cà¨dre is going to fit quite nicely into my Serge Lutens lineup that seems to be the perfect complement to my recent experiments in improving  my wardrobe (see yesterday’s post).  I’d expected that donning a pretty scarf, say, or a pair of pearl earrings, would have me reaching for classics like Mitsouko or Jolie Madame, and I’m sure they’ll get plenty of wear as the weather gets cooler.  But my Lutens scents seem to complete my new outfits in exactly the way I want.  They are chic but a little strange, warm but unfamiliar.  Instead of falling into my familiar matchy-matchy trap of wearing a fragrance like vintage Rochas Femme with my pearls and pumps, the unexpected richness of something like Fleurs d’Oranger, Santal Blanc, or Cà¨dre makes everything old feel new again, a classic with a twist.

PS If you find yesterday’s topic interesting, please read down for Carter’s informative, lengthy comments on personal style.  I need to hire that gal.

47 Comments
Joe October 28, 2009

You're right about me enjoying this post, considering I mentioned Cedre in that "Fall Favorites" thread. I do lub it, and I have to confess that it's one of three Lutens partial, used bottles I bought on the bay -- unsniffed -- at the beginning of my perfume edumacation a couple years ago (the others were Chene & Santal Blanc, so I don't think I did too badly). The stuff is just so sweetly creamy that I can't stand it; serious comfort to sniff it on your sweater and really snuggle down with it on a chilly day. But you're also right that it (and I'd say Chene as well) is supremely elegant and makes one feel, as they say, like a million bucks. Nice to see you pay tribute to this beauty.

sweetlife October 27, 2009

The minute I stopped looking for the tuberose in Cedre I started loving it. It was one of the first Lutens I tried, and I remember clearly how fearfully I dabbed the smallest amount possible on the back of my hand, and how overwhelmed I was by it. But then, post-Carnal Flower love affair, I tried again last winter. I still have a little trouble with the opening, but that dry down! Also, totally love the way you are matching your perfume and clothes. My favorite time to wear Joy or Mitsouko is with jeans, white shirt, red lips, messy updo... And I too find, as Carter said a-way up there, that it is very much about how the clothes/perfume make me feel. Sometimes I worry about my eye, and my tendency towards the delusional, but the fact is that, with the exception of photographs, attitude goes a long, long, way. Sometimes too far, as when the sales ladies refuse to believe I am as short--or as wide--as I really am... Anyway, many :x :x :x :x to you for bringing the topic into the forum. I've long suspected that perfume love is part of a larger project of dressing up, and just becoming, for many of us...

DinaC October 27, 2009

I've got a sample of Cedre...maybe I'll be brave and wear it tomorrow. Like you, I'm not a tuberose fan, generally speaking. It's too heady and veers off into migraine territory for me. I find it stunning and ironic to realize that I wore Fracas for several years in college and post-college. How in the world did I stand myself?!?! @-)

Tara C October 26, 2009

I love Cedre, and I am not a tuberose fan. But mixture of woods and spices and honey make it very wearable for me. In fact it is the only SL that I have 2 bottles of.

Silviafunkly October 26, 2009

Can I just gush out some Posse love ? This blog is populated with amazing people, wish one day we could all be in one non-virtual space. Yesterday's post is just an example of the wit and talent. And one of the best friends I have met in recent years has been a fellow Posse reader. There is so much inspiring and life-changing stuff going on under the perfume guise. Thank you all. ^:)^ Last w-e I gave to my (much youger) cousin a Joseph biker leather jacket from the 80s. It had sat in my wardrobe for all these years waiting to be-revamped and now it seemed the season had finally arrived. But on me it looked exactly that, a re-vamped old jacked from my youth, too big and baggy, however my artist cousin made it fabulously trendy and cool. Lesson learned.

ScentRed October 26, 2009

I hope you'll seriously consider doing the post on fragrances you love that no one else does. Then we could all come out of the closet. Mine much-maligned favorite is Love in White which the Guide describes this way: "If this were a shampoo offered with your first shower after sleeping rough for two months in Nouakchott, you'd opt to keep the lice."

Tiara October 26, 2009

After reading the posts from yesterday and today, I am now feeling a bit more OK with my personal "uniform". I am getting tired of it, however, so will pursue a change. Carter's advice is right up my alley as I don't like to shop. If I can find 1 or 2 great pieces at a time to work with what I have, BINGO! Makes the prospect of shopping not seem so horrible because given a choice between cutting the grass or heading to the store, where's that lawnmower?

Melissa October 26, 2009

Cedre was always been on my list of like enough to buy a decant, but not quite enough to buy a bottle. Last year I started to experiment more with tuberose scents, and wouldn't ya know, I seem to have run out of Cedre. Oh and after yesterday's post, I headed out to a consignment shop in Old Town and found a great suit, needing few if any alterations. Modern clean lines, zippered jacket, etc. Cries out to be worn with pearl earrings and Serge.

hongkongmom October 26, 2009

Funny, I have loved almost all the serges from day one. However cedre, arabie and chypre rouge were kind of meh...then this fall, all of a sudden i fell in love with all three...i kind of fell out with fleur de orange in the summer cause the cumin note just soared way to high and then all of a sudden in the cooler weather it regained my love!!!(as the cumin dropped) For me, clothes define a style...mostly casual: with the cheaper/basic items being relpaced seasonally IE looser and longer tees after seasons of really tight fitting...the more expensive items are the really "exeptional" timeless pieces (skirts, shirts..) and or belts/accessories..Clothes for me are a creative visual outlet. Now the scents...well i can use them to enjoy, to learn, to give me more oomph, edge...to relax, to dream, to raise energy levels. I always mix cloth styles with an opposite or complimentary fragrance...never the same and mostly i just choose without even connecting it to my clothes!!!...i guess simply put..my creative emotional outlet..

Fiordiligi October 26, 2009

I'm afraid I'm not on board the Lutens luuuurv train at all, but like the others commenting here (and my comment yesterday about still wearing my vintage Guerlains even though I don't wear the chic and expensive suits any more)I do like the relative subversiveness of wearing a Mitsouko or Vol de Nuit with a rather unexpectedly informal outfit. I am on board the silk scarf train though - but I think that might merit a separate post. I especially love my Guerlain perfume bottles one!

Ines October 26, 2009

Hmm, I really like Cedre (I don't have many SL fragrances, but I do own that one). I didn't realize it doesn't get that much love. It has mine. :)

Louise October 26, 2009

Cedre has been a work-in-progress on my affections. My first spray had that severe disappointment of "where's my wood", and I dismissed Cedre as a flukey error on M. Lutens part. Ach, the tuberose! I believed myself completely anti-tuberose, but Carnal Flower changed all that. Although I don't adore super-tuberosed perfumes in general on me, somehow CF works. Since then, I've tried numerous others, and some I truly enjoy. And the joke was on me-I got a huge "mini" bottle of Cedre as a gift at Lutens when I was making a bell jar purchase this summer-and am not only liking the sweet flowers, but also smelling the wood, finally. I'll be wearing it today-along with a cazh but sophisticated pants ensemble :x

cinnamon October 26, 2009

Oh, March, I'm there too: late 40s, now working from home and keenly aware that I both need to refine and up the oomph factor. While I can schlump around at home, I still need to look half-way decent for the school run, reasonably polished for out and about, and seriously pulled together for meetings. I noticed recently I can't wear the same style jeans I used to, that anything loose looks awful (I too am petit but also curvy). My go-to look is pencil skirt, knit top, high-heeled boots. Also, I finally bit the bullet and cut my dark brown-streaked-with-grey hair in a mouth-length curvy bob. It is easy, it looks chic -- and I started getting compliments about how I look after several years of not very much at all. As to fragrances, def the Mitsouko calls with increasing frequency. So do the LDDM, Rose de Nuit and TF Scent.

carmencanada October 26, 2009

Well, I can only echo what Carter says (I know she and I *must* be on the same page). Never go the full hog: vintage or vintage-looking outfit? Contemporary, edgy scent. But then, rules are made to be broken, and I sometimes pile on: leather dress, leather scent (but one's by YSL and the other from Chanel, so there was a bit of a catfight). I never took the time to explore Cèdre, but I shall.

dinazad October 26, 2009

I hate white flowers in perfume (I like them fine on their stems in the great outdoors). Most particularly I Hate Tuberose. Wearing a tuberose scent is like being beaten to a pulp by a giant bouquet, like being drowned in the river by a comic mafioso in a chequered suit with a metric ton of white flowers attached to your feet. The moment a sales lady waxes poetic on the newest tuberose scent, I excuse myself politely, go outside to retch and take a migraine pill just to be on the safe side. With three exceptions, much to my surprise: Miller Harris's Noix de Tuberose, Fracas parfum, and SL Cèdre. I love the weird way flowers, wood and so many other things are woven together in Cèdre so it smells completely different every time you sniff your wrist. Like one of those "changeant" silks which look gold-coloured or green or some other perfectly nice colour, and change to purple or red or brown or something weirdly in-between the two main colours when you move. I think I'll wear it today. And I'll take a migraine pill, but not because of tuberose. I have a slight headache, and I swear I feel Ms Migraine flexing her muscles and whipping her tail in the next room. She's getting ready to pounce, but I won't let her.

carter October 26, 2009

March, you totally get it and don't need me to tell you anything. Like you said: take the pearl earrings, add a Serge Lutens edge. Wear Mitsouko with hot black jeans and simple but beautiful white shirt or a cashmere v-neck and a funky vintage bracelet. Very simple and elegant, but with an element of toughness, which can be in the form of a super bag, or even just a fab lipstick or rich nail color. The most telling thing from yesterday's post -- and the most important, in my opinion -- is that you said that you *liked the way you looked* when you were out with your father. You stepped outside of your comfort zone just a bit, fixed your hair nicely, and wore something really fun and cool but carefully thought out, and it boosted your confidence. Confidence IS style, and style is confidence. What's more, I bet your father picked up on it, perhaps not even consciously, and it enhanced his enjoyment of being with you and looking at beautiful things. I love Cedre. I was surprised by it, too. Serge is like that sometimes, isn't he? (*)