Serge has convinced us that:
- smelling like a sweaty Mongolian is hot.
- Moroccan kitchens on a Saturday night? Well, yeah, yummy!
- Iris surrounded by metallic dirt, clanging like a gong until the cute little spice note shows up is enchanting.
- Violets can be on steroids.
- Honeyed pee is okay, once you get used to it.
- Cedar, cumin – musthavemore – cedar, cumin.
At the end of our magical carpet ride through learning to love smelling things we thought should never be allowed in polite public, he produces us with L’eau. French for water. Intended to be the uber-clean scent, the scent that cleanses the pallet from all of what? The above? Okay. Clean skin and fresh laundry. Isn’t this the province of the commercial mass-market fragrances and laundry smell guys? Serge, are you quitting us?
This is not a Serge I’ve been watching my door to arrive. I’m not a fan of the clean scents. I don’t hate them, I’m just weary of them. I love fresh laundry, especially when we hung clothes out on the line when I was a kid – that smell lives in my head as the most beautiful smell in the world. Clean skin is also a scent I love – fresh from the shower, slightly soapy. Chemicals just can’t seem to reproduce those smells very well without it feeling like someone has whapped you up the side of the head with a branch from the “Freshnclean” tree.
Serge’s L’eau manages to shimmy past the Tampax Fresh Accord that most “freshnclean” scents ram right into going 90 miles an hour. It winks on the open at Tide and Cheer, chemical, astringent, acidic, slightly bitter citrus. At that moment, despite the near-miss on the TFA, I was prepared to just hate it, but it softens and becomes almost a smirk at all the chemical fresh scents out there and even makes me think for a moment of summer days taking clothes off the line, with my nose pressed deeply in them as I carried them in the house – he doesn’t have it right, but it’s not a 15-yard miss either.
My normal habit for testing perfume is to shower, make sure I don’t put on any lotion, and then spray. Running my nose from L’Eau to my freshly showered skin – it’s not the same, but they fit together, there’s no jarring whump. It isn’t cranking up the Fresh piece of it at the decibel level of the Clean perfumes, which almost make me vomit – no, they do make me vomit, they’re like Nuclear Sunshine.
I’m not declaring love here, but it’s not hate, and it fits in with Serge’s line as the antidote to — well, Serge! You can comfortably wear it out in public without explaining, unlike Muscs Koublai Khan where you are left fretting if it reallly smells like you smell it to everyone else, or are they just thinking you should have spent more time with your Secret before you dressed. This is great for the office and summer. It’s not exciting or gasp-worthy or shocking. If you’re going to wear a fresh, clean fragrance, this one is in the best of that pile. I’ve Googled around and find a lot of hate at Basenotes, some hate out there at MUA though some people like it. I think it’s a tough pill to swallow for Serge fans who want their perfume a little scary, weird and almost toxic. This feels much more commercial, which, hey, even big movie stars do crappy movies for cash every now and then – I don’t judge.
Sample source is my bottle I’m decanting for TPC. So let’s do a drawing on this. I’ll do 6 sample winners from comments. How do you feel about the whole “freshnclean” genre that has permeated all of perfumery for the last couple of decades? Can it just be over? Will it ever be over? Is there any that are great? I love L’eau d’Issey, always have. It’s a great clean, nothing scent that makes me happy to wear.