Serge Lutens L’eau

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.

  • Mike says:

    Hi Patty,

    I also enjoyed that bulleted list, but I was hoping you’d put the names of the perfumes next to them! If you could do that, if you have the slightest bit of time to do it, it would be much appreciated (:


  • Hollis says:

    I do the job with these dogs and as far as animal behavior goes, I am a firm believer in nurture and training. I have met Jack Russell Terriers that I would not go near again, but have for no reason had a negative encounter with an American Staffordshire Terrier. If you are speaking about their owners- well, which is a diverse story. People are creatures as nicely, and we often every have our individual ideas about “moral concepts”.

  • Carla says:

    The Serge summary you began with is just brilliant, especially the Iris Silver Mist description and the mention of cumin and cedar…so Serge!

  • Robbie says:

    I have a tiny sample (which is gone, so please enter me! :)), and felt almost guilty when both the GF and I put it on… and both really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it one day finds its way into the collection for hot summer days, being sprayed with abandon. You’re right though – it does nod to some of the more common fresh themed scents, but does make a unique turn for itself.

  • Nicole says:

    I borrowed a sample of this from a friend, hated it immediately (too harsh, too citrusy, too grating!), and then after 6 hours it became almost imperceptable and quite, quite nice, low-pitched and softly hissing. My skin must have musked away all the “bad” flowers and oranges. Would have liked it better however without the ridiculous ad campaign declaring “this is art” when everyone knows that it’s not. Nice bottle though.

    If it’s not too late please add me to the draw.

  • Laura M says:

    Hmmm, well, I am curious about this one, as I can’t quite imagine what it smells like. I don’t like soapy/Tide/fabric softener smells particularly. If I am smelling actual bar soap, I’m OK with that! But I don’t like heavily scented laundry soap that leaves manufacturers’ versions of what “clean” should smell like in my clothes. But I do like transparent, light, interesting scents; some colognes; citruses; greens; and various things that most people would call “fresh” (Matsushima M; Jardin apres la Mousson, Eau de Cartier, Mugler Cologne, that kind of noncloying transparent maybe a bit leafy scent). Gosh, I even like some ozonic/marines. So I am going to argue that providing different strokes for different folks is a good thing. The problem seems to be that the big perfume companies and department store market become swamped by variations on whatever genre is the current fad: e.g., the ongoing fruity floral trend. And that is boooooring!


  • Ursula says:

    Like I said before, just clean is completely uninteresting.

    We want to be transported into a fantasy world. Bath and Body Shop has “Dancing Waters” a very fresh (clean!!) scent, but you imagine yourself in a tropical jungle waterfall.

    The nose wants to pick up memories from paths travelled long ago and events long forgotten, and a simple clean scent just does not do it.

    A simple piece of soap would do but even those in the industry who know will wisely scent them too, like Roger & Gallet soap, or Maja by Myrurgia soap. If they are so inexpensive, then why spend any money on a clean and watery scent, and the bottle looks very boring and clinical also.

    Thumbs down.

  • benvenuta says:

    Okay, I`m just too curious now. Please include me into the draw.

  • zeram1 says:

    Totally not int the “fresh” is in movement. Bring back the old Serge! PLease enter me in the drawing as well.

  • Nina Z. says:

    * I love your bulleted list!
    * I don’t want to smell like Tide.
    * You do not need to include me in the draw.

  • pyramus says:

    I hate the fresh clean ozonic quality that has dominated masculine scents for the last couple of decades (all the Calvin Kleins after Obsession for Men, all the Polos and Davidoffs and and and), which is one of the reasons I love Serge Lutens so much: there is bound to be some appealing weirdness, something dark and offbeat and a little dangerous, and most importantly there is not going to be any goddamned Calone. At least, not until now.

    I mean, I guess I’m willing to try it. But I’m not happy about it. I hope it is not a trend.

    • Patty says:

      Dear Lord, that is the best line ever:

      “I mean, I guess I’m willing to try it. But I’m not happy about it.”

      Seriously, I need that on a t-shirt with a perfume bottle. 🙂

  • AnnieA says:

    Uncle Serge Refuses to be Typecast! I can see the headlines now. If I want to smell clean I like a dash of cologne, or a splash of some French tomato-leaf thing I keep in the fridge…

  • Kate says:

    I like it. A lot. Not a fan of clean scents because they can sometimes be soapy or too citrusy. But this isn’t clean so much as its “light” on me. Of course if it was not a Serge Lutens fragrance I probably would not have tried it. And bought two decants already. But I agree with Lee’s post: anti-perfume my arse.

    • Patty says:

      It was light on me too, but it seems to not be that way on everyone.

      I agree, if Serge hadn’t done it, I would have just given it a miss entirely.

  • Lilybug says:

    Not interested in clean-smelling fragrances. To me, clean means devoid of life (literally). A shower with a bit of soap and unscented deoderant is all I want for clean in this chemical infested world. For a scent, I want something lively. Something that reminds me of the beauty of nature. I don’t see beauty or attraction in sterility.

    • Patty says:

      I know. It’s like eau d’surgery. And it just doesn’t feel very artistic either. But I’m bizarre in my perfume tastes now, and I do accept that.

  • mary says:

    I had a little fun playing with my sample of this, layering it with some inexpensive oils. Layered with a little something sweet it is nice, but maybe I’m missing the point. I get a little musky citrus in it. I don’t really perceive it as clean and fresh, but I haven’t really explored that note or perfumes that are described that way. Anyway, if it doesn’t seem too greedy, please enter me in the drawing– if I had another sample to play with that would be fun. BTW– I like your new pix! Lookin’ good!:)>-

    • Patty says:

      If you haven’t played in the cleannfresh pile, you haven’t missed anything, trust me.

      And thanks for the compliment!

  • k-scott says:

    Not a fan of the fresh n clean scents. Nothing can top being fresh out of the shower or laundry, so to me it seems that trying to wear a perfume to mimic that effect is pointless. The whole point of perfume for me (or other body products) is to smell of something that can’t be achieved by the standard practice of lathering up with Ivory. The real thing will always be so much better! All of this being said… I would still love to try L’Eau so I hope I win a sample 😉

    • Patty says:

      It cracks me up because I felt the same way. Not interested in it or waiting for it, but I sure didn’t want to pass up the chance to sniff it!

  • Cathy says:

    I don’t totally love clean scents, but my husband does — the more perfumey and wonderful something smells to me, the more likely he is to make a diplomatic comment along the lines of “Wow, that one sure is strong, huh?” He has a much more sensitive sense of smell than me, and I think he’s some kind of olfactory supertaster.

    I’ve never tried a Serge Lutens and would love the chance to find out — please enter me in the draw! although it sounds like this isn’t exactly typical for SL.

    • Patty says:

      Definitely not typicial for SL, so if you try it and like it, don’t assume anything else he’s done is remotely similar becuase it’s not.

  • LindaB says:

    I have really been wanting to try this ONLY because it is a Serge so I would appreciate being added to the draw.
    I thought that I liked “freshandclean” for certain occasions / seasons and have a few bottles on my shelf (cough-Be Delicious-cough) that I figured would be nice on days that I don’t want to think about my scent or am going to be close to others that don’t want to think about my scent. I felt sick by the end of a few hours with it. Too clean, too sweet, too…nothing. I’ll take my jacked up scents any day over a freshnclean, however, if it’s a Serge…

    • Patty says:

      yeah, they make me sick too. I don’t mind them on others wafting by, but having it be that close to me for that long, it just seems to get stronger as the day goes on. This one didn’t, so I’m grateful for that. 🙂

  • BPerf says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading for quite a while, so thought I’d post my first comment. I like a good “clean” scent, but for me the problem with mostly everything that is described this way is a whole lot of uninteresting nothing. So, based on your lovely description, will be curious to discover L’Eau – please include me in the drawing!

    I have loved perfume for a while now, but just started to get into non-mainstream brands, F. Malle and L’Artisan, so far have not tried anything Serge :”> – certainly will make to do that!

    • Patty says:

      Welcoome!!! I think L’eau still is uninteresting nothing, but it’s inoffensive on my skin, much less so than most of the others I’ve smelled. I envy you your dabbling into Serge for the first time. First there’s Serge, and then you’re sniping vintage Bal and Femme on Ebay. 🙂

  • maggiecat says:

    I love fresh and clean, although I’ve been woefully disappointing in most ‘fresh and clean” scents. Amazing Grace isn’t bad, Escale a Portofino is actually very fresh, and I’m anxious to try the new Milk scent from Archipelago – the body products are wonderful! My DH dislikes heavy perfumes, so that’s a factor – but even apart from wanting him not to sneeze at the sight of me, I love smelling just…nice. Do I have to turn in my perfumista card now?

    • CynthiaW says:

      lol – I don’t think you do. Even Turin and Sanchez say that there is a place for fragrances that just smell good. Plus, I think that most of us own a bottle (or 6) of things that we don’t like to admit to other perfumistas.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, no! I have several things i love to wear because they are just beautiful and nice to smell. I think that’s a great reason to have a perfume.

  • trinity says:

    Hiya P!

    I got a pleasant surprise when my Barney’s GWP beauty bag arrived – a nice size sample of the new Serge l’eau.

    Unfortunately this scent caused an instant massive headache that had me scrambling for Darvon. I can’t deal with most clean scents anyway, and I think this puppy has some musk in there as well (which almost always causes a migraine too). So I should have just saved myself the trouble of taking the top off to sniff, and hit myself in the head with a hammer instead.

    Can you tell I don’t care for it?? Ha Ha

    I’m sure it’s lovely on other ppl, just not me.

    • Patty says:

      Yowsers!!! That reaction seems pretty common to this. It must be the musk. I don’t even smell the musk in it, so I’m going to think I’m anosmic to the chemical he’s using there, and that’s why I’m not cranky about it, where so many others are. You think?

  • Nancy says:

    I too like the fresh clean thing on the clothes line or the clothes just off the line. But I’d sure like to try this little number. Please enter me in the draw. TY.

  • Tiara says:

    Spring and summer are the only times I wear anything “clean”. There are a few I like and my youngest son invariably says, “mmmm” when I’m wearing one. He’s almost 19 and still comments on fresh, clean scents. He avoids me like the plague if I’m wearing anything spicy or a heavy floral.

    So please enter me in the drawing. He’ll be home from college soon and perhaps he’ll be tempted to be in the same room with me longer!

    • Patty says:

      My youngest son can’t stand aldehydes in closed areas. I have to warn him if I’m doing any Chanels ahead of time and we’re getting in a car.

      • Louise says:

        Reminds me of the time I oversprayed NK Incense before a road trip with my son (then age 12 or so). He tried to claw his way out of the little Toyota for hours, poor boy @-)

  • Disteza says:

    It sounds like there’s a fair-sized group of Lutens lovers, myself included, who wish that Uncle Serge would go back to making daring, troublesome perfumes. Is there some sort of petition we can start up to send his way?

    I’m also not feeling the clean trend; as the feminine product commercials might say, “I’m feeling a little less than fresh!” ;))
    There’s an applicable French quote: “Cleanliness is a luxury of the poor; be dirty!” I absolutely agree. Those clean musks ARE cheap, whereas that lovely indolic jasmine absolute and civet are some of the most expensive items in the world. Perfume being a luxury item, why not spend the $$$ on some truly fab stuff? Those SLs aren’t cheap–I’d rather get my money’s worth with something that was less than synthetic.

  • Justine says:

    I own and wear quite a few of Serge’s skankier scents. I’ll never forget when a male friend gave me a hug and pulled back with a startled look on his face that said wtf? It was MKK. He was too polite to comment and I really couldn’t think of anything to say, so I left it at that look. But the man who made MKK is now doing fresh? Kind of disappointing.

    Living in sunny California, I can see where fresh scents come into play. I tend to like to a little wood and much less powder (I’d love NO powder with fresh, but I don’t see that happening) with my fresh, which makes them, well, less fresh but nonetheless I understand the thought.

    I don’t think it will ever be over, and I don’t think it needs to over. There’s a place for those scents. I consider Light Blue a fresh scent, and while I don’t own it, I don’t mind it wafting down the hallway either; indeed I prefer to whomever has been dousing themselves in Coco MM or Angel lately.

    I’m looking forward to trying SL take on fresh, so please, enter me in the drawing.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yikes! Now I’m going to worry more about MKK and wearing it.

      Light Blue is one that I can appreciate why so many people like it, but it’s a horror show on my skin, just toxic and maniacally overamped happy.

      • Justine says:

        Oh I continue to wear it all the time, but I have changed in that I do not put it on the back of my neck where when you hug, someones face can end up….it was really a timing issue also. MKK mellows into a gorgeous scent on me but it does go through that really skanky unwashed privates moment….and well, he hugged me right along then, and got an *upclose* sniff. Poor fellow. Even as he was going in for the hug I thought oh damn. It was a perfect storm, really. The look on his face was freaking priceless.

  • Ursula says:

    Fresh and clean is boring!

    There is no mystery …

  • E says:

    I don’t know, I don’t find this to be such a bizarre addition to his line. He does have Cristal de Musc, after all. And I don’t mind clean scents (I quite enjoy Banana Republic W on a sweltering hot day), though I don’t think I’ll be looking into L’Eau — I wore cK One exclusively for a year when I was in high school, and I think that maxed me out on clean citrus for the rest of my life. But it doesn’t offend me on other people.

    • Patty says:

      Ck One, wow. I can’t even get that bottle near my nose. Calvin put me off of well anything with his name in it a long time ago.

  • sara says:

    clean is the olfactory equivalent to “you look fine.” JMHO. that said I’d like to enter the draw! cheers, sara

  • Tammy says:

    What mariekel said, right down to the Pears soap. If I want fresh and clean, I’ll take a shower and face the world unscented.

    And I am probably the only person on Earth who doesn’t like the fragrance of line-dried sheets. They smell hot to me, go figure!

    No need to enter me in the draw, but I loved your review, and you do make Serge’s case for him!

    • Patty says:

      shocked!!!!!! but it’s good that at least one person doesn’t. I’m sure you’re not the only one, though.

  • Jemimagold says:

    Please include me in the draw. I am keen to see how this compares to IUNX Eau Blanche!

  • ScentRed says:

    FYI – If you’re eager to try Serge’s new creation and some other fresh scents…I just got an email notice that Luckyscent currently has a Spring Spritz sample pack which includes PG Papyrus de Ciane (reviewed yesterday on NST), Tocca Bianca, Calypso Bellini and M. Micallef Shanaan PLUS a complimentary sample of L’Eau Serge Lutens for $12 (+$5 for shipping to Canada, not sure about US).

    It happens to hit a couple I have on my “to try list” and a few I’ve never even heard of, so I’m giving it a whirl.

    p.s. I have no affiliation with Luckyscent. My apologies if this heads-up is against any rules.

    • Patty says:

      NO problem with posting that at all! Everyone appreciates tips on a good deal somewhere.

      That Shanaan sounds great, doesn’t it?

  • KathyT says:

    I like the fresh and clean genre sometimes, but it usually ends up getting on my nerves. TM Cologne is my go to for clean, but I usually prefer a light spicy fragrance. I would love to be in the drawing because I would like to try Serge Lutens’ take on fresh and clean.


  • CynthiaW says:

    I’d love to try this – I’m not generally a “clean perfume” fiend (because, really, I can just take a shower for that, right?) However, there are a few that I have and like for the rare occasion that anything else is just to darn much – which is how I ended up with a FB of Pure White Linen Breeze. I don’t know that I’ll ever plop down that much cash to own what Serge thinks clean should smell like, but I’d still like to sniff it.

  • ScentRed says:

    Call me a fickle ‘fumehead, but I’ve almost given up saying what I like/don’t like because as soon as I make a firm declaration I find myself falling for something I supposedly don’t really like or hating something I was sure I’d love.

    For me clean falls in between my pre-concieved likes/dislikes. Generally (for today, anyway) I enjoy clean when it is linen or true-to-life woods or citrus. When clean is a watery, melony take on L’eau d’Issey, cleaneresque pine or faux citrus, I’m usually out. But you never know 😉

    Would love to be in the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Okay! I’m not sure where this is going to fall for you, I think it depends on your skin or nose’s reaction to the musk chemical. That seems to be problemic, and I can’t smell it at all. 🙂

  • Leslie says:

    Ah, the FreshNClean genre. I agree with Monica. I think that we will continue to see these; there is clearly a pretty sizable market for them. I haven’t run across any that I would call ‘great’.

    I’ve dabbled in the type, but haven’t found Perfect Love.

    I had a small bottle of Aqua di Gio back when it first came out, and I loved it. I used the thing up, but it took a few years to do so. When I finished the bottle, my birthday was coming up, so the hubs acquired a new bottle. It’s the age-old story; Something Changed, the ‘fresh’ was suddenly aggressive, and the love died. I just gave it an experimental whiff, and nope. Love is still dead. [-(

    I have a roll-on of Un Matin d’Orage. I like it quite a bit in the bottle. You know, remove the cap, wave it under your nose, inhale, slap that cap back on. It’s quite lovely that way.

    Could Serge have been strong-armed into creating this new thing?

    (thanks, but no need to put me in the draw 🙂 )

    • Patty says:

      I think we’ll all have an easier time accepting this if we just believe that Shiseido came in one day, slapped Serge around and told him to make something uber commercial that all the people that liked those crispy clean scents would like and that they could sell like hotcakes.

  • janh says:

    I like the freshnclean on my Saturday morning thrift store nd yard sale travels. Saturday night is for dirty scents.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Well, Serge Lutens has got us all talking about him and his products. Fresh and clean scent? I won’t say never… Please enter me in the draw. And would someone remind me what MKK stands for? Thanks!

  • I’m curious to try. I don’t like any other particualrly clean smelling scents. I think Montale Sandflowers has a breath of fresh air feel to it but nothing in it that’s supposed to smell like fresh/clean.

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, the freshnclean thing is a really chemical fake fresh, and it’s distinctive. i don’t think Montale has anything approaching that.

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi all,
    I’m kind of with March on this: After so many of his intricate, unusual, deep scents, maybe he wanted to challenge himself and show he could do “clean” as well as any other perfumer.
    And if it broadens his fan base and brings in lots of new moolah, well, that never hurts, I guess.
    I’m going to try and keep an open mind and judge it on its own merits. Thanks for the great review (as always) and please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

    • Patty says:

      Sure, Ann! That’s what I tried to do. It is not my favorite in the line or even my 15th favorite, but I’d wear it before I put on Chypre rouge or that new Filles de Anguilles that everyone else but me seems to like.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    I don’t do clean, even without the Tampax-fresh acccord. I tested Carriere again yesterday (it was allergist day and I usually don’t wear perfume) but it’s the carpet cleaner note that I can’t stand. All those clean type scents remind me of commercial spot cleaner for carpets. (Although a few of them also do add in the Tampa-fresh accord for good measure.)That said, the Serge would be worth trying, just to see if he avoided the dreaded Woolite-for-rugs note.

    • Patty says:

      He probably didn’t avoid it enough for you. Depends on whether it sticks on your skin or not. It blew off of mine, but Joe seems to have magnified it by 3,000. I’m pretty sensitive to that accord, so any amping will just flatten me, my skin seemed to eat that part of the scent pretty well. Munch, munch. 😮

  • Tara says:

    I am not wild about clean. Its tooo PC and safe. That’s not to say that some clean scents aren’t lovely, but I just can’t see spending any significant amount of money to smell like a really nice dryer sheet!

  • Rowanhill says:

    Maybe Shiseiso asked for a commercial success. That is my only explanation.

    • Patty says:

      It’s as good as any. And likely true. With the sending of the nonexports into exports, that appears to be a move to rake in some more dough.

  • Carolyn says:

    I too love L’eau d’Issey. It used to be my go to perfume. I stopped wearing it when all the other “clean, fresh” scents started coming out. I tend to move on when the “fad” for anything hits, always working my way out to the margins. Carolyn

  • janjan says:

    Et tu, Serge?

    But, as a big SL fan, I have to be a completist, right? Please enter me into the draw and thank you for the review!

  • Patty says:

    neither was I. But the new Guerlain sorta mystified me, and I don’t know how I feel about it yet, so I’m going to take more time with it and see if I get a better feel by next Tuesday.

    I’d far rather splash on Eva, but for some reason, SMN is not producing it very quickly, so I’m having to consider other options for the summer, which annoys me.

    Oh! the bottle is a 3.4 ounceer. Guess he figures give us more for the same price migth sell it? I don’t hate it, but I’m not buying it for myself either.

    • waftbycarol says:

      oooh a giant-er tippy tall bottle of air ? sweeeeet !!

    • Ann N. says:

      Hi Patty,
      When you mentioned “the new Guerlain” did you mean the Tonka Imperiale? I’m curious to know what it is about it that’s not sitting right with you? It’s not my Holy Grail, but it does work quite well for me, and it’s one of the few Guerlains I can wear, so that makes me happy.

      • Patty says:

        Yeah, the Tonka. I just tried it once, briefly, and it wasn’t a fresh on the skin after shower try, so I need to do it again and test it properly. No hate, but just not sure if it’s going to be near my other faves in the matieres

  • March says:

    Hey, P. Well, still not dying to try it. /:)

    It doesn’t seem horrifying so much as … pointless. On those occasions where I don’t want to smell like a dungheap, or a spice rack accident, there are plenty of existing options among the colognes, citrus-y EDTs, etc. Maybe the man just wanted to satisfy his curiousity and demonstrate he could do such a scent? Still seems like a waste of an SL bottle.

    • Joe says:

      March, it’s not just pointless. It really is kind of horrifying. b-(

      But oh yeah, that bottle is niiiice.

      • Musette says:


        is your bottle the white one? That’s the one currently in rotation at Chicago Barneys. Totally different from the regular bottles but that may have just been a tester 😕

        xo >-)

        • Joe says:

          A: You think I own a BOTTLE!!??? =))

          A bottle could wipe out Tokyo, if you asked me.

          I have a mini-decant. But I think it’s in a tall, narrow bottle with a square footprint?

          • Musette says:


            where is the Godzilla emoticon when you need him? I think(?) the bottle I remembered is white but the one I see avail now is a taller, narrower version of his signature shape. It could’ve been a ‘special tester’…. or I might be misrememberin’… 😕

            xo >-)

  • waftbycarol says:

    pallet/palate – in this context I believe you mean palate as in taste , not the wooden thing-y found in warehouses stacked with boxes ( pallet )
    Sorry for being nit-picky….
    don’ want to get near L’eau , though . Another joke on us . The aroma-chem materials for this must have been on sale !!

    • Patty says:

      I swear, my typing skillz get worse every year I age. Yes, I did mean the palate, not pallet. Sometimes my brain check doesn’t work properly. The horror of blogging is I wind up doing it the day before with always too little time, and lots of errors go slipping by. I used to do proofreading a couple of decades ago, and for some reason i can proofread everyone else’s stuff with precision, but my own, I can’t see the errors. Why is that? Because I know what I meant.

      Anyway, you may have a point. Might have been a big Firmenich sale on whatever those chemicals are that they use for Tampax.

  • karin says:

    Believe it or not, I’m a Serge virgin. So, if I try this one, it can only be up from here, right? 😉 Sure, include me in the draw. Thanks, Patty!

    I, too, really don’t like clean scents. If I wanted to smell like soap, I wouldn’t wear perfume! And I steer clear of all soap-smelling soaps. Much prefer scented soaps. Anyone tried MOR? Expensive, but great scents!

    • Patty says:

      Serge Virgin? Wow! I wouldn’t start with this one!!!!! It’s so totally not a good representation of the line. it’s the anti-Serge Serge. if you’re going to step into the line, do it with Bois de Violette or Chergui. Those are accessible, but have enough weird in them so you get his vision. If you get pulled out in the draw, I’m going to send you something else of his instead. I can’t bear the thought of you smelling this as the first Serge thing, if that happens.

      • Musette says:

        I totally agree. This would either confuse her re the whole Serge oeuvre or put her off the line forever!

        xo >-)

        in fact; Karin – click on my name, let’s chat.

        • karin says:

          Musette, I click on your name, and it brings me to a website for a company named Bear Boring in Wyoming…is that you?

      • karin says:

        Thanks for the concern, Patty!!! Love how this community takes care of its own. 🙂 Perhaps I’ll have to step over to PC and dive into Serge. I’ve actually been avoiding them cause I’m just not ready to find another fragrance line that I love…been concentrating on L’Artisans and Guerlains lately, among others.

  • london says:

    Omnia Crystalline is as close as I get to the shower fresh fragrance but I can’t dismiss this unless I try it so please do enter me in the drawing

    • Patty says:

      Youw know, I think it is a joke. He knew most of his fans would get nowhere near a cleannfresh fragrance, and this is the only way we would. he’s still laughing in his palace in Marrakesh.

  • sybil says:

    I don’t do fresh and clean as Ines, among many, said…but if I won a sample, you know I’d be spraying it like a fool, to see if it’s as bad as Joe said.

    This was a funny post, made me laugh even before coffee!

    • Patty says:

      I feel bad for Joe. Safeway dryer sheet? That is desperation, I would have loved to have smell it on him to see what it did. It sound horrific. 😉

  • Ines says:

    Hm, I don’t do well with fresh and clean. Come to think of it, I don’t do at all. 🙂 I would like to try this, but my experience so far makes me think this will not be one of the SLs that can be found on my shelf.

    • Patty says:

      I don’t think it will be, but I also don’t think we are its target market either. We all have more, um, eclectic tastes that run more to lady bits with a side of smoke and graveyard in a good way smells.

  • zeezee says:

    Clean The Idea appeals to me. I tend toward the big orientals & spicy numbers, and every so often I need a palate cleanser. Clean sounds just about right, doesn’t it? No. Not when “clean” is perfumer code for “we used every spiky, raspy, awfully synthetic musk we could get our paws on”. So Clean The Trend can go stuff itself.

    That said, I’m a glutton for punishment and curious to see if Serge fell down that rabbithole or managed to avoid the trap of the muskus horribilis (TM). Please enter me for the drawing. :”>

    • Patty says:

      Well, he did fall down the rabbit hole, I don’t think anyone should claim he didn’t. I just don’t think it’s the worst one in that pile of scents that I’ve smelled. YMMV because on some people (go read a long BN thread too) they are saying it is gaseous, hideous musky chemical. I’m really sensitive to that, and it was like that on the open, but then my skin flattend all the worst of that out. So I think it’s going to be highly individual on whether it is hate or it’s okay. There’s no love here, I don’t know how anyone can really love a clean scent, or more than one.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I think Uncle Serge is playing a bit of an existentialist joke here – isn’t he?

    There is nothing (well, almost nothing) to beat the fresh smell of clean linen sheets dried on the line in the summer breeze but this is not how I personally want to smell, thank you. I absolutely destest with all my being l’Eau d’Issey (it makes me retch just to write the name down )and I run a thousand miles from anything mentioning cucumber, melon – yes, the horrendous calone – in its list of notes.

    Who knows, maybe this will bring a new clientele to Lutens, but somehow I think it’s all a joke.

    • Patty says:

      I’m not sure why he did it, honestly. An existentialist joke is probably as good a reason as any. Maybe he got tired of the cumin, cedar and violets? I remember the first time I put on Fumerie Turque. Mmm, smoky, barbequed meat. on my skin. Huh. Then I learned to love it.

  • Louise says:

    I don’t do clean.

    I wonder how it layers with civet? Or a bit of castoreum? A bit of Bal a Versailles, maybe? 😉

    • Patty says:

      I’m going to find out later today, Bal EDC is going on after weight training class.

      Yeah, you’d hate this. Dang it, I forgot to click the Blame Louise button today. It’s my favorite new tag that March created and seems about right for everything! Are you going to Grasse this year?

      • Louise says:

        Ah, Grasse…sadly, non. I am thinking to stay stateside this summer, doing a rail pass out west and bumming off friends and relatives :d/

        I will, however, be heading to London and Paris soon to visit my boy 😡

    • maidenbliss says:

      I love when my naughty baudy Bal gets a nod….she is not clean nor fresh. I do not want to smell just showered or bathed. And that hilarious remark of ‘licking the knife’s edge’ has me lol. 😡 I’m trying imagine honeyed pea…

      • maidenbliss says:

        that’s pee, of course, although maybe honey peas wouldn’t be bad…

        • Patty says:

          honey pease? Hmm, you’re right, could be interesting.

          Bal is the antidote to freshnclean, that’s for sure, and in such a beautifully interesting way.

  • Julia says:

    I really dislike most perfumes that translates as “wet/fresh” on my skin. More often than not they also smell like cucumber or melon and are as pleasant as licking a knives edge. However I like perfumes that smells clean in the same way that baby powder or finely milled soap do, like Helmut Lang EDP (R.I.P.) or Balmain Ivoire.

    • Patty says:

      This is why I love you guys. Licking a knife’s edge? Ha!!

      I can’t do powder at all, that’s the edge of my scent world. Powder just makes me feel ancient and creaky with a mild case of the vapors and paranoia.

  • Joe says:

    Patty (and the gang)! A few (paradoxical) things about me:
    – I love Serge.
    – Miel de Bois is my friend
    – I don’t dislike clean
    – No matter how hard I try, there’s always a touch of something in MKK that smells like I’m in the vicinity of a pair of feet that need Lotrimin. (Kiehl’s & Musc Rav suit me fine.)
    – I own a bottle of Acqua di Gió (albeit old and lately rarely used).
    – Gentiane Blanche was one of my 2009 faves.

    So after all that, I’ve gotta say that — based on one fairly-healthy arm spritz down — this was one of the nastiest, most chemical-smelling, thermonuclear “clean” musks I’ve ever smelled. I’d rather use a Safeway brand fabric softener sheet as a pocket square to scent myself. It’s even worse after 20-30 minutes.

    Bravo to any of you who end up loving this, but no thanks. And of course you know I’m going to test it again in the next day or two because that’s another thing about me: dumb as rocks.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, I can see how that would happen. If this had veered off in any direction early on, it would have been loathing. I’m still surprised myself that it wasn’t. I think because it wasn’t, I might have been more charitable in my surprise than I should have been? Or not. 🙂

      We’re all dumb as rocks when it comes to Serge. I keep going back and hitting Chypre Rouge, trying to figure out why he made it. I know others love it, but it is so toxic on me, it just defies belief.

    • Anis says:

      Hey, I love Gentiane Blanche, too! To me, it’s not really a “clean”, fresh scent so much as a dry, fresh one.

      I’ve tested l’Eau (three times – since I’m a sucker for punishment) and I totally agree. The stuff has a head-ache inducing chemical smell that reminds me of the drydown of most OJ fragrances (notably Osmanthus)on me. And it’s a persistent bugger, too.

  • Jared says:

    Personally, not a fan of fresh and clean. I love cumin, patchouli, and civet. I like having the option, though. I love options. But, things do tend to be rather one-sided these days (as far as mass-market), and that I don’t like. It’s limiting.

    Now, there are times when fresh and clean is preferable, like at the gym. As a funny anecdote, I was on the treadmill and this guy got on another one two “mills” down, and clearly he wasn’t wearing any deodorant. The smell was overpowering and very disturbing. It’s hard to run with your head constantly cocked to the left to breathe. I was thinking, hmmm, they say cumin smells like this. Tell you what, I’d rather have the cumin any day than this body odor. Fresh and clean? Yes, please.

    I will throw in here, too, that MKK has never offended anyone when I’m wearing it. I’ve worn it at home, at work, out among friends, and when I ask people to smell, they all say it smells nice. I’m always like, really?? Are you sure??? So, hey. Take it for what you will. I still smell the beast with two backs, but apparently it has other facets.

    I have the L’Eau on the way, and I’m interested to smell it, since I don’t generally agree with the whole Serge line anyway. Sad.

    • Patty says:

      Agree about the bad body odor. Every now and then I’ll be lying on my yoga mat before classs, and That Odor comes in the door and wafts by. It’s overripe skin smell, and it’s just nasty. As much as I despise freshnclean, it’s preferable to that.

      I know in my head the MKK is fine, I do, but, well, it always makes me nervous. Not that that stops me, though I’ve never worn it for a first date. Hmmm, what are good first date scents? That might be a post if I can figure out the answer to that.

  • carter says:

    I detest the trend, which I view as being a totally American thing — almost a paranoia about being “unclean” — so it’s surprising that such a scent would come out of the House of Serge, even if he wasn’t so famous for his gloriously skanky formulations. Paris and Morocco, yes; Cleveland, wha?

    Oh, but fresh, line-dried laundry! When I was little, my mother used to bring the sheets in off the line and make the bed with me in it. She would put on the fitted sheet and then say, “Okay, now lie down!” and then she would flip the top sheet up high in the air above me and let it float down and settle over my face. Then she would literally tuck me in, kiss me goodnight, and turn off the light. This is, without question, one of the loveliest and most precious and memories of my childhood.

    It’s funny that we were discussing L’Antimatiere just yesterday, because that’s what it smells like to me. It floats, it teases, it smells like clean linens.

    • carter says:

      But hat me, okay? I really want to see for myself how Serge does clean, simply because it’s almost impossible to imagine. 😕

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yeah, what a great memory. I think we had that done to us a time or two. I know the bed would get made right before bedtime, and my nose would just be squealing in glee as I drifted off to sleep. I know why everyone tries to recreate that smell, it has a deep resonating chord in it, though I don’t know why. It’s like the sheets have briefly captured the breeze and the sun for us.

      Yes, ma’am.

  • Alica says:

    Neither I am a clean scents fan but in summer, I tend towards this group scents. Please enter me in the drawing, thank you.

  • melanie says:

    I know nothing of Serge Lutens’ fragrances, but since his name sounds French to me, I will segue into a comment on smelling clean and being French. I attended Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, a French school in Los Angeles. Our professors were French men in their 20’s, who were doing their compulsory military duty. I guess the French military figured that Sorbonne-educated Frenchmen could serve their country equally well by teaching in far-flung outposts. I’m sure the profs didn’t mind; they were young, handsome, it was the 70’s, and they were living in Los Angeles. I didn’t mind. I was 17 and had young, handsome Frenchmen teaching French poetry. You can only imagine the heat waves going through the classrooms as they read Baudelaire to us. (calm down Melanie, that was a long time ago.) Anyway, at that time, French men believed that their natural scent was sexy; they didn’t use deodorant soaps or deodorants at all. I think the women followed the same practice. I haven’t been in France in a long time and don’t know if things have changed in 30 years. Does anyone have experience with this? I hope you all don’t mind my discussing such a ripe topic, but this seems an appropriate forum.

    • Masha says:

      Yes, things have changed in Europe, it’s not so difficult to ride a crowded bus or subway as it was in the 80s, thanks to deodorant brands like Fa, but at the same time, in both France and Germany, I always smell really interesting perfumes on people, they are much more daring than the Americans in my experience, and I’m glad about that. On the other hand, I SO WISH I could have attended your school! My French teacher was an elderly drunken Belgian man….:((

    • Patty says:

      I know Paris isn’t that stinky anymore. It surprised me the first time I went over. I was expecting a lot more ripe skin smells. A lot of the streets and certain areas have a definite pissoir vibe surrounding it, but the people seem to be just as showered as anywhere else, at least acceptable levels for me. Though I do usually go in the winter. 🙂

    • barbara says:

      the joke was that yes, Paris stunk-but not anymore…older French still use cologne under their arms instead of deodorant. I never found it offensive-more interesting, and never assaulting.I agree, Europe seems to have the most astounding fragrances wafting by-I have been known to ask about the waft of the moment from the person tantalizing the clean sheet thing, but “clean’ seems young or for those who are allergic. Curious to know what was going on in Serge’s nose-count me in the draw..

  • Masha says:

    It’s interesting, but with all the people I know (more and more these days) who are sensitive to/ready to throw up/”allergic” to perfumes, the fresh n’ clean scents are at the top of their Black Lists. I know a few of them induce violent headaches in me if I get too close to a spritz. The synthetic citruses can cause particularly vile/violent reactions in some people (yes, I’ve actually seen people throw up when exposed). Perfumes that are more balanced to the natural, or at least 50/50, don’t seem to cause such gruesome reactions. As a nurse, I find it interesting, and I steer clear of these scents! Still, because it’s a Serge and I can’t believe he’d make one of these, enter me in the drawing. It’s for medical science. 😉

    • Patty says:

      I agree. I hate chemicalized fresh scent with a passion – in my dryer sheets or in my laundry detergent. What’s wrong with clean things just smelling, well, clean?

      I’m thinking about getting the Le Labo Rose 31 laundry detergent, though I’m not sure I can make that kind of commitment either to my sheets smelling like that for days until the next laundry.

      Serge will probably look back on this one day and think it was a bad idea too, but I don’t think it’s a bad scent for that genre.

      • Musette says:

        Patty, you can get the same effect, waaay cheaper, by putting a touch of rose (or any other) essential oil on your hands and making the bed. I do it all the time. Right now El O is suffering from a respiratory ick so I do a lovely eucalyptus/lavender/bitter orange combo. Very calming and opens up the resp just a bit. Bitter orange (my fave), jasmine and ylang is a great combo, too!

        xo >-)

  • Eric says:

    I’ve been thinking about this and even though I’ve full (but as of yet un-updated) access to the export range, I’ve only tested on skin 4 SL fragrances! (I think a trip into the money pit that is my local perfume store is required.) That’s to show my uneducated-ness while expressing my opinion of this anomaly: if it smells like I just stepped wrist-first out of a dryer, it doesn’t matter what the intention was; it isn’t kosher.

    I am curious to try this but I can’t say I’m getting all chewing on the bit for a test. If I were to acquire a sample, however, the chewing would occur posthaste. ;D

    • Patty says:

      Oh, which four? I wouldn’t rush out and try this for sure. I was curious about it, but it’s not inventive or daring, but I think that’s a hard thing for SL to do when you look at their history. So many of the scents he’s done I now think of as more mainstream acceptable. Pretty sure that’s just in my head and most of the rest of the American fragrance-buying public would think I was crazy.

      • Eric says:

        Sarrasins, Borneo, ISM, and TC. I ended up getting a friend to buy me a bottle of ISM when she went to Paris last summer.

        It really is a curious thing to bring out for him. I bet we can’t even fathom the higher French reasoning he’s employed to make it sound like a good move.

        • Patty says:

          Higher French reasoning? Some of those words in that sentence don’t go together, I just can’t figure out if it’s all three or just two. 🙂 I dunno, honestly. It seems so not French at all, but if it makes him a lot of money cuz the mainstream market likes it and buys it, well, then it works for him. I never blame businesses for wanting to make some money. I can’t think that the sales of MKK are feathering his nest that nicely, even though it should be.

      • NathanB says:

        “So many of the scents he’s done I now think of as more mainstream acceptable. Pretty sure that’s just in my head and most of the rest of the American fragrance-buying public would think I was crazy.”

        I’m laughing because that’s so true! I gave a bottle of Nuit de Cellophane to a friend, and while the majority of Serge lovers seem to think of NdC as so much commercial fluff, my friend considers it a very daring, way out-there, wildly experimental perfume that she can only wear when she feels brave.

        It’s a funny world.

        • Patty says:

          Nuit experimental?!?! Okay, I clearly can’t be used as a barometer of mainstream good taste in perfumery at all. We’ve gotten used to smelling a little bit ripe or off or odd, and that’s our normal. I may not sleep tonight while I think about that.

  • Elizabeth says:

    L’eau d’Issey was a great love ofine, and even though I don’t wear it anymore, I think it is a lovely scent. I don’t wear fresh’n’clean scents, but I’ll never turn down a chance to try a SL, even though a fresh and clean SL sounds like an oxymoron. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      I think I wore that for a year straight, it was perfect for then, the kids were small or babies, and it just fit what I wanted then.

      Serge and clean don’t go together in my head either.

  • Monica says:

    It is so interesting to hear the perfume-fanatics’ reaction over this, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone says, everyone still wants to try it (that is myself included).

    I personally think that the whole fresh, clean scent thing will always be around. Sometimes you just want something that well doesn’t smell like perfume, but you want to smell laundry clean when you haven’t done laundry in a week… =)

    • Patty says:

      Really? Well, that’s depressing, that it might be around forever.

      Serge does always get a reaction. I think it’s hilarious. Even if I would have hated this scent, I still would have applauded him for doing it. Hey, why not?

  • dremybluz says:

    please add me to the draw.

  • BeautyBitch says:

    Oh, forgot to add, I’d love to be in the drawing for a sample of SL L’eau please.

  • BeautyBitch says:

    My take on the whole “Uncle Serge gone soft” clamour is that he seems to want to create a comprehensive fragrance line with a bit of everything in it. We all feared that when Chris Sheldrake went to Chanel that would be the end of new releases from Serge Lutens but obviously that hasn’t happenned. His appetitie for new releases doesn’t seem to have waned so he wants to try his hand to everything around. I’m looking forward to see if he goes in the green or dirty oudh territory that everyone goes down.

    As for Fresh n’ Clean, in the grand scheme of things it’s relatively new and I reckon will runs its course in the next decade. I wear Philosophy’s Amazing Grace sometimes when I want to smell inoffensive. Unfortunately I live in a country (Korea) where strong fragrance is considered rude so I’d rather spray something pleasant (if insipid) on that nothing.

    • Patty says:

      Well, here’s hoping it will run its course. I’m okay with some of those scents being out there, but the way people have taken to them and use them so heavily is just gross. it’s more toxic than a room full of lillies.

  • mariekel says:

    I have never been a fan of clean or skin scents. My feeling is that I can get clean perfectly well on my own, thank you, and can get the same effect from a 99 cent bar of Pears soap (the waxy-glycerin smell of which I actually do love) as from a far more expensive and calculated scented spray.

    I find it a bit daft that all these scents have proliferated at a time when those likely to buy them have access to hot and cold running water, deodorants, antiperspirants, body washes, body sprays, breath fresheners, air fresheners, car fresheners. When, oh when will the world be fresh enough for us??

    If I’m gonna shell out for a fragrance it is because I want to envelope myself with something…how shall I put?…well, not “freshened.” floral, spicy, spiky, skanky but NOT the sexless hygienic clean of the perfume equivalent of Febreeze.

    Of course, this comes from a woman who loves Femme, Jubilation 25 and lethally indolic jasmines.

    • Patty says:

      Well, I’m with you on what you love. I don’t understand this clean perfume thing either. Doesn’t a shower accomplish the same purpose? It’s not my thing either, but as that thing goes, this one works better for me than the rest of the pile.

      but i’m spritzing with vintage BAl EDC after weight training this morning just to feel more myself.

  • mals86 says:

    Line-dried laundry is the greatest thing in the world. (Except for clean, kissable baby feet, ’nuff sed.)

    Smelling like line-dried laundry – especially sheets, why do the sheets smell so much better than the rest of the laundry on the line?? – does not really appeal, though. I don’t know why. It’s such a fantastic smell.

    “Honeyed pee is okay, once you get used to it.” Great line.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, baby feet! Agree on that, almost as good as baby head.

      The sheets are the best of the line lot, no doubt. Maybe how the fabric holds things? The jeans coming off the line always helt the smell a little too heavy, as did the rugs and towels. Sheets held it lightly and just cradled it.

      • Musette says:

        I’m in a place where I can (and do) line-dry when the weather permits. And you are totally right about the sheets v. everything else. Something about those sheets, esp when they are pure cotton or linen.:x

        oooh! oooh! (waves hand wildly). I think I know what it is that ooks me out re the Serge – I can’t do ‘skin’ scents. That plus the almost-clean is a deal-breaker (Sergeites, don’t 8-x me !)

        I did notice, both times I was at Barneys, the SA steered those who love ‘clean and fresh’ towards the Eau, with excellent results.
        May I add to the list of fabbo scents: that little jointure on a dog’s head, where the ear meets the head (provided there is no ear-ick). The smoochiest smell.

        xo >-)

        • Disteza says:

          Puppy head and kitten tummy are equally enjoyable smells, but then I enjoy the smell of fur anyway. And I’m not talking about the smell of perfume on a fur coat, but the smell of processed hide. @-) right?

  • Musette says:

    I would’ve bet my whole collection that you would HATE this! I wuz wa-ronnng!

    And I’m stunned, though your elegant explanation makes sense.

    But this one just left me weirded out. I tried it twice, I swear!

    And I’m still weirded out.

    xoxo >-)

    • Patty says:

      Ha! You and me both, woman. Normally my hate knows no bounds if it does TFA, and that’s all I can smell. There was a moment, but then it put that arrow back in its quiver. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it, I’m trying to not judge it against what I think Serge should do. I want Serge to do a seriously skanky Gardenia next.

      Judging by the feral dislike of it, I think there may be some skin it chemically is reacting to and smells different, much more chemical, at least from the comments i’ve seen here and at BN. i’m whiffing it this morning, and it’s still there from yesterday morning, and it’s much more skin-like. I just can’t hate it, and placed in just that genre of freshnclean,, it’s okay and I’d wear it.

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Clean skin and fresh laundry, photo real fresh laundry really appeals to me. Does it really have the steam from the iron note that I’ve read about? I’d try it just for that.

    For freshnclean I like CdG’s Odeur 53 and 71, both a bit offbeat, but pleasant in the 100% humidity, 100F weather that is summer here. My fellow perfumistas sneer, but I have to confess a love for Amazing Grace for the same reason, but it’s far more feminine. Hadrien is another staple in my summer perfume wardrobe. Anything to make that fresh out of the shower feeling last.

    Unless I’m feeling impish and reach for MKK >:)

    I’d love to try SL’s L’eau! Be well.

    • Patty says:

      There was a little of the steam from the iron, but it wasn’t a prominent thing on me. Maybe it jacks out more on different people?

      Hadrien is always a big fave for me in summer, but I prefer MKK, that’s the one scent that does smell like my skin, but better — well, after it stops smelling like my unwashed armpit in 10-15 minutes after I put it on.