Serge Lutens Boxeuses – Perfume Review

Serge Lutens Boxeuses, I had been snurffling with anticipation since Denyse reviewed it a while back.  A perfume named Boxer?  That’s pretty all-in even for Mr. Lutens.  But what does it take to live up to that  name.

The open is promising, it’s classic Lutens, violet, spices, cedar, leather.  Bundled up like some of his most iconic fragrances – Feminite du Bois and Bois de Violette and Cuir Mauresque/Daim blond – familiar, but not.  Scented echoes of what you know so well and love.  Like that old lover  from your youth who wanders back in your life.  The same, but not the same. You’ve both changed, grown, see life differently, with more compassion, the hard edges of your youth eased out by time and life.  You see them with all the things that made them irresistible before, but there’s something else there that makes you think about them in completely different ways.

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Krishna and the Gopis

The leather is subtle and hidden in Serge Lutens Boxeuses, curling itself under the violet leaves, full of plumminess that gets more abstract as time goes on.   The leather stays soft while the other notes, and there are many of them,  (list of notes?  Oh, much too pedestrian, so much better for y’all to guess!) dance like gopis around Krishna – mad with desire.

I’ve always found Feminite du Bois and Bois de Violette sometimes too much to wear all day, and often the Serge leathers are just too leathery or strong.  Serge Lutens Boxeuses is all the best of all of those, tempered, finely tuned, soft, but still hitting all your senses from all sides  like the best of Lutens.

Really gorgeous stuff, I’m enchanted and reminded why I fell in love with Serge’s vision to begin with.  So Gopi up, y’all, and drop a comment about whether you love or hate Serge’s spicy violettey, leathery, plummy original vision, wish he’d drop it forever or just keep playing with it until he plays its highest note.  Or you can just talk about the gorgeous weather we’ve been having.  I’ll give 3 people a sample of Serge Lutens Boxeuses from comments.

  • Goose says:

    I think that this specific concept, bringing the best of orientals (and more, but well), is really something Serge does best when you look at their entire line. Of course many brands have released similar scents but I think the fact that he’s spent so much time in Morocco has helped to keep that clear vision. Please enter me in the draw as well :)

  • CindyN says:

    I still love the classic SLs best: Bois de violette (i am a violet ho’), Daim Blonde (like walking throught the women’s leather coat section in Bloomies), but also love other leathers: Bulgari Black and how bout the Armani one that combines leather and violets: Cuir Amethyst Yum! Please enter me in the draw

  • LindaB says:

    Haven’t tried Boxeuses yet but it sounds like a winner to me! I love Bois de Violette but (like all Serges), I have to REALLY be in the mood to wear it all day. It’s a very conscious decision to put it on.

  • Cathy says:

    Oh, that sounds just lovely! I have an attraction/repulsion thing with violets, and I think leather is just what they might need to ground them.

  • Joanne says:

    Bois de violette is my favourite Serge Lutens but something has always held me back from purchasing a full bottle. It is beautiful and mesmerising but there is a perverse quality which repels me for just a few seconds – I do not know what it is but i hope Boxeuses is the answer.

  • pyramus says:

    I have bought a PILE of Lutenses in the last year, and while I’ve been a bit disappointed with some of the recent releases, I suspect that Boxeuses is right up my alley. I don’t expect to get back to Paris for a couple of years, so a sample would be just the ticket. I hope!

  • nozknoz says:

    Love BdV and La Myrrhe, and sometimes Daim Blond. May also need Chergui to get me through the winter. (Ha, ha – what I really need is another blizzard in order to get some quality time with my ‘fumes.) Would love to try Boxeuses!

  • zeram1 says:

    I thought that I read that SL was going to be shipping to North America soon. If that’s the case, then would there still be “Palais-only” exclusifs? Please enter me in the drawing as well.

  • Debby H says:

    This one sounds very interesting – might even be love. Please enter me in the draw! Thanks.

  • Lilybug says:

    Boxeuses has had me drooling in anticipation since it was announced. Will definitely buy a sample unless I’m lucky enough to win a sample. I love leather, violets and plums, in life and fragrance. My brother is going to Paris next year (the envy!) and I’ve begged him to pick something up for me. Maybe this will be it? Oh, it’s going to be so hard to decide!

  • odonata9 says:

    I’ve only tried one SL – Daim Blonde. It’s nice enought, but nothing I need . I would love to try this one, so please enter me in the draw!

    And lovely weather? Not here in San Diego, home of normally lovely weather, where it is chilly and raining.

  • Flora says:

    Please count me in! Sounds just like what you said, a Serge you can wear all day, and in polite company! Of course, I also love the other kind…. ;-)

  • koki2 says:

    HUGE Serge fan here – ! I’ve been rotating among Tuberose Criminelle, Daim Blond, and Datura Noir for the past two weeks, each alone and then inevitably layered before the day is over. Interestingly, while many find the opening of TC smells like gas, tar, or some other petrochemical substance it opens on my like honeysuckle and keeps that note through its whole development. Love it!

    Would love to try the new Boxueses and see how it fits in to the rotation.

  • Jill S says:

    I am looking for a SL that I can wear all day. This may be it.
    Please include me in the drawing.

  • Kym says:

    I have tried many Lutens. Some actually are full-on scrubbers (hard to imagine for SL fans, I suspect). I own MKK, which I adore. Arabie, I cannot bare. 5 o’Clock I like…Chergui, I might like…BdV I do like, but unlike MKK, it lasts about 2 hours on me. So far, MKK is the only one I’ve deemed FB worthy. I’m really trying to like this highly prized line, but nothing has really knocked me out (aside from MKK). While I can appreciate many of the scents, when I ask myself, “But do I want to smell like this? Do I want people to remember me for this?” I usually come up with…”eh, maybe not.” Nonetheless, almost every time I visit Barney’s or Scent Bar, I give a SL a try…

  • annie says:

    Oh,Lordy….if it’s Serge,I want it on my skin….it’s as simple as that….Serge & Andy Tauer…..LOOOOOVE!!!!!:x

  • maidenbliss says:

    Since I’m undecided on SL, nothing really moves me in his line, but I’ve not tried them all.
    I’ll comment on the glorious
    weather; trees are peaking in PA, leaves spiraling through the air, dazzling
    me with their vibrant colors. Sun’s out today, crisp and cool and the warm
    sun feels like a benediction.

    • AnnieA says:

      I have yet to be captured by any SL either, although I’ve just sniffed Bas de Soie and might give that one a second try. Nice and crisply sunny over here in Vancouver too…

      • maidenbliss says:

        Is O Canada calling me or what? I saw 2 Canadian guys mountain biking yesterday, rarely see anyone struggling up this old mountain on bikes, said they were heading to CA. And I’m in PA-go figure…then another incident involving Canada later yesterday-then this morning reading an article about a woman in Ontario…and now you. Hmmm.
        I just read reviews on Bas de Soie and was thinking I’d like it since nothing else SL offers stirs my fancy:)

  • Dante's Bra says:

    Love many Serges– Vetiver Oriental, A la Nuit– though I don’t wear them often. MKK is cute hamster on me. This one sounds lovely and old-school SL– throw me in the pit for the draw, please!

  • maggiecat says:

    I wanted to love Femininite du Bois but ultimately….it’s a not quite on me, as many Lutens scents are. Still, I admire them and want to keep trying. I’d love to sample this one and see if it’s The One for me. (I can’t talk about the weather much as it’s unseasonably warm and raining. I’m ready for cool crisp Fall, dammit!)

  • patuxxa says:

    Ah, leather and violets and Serge!

    I’m dying to open a bottle of sealed vintage Jolie Madame parfum I got two days ago, and you’re not helping. I know, completely different animals, but I die for anything with violets in it, and Bois de Violette was my first Serge, still a favorite.

    And I wasn’t at all keen on trying this, but now I have to. :-)

  • Rosiegreen says:

    I own and love FdB, but have yet to try any other Lutens. Please enter me in the draw.

  • dremybluz says:

    SL is one of my favorite niche houses and would love to be put in the draw. At least I found a travel consultant who travels to Paris regularly and will buy non export perfumes you may want to purchase. This is the way I have acquired my bell jars.

  • Denise says:

    I’d like to try Boxeuses. I enjoy Bois de Violette,but apparently not enough to spring for more than samples. Ashamed to admit I’ve never tried FdB. Boxeuses sounds like it could be the winner, though.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m a fan of Feminite des Bois and Bois de Violette, so I’m very curious about this new beauty.

  • Bev says:

    I’ve not had much luck with SL fragrances, except FdB back in the day. Toronto doesn’t stock a lot of SL. But Boxeuses sounds lovely. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Cheryl says:

    Please enter me in the draw! I think you hit the nail on the head…SL are often great, but hard to carry for the day. They don’t relax enough perhaps? I have daim blond and vetiver oriental and they seem sort of uncompromising but very intriguing. Amber sultan does have softer shoulders so it gets more actual wear time.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Chergui, Daim Blond, Miel de Bois, 5 0’Clock au Gingembre and Feminite du Bois are my favorites, but I only own Chergui and a mini of FdB.

    I would like to be entered in the draw as neither Daim Blond nor FdB are just right, but a combination might me.

  • Occhineri says:

    I love a lot of SLs–Daim Blond, Chergui, Douce Amere & BdV among others–but am bored by the whole non-export thing. Boxeuses sounds great though, so please enter me in the draw.

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Mals, I’m with you on not liking the big, in-your-face leathers. Daim Blond has that apricot-peachy note in it that softens it — to me it smells elegantly feminine, like a lightly perfumed gorgeous suede jacket or purse.

  • Mals86 says:

    I tend to be iffy on leather – I enjoy it as an accent in, say, Jolie Madame and Vtg No. 19, and love the “Mom’s good purse” Cuir de Lancome, but am not fond of the big butchy leathers.

    So far the only Serge I really love is La Myrrhe, although I haven’t tried them all. I was disappointed to find that FdB does a fadeout-fadein on me (can’t smell about two hours’ worth in the middle), and thought BdViolette was pleasant but sort of (ssh!) dull. I prefer the related, but more cheerful, Dolce Vita.

    Really should try Daim Blonde and Bas de Soie, as those are sounding more and more like things I’d enjoy. I’ve been leery of Boxeuses too – until today. Lovely review, Patty, and please hat me.

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Pam, I agree with you that multiple wearings are key to the SL line. I haven’t tried as many of them as I’d like, but try to be open-minded when I do. BTW, you’re from (or near) Birmingham, yes? If you’re ever in Atlanta, I’d be happy to meet you somewhere, we could bring a bunch of samples and play.
    My e-mail address is anndn(at symbol)

  • pam says:

    I’ve never smelled any of the Serge fragrances and would love to be in on the draw.
    The way perfume lovers talk about his stuff, it sounds fabulous. And then someone will say they can’t wear his perfumes or don’t understand his creations. I think his fragrances must be complicated. Wear them multiple times before you “get it”.

  • Abyss says:

    *sigh* The more I read about Boxeuses the bigger my lemming gets. It really sounds delectable.

    I liked FdB but totally fell for Bois de Violette which I have been wearing tonnes recently. I find it a little more restrained than a lot of other SLs which makes it quite easy to wear. It always manages to hit the spot, somehow, so I’ve been reaching for it on days when I simply want something that smells good.

    The weather here is foul, btw, but that makes a beautiful scent all the more appealing to counteract the misery outside.

  • Dusan says:

    I LOVE FdB’s plumminess, and have heard so many rave reviews of Boxeuses that yours is finally making me giddy with excitement. Please hat me in and out!

  • Isa says:

    I still have to find a leather fragrance to love. Maybe Boxeuses could be the one! I don’t know, but I would love to try it.
    I admire Serge Lutens perfumes and I think Féminité du Bois is a masterpiece, and here talks someone who dislikes violet as a note.
    I’m one of the few people who prefer the last Lutens (I’m thinking of Five o’clock au gingembre and Nuit de Cellophane).

    Anyway, I have read so many good things about Boxeuses that I’m looking forward to trying it. Thank you for the draw!

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Patty, another great post. Since I have recently begun to find the love for leather (Daim Blond, Caron Tabac Blond), I would very much like to try this, so please enter me in the draw. I’m looking forward to wearing Fumerie Turque, Ambre Sulton and Chergui this fall and winter. Thanks for your generosity!

  • Carla says:

    I don’t know if a reply counts for the draw. Also, is it only for US residents?

    • Masha says:

      Carla, if you win and they don’t ship to Germany, they can ship to me by US Mail, and I’ll send it to you via Deutsche Post.

      • Carla says:

        You are so very nice, Masha. Are you on a military base? My dad was in the Navy 20 years. Anyway, you’re just so nice, if I win, you get the sample!

  • Marsi says:

    I think I’d love this one, and I’m really happy that he’s made something in the last few years that doesn’t have “meh” written all over it. It’s been quite a long time since he’s cooked up a new fragrance that, to my nose, has had his grand trademark weirdness.

    • Masha says:

      Well, I think most of them are pretty weird, but for some, like, for example, Bas de Soie, the weirdness is subtle, and covert. For others, like Miel de Bois, the weirdness just grabs you by the throat and shakes you!

  • karin says:

    Of the SLs I’ve tried, all are wonderful and admirable. But would I wear any of them? No. They’re all too too much. Perhaps there’s a Serge I could love, but I’m not rushing to try them all. Curious about the Serge train, but so far, I ain’t on it!

    • karin says:

      OK. Last night I dug around in my sample box and pulled out MKK. Dabbed some on my wrist. WOW! This one may have me hooked.

  • waftbycarol says:

    Sounds like it is everything I was hoping for , dangit .
    Want to smell this !
    please enter me in the draw !

  • Maura says:

    Have and love Shishiedo FdB parfum but only on chilly days. BdV was all bois sans violette on me. Would love to be enchanted as well o:-)

  • hongkongmom says:

    I would love to be enchanted by boxeuse!!! SL is my favourite niche house and I admire and love most of his scents. His newer releases have not moved me! it sounds like boxeuse would do that…but with a lighter touch!! I hope he gets back on track and “creates” again! Hope to not be disappointed again by SL

    • Carla says:

      Lutens export no longer seems niche. Artistic enough to separate it from the big commercial brands, but not niche. Maybe because I’m living in a big city in Europe now, and before I was lucky enough to live within walking distance of Barneys in Boston. Here in Hamburg, they have about 20 Lutens available in several department stores, and interestingly, the spot is almost never attended by an SA. They’re buzzing over by Chanel or Dior instead. So I just take my time and get my Serge fix! In fact, what is niche? Is L’Artisan still niche? Or are the Gorilla scents and Etat Libre de l’Orange true-er niche? Or maye I’m confused and the fact that L’Artisan and Lutens now have a large number of offerings doesn’t mean they’re not niche. And then, Chanel les Exclusifs is just that, but not really niche. Hmmm.

      • Masha says:

        Hello, and greetings to a fellow German resident! We are pretty fortunate in this country when it comes to perfume. I’m near Munich, and there are several shops that stock SL in and around the city. So I’ve been able to try quite a few, several times, and buy a number of them. Sadly, the only perfumery that sells decants in my area doesn’t carry his line, so sad….

        • Carla says:

          Hello, Munich – yes I appreciate the number of perfume shops and the selection here. I think Europeans must buy more perfume than Americans. I smell perfume more often on people in the street here, and it’s fun to guess what people are wearing. I was always on foot around Boston but rarely caught a whiff of someone’s scent as they wandered by. If you’re in Hamburg, go to Harald Lubner for a great selection. And, I ordered samples on luckyscent and got them sent here no problem.

  • janka says:

    Bought my first SL last Saturday. The experience was extraordinary! I couldn’t believe the fullness of notes that surprised, warmed, enthralled – nothing like any other fragrances I’ve ever come across. So after loads of deliberation I bought Feminite du Bois and I ADORE IT! Having no trouble wearing it all day; it feels like it was created for me. So I’d love to try Boxeuses, please.

    • Masha says:

      One of my favorite perfumista moments was finally getting to roam around the Paris shop, sniffing everything and chatting with the SAs, and I wasn’t at all in a hurry, drove them nuts probably. Gorgeous purple everywhere. I think, for me, it was perfumista nirvana….

      • Carla says:

        Every perfumista who is lucky enough to go to Paris should visit his shop!

        • Ann N. says:

          Masha and Carla, I envy you both. On my last trip to Paris, I, alas, was not the perfume nut I am now. But I hope to remedy this one day.

          • Carla says:

            I understand. I wish my perfume interest began ten years earlier. My first job out of college took me to around 50 countries over a span of three years. While I got a lot out of my travels, I probably wore Coco Mademoiselle the whole time. Now I can only imagine what amazing perfume treasures I could have found. And, the dollar was so strong then! I regret that I wasn’t in tune to my nose yet, and missed out on learning about all kinds of smells – flowers, spices, oils, etc.

          • Ann N. says:

            Thanks, Carla. But we know better now. When we do get to Paris, we will do it up right this time!

  • zazie says:

    Loved this post.
    I have many Serge Lutens favorites, from the wonderful creaminess of Santal de Myosore to the rough comfort of Chergui and Fumerie turque. I should include Arabie and el Attarine, but I could interchange them with Bois Oriental and Datura noir or Arabie.
    Oddly, I’m not polarised on his floral scents – I find them pretty, friendly, and not particularly memorable (yes, la criminelle included!). Among his florals, I might pick out Fleurs d’oranger (but it’s a bit cacophonic) and A la Nuit (which however disappears all too quickly. I’d love to try boxeuese…. :x

  • Louise says:

    I very much like Boxeuses, though I was expecting a much tougher slap o’leather. It is a lovely scent, beautifully blended, with, as you say, echoes of Serge Past.

    That said, I find that the dry-down can go cloyingly sweet, almost in the same fashion of Daim Blond-and can be just too much prunol (?) goodness. Still, I will love wearing and using up my decant this winter, fer sure.

  • Ines says:

    I admit I never have problems wearing Fem du Bois except for the fact that I will have problems procuring the next bottle, so I tend to save the one I have. :)
    I would love to try Boxeuses – I already feel I am going to love it.

  • Olivia says:

    I only just got to try my first SL (MKK) last week, and I am smitten. I really do love the idea of this, and the idea of the spicy violet plum leather. Sadly, I haven’t gotten to try the incarnations that came before Boxeuses… I’d like to try it anyway. It sounds perfect for some of the fine cool autumn weather we’ve been having in New England! (Please count me in? And thanks for your generosity!)

    • Masha says:

      Welcome to the Serge Fan Club! Isn’t it a fantastic house?

      • Olivia says:

        Hee hee! Yes, it seems that way. And I’m very excited to try *everything* even though it will probably take me a very long time to accomplish this :) But, perhaps that will be part of the charm.

  • Alica says:

    As I am impatient to try any new SL, I would like to be entered in the drawing, thank you.

  • Masha says:

    I’d love to try this, from my favorite niche house. I do wear FdB (from an old, hoarded bottle!) in the winter, it’s very comforting. But my daily SLs are more in his “cold” range– Bas de Soie, Gris Clair, Rousse (which is cinnamon, but definitely in his “austere” category). Thanks, Patty!

  • florentina says:

    I am a huge fan of Serge and love daim blond and bois de violette. I was so much looking forward to the notes of leather and violets in the vintage jolie madame I ordered on ebay prompted by the lovely descriptions on this blog… sadly, the little perfume left in my little bottle that arrived from ebay smelled nothing like it should… I think it had turned… it was a hit and miss…I have not given up though and hope to smell what so many of you have me dreaming about…With your description of boxeuses, you had me at leather and violets and I do love cedar…

    I would be delighted to be entered in the drawing!

    I am curious…How would you compare boxeuses and jolie madame.. or are they so different, they only share a few notes?

    Also Patty, I remembered that entry when you had asked for suggestions about possible perfumes for your son who was helping out with TPC orders, did you ever do a followup entry with his favorites? That was a cool entry!

  • K.R. says:

    II love Bois de violette and think SL non-export are different than the Le Labo city exclusives marketing ploy. Not sure if I made this up, but at least some of the ingredients are not acceptable to the FDA. I’d love to snag a sample so I can put something else on my tpc order.

  • Tara says:

    I would love to try Boxeues. I am not a big an of FdB and I have never tried BdV, so I don’t know about their differences or similarities. However, I have noticed that many Serges while different have that Serge stewed fruit base, which after the first batch of stewed fruits, I am kind of done. I prefer the ones that smell unique like ISM, TC, and Chene. So my totally uninformed opinion is that he should try something different.

  • dissed says:

    Exclusives: it’s just intensely aggravating to me. I want Iris Silver Mist, and it’s difficult to get. That doesn’t make me want it more. I can use decants; I don’t have to have a bottle.

    I would like to try Boxer. Bois de Violette and Feminite du Bois can be a bit much.

  • Janet says:

    his sounds wonderful and wearable. Not always the same thing!

  • arch.memory says:

    Ok, can we please talk about the exclusivity of the Lutens non-export line? Is it a turn off for most people, or a turn on? Do you want to try a fragrance more because you can’t get it in the US, or does that make you not want to bother because it’s such a hassle? I’m so split about this… But count me in for draw, please.

    • Masha says:

      I think that if they design a fragrance, it should be as widely available as they can manage. If they can only make, say, 100 bottles due to the scarcity of a key ingredient, so be it. But as a marketing ploy. Yuck.

    • Carla says:

      I think I like the exclusivity. Not because I feel like the only one in the world wearing something. I don’t care about that. But, for example, I love Arabie, but I can put some on when I’m out and about here in Hamburg and I pop into a perfume shop or department store. So I haven’t bought it yet. But the experience of buying a bell-jar on a trip to Paris is just filled with magic. The Lutens shop is one of my favorite spots in Paris! (Also – I think Lutens does florals beautifully, along with his woods and orientals.)

      • pyramus says:

        The whole experience of being in the Palais Royale boutique is amazing, almost religious. I wouldn’t mind if most of the scents were available in the standard spray bottles, but I sort of feel that there should be something about the shop that makes it worth the pilgrimage. I bought two bell jars in Paris earlier this year (Fumerie Turque, which is available as a spray, and Fourreau Noir, *sigh*, which isn’t), and they have a magical aura about them that none of my other Lutenses have, as if the experience were encapsulated in the box and bottle.