Serge Lutens L’Orpheline released in Europe this month (July 2014). It will be available around September 1 in the United States. I wasn’t really sure from the early promotional material whether it was a perfume, poetry, an art installation? It’s the usual hard to understand Serge avoidance of notes. So let’s look —
“Fragile but whole. Its name hints at a break but before the fissures show, its first two syllable conjure Orpheus, a poet who could charm even stones.”
That clears it all up, right? I did find notes listed at Perfume Shrine – aldehydes, woods, fougere, coumarin, clouds of ambergris, patchouli, incense and Cashmeran.
What Serge Lutens L’Orpheline does beautifully is takes the tension between things, the place where it joins (yeah, I’m trying to take my inspiration from the poetical snippet) and lets it exist. The two things that sit with each other in L’Orpheline are fougere notes and incense. There’s a bright green lushness that opens L’Orpheline, and then it quickly is surrounded by melancholy incense, woods and ambergris – mostly woody incense, though I get quirky and interesting ambergris as well. As it dries down, there is some merging of the notes, but their fragile truce where one does not overwhelm the other is pretty heartbreaking. I’m not much of a fougere girl, but this fragrance is an amazingly beautiful thing, holding that fragility and earthy charm perfectly.
The concept of this being like an orphan intrigues me. Does it feel a little bit like this is something that isn’t sure what it is, but has the imprint of parents it never met and encapsulates all of the charm without understanding exactly why or how it came to be? You know, I don’t know, but I love the imagery the name evokes. With or without all the poetry of the name, it is full of mystery and imagination and depth. Wearing Serge Lutens L’Orpheline keeps me entranced and thrilled.
In my perfume ennui, I have found something to keep me really happy. Sooooooooooo let me ask. When one of these Lutens creations comes out with not notes listing, some obscure description, do you just cringe or really get into it? I’ll do a random drawing for four samples of Serge Lutens L’Orpheline from commenters today.