Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire Review

Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire is difficult for me to review.  Not because it isn’t great – it is! – and not exactly because of the price tag – pure parfum price tag is in line with Guerlain and Chanel pure parfum per ml prices.  Because I feel like such a fan girl, and I’m going to have some trouble nailing down why.

Serge Lutens L'Incendiaire

Let’s just dig in and try and figure out why later or maybe never.  Smoked incense in a pure parfum version. I get some oud’ish qualities, but that’s not listed as a note, but they never are very complete with notes.  Maybe myrrh’ish. It’s medicinal like either.  That’s as far as my technical analysis runs, because then I just stick my nose in and let it sit there having some slices of heaven. I’ve smelled a lot of smoked incense fragrances – some good, some great, some meh. Defining exactly what makes any better than the rest is subjective to me.  I know how happy it makes me smelling it, and then I put it in one of those three pots.  Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire makes me really happy.

At the exact moment when I think I can’t get happier?  Maybe it’s my imagination or something else leaking through – but I can’t imagine what, my skin doesn’t smell that way – but somewhere about an hour in after spraying, there is this little skank note.  It’s that same surprise that I get in Iris Mist, that little spice note that shows up about 30-50 minutes in. Different note, same delightful surprise.

But the beauty of this is, you don’t have to get that surprise note – if it’s a fluke – to love L’Incendiaire. Straight up smoked incense is gorgeous

You won’t love the price tag, $600 for 50 mls,  But it is pure parfum and priced about the same as Guerlain and Chanel pure parfums (little less, I think).  So while I can’t love the price tag, I can’t say it’s out of line for that concentration.  That makes it hurt not one bit less.

Okay, we will have a drawing for a teeny sample, and I’ll do two of them. Just drop a comment about anything to be entered – Favorite Serge, bottle of perfume you paid the most for and never regretted a dime of it, etc.

Winners from last weeks’ drawing for the Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea salt samples – solanace, tomate farcie and DaveSt.Paul.  Just click on the Drop Us a Note link at the top of the blog, remind me what you won and send me your address. I’ll send you back a quick “got it” e-mail so you know it isn’t floating in the junk e-mail sewers, and then I’ll get it sent out to you.

69 Comments

  1. This description makes me want to try this perfume NOW! And I’m jonesing for a new scent lately anyway.
    The most expensive fragrance I have is Creed Love in Black. I love it. No regrets.

  2. Omg!! This sounds like heaven in a bottle!!! This is right up my alley! I’ve got to try this!

  3. Oh my goodness, this sounds wonderful! Incense is my favorite note, but I keep getting guilted out of expanding my collection because I have “too many bottles” already. My most expensive bottle is Shalimar, and I’m certain that’s one scent I’ll never be without, regardless of price.

  4. serge lutens is one of my favourite brands..fingers crossed i get to smell this….it won’t be in the stores in oz!!

  5. My favorite SL is Chergui. I have never smelled a “smoked incense” perfume, but it sounds amazing!

  6. Would dearly love to try this. When I bought my first bottle of Mona Vanille, I was appalled that I had just spent $230 on one bottle of perfume. By my third bottle, I was much more blasé’ about it. BTW, Patty, that was back when you published your “Best of Vanillas” column. I have flings with a lot of other vanillas, but I always come back to Mona Vanille.

  7. I love every Serge Lutens fragrance that I own. I love Ambre Sultan. And oh, I LOVE incense and myrrh. Please enter me for the draw and thank you

    • I just tried this and it is everything you said about it and more. Its so him and it is so beautiful. I think its the myrrh that does it. It is almost beyond description. I wish it wasn’t so expensive. No way I can justify the expense. Oh , but its lovely.

  8. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the review. My favorite SL so far is Tubereuse Criminelle. Love that medicinal opening.

  9. The only Serge Lutens that I have tried is Ambre Sultan. It’s a like for me, not the love it is for so many. L’Incendiaire sounds delightful.

  10. I love Muscs Koublai Khan. That up-front civet gets me every time.

    Love to try L’Incendiare as well.

  11. My favorite SL is 5 o’clock au Gingembre. The weather is finally turning cool enough to wear it again and I can’t wait! Such a warm, comforting scent for me.

  12. I splurged on a bottle, I tested it and thought what the hell, I’m in love with it and bought it on a whim. I must admit I have compulsive buying disorder but I’m really glad I bought it.
    To me L’Incendiaire is the pure parfum version of Boxeuses and Feminite combined. I could also describe it as an oriental Nombre Noir.

  13. The 4 ml of vintage vol de nuit extrait, was my most expensive buy, ml wise I guess 🙂 with it though!
    I love tubereuse criminelle , but somehow Cedre is My most worn Lutens, it so wearable !

  14. Oh, please enter me. I lover Serge Lutens. My favorite is probably Chergui, although Ambre Sultan comes in a close second.

  15. This sounds wonderful, I love trying anything that comes from Serge Lutens, but my favourites are Ambre Sultan, Douce Amere and De Profundis.

  16. I am a total fragrance junkie so I’ve gone overboard more than once when it comes to price. I have a couple of creeds that I like an some ffk’s. I get carried away lol. I have SL Un fille de Berline which is nice. This one sounds up my scent mood though right now. Would love to try!!

  17. ISM and Daim blond are my favs- would love to be able to try l’Incendiare and a bit afraid, too- what will be of me if I like it( as I think I would)?
    thanks so much for the draw

  18. 600 is a lot to drop whether it’s comparatively okay or not. Gotta be love for that cash, pure love.
    My favourite Lutens is probably Gris Clair

  19. Smoked incense. Yes please. Part of me wants to try this and part of me doesn’t. What if it’s true love? Could I ever spend that much on perfume? My most expensive purchases have been my industrial sized bottle of Mitzah and my bottle of Rubj. I have zero regret because I love both of them. I’m a Serge fangirl and my favorite changes with my mood. Today let’s say it’s Filles en Aiguilles.

  20. It’s really hard to choose a favourite Serge, but I guess probably Jeux de Peau.

    The most expensive bottle I ever bought was actually two bottles, bell jars of Fumerie Turque and Fourreau Noir at the boutique in Paris for about $175 each. So worth it.

  21. I have never tried any of SL’s fragrances and do adore anything incense. I’m sure it is just gorgeous! There are so many, many scents of SL that sound wonderful! I was in the “cleaning out your armoir” drawing a while back…and was one of the three winners….(since you asked, haha)…thanks for having such a nice website! 🙂

  22. I want to smell all the smoky incense perfumes. How to pick a favorite Serge….I think Encens et Lavande might be it.

  23. This one’s easy for me. Boxeuses, De Profundis and Five O’Clock au Gingembre. Most expensive is more difficult. I think I block it out of my mind.

  24. Oooh, I really want to try this one! I’ve been so good and haven’t participated in any splits for almost two months. Dang. A couple of my favorite SL are Fille en Aiguilles & Fourreau Noir.

  25. huh. I sniffed this last week and got NONE of that. In fact, I got almost NOTHING! I mean, I got a smell…but maybe because I am not That Incense Girl??? I was all ‘eh. okay’. Then I went bonkers over Malle’s Magnolia. So….obviously I ……..okay, I suck at this. xoxoA

  26. I would love to try L’Incendiaire! Hard to pick a favorite SL, but the ones I’ve been wearing most recently (since the weather cooled down) are Chergui and La Fille de Berlin. The most expensive perfumes I own (in a FB) are Amouage Gold and Jubilation 25, and they smell so incredibly fabulous to me that I don’t regret my purchase one bit.

  27. There are so many SL perfumes that I love – Chergui, Cuir Mauresque, La Fille de Berlin, Chene, Bois de Violette, Fille en Aiguille. And I’ll always cherish my memories of buying my two bell jars (Chergui & Cuir Mauresque) in Paris. I generally stay away from the most expensive bottles of perfume, but am very close to finally springing for by Killian’s beautiful Rose Oud. However, even for that, I’m leaning toward the travel sprays, not the uber-expensive black bottle in a box.

  28. I think my favorites are Jeux de Peau and Five O’Clock au Gingembre. I kinda feel like these are the wimpier SLs, I guess I’m not so hardcore!

  29. Feminite De Bois for ever (and all her Bois sisters, all of them! I say this waving a flag in my hands from the top of mount Aconcagua, screaming, a tear or two running down my face. May a miracle occur and bring FdB in its full glory back to us humans. I’ll sell my shoes, my books, everything I can get a hold of and buy 10 bottles.
    But the list doesn’t stop there also favorites Santal Majuscule, Daim Blonde, Ambre Sultan, Fille en Aiguilles. Lately, loving L’Orpheline too.

  30. My favorite Serges is Daim Blond, hands down. I had to work very hard to like it, but I went to college in New Orleans where osmanthus grows rampant and it’s my favorite scent in the whole world, so I kept trying. Then one day I was hooked permanently and am saving for a FB.

    My next-favorite is Tuberose Criminelle, and where others get a gasoline-blast opener I get . . . honeysuckle! Another of my favorite scents! Isn’t perfume fab?

    Would love to try L’Incendiaire! Please enter me in the drawing.

  31. Fleurs d’Oranger has been my go-to for a while now, but I am also a big fan of Daim Blond and have good associations with Fille en Aiguilles from the days when I was just starting out with perfume. If Gingembre had better longevity, it could very well become a favorite of mine as well – delightful!

  32. Wow, I’ve been searching for the ultimate incense, maybe this would be it. Would love to get a sniff.

  33. My favorite SL is Encens et Lavande… so I’d love to try L’Incendiaire! Mmmm, incense…

    A while back I went out on a limb and bought Ambra Aurea. By far my most spendy FB, but it was true love (and AA is so potent that one bottle should last me a lifetime!). AA is definitely *not* a warm-weather perfume on me, so it spends the summer slumbering in a cool dark storage cabinet. Re-experiencing AA on the first crisp breezy fall day gives me one more reason to love this time of the year.

    Not a shred of regret.

  34. I think my favorite SL is Chergui, although I have to say I love Clair de Musc, which I know many find boring. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  35. My favorite SL is probably Ambre Sultan, though I also have soft spots for Boxeuses, Clair de Musc, and Bas de Soie. The bottle that has been worth the money so far is a tie between Cuir Beluga and Angelique Noire.

  36. Serge! My favorite Serge is Borneo 1834. The dusty cacao is so subtle on me but just – there. L’Incendiaire sounds just perfect for the fall. Thanks for the draw.

  37. It doesn’t make many best of Serge lists, but I have a real soft spot for Cedre, a warming, welcoming spicy floral amber on me. Encens et Lavande, my sole SL bell jar, instantly puts me in a meditative mood and I’ve never regretted the money spent for it. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled an incense in extrait form and I’d love to sniff L’Incendiare. Thanks for the draw!

  38. I’ve only tried one Serge Lutens (as far as I can recall) so I don’t think I’ve found a favourite yet. 🙂 Am hoping to acquire a couple of samples — from my wishlist of ten fragrances, not counting the one reviewed here — soon. And now I’m curious about L’Incendiaire too. Haven’t really tried any incense fragrances yet so if I were lucky enough to win, this would be the benchmark by which I’d compare other incense perfumes in the future.

  39. I love incense fragrances — my favorite is Passage d’Enfer, but it is short lived so a perfume concentration would be lovely. My favorite SL scents are Ambre Sultan and La Fille de Berlin. I broke the bank on Amouage Lyric Woman so it only gets worn for special occasions. Would love, love, love to try L’Incendiaire.

  40. I have recently bought SL Daim Blond and Un Bois Vanille ( especially blended together and need to get a bottle of Ambre Sultan before winter sets in. My incense experience is on the light side, but I have enjoyed all I have tried.

  41. Oooh can’t wait to try this one. I have Silver Mist, De Profundis, Clair de Musc, Chergui and Five O’Clock Gingembre. But my favourite has to be La Vierge de Fer – just because it is so Anti-Serge and I’m a contrary sort. I love it’s soapiness and it makes me smile 🙂 Most expensive bottle was Kenzo UFO, most expensive per ml was Chanel No22 Pure Parfum.
    If this L’Incendiaire hits the right spot I will definitely spring for a bottle. I love JAR Bolt of Lightning, but that one will have to wait for the lottery win! I have deliberately stayed away from the Amouages as I don’t think I’d have the willpower not to splurge. Tell me I’m not missing anything??

  42. Please DNEM as I am not a big fan of incense, but I just had to chime in with a vote for my poor unloved favorite SL Chene. Something about it is so comforting and it is the only SKL I love. Un Bois Vanille is nice and a decant has been on my to-buy list for some time now.

  43. I own more Serge Lutens scents than any other perfume house– I guess I just love his style. As you can imagine, I’d really love to try this one! Thanks– Cristine

  44. My favorite Serge Lutens fragrance is Iris Silver Mist. The most expensive perfumes I ever purchased were my modern Guerlain extraits (Mitsouko and Vol de Nuit), coming in at around $325 each for 30ml. I am very interested in trying L’Incendiaire. My excitement somewhat trumps my frustration with Lutens’ decision to limit distribution of this fragrance to Barney’s (and I assume his boutique in Paris). You’ve gotta love these partnerships with retail giants.

  45. My favorite Serge Lutens fragrance is Bornéo 1834, which is also the most expensive bottle I ever purchased ($220 for a bell jar). Very excited about the new release!

  46. Wow! This sounds so wonderful! My favorite SL is Chergui, and we’re now coming into the time of year that I enjoy wearing it the most.

  47. I wanted to try this one so hard when I heard about it a month or two ago. I somehow missed out on what the price would be until like three days ago. WEEPING. Thank you so much for the offer.

    Ambre Sultan and Bois de Violette are my favorite Serges. Cuir de Russie was worth every penny. 🙂

  48. Ooh, this sounds dreamy. Would love to try it. Of the Lutens I have sampled, I’d have to say Borneo 1834 is the one I liked the best. My most expensive bottle has been LL vanille 44 and I’m getting ready to re-order it. Thank you for he draw, Patty.

  49. Your description makes it sound really good. I’d love to try this one, especially since I’ve been on an incense kick lately.

    Thanks for the draw.

  50. This sounds wonderful. I’d love to try it, although I can’t afford it so that might not be the best idea 🙂 My most expensive fragrance purchase to date has been Houbigant’s Oranger En Fleurs. Thanks for the draw!

  51. My favorite from Serge Lutens is definitely Fourreau Noir, but I love Un Bois Vanille and Chergui too 🙂

  52. SI wish $600.00 didn’t curl my toes so much..I need more disposable income! Please enter me…thanks!

  53. My favourite is Gris Clair, but there are many I also love: Feminite du Bois, Tuberose Criminelle, El Attrine…, Daim Blond. The
    only one I dont’ care for at all is L’Orpheline. It gives me the creeps!

  54. Wow, sounds like a work of art…but I guess that’s why it’s only being released as pure parfum so that we experience it unadulterated? Thanks for your review!

  55. I definitely have had FB regrets, but whoa never that much!
    One I never regretted was Frapin 1270 original pearl ring bottle. Oh and Tea for Two–so glad!

    I’m finding I only need decants/samples mostly though, would love to try this SL! Also happy with my partial SL bottles. Kinda regret the impulsive Miel de Bois FB because I will never wear even half of it probably. maybe today though…

  56. The most I’ve ever spent on perfume was a bottle of Musc Ravageur. I love it and am not sorry about separating with the cash. The cost of L’Incendiaire will always make a full bottle beyond my reach, but at least there are samples so I can get a glimpse into heaven. 🙂 If its not too late, please enter me into the drawing.

  57. Oh, Serge L’Incendiere, how I lust after thee. IF I saved up from my paltry paycheck, this would be the first FB of Serge I would own. And, as an incense junkie, this is that light at the end of the tunnel. I hope.
    I am incense jaded, thanks to the CdG Incense Series, good on’ Andy Tauer, Regina Harris, and Annick Goutal to name a few. All in my collection. All spritzed with wild abandon. I probably make the Catholic Church blush.
    I want that parfum. But I’m a church secretary. Earning peanuts would be a pay raise.

    • It is wonderful. I’ve smelled the sample, but like you, my salary working in a bead store and teaching beading/jewelry making doesn’t add up to a FB. Maybe a decant?

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