Serge Lutens La Religieuse – perfume review

Serge lutens La ReligieuseSerge Lutens La Religieuse released like days after I was in Paris.  I mean, my timing seems to suck for being there WHEN a perfume gets released.  But let’s walk past my little fit I’m throwing and pretend I wasn’t so extra.

It gives me an excuse to post pictures of Jennifer Jones in Song of Bernadette, and that makes me so happy.

The press info for La Religieuse goes something like “its composition was constructed as a fight of good and evil, a contrast of black and white.”  It is centered very much on jasmine, with additional notes listed of civet, musk and incense. We talked about this briefly last week.  Those four notes just make my heart start pounding.  Good v. evil, jasmine, civet, musk incense.  What could go wrong?

The Spring is not for me. – Bernadette

.Well.  Nothing really.  Sometimes you just have to ignore the press narrative that’s going on and look at the fragrance.  If I hold La Religieuse up against that good v. evil narrative, black is my religious, and on and on, it just doesn’t match up to it.  If I just look at it solely as “is it a good jasmine fragrance,”  then I come out of it feeling better.

Not much civet, a little incense and musk, the jasmine isn’t nearly as feral as I like.

Those are the things from the marketing copy that it’s not.  It is shy, blooms that have only begun to open, it is not lush or full or ripe. It is still new with wide eyes and runs for the corner quickly if you try to tease it out.  It is a little soapy with a coy and innocent smile.  More saint than sinner.  Or is it?  It makes me ask what is it hiding?

I dunno, I’m thinking of pairing it with Muscs Koublai Khan.  Le viol de la religieuse.  Oh, listen, my French lessons are just starting, so I butchered that.

La Religieuse isn’t my main perfume love.  Sarrasins and Tubereuse Criminelle cry for me at night when I don’t wear them.  But… but La Religieuse  echoes some part of de Profundis to me, a plaintiveness that is yearning.  Maybe just for some really skanky jasmine,  But I think that is something we should all yearn for.

Overall, I like it, and it fits well for those who don’t love or are put off by Sarrasins and Tubereuse Criminelle and MKK or A La Nuit or some of the other BIG scents.  A line can’t be all loud and sweaty trollops.  Serge Lutens La Religieuse will let someone tip-toe in the Serge door and start peering at those trollops without forcing them to up their flirt game too much.

Let’s do a giveaway.  6 commenters will win a sample of Serge Lutens La Religieuse.  Just drop a comment telling me if you are anxious to sniff this or not or any other thing at all, and you’ll be entered!


  1. Wow. I’d love to try this even if religious isn’t usually my scent of choice. (I’m more towards dark, even goth, or skank) But. . .this sounds eerily intriging.

  2. oh! I ‘ve been in a bit of a perfume drought here, so almost never comment but I’d so love to try this with my Muscs Kublai Khan, please!!!! Sounds perfect together!

  3. I am anxious to try this one…though your notion of layering with MKK has me feeling a little dubious. Perhaps I should give Sarrasins another shot!

  4. I am very interested in trying this. Your comparison in tone to De Prof intrigued me, as does it’s late winter release date–new, tender, plaintive blooms! Thanks for the chance!

  5. I want to try this, and have wanted to since I heard about it in a new release. But I appreciate your comments, and I like Sarrasins a lot already, plus a key more low end jasmines. Thanks for the draw!

  6. I would love to try this! Do you think it would work as a unisex fragrance?

  7. The jasmines in my collection are pretty slutty and do have the tendancy to go easy on the Sarrasins because I only have a couple decants but I don’t take it easy with the A La Nuit because of the full bottle. But I am going to have to drag out De Profundis because I haven’t worn that in forever. I would like to try this one without layering before I think of layering it.

  8. i would really like to try this…i don’t own any jasmine fragrances and i really like de profundis.thanks for the giveaway : )

  9. Oh, been anxious to try. I bought my first Serge Lutens last year and I’m hooked. jeau de peaux (forgive my spelling). I doubt I can go back to ‘mainstream’ fragrance ever again. Niche is so much more interesting.

  10. Yes, please enter me in the draw. I’d love to try a light jasmine. And from Serge, no less. I’m also looking forward to the new Chanel Misia and JHAG Gentlewoman. Thanks!

  11. I would love ro try La Religieuse. Because I wanna smell like a nun. Kinky. Wait, was that out loud? I meant I really like SL perfumes, or I have until lately. Is Mr. Lutens planning a second career as a writer of pretentious crap fiction?

  12. I’m looking forward to smelling this one. Almost anything by Lutens is worth smelling in my book.

  13. Heck ya I’d love to try this! I tried Sarassins just once and was entranced but also could not see myself wearing it out and about in this fragrancephobic city I live in. Maybe a quieter jasmine would be just the ticket.

  14. I have a friend who is a nun (“une réligieuse”), but she doesn’t smell of jasmine. I’d love to find out what a nun might smell like if she wore perfume.

  15. I’d really love to try this, thanks for the draw! X I love Sarassins, and jasmines of all skank-factors. De profundis is a beauty too. I never really got into Serge’s stewed fruit and woody combos, but give me something lush and cool and fairly skanky (tubereuse criminelle) and I’m a happy bunny !

  16. 19. I like jasmine fragrances and I like many SL perfumes, so of course I want to try it. Thank you for the giveaway.

  17. I will try anything Lutens, but his ratio of successes to failures has been kind of low in recent years, so I’m not holding up a lot of hope for this. (I didn’t even care for Vitriol d’Oeillet, and I really love carnations.) Still, I’ll definitely give it a shot.

  18. I generally love jasmine which does not smell like jasmine tea, and I do not need it to have any skank added to like it. So I’d love to try this, having had no luck with some SL wooden scents lately. Perhaps his quieter scents are for me (I do love his take on orange blossom too, not a shy scent).Thanks for the draw!

  19. I never pass up the chance to try anything Lutens ( though Jasmine admittedly is not my friend).

  20. Hi Patty. I tried La Religieuse the other day and can offer a first impression. I tested it on paper only , probably because I did not feel the urge to try it on my skin….. I initially smelled musk and not much else. No incense and certainly no civet. And then the jasmine kicked in and became dominant. To me this smells ” pretty” without ambiguity or mystery. It has the same vibe as ELO ” Don’t get me wrong baby “…and that’s not exactly a compliment.Bottom line : nothing Lutensian at least on paper…

  21. I would love to try it as I am just venturing into a jasmine adventure! I was hoping for a bit more incense, but we’ll see! Thanks for the review!

  22. I am anxious to try this- love jasmine and still haven’t found the perfect one. Plus, any new release from Serge is worth a try.

  23. I haven’t always wanted to fall in love with Serge Lutens’ creations because of the spendy and sometimes unattainable (for me, anyway) aspect. But I am having a hard time reining in my curiosity, so…. deal me in, please. BTW, love your writing here, Patty: “cry for me at night”, “loud and sweaty trollops” –omagosh!

  24. I want to try this. First, because I’m interested in anything Uncle Serge does, and secondly, because I tend to prefer my jasmines on the light and pretty side, which is funny, because I’m all about a dark rose or a feral tuberose. I guess I like my jasmines to be a counterpoint to all that.

  25. I love jasmine in nature and in perfume and I’m definitely not the loud tuberose type, so please count me in for the draw. I’m curious and intrigued every time SL launches a new fragrance. He’s still among the very best in my opinion. Thank you!

  26. Oh wow – always curious with new SLs thanks for the giveaway (although I love Tubereuse Criminelle, MKK and Santal Majuscule).

  27. This sounds absolutely lovely to me. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  28. ooooh yes please! I’m working my way through trying all of the Serges, so this is a must. Thanks for the opportunity 🙂

  29. Being a huge Serge Lutens fan, I would love to give this a try. Love jasmine, just hope that it is not too meek!

  30. Please enter me in the draw. Love Lutens but find jasmin a little scary, especially A La Nuit. This might be just right.

  31. What a coincidence! I’m wearing my sample of MKK today and must say that I enjoy it better when it’s dabbed on, spraying it is just too much. So maybe I am the right person for this one. Thank you for the draw!

  32. I’m definitely interested in trying La Religieuse, though from your description I’m not sure it’s going to be “dirty” enough for me.

  33. Big jasmine fan and I think any Serge deserves a sniff but these days I’m not working at trying lots of new stuff.

  34. I would love to try it, I am a fan of both Sarrasins and À la Nuit.

  35. Is Lutens carrying a death wish these last years or what? Or is it senile depression? Who cares. Of course I am dying to try this! Shy jasmine. Who’d have thunk. Thanks for the draw!

  36. Please enter me in the draw – I’m in the midst of a bleak midwinter and could use a little perfume adventure to hold me over to spring.

  37. Loved this ” A line can’t be all loud and sweaty trollops.” Too funny! Would love to try this so thanks for the opportunity!

  38. I would love to try this–I really enjoy jasmine wafting from the yard, but no so much in fragrances. So an innocent jasmine might be my stye.

  39. Nightblooming jasmine is my most favorite scent ever and it has started blooming in full force in CA. Would love to try a Serge Lutin jasmine creation!

  40. I’m very anxious to sniff La Religeuse. I’m on a long-time quest for the jasmine scent of my perfume dreams.

    The first pink jasmine flowers are beginning to bloom in the southwest US. They are intoxicating. I know there is a jasmine fragrance out there that comes close to that scent. Until I find it, I just keep sniffing.

  41. After reading your description, I *am* really interested to try this. I like softer, subtler scents – I’m still young in my perfumista days and can’t handle a lot. 🙂 I’ve actually been rather struggling to find many Lutens that I like – so far just Chergui and La Fille de Berlin (but only the drydown). I’m hoping to find more! Thanks for the generous giveaway!

  42. I hope it’s still possible to enter the givaaway! I would love to try this judging from the descriptions I’ve read and I actually don’t own a jasmine perfume, maybe this will be the one?

  43. Having enjoyed many offerings from uncle Serge, I would happily try this though I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to do so. Plus, I still need a jasmine perfume in my collection…

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