Bapteme du Feu by Serge Lutens

Hey Posse, Bapteme du Feu is a 2016 released Serge Lutens fragrance. I didn’t discover it for a couple of years. Mine is in the new packaging and the juice is very dark. Bought a bottle, sprayed it a few times, loved it and then forgot about it. Till now. Often when a few things arrive in close proximity the new will replace the ld on my desk and get all the wear. It’s just one more sign that I have way too much perfume. Oh well, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.

Part of me feels like the Serge Lutens brand is being lost in the dust of all the new brands overtaking it. The newbies are missing out on the awesome heritage of this groundbreaking alliance of Shiseido, Lutens and Sheldrake. Especially how so many of the things being done now, usually worse, originated with this crew.

Bapteme du Feu by Serge Lutens

Bapteme du Feu

Fragrantica give these featured accords:
Tangerine, Gingerbread, Woody Notes, Castoreum, Powdery Notes, Osmanthus

Firstly, I love the new labels look. That black is very nice. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to read the title of the fragrance in anything but full sunlight. Sure my eyes aren’t what they used to be but I find myself reaching for these bottles less and less because if I’m in a hurry then the added aggravation doesn’t seem worth it. I know it’s a small thing but of course I’ll reach for something I can read in a rush, spritz & go.

How does Bapteme du Feu smell? The top is a lovely burst of citrus that smells very juicy and sweet. I can easily imagine this fragrance being a perfect spring wear, especially for the afternoons. You know how the days are warmer but the minute you lose the sun it gets chilly again? Well, after the refreshing citrus then the scent makes a U Turn and heads towards spiced bakery goods.

It’s a fluffy, powdery, cozy scent. Bapteme du Feu google translates as Baptism by Fire. I’m not sure it’s perfectly named really, or maybe it is meaningful in some other way in French. There’s no burning, smoke or char on my skin. Actually the dry down is kind of leathery for me.

Longevity is good and sillage is moderate after the first few minutes. Unisex and I’d really like to smell this passing on a guy in full business attire. It would be very nice, and ever so slightly subversive.

I’ve written recently about Five O’Clock au GingembreLa Vierge de Fer and Santal Blanc on Perfume Posse.

Surrender To Chance has samples.

Have you had a Bapteme du Feu moment? Is there another Serge you love?
Portia xx

  • Wild Gardener says:

    Hi there
    Yeah it means Baptism of Fire (I just checked DeepL to confirm that).
    Recently discovered Gris Clair, love the way it subtly changes over time while remaining discrete.

  • Tara C says:

    Longtime Serge fan, I have so many of his scents, including Baptême. Weirdly it oscillates between smelling great and smelling like bug spray on me, so I never know what I’m going to get.

  • shiva-woman says:

    SL was my intro to niche. I have a substantial array of his offerings, and I love this one too, particularly as it was an “echo” of his earlier offerings before he went into the “lighter” cologne/musk style path. I don’t know if I have a favorite. For a while it was Chergui, but then Fourreau Noir may be at the “top”–but I love them all. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for a little bisquit and tea (Five o’clock au gingembre), and other times I want some leather and apricots (Daim Blond). I adore his work–even his mid-later work (L’eau series) wasn’t nearly as bad as reviewers made it out to be. It was kind of in keeping with trends (not that they were favorites). Thank you for this review!

    • Portia says:

      Hey Shiva-woman,
      Thank you for mentioning my most worn Lutens by far. Five o’clock au Gingembre is so special and beautiful. It hits all the right notes for me and some days still has me eye roll swooning like the very first sniff.
      Portia x

  • ElizaC says:

    Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille was my first Lutens. After that, Chergui, Datura Noir and my one and only bell jar – La Myrrhe. They are all so beautiful! Fairly recently I added Le Participle Passé with its warm immortelle/brown sugar notes. I want the type of Lutens perfumes that either smell like wearing a cashmere wrap while eating a Swedish cardamom/dried fruit bun or…. like you are in a flower filled tropical setting planning some sort of nefarious plot ala Betty Davis.

    • Portia says:

      OH! I love another gong for Un Bois Vanille ElizaC! So interesting that you and Kathleen both mentioned it in succession. It’s a sign.
      HA! I’ll take the nefarious plotting any day! HA!
      Portia xx

  • Kathleen says:

    Hi Portia! It’s good to read your reviews about wonderful fragrances and houses from the past that often get forgotten with the new. I am guilty of this myself and it is nice to be reminded. I haven’t tried this one. I have and love Ambre Sultan, Chergui, Un Bois Vanilla, and Feminite du Bois. I always meant to purchase Fleurs d’Oranger, Rahat Loukhoum, and Louve, loved the samples.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Kathleen, So good to see you.
      Un Bois Vanille! I love it and always forget it. Thanks for the reminder. As we go into winter here I’m going to make a conscious effort to get it on my skin.
      There are so many Serge fragrances I still don’t own that were high on my guy list. There were so many of them and when Serge was my priority buy they seemed so bloody expensive. Little did I know how the perfume worlds would escalate.
      Portia xx

  • Dina C. says:

    I haven’t tried this one yet. I do like some of the older Serge Lutens scents. I’ve got Clair de Musc, Bas de Soie, Fille en Aiguilles in full bottles; Iris Siver Mist in travel size; and minis of Clair de Musc, Fleur d’Orangers, and L’Haleine des Dieux. I think being able to read the bottle is important. I liked the old bottles and labels. (She said grumpily!) The funniest, over the top thing about the SL line to me is the crazy press release language used to describe new scent releases. So overblown it sounds like a parody.

    • Portia says:

      YAY! Someone else grumped by poor labelling. Thanks for the solidarity DinaC. Funny thing, I was worried about putting that bit in because it may have derailed the whole other conversation.
      I have no memory of L’Haleine des Dieux. Also, my ISM is travel sized too. FragranceNet had an amazing sale on them a while ago.
      Portia xx

  • rosarita says:

    I haven’t tried this one. Some Serge’s sound perfect for me but take a long time for me to “get” them, Chergui is one of those that I love now but it took a while. I tend to love the less popular ones like Gris Clair and Bas de Soie.

  • cinnamon says:

    Not sampled this one but like many have a lot of time for Uncle Serge, even though it’s lost a bit of its oomph. Arabie is my cold weather staple. Wouldn’t be without it. There used to be an awesome site called Serge Lutens: Nearly All the Facts, which is now gone, but was a treasure trove (especially if you were looking for decent notes lists). Am also partial to Fille en Aiguilles with its weird pine and apple thing.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Cinnamon,
      Fille en Aiguilles was my gift perfume for ages. Everyone who received it wore it to the dregs.
      I think when Serge himself retired they lost their way a bit.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    I didn’t know about this one! My favorite is the chrysanthemum one… um.. De Profundis! I love that elegiac feel, especially in NYC in Autumn because that’s the nonsense with which I roll. I’m furious at Barney’s – their store model could’ve been readjusted to pull them back in line with the evolving consumer model (sorry, doing that Marketing thing but DAYUM!) – but either their arrogance or a need to launder some losses (or both)………
    I mean, who puts Beauty in the flipping basement?


    • Portia says:

      HA! Musette, I LOVED it when we all did the Beauty Basement in Chicago, or was it LA?
      Maybe both.
      It was cool in both senses of the word. Like stepping into a whole new world.
      Maybe because we were all together it was extra fabulous.
      Portia xx

  • Gina T. says:

    I like this one, too. My fave has always been Ambre Sultan but my fave lately/newest fave is Fils de Joie. It is a narcotic.

    • Portia says:

      OH! I just looked Fils de Joie up GinaT. It sounds fabulous. Does that hit of narcotic white floral stay long through the fragrance?
      Portia xx

  • Alityke says:

    I with you that Uncle Serge is missing from more recent perfume fans knowledge & wardrobes. If they know of the house it’s often seen as “de trope” because the prices, in today’s sell for as high as you can culture are reasonable. To me it seems that many only value a fragrance if it costs more than the mortgage. Buying to brag on social media seems as much part of the reason to buy as the beauty of the product!

    Ok pet rant over, deep breath taken…. Bapteme de Feu is stunning! I get the fire in the title, she literally smells hot, like cough candy that’s still on the boil or like Fisherman’s Friends or Victory Vs that clear your airways but feel warm & comforting at the same time. More a sensation than a smell. Gingery heat almost numbing Sichuan peppery.

    I need to replace both this & SL FdB cos I’m out of both

    • Portia says:

      OOOHHHH! Alityke, I’m so jealous that fire comes through for you in Bapteme du Feu. Try as I might it seems to remain unlit for me.
      Portia xx

  • Tom says:

    There are bunches of Uncle Serge I have and wear as I’m sure you’re tired of hearing. I kind of fell off that train a few years ago: there were ones that I really liked (The Berlin one and girls in heels) but some that is didn’t, and a few that just seemed to be treading the same ground. But yes, in some ways Uncle Serge was the ultimate gateway to niche for me. (A nick Goutal I discovered at Bergdorfs, which isn’t really niche) and those are the ones that I will still buy when I have 1/2 a bottle left, just in case.

    Can I just interject that it totally sucks that Barneys went belly up about ten minutes after having the full line including bell jars? And me with a clean Barneys credit card when they went under. Grrrrr…

    • Portia says:

      Tom, you really don’t think Annick Goutal is niche? But she was a groundbreaking change to perfume too, I thought.
      As for Barneys, bummer.
      Portia xx

      • Tom says:

        Well. I think AG is- it might have invented niche. But I can see where others would consider it mainstream.

        Barneys crapping out I think hits home b/c it’s a store that really came of age when I did. It even became a running plot point on Will & Grace. It was such a part of MY NY (And MY Beverly Hills, since I watched that one being built) that it was a huge shock when it went belly up.

        • Portia says:

          Tom, we have a department store here in Oz called David Jones. It’s a lot nicer than the rest, in terms of design, layout and products. The staff were always very respectable, dressed in black and were trained impeccably.
          All that has changed and it has been selling off bits of itself through the last few crises.
          Going to the city store was a big adventure since I was a kid and they had a food hall that was exactly how I wanted it to be.
          All changed.
          Sad days for retailers.
          Portia xx

  • Ringadian says:

    I first fell in love with SL when I sniffed a sample of La fille de Berlin, which I carefully hoarded until I could buy a bottle.

    Next came Vitriol d’oeillet. I knew what vitriol meant but when I discovered that “oeillet” was carnation, I had a laugh imagining a Disneyfied boutonnier with Cruella de Ville’s face on it. Anyway, I loved the scent and had to have it.

    Ambre Sultan showed up next – I’m a sucker for amber and this one has depth and potency. And spice. Love the spice.

    My most recent is Fleurs d’Oranger, a blind buy that worked out wonderfully. I’m wearing it now, during a slowly developing springtime in the great white North. It is forever linked in my memory with the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris which was built in 1852 to protect citrus trees from winter weather.

    I love the coloured juice and the longevity of Serge Lutens and the fragrance names. Fun fact: La Couche du Diable translates to The Devil’s Diaper in Quebecois French. Lol!

    • Musette says:

      your comment made me LOL! I knew about Vitriol d’oeillet but not La Couche du Diable, which is an hysterical name!!!

    • Portia says:

      HA HA HA! The Devil’s Diaper! So funny.
      Loved your stories of how you came to your Serge frags Ringadian. I still have a few of those mini bottle samples the brand used to give out with purchases. So glam.
      Portia xx