An Exercise in Restraint: Serge Lutens Daim Blond and Miel de Bois

Thanks to all of who wrote on here or on FacePlace sending me thoughts about the rainstorms. We have had a few more since last week but it seems to be the last of them for a bit. I’ve been of two minds of it- I love the rain and love to snuggle up in bed to the sound of it. So much so that I was thinking that a move to Portland was not a bad idea. But by yesterday (MLK Day) I was ready for it to damned well be damned over. Which it is for the moment, leaving today with a blazing blue sky and the crisp air that LA gets after a soaking rain. I am sure I could see the snow capped mountains in San Bernardino from Beverly Gardens Park. That is, if I wasn’t at work expecting the plumber, cleaner, dryer repair guy, butcher, baker and candlestick maker, all of whom I will have to let in because the rain fried the intercom and AT&T won’t be near to fixing it until the 25th. So I sit and type. And whine.

One thing I did do is open some bags and boxes in the closet/dungeon where I keep my bottles and dug up a bag of stuff that I had taken to some meet and sniff and never re-filed (he types as if his collection was magnificently curated, with everlything in order and a card catalog for reference.) In it I found a couple of Uncle Serge’s that I loved but obviously don’t wear that often: Daim Blond and Miel de Bois.

Daim Blond is a whispery white suede of a scent, that’s achieved by the combination of iris and apricot kernel. It was one that I tried at Barneys back in the dim, dead days when they still did the export/exclusive thing (and Barneys was still a thing) and I initially disliked it: all I got was sweet. But as I walked around the rest of the day I kept getting caresses of that soft suede. Grey, not white. Buttery soft like one of those shirts you would find at Bergdorf’s in the 90’s that was impossibly thin and impossibly soft and impossible to wear in the real world where you would eat and sweat and generally exist. But the thing with Daim Blond was that you had to go steadily in the application; one spritz too many and, like that exquisite shirt, the illusion of suede falls into expensive ruins, this one of screaming iris dipped in apricot jam. Luckily with this one you will just have to wait for the jam overload to die down to get back to the suede.

Then there’s Miel de Bois. For some of us who have been around for a while and were there for the whole discovery and elevation of Lutens/Sheldrake from “who?” to “where’ve you been all my life?” Miel de Bois will be remembered as “the cat pee one.” Because when applied sparingly, you get the richest, loveliest honey with just a touch of the tinfoil bite that the stuff straight from the hive can sometimes have. This will seduce you into spraying more. Don’t. One spray too much and it goes into full on Irwin Allen Killer Bees on Crack Disaster Movie territory and one spray after that it’s litter box central. Which would be a deal breaker if it weren’t, when applied with a study hand, such a stunner.

Daim Blond is still available at the Lutens website at $305 for a bell jar. Miel de Bois used to be, but has disappeared, so perhaps the murder hornets got to it. Or Michael Caine as Dr. Crane. My bottles wre purchased from Barneys, You can purchase samples from Surrender to Chance.

Photos are mine, from Pexels, and from Wikipedia

  • Dina C. says:

    Tom, I love your descriptions! They’re so vivid. Daim Blond sounds pretty. I need to try that one. Adds to list!

  • Musette says:

    Daim Blond is one of the great loves of my life! MdB is a close…third? I am careful with the application but in honesty don’t get much of the cat pee at all (here’s hoping I’m not anosmic to it and others don’t recoil, thinking I’m a Crazy Cat Lady (insert shrug because… really? What are the chances I would give a damb, right?)

    Honey in fragrance is a luscious thing. I remember back in the Jurassic Era when Perlier did that Miel body cream. YUM!

    So glad you’re getting a weather break. I’ve said it before: LA (and, indeed, all of coastal California) DOES NOT PLAY when it comes to Winter weather. Stay safe, honeydoodle.


    • Tom says:

      I knew MdB would be your jam (He’s here all week folks! Tip your waiter!) I’ve only gotten the pee aspects when I have seriously over applied on a hot day. But sometimes repellent scents can be a good thing, right?

  • March says:

    I’m glad you’re okay out there (although I feel terrible about all the destruction!) Daim Blond I was never wild for, although I suspect I’d like it better now. MdB I absolutely adore, although I totally get why a lot of people don’t. It’s funny how polarizing scent in general (and that scent in particular!) can be. I thought for a hot, insane second back in the day about whether I needed a backup of MdB and then realized, hehe, given how little I put on at one time I could never use it up even if I wore it every day… which obviously wasn’t going to happen.

    • Tom says:

      I sort of thought the same thing about MdB as far as a back-up, but looking at the level of the bottle I bought in 2005 as to now I think I am fairly safe.

      We were lucky in my part of town. A downed tree on Sunset was all we got. I really didn’t need to even drain the pool but I had the pump and my neighbors were convinced it would burst like the Hollywood dam in “Earthquake” if the water came to the top of the painted depth numbers..

  • Tara C says:

    I own and love Daim Blond but Miel de Bois smelled like dirty diapers to me. My favorite honey scent is Hiram Green Slowdive.

  • alityke says:

    Serge Lutens, from the sublime to the ridiculous all in a single post!
    Daim Blond I own & love the Daim thing so much I snagged a second bottle in the same presentation as yours when I found out it was going back to bell jar only.
    Miel de Bois? Gross! Freddie Albrighton sent me a sample back in the day & howled at my response. Even a smidge from a dabber made me nauseous. Not so much cat pee as an underground French pissoire that hasn’t been cleaned for a century.
    I don’t like honey anyway but Miel de Bois? That’s not honey that’s concentrated matured urine!
    P.S. cat pee is blackcurrant leaf & strangely I love blackcurrant leave notes

    • Tom says:

      Someone much cleverer than I wrote about what ingredient they used in MdB that had the pee aspect. They apparently just poured it on when it’s kind of meant to be drop by drop.

  • cinnamon says:

    Glad Mother Nature is cooperating. I tried Daim Blonde ages ago and got taupe suede and really liked it but not sufficiently to even think about resampling after that initial sniff. As to the Lutens that shall not be named, alas, on me it was ever cat pee. So, if Uncle Serge wanted to ditch it, no worries here. I had a look on the SL website a few days ago and Lordy me things have gotten pricey.

  • Portia says:

    YUM to both Tom, though I often get bored with Daim Blond so it’s best as a bed scent for me.
    Portia xx

  • shiva-woman says:

    I have both–and I love both. But I never get “cat pee” from a lot of “honey” type perfumes–I just don’t get that at all, but, because I know that people do, I rarely wear my fairly extensive and beloved collection of honey perfumes. I’m so afraid of the “old lady perfume” moniker that I enjoy alone. So sad. I love SL and Daim Blond is another one of my favorites (I have to admit I spray liberally with that one). About the weather. I too live in California–Northern California in the Sierra Nevada, and I’m so DONE with the effing weather. We have had in our county: 91 mph winds and even a tornado (which upcountry rarely does), torrential fire-hose rains, floods to end all floods, trees down (the last two have been real emergencies in our household since we have both land/trees and a creek-now-river run through it), hail, mudslides, rock slides, rescues off of home and car, hail, and it ended with my jumping out of bed yesterday because I heard the “mud slide scraper machine” which turned out to be the snow plow! Yes, I woke to a snowy Monday. We’ve lost power, internet, and road access, and basically all civilization. The last part I really don’t mind; it’s the downed trees, road, access, and wind that have really gotten to me. Hubs and I carried in ourselves: more than 250 sandbags to block the creek from carrying away our garage and artist studio. We just barely saved it. Other lower parts of our county have been declared a disaster and uninhabitable. So yes, I’m looking forward to blue skies. Right now I’m wearing Solstice Scents “Attic.” Solstice Scents is a house to which it’s worth paying attention. This is a warm amber-cedar woodsy smell.

    • Maya says:

      OMG I’m getting depressed just reading about all this happening to you. I hope the worst is over and things get better and better!

    • Tom says:

      I’ve tired to keep my whining about the weather to a bare minimum just because I know that so many others are dealing with much more than the horror of having to lug a small pump out to the pool to drain off the excess. Even down here there’s been a lot more. So I bow to people like you who abide when the going gets really going.

      Now I’m going to go google solstice scents..