Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée

I was planning to write about something else which I had read about in the Financial Times a few weeks ago. Got samples. But once it was in hand … big disappointment. Huge.

Instead, we’re doing a newish Uncle Serge which came in the same order as the Ex Idolo.

I have – as many of us do – a lot of time for Serge Lutens perfumes. Maybe they were an intro into niche; maybe there are one or two (or more) truly beloved things (mine would be Rose de Nuit and Arabie; I wish Chergui worked better on me; when I’m next in Paris I plan to try Rahat Loukoum …).

So, this: La Dompteuse Encagée. Let’s start with that name. I can’t find a decent translation – they are all weird and confusing. I’m hoping a reader who is fluent in French will comment about the name – maybe it’s colloquial? Because I get things like ‘Caged Tamer’, ‘The Caged Lady Tamer’, ‘The Uncaged Tamer’, etc, etc. You get the idea.

The marketing faff from Uncle Serge is just … : “I cannot disavow the whitepowdered girl. Nonetheless, I sense the snow – so dreaded because expected – the coming avalanche”. I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder.

This was released in 2021. Notes list is pointless: fragipane, ylang ylang and almond. Yup, that’s it. I guess it leaves you to make your own assessment.

So, my assessment. This is very, very pretty. Like enormously pretty. Like hugely.

Ironically, I’ve been testing this as our weather has finally moved from grey, gales, wet and colder than normal to proper spring: clear blue skies, warmer temps, sunshine!

Optimism weather. And this is a hugely optimistic, warm perfume on. Which is confusing given the marketing stuff, which implies cold.

Given that useless notes list, this is my experience.

It opens soft menthol-tropical floral. Maybe frangipani but there’s got to be a bit of tuberose in there: a menthol-petrol note is discernible. And my brain went tiare – ie, similar to gardenia. Or maybe there’s a bit of pepper up top…

Really, I am sure there is tuberose in this – and grapefruit.

As it warms up on skin, we’re working our way through lush tropical florals: heady as all get-out but never sickly or overwhelming.

A ways in is where I’m sure I get citrus, and to my nose it’s grapefruit: juicy, and slightly sharp, but never sour.

My brain keeps going ‘pretty, pretty, pretty’.

The drydown is softer florals – still have tiare in my head — maybe a bit of almond, vanilla and skin musks.

It’s a fruity-floral as far from the mainstream, humdrum ones as you can get. Good longevity — and I keep reaching for it.

It’s happy-making which, again, is why I can’t get my head round the marketing materials and the name. Perhaps I’m missing the point.

The fragrance is available in the oblong Export bottle, in both 50ml and 100ml sizes (somehow I ended up on the US Lutens site, so prices are $185 and $270).

(This is my oblong bottle of Arabie as an example. The LDE label is black.)

In any case, I’m going to wear the heck out of my sample. After which I’ll get a decant. I’ve already checked one of my usual sample haunts and they offer them.

Anyone tried this? I’m sure it must be getting some serious love somewhere.

Pics: Pexels and mine

  • Tom says:

    Well, the last thing I need is another SL lemming, but I may be forced by your description to try this one!

    • cinnamon says:

      Well worth a go. I think I popped it into the order due to the name (I keep doing that sort of thing — a catchy name gets me every time) but was very pleasantly surprised.

  • March says:

    Ooooh this sounds FANTASTIC; off to find a sample! I’ve not paid much/enough attention to the SL releases more recently, although I own some of the classics.

  • Portia says:

    WOW Cinnamon,
    This sounds too gorgeous for words. I’m going to grab a sample.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Definitely worth sampling. And while it’s interesting and has good development it’s not hard going, if you get what I mean.

  • Dina C. says:

    This sounds seriously pretty! Just in time for spring/summer here in the northern hemisphere too! I own six Serge Lutens: Bas de Soie – love, Clair de Musc – love, Fille en Aiguilles – love, Fleurs d’Oranger – too much cumin in the drydown, Iris Silver Mist – love, and L’Haleine des Dieux – not my style. Thanks for introducing a new one to me. It sounds really promising.

    • cinnamon says:

      Pretty is the watchword here, Dina. But it’s interesting and very more-ish. I like Fille en Aiguilles too.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    After De Profundis was released, I lost interest in anything Serge Lutens. Maybe because his stuff was a little too expensive for what it was and the bell jars were so difficult to get at the time. With the bell jars being more accessible, they are stupid expensive. I might get a sample of this.

    • cinnamon says:

      Everything currently feels stupid pricey, not just perfume, to me. I did a big wardrobe clear-out recently so was looking to fill a few holes (a midi skirt, some shoes, a pair of trousers, etc). A lot of things I really liked and were advertised as ‘mid-range’ were silly money. I really do feel like most of the time I gravitate towards the smallest bottle size if a brand offers one or just get decants of something.

  • Maya says:

    I will definitely sample La Dompteuse Encagée. Frangipani/plumeria is my favorite of all the white flowers. I love their fragrance and the look of them, especially the white ones with yellow centers as in your picture. I have found very few frangipani perfumes and fewer good ones. Gucci A Chant for a Nymph is very lovely but the price takes your breath away and not in a good way!

    • cinnamon says:

      The sample is sitting on my desk among a load of other things and I keep finding myself reaching for it. Yup, price points have gotten stupid.

  • Tara C says:

    I purchased this on a whim last year, unsniffed, and really like it too. There was a lot of chatter back then about Fils de Joie, another jasmine floral by Serge, and saw this on Fragrancenet for cheap so I bought it. I have a feeling I left it in my other house so probably won’t get to wear it this summer but it’s a good one. The name and description is standard Serge Lutens ridiculous but I can ignore that.

    • cinnamon says:

      I actually find the marketing materials to be out there — even for Lutens. And this feels a little like a throwaway scent — like it wasn’t something the brand took that seriously. It’s weird. But as you say, doesn’t matter: it’s a lovely perfume.