What time is it?

Summer time?

All the time?

Even more all the time?


Closing time?

Are you sure it isn’t closing time?

Trippy time?

Hammer time?

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme?

Just Rosemary and Thyme?

No, silly! It’s none of those. It’s time to announce the winners, that’s what time it is…

The most competitive draw was for Bois Farine – Sue won!

Voleur de Roses – well done Cheri.

Habit Rouge – congrats to perfumequeen.

Jo Malone Amber and Lavender – it’s yours, Sylvia.

Ungaro III is heading to its rightful owner, Erin K.

Jaipur pour Homme – quick out of the draw was perfume nut Mark David.

Arpege pour Homme is heading south to Matt S.

Rochas Lui is off to frolic in temperate climes with grizzlesnort.

No-one wanted Hugo Boss Soul…

I’ve managed to contact all winners except for Cheri, so if you’re reading this, please hit the contact us button. Commiserations to those who lucked out. I’m expecting some little return packages and am excited to see what’s what. I’ll be letting y’all know.

The other time reference in today’s post is of course to Serge Lutens’ latest release, Five O’Clock au Gingembre. However, I’m not sure I have that much to say about it, seeing as all I’ve been able to get through the post is a tester strip, still almost damp on arrival – they must’ve soaked and soaked before sealing.

It’s supposed to be very bergamotty in the opening, but seeing as this is a tester strip, I get little of that (and take the fact that I’ve not done a skin test as a proviso please). First off, it has that Serge and Sheldrake something that fans – and enemies! – of the line will instantaneously recognise. To me it’s the beeswax (not honey) and spice accord that seems a signature flourish in his orientals. Ostensibly, there’s nothing particularly new here. It is yet another variation on a theme. And, if you’re bored of Lutens’ exploration of the spice theme, and the postured blending of contemporary European sensibilities with nineteenth century Orientalism, you’re not going to be excited here.

My initial sniffs made me think of Bois Oriental and ginger, though on subsequent returns to my little plastic pouch those thoughts have changed. Whilst not especially sweet, some of the candied, or perhaps even stewed, quality of the ginger comes through – there’s none of the harsh astringency you get from the raw root, or the burn of the powder, either. Likewise, this is very low key on the citric elements you find in that freshly grated knobbly rhizome. Instead of the yellow associations I might have had with such descriptions, I’m taken into a world of burnt umbers, shadowed shades of browns and oranges. And there’s a masculine element at work here – the vetiver, patchouli and cistus combination perhaps, though none of those notes are as distinct as they are in other Lutens and Sheldrake creations. This one is all about the blend.

Whilst the ginger and pepper may give the scent its raspy buzz, its alert quality, the cocoa works as a baritone, lowering the frequency and harmonising the tune. Once you see the cocoa here, a gourmand quality does become far more obvious, though the scent itself never becomes foody. It’s definitely too abstract for that, in spite of its name that seems to be a bizarre re-imagining of the types of English tradition I’ve never known (I wish, in the words of Noel Coward, everything did stop for tea). There should be tea here, I suppose, and perhaps there is. I don’t pick it up in any obvious way, and though the scent has stylistic similarities to Giacobetti’s Tea for Two, it has none of the verisimilitude of that l’Artisan number.

Summary thoughts – it’s a quiet Lutens. Like Rousse, there are no oddities, startling juxtapositions or surprises here. To quote a truism of our times, it is what it is. I don’t get the fresh elements described elsewhere, but then I haven’t yet smelled the whole scent. I’m really only focused on the base here, and for me, Serge is the king of the bases. I will be buying it: I’ve been carrying the tester strip everywhere with me, and it’s pushing more and more of my buttons every hour (and I mean every hour) I’ve been sniffing it. I can only imagine the beauty of its trail.

I asked the SA – Lydie – at the Salons whether any other perfumes could be expected this year. Though I received the usual gnomic evasions, I did get the impression that there might be two more yet to be released, before 2008 passes into history. There seemed  no knowledge of last year’s rumour that the line has reached its end.

Painting is Alexandre Cabanel’s Cléopà¢tre testant ses poisons sur des condamné, French Orientalism at its most fantastical.

  • sweetlife says:

    Omigod! That PAINTING!

    Love the multiple cats, dead and alive, surrounding her. And she looks so…Jewish. I mean, why not?

    You can just hear those 19th Century French guys salivating, “Ah! So cruel! So hard! So beautiful!” (Imagine the French, or, in keeping with the painting, a really over the top French accent.)

    Great review, too! :d/

    • Lee says:

      I know – that living cat is behaving so demurely cuz she can see exactly where she’ll end up if she steps out of line…

      Love the effusive french guys!

      • Debbie says:

        No…..the Eqyptians had special cats that were like today’s Ragdolls in character. They never hissed, swatted or squirmed away from their owners; just lumps of lovemuffins at all times. :^o

        Debbie, proud and overworked guardian of seven of those beasties (um not the cow-like things….cats)

  • Denise says:

    I’m really looking forward to this! I’ve never tried a ginger fragrance, but the combination of notes sounds really intriguing.

    • Lee says:

      Make sure you check out March tomorrow. She’s got a much more readily available – and cheaper! – ginger number as an early aside in her post. Gotta love that Marchie!

  • Billy D says:

    You are fantastic, thank you.

  • Billy D says:

    I love rumor and inuendo. Here’s hoping that there are indeed two more new releases before the end of the year. I just hope they aren’t all variations on the same theme (cough, Montale).

    Lovely picture choice as well. Sorry I can’t contribute anything more substantial today–terrible cold, so I can’t smell anything, nor am I that interested in anything but tea and broth right now. Mmmmm

    • Lee says:

      Rumour and innuendo put me on edge a little, but I’ll experience the pleasure vicariously through you!

      Get well soon. Expect some copy sometime next week!

  • Karen G says:

    Oh, thanks so much for the Leonard Cohen this morning! His lyrics are magic, and that song in particular, depending on my mood, either makes me dance around the room, or it makes me weep. (Bit weepy this morning)
    I’ve tested 5 o’clock Ginger only once, and can’t say much about it so far, except I wish it had more ginger. It hasn’t wowed me yet.

    • Lee says:

      I was wondering what the ginger might be like in the top notes. I like the restraint personally as too much ginger can make me feel like I’m wasabi or something…

      Cohen. Nothing to add to what you’ve already said.

  • Debbie says:

    I would love a good ginger fragrance. Yosh’s Ginger Ciao was disgusting. Tea for Two started out with a great ginger and cinnamon, followed by wonderful tea with hints of honey and vanilla and then it turned to…………ashtray. Are the notes for black tea similar to the scent of used tobacco? I might have to wear it all day today just to see if that holds true.

    I’m interested in hearing more about 5:00 Ginger when you actually get to wear it. I am genuinely irked that North Americans can’t order these things from Paris, but so it goes (think Chergui). Is this one going to be export or nonexport?

    • Lee says:

      Oh, it’s export Debbie. You’ll get to wear it. Us Europeans will allow you that…=))

      After all, we don’t get to buy packets of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. =))

      (my tongue is in my cheek, donchaknow)

  • Patty says:

    Come on, Mr. Postman, carrying my bottle! Love ginger, and you’ve definitely got my interest up in sniffing this.

  • Silvia says:

    Love the review and the familiar image of you carrying everywhere the tester strip. Sounds very promising.
    Before you think I am rude for not thanking you for Amber and Lavender, I am not the Sylvia who won, I am Italian-London Silvia.

    • Lee says:

      I saw the difference in the i! And we’ve still all got to meet up for our London sniffage…

      It is promising!

      • Silvia says:

        hey, you are a smartie #:-s
        Let us know when you are in town and we’ll all get together.

  • March says:

    Lovely post, me lovely boy.

    Everything should stop for tea. I stopped for tea absolutely as often as I could whilst visiting your fair land.

    The gingembre does sound enticing; I’m looking forward to trying it.

    • Lee says:

      I’d happily eat cream teas every day if the consequences weren’t to be visited on my midriff. 40 this year – gotta watch out for that middle-age spread…

  • Elle says:

    Ginger is a note I can be somewhat ambivalent about. Definitely don’t care for it when it goes the citrus route or, for that matter, any of the uncooked versions. It sounds, however, like I may really enjoy this rendition of it.
    You’re so right about Serge being the king of bases. That’s exactly why I love him so much.

  • chayaruchama says:

    The women tear their blouses off,
    And the men they dance on the polka dots
    And it’s partner found and it’s partner lost
    And there’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops
    It’s closin’ time…

    Thanks for earworm, Liebchen.
    Will I love it ?
    Ought I to lemm?
    Will I kiss you ?

    Great review, patootska.

    • Lee says:

      You *might* love it, though I can’t be sure from a tester strip alone.

      I’ll dance the polka with you, or the polka dot, any time…:x

  • donanicola says:

    That painting makes me giggle. Maybe those poor guys have just been told there really will be no more Serge Lutens scents ever ever again and Cleo has bought up what stock remained (hence looking mighty bored and smug). I’m looking forward to the gingery one. I’d thought it might remind me of T42 which I love and sounds as if it does but not so much that having one makes having the other redundant:d

    • Lee says:

      I guess a puppet queen, the end of a dynasty, has to test her poison out on someone. That glamorous quality to the cruelty. Though, as my mum would say, her face looks like a smacked arse – look at those pouty lips!

      I think you might love this Nicola!

  • Anne says:

    Crazy for ginger too. Eat it, smell it, grow it but I haven’t really found a ginger scent that I love, maybe this will be it….

  • Maria says:

    I’m still very curious about this Gingembre since I’m wild about ginger.

    What do you think of the Rosemary and Thyme series? I was disappointed. Such a great premise–gardening and murder–but the stories didn’t take off for me.

    Have you watched Torchwood at all? BBC America is showing the second season now. I’m somewhat hooked.

    • Joan says:

      So surprised that they killed off Owen!!!:o

      • Debbie says:

        Maybe they’ll bring him back. However, British shows are much more likely to kill off main characters than US shows, MI5 being the one that comes to mind right now.

        “I think I need more money. I am a star.”
        Not for long, the producer mutters to himself.

        • Joan says:

          I thought something might be up when Owen made a date with Tosh. That was so out of character for him. Anyway, there is always the Resurrection Glove! The next episode is called Dead Man Walking.;)

          • Lee says:

            You’re only two episodes behind us. Let’s just say the resurrection glove kinda works. and then it gets messy…

            I enjoy Torchwood. Sometimes though it strikes me as a kids tv programme with a lot of sextalk shoehorned (what’s with me and the shoehorns today?)in. I enjoy it, even when John Barrowman (sp?) overhams in that West End / Broadway stagey way. Freema Agyeman – Martha Jones from Doctor Who – is a bit boardlike though.

          • MarkDavid says:

            John Barrowman can do whatever he likes.
            As for the show – not much into the Sci-Fi outside of the X-Files
            But I do love me some John Barrowman.
            Although, I think I’d prefer his husband…

          • Joan says:

            Martha is a little stiff. The shoehorns are the best bits!!

        • Lee says:

          Was Spooks called MI5 in the States? They’ve killed off a number of leads in that show… the first death (the deep fat fryer) always sticks in my mind as one of the most shocking things I’ve ever experienced on tv.

          • MarkDavid says:

            CNN announcing that Bush won the second election was the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen on TV and I watch HBO!

          • Debbie says:

            Does it have Matthew Macfayden playing “Tom”?

          • Maria says:

            Gosh, I had trouble figuring out where to respond. I’ll do some of it right here. Yes, Spies is called MI5 in the States. I don’t think they’ve actually killed off Tom. His “death” was ambiguous. My DH thinks he’s gone into deeper cover.

          • Debbie says:

            He went off and did a movie or two, didn’t he? I hope he gets to come back.

      • Maria says:

        I was surprised about Owen’s death too! Poor Tosh–she’s doomed to have a constantly devastated personal life. I was surprised to read from our British friends that Torchwood attempted to use the resurrection glove. Heaven knows that’s always proven to be a bad idea.

        I have a different take on Martha Jones. I think she’s much too perky. Tone it down already.

        • Debbie says:

          I agree about Martha Jones. However, I think she’s ALSO stiff while being perky. Stiffly perky. Ugh.

    • Lee says:

      Rosemary and Thyme – I watched a couple of the first series for kitsch appeal, and it was enjoyable in a laughably silly way. The way the crimes were shoehorned in – or ungainly planted nmight be more apt. But it underuses the remarkable talents of Ferris and Kendall. I never go near it now…

      • Maria says:

        Yes! They could have done a show with Ferris and Kendall as gardeners without murders and it would have been more interesting–if they’d just let them ACT.

  • tmp00 says:

    well, pumpkin, you surely have whetted my appetite…

  • MarkDavid says:

    nut? NUT? I beg your pardon. Yeah, well, alright – if the shoe fits. Nut it is. My sincerest Thanks, oh British one. Since you didn’t want me to send myself, I don’t know what in the hell to send you. I mean – you wouldn’t want MORE perfume, would you? How about a farm animal? I’ll send you my dowry. A goat.

    I don’t know. Ginger never makes me lean one way or another, I’m very neutral on it. So I hope they end up releasing more scents this year – that would be nice, maybe something really right up my alley. They’re really crankin’ them out over there lately, aren’t they?

    Louve was a disappointment. And word of warning – never wear a freshly applied pre-drydown Almond scent on the subway in a major city. Its really impolite. My train thought we were getting chemically attacked with Sarin.

    • Debbie says:

      Thought they were getting attacked with sarin? You’re kidding, right? I have to ask because these days, you never know.

      • MarkDavid says:

        yes, just a bit of comedy, Debbie. It was funny in my head, I dunno…

        • Debbie says:

          It *is* funny; you just never know how people are going to react. Don’t worry. I tend to take things too seriously.

    • Lee says:

      The nut was a compliment, believe me. Neutral on ginger? Now you’re just plain nuts!:d

  • Louise says:

    Who’s silly, silly?

    Thanks for the tunes, especially Louis-I played him a lot yesterday.

    Can’t wait for more news on Ginger-I hope she’s a vixen 😉