Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit

Once again, my subconscious decided to pop something into my head as I was just emerging from sleep. It did this mid-last week and because it was about perfume it was clear I was meant to write about it.

I started reading and posting on Makeup Alley’s Fragrance Board just as there was a surge in comments about Serge. Rahat Loukoum, to be exact. Someone will recall around when this occurred, but I can’t put my finger on it.

I sampled my way through various Lutens fragrances at various times in the past 20-odd years. Only Arabie and Rose de Nuit, the focus of my recent subconscious popup, are in my collection.

Rose is a note that generally works well on my chemistry, but this is the only rose perfume I still own.

One of the things I love about it is that of the many nuit-named perfumes out there it is actually ‘nuit’. You can name something ‘nuit’ and hope no one notices that it’s sort of innocent and wan, but RdN actually is the real deal.

This is a Serge Belle Jar and I don’t think it’s ever been offered in the more widely available rectangular bottles (ie, Tubereuse Criminelle is a Belle Jar that had a brief release in the regular line and I continue to kick myself for not buying it then, just as I continue to kick myself for not buying a forest green velvet YSL Le Smoking jacket priced at under $100 in a Barney’s Warehouse Sale 30 years ago).

Notes include Turkish rose, yellow jasmine, apricot, amber, musk, sandalwood and beeswax. A pretty straight-forward list that gives no real sense of this: from the get-go, this is noir to the nth degree. The juice in my bottle (probably at least 15 years old – a little under half the jar left, with its rounded stopper) is a rich pale yellow.

What gets me most about this fragrance is it’s clearly a rose perfume but it smells of so much more right from the start. There’s spice and fruit and resin all smoothed together but it’s not smooth in that things seamlessly unfold. Rather, it’s a rose just past it’s prime, almost but not quite tipping into the beginning of rot – that heavy dregs of red-wine-like aspect and the apricot work together beautifully; it’s one of the best fruity chypre-ish perfumes I’ve ever smelled, along with Mitsouko’s peach and Rochas Femme’s plum. Crushed silk velvet on a too warm evening sticking to the silk cami and knickers plus bare feet – a woman in a garden stretching out the anticipation before whatever will happen in bed. It’s hard to get more noir than that.

Have you tried it? Is it in your collection? Is there something you own that has noir in the name that totally lives up to it?

  • Patty says:

    I love Rose de Nuit. It’s not one I wear very much, but just so much respect for everything about it.

  • Troy says:

    My subconscious seems to pop a song I’d long forgotten into my head as I wake up. Peefume would be awesome too!
    Really glad you to see sonething about Rose de Nuit. I’ve been obsessed with it for the past year. I keep going to the Lutens counter and pretending I’ve never smelled it, just to get another sample. If not for the price I would have a bottle already. The sexiest perfume I have ever smelled. I can’t remember which blogger wrote it had the faint aroma of licked skin. I now smell that in the background with the fruit and beeswax. Ha! I love it sooo much!

  • SonomaVelvet says:

    You know Cinnamon. I never managed to smell this one and I did try. A friend brought back Serge Lutens sa majeste la rose for me from a trip and it is lovely. But, I so wanted to try the ‘dark’ one. I do have a way of making peace with the knowledge that I won’t ever be able to smell all the perfumes I read about let alone own them. Every now and then though, I read something that is so beguiling in its’ description that something uncoils inside of me, a wanting for that experience and knowing of a fragrance that is not peaceful at all. So, here I sit beguiled and wanting, and dreaming of someday coming across something so lushly described.

  • Dina C. says:

    Don’t think I’ve ever sniffed this Serge, but you certainly paint a rapturous portrait of it. I have Clair de Musc, Bas de Soie, Fille en Aiguilles, Iris Silver Mist, and a mini of L’Haleine des Dieux in his line. As for nuit/noir scents, Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black perfume oil is the only one that qualifies. I have L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse on my wish list — I’ve used up decants of it and love it. But like most of my stuff, it’s pretty cheerful to my nose, not so noir.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Have a bottle and a decant of the l’Artisan. If we lived in the same country I would send some along. Will have to look up the Elizabether & James.

      • Dina C. says:

        Elizabeth & James is a small line that was put out by the Olson twin actresses, named after their siblings. They were famous child actresses from “Full House” back in the 90s, in case you don’t remember. Anyway, their line was carried by Sephora. Nirvana Black has main notes of sandalwood, violet and vanilla.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I love Rose de Nuit! Sadly, I just have just a decant. Wish it were part of the export line.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I don’t get why Lutens stopped offering Belle Jar fragrances briefly in export bottles. I would think this would be a great way to lure people into buying the more expensive fragrances once their bottle was finished …

  • March says:

    I never really cuddled up to Rose de Nuit but you’re making me want to try it again!

    • Cinnamon says:

      I have this idea I bought it unsniffed (it wasn’t stupid money when I did, if I indeed did that). I went through a short period of doing that (resulting in Malle’s Une Rose going to a friend because it really did smell of mushroom). In any case RdN certainly was a very successful purchase. Even if I don’t wear it for a bit I still smell the bottle with frequency. And, it has lasted very well indeed.

  • Portia says:

    Why have I no memory of Rose de Nuit? Must have smelled it along the way sometime. Now I can’t wait to get back to Paris a snaffle it up. Sounds fabulous,.
    Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    No to the nuit/noir question – but I wanna be that woman in the garden, that’s for damb sure!!! xoxoxo

    • Cinnamon says:

      Realised after re-reading I’d used both Nuit and noir. Twit I am. Thankfully, they have similar connotations. I do find it really irritating when something is named one or the other and simply isn’t.

      • Musette says:

        I also LIED! I have a bunch of nuits AND noirs – I was just too lazy to go look – I also have a teeny sample of Uncle Serge’s Rose de Nuit and it’s everything you described. Wore it last night, going to wear it again today so I can focus on it.

        xoxoxo The Liar

  • Maya says:

    Most noir perfumes aren’t that noir to me. TF Noir de Noir was close, but though I like most Tom Ford perfumes, I eventually get tired of them. Thank goodness for decants. I absolutely love Rose de Nuit! It’s tied for first place with Amouage Lyric Woman. Lyric has a happy and fun lightness while Rose de Nuit is more sensual and bewitching. Both are beautiful.

    • Musette says:

      Lyric is STUPID gorgeous! I can’t wear it during the day because it’s so lovely that I find I can’t fully focus on anything else. It’s the ultimate ‘louche’ perfume, imo! xoxoxo

      oh, and don’t get me started on the creme! Yowpers!


    • Cinnamon says:

      I have yet to find an Amouage that likes me. It is perplexing. When I am once again comfortable travelling I’m going to have to do a sniffing trip to London and go a serious go at Amouage.

  • Rosemary says:

    LOVE THIS! After numerous samples, I splurged for this Serge, always love wearing it. It’s almost borderline dangerous to wear, but i tend to throw caution to the wind when it comes to perfume. I also own a small bottle of Chergui, much more innocent; Rose de Nuit is intense!

  • Tara C says:

    I have and love Rose de Nuit, it is exquisite. My other noir love is Lutens Une Voix Noire, a syrupy narcotic gardenia. And I am lucky to have Tubéreuse Criminelle in the export bottle, it’s a rare bird. I wish I had gotten all of them.

  • cookie queen says:

    I have a bell jar – about seven years old. Rarely wear it, have to be in exactly the right mood. But it is gorgeous nonetheless.

    • Cinnamon says:

      It is wonderful. I am glad it has lasted well in my bottle as I go through phases of wearing it, but then can go a few months without doing so.

  • Bee says:

    Oh now I must dig out my sample of this and luxuriate in it. Thank you for reminding me of its beauty!

    • Cinnamon says:

      You’re welcome 🙂 There used to be a blog called Serge Lutens — Nearly All the Facts (alas, gone now). Did you ever read it?

  • Richard Potter says:

    It is my favorite Lutens, and one of my favorites perfumes.?