Serge Lutens Écrin de Fumée and Cannibale

Last week, for some reason, I rewatched the Bourne films, including the weird sort of related one with Jeremy Renner rather than Matt Damon (that one did not work, but I guess that sometimes happens when you decide to patch in a new but sort of related story with weird associated flashbacks). They are (bar the weird non-Damon one) really relaxing. I kept wondering if I could 1) learn all those languages and 2) learn how to run across rooftops like that.


Onward to the other two samples I ordered from the Tiny Fragrances site, which are both from Serge Lutens.

First off is the 2023 release, Écrin de Fumée, which I smelled on a ribbon during my wondrous day out with Portia a few months ago. We were both very taken with it and I’d been meaning to get a proper sample to be thrown on skin.

Écrin de Fumée translates as ‘smokescreen’. The marketing guff goes like this: “Infused with the sweet and sensual scent of tobacco, this is a poetic ode to those who burn life at both ends. To those for whom excess is a way of life …” Yeah, ok.

Notes for this include cocoa, tobacco, rum, ‘smoke’ and woods. It starts out on me as boozy cocoa smoke, which is very nice. It then gets a bit spicy as it opens up – and the rum gets more prominent. The tobacco comes to the fore in the drydown.

On paper it’s all this but slightly sour. So, much better on skin. The spice is maybe cloves and I wonder if there’s any sandalwood in it.

EdF is very nice, very wearable. But I don’t know where the marketing guff came from because it’s not edgy in any sense of the imagination. It’s a very well done smoky-woody, with some nice twists. But, it’s not terribly unusual – just really pleasant to wear. However, does not make my heart go pitter pat. So, doesn’t go on to the want list. Here, a 50ml (export-type) bottle is £125 (100ml is £182), which is a bargain in the scheme of perfume prices these days.

Cannibale is a very different creature. I bought this based on the name. And for once I wasn’t at all disappointed having done that. But, this, which was released in 2015, is discontinued. This is what happens when you buy something on the fly without researching it. Oh, well. I’m still pleased to have had a chance to sample it.

In any case.

Cannibale is quite intriguing. First, the marketing guff, which is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Sigh. Whoever wrote the EdF stuff, while still offering silliness, did much better than this: “The cannibal is famished. How can we mention him without a reference to love …” WtAF??? If you know where this derived from please tell me because if it’s not referencing something specific, I think the copy writer was on drugs.

Apparently, this was a riff on floral vinegars from the 18th century. One review I read stated it was “a gorgeous sourish floral wood”.

Not on me. Notes are hard to find. Maybe rose, carnation, vinegar, ambergris, amber, frankincense, styrax, birch tar, castoreum, myrrh, tonka, patchouli, plum, some tuberose-related mothballiness?

Having written that, on me, the opening is immortelle: straight up. Dark, syrupy, slightly bitter and slightly sweet. Not as refined as Dior Eau Noire but it’s supposed to have something to do with a cannibal, after all.

The middle development sees floral incense on me – gentle, resinous and where did that immortelle thing go??? – and then things get a bit sweeter as the fragrance dries down. It finishes up as a sweet smoky incense – ie, something of a comfort scent in the end.

Even if it were still around, I don’t need this. The faux immortelle aspect at the opening is the most interesting part of the fragrance.

So, there we are. I’m really pleased with all three of my recent samples.  Anyone else done EdF and Cannibale when it was released?

Pics: Pexels and mine

  • Portia says:

    LOVE the Bourne films and particularly the Jeremy Renner offspring. I have most of them on DVD and now streaming g happens I can watch them all without that. Cool.
    That Écrin de Fumée was gorgeous. I was thinking to buy it but haven’t yet.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      It’s sort of nice to hear people like the Bournes. I’m not sure why. Have you tested the EdF on skin yet? I really enjoyed it but not enough to buy it. Will have fun with my sample.

  • March says:

    Ha! I re-watch the Bournes occasionally, they are indeed relaxing in some odd way. I haven’t tried either of these, but I should try EdF, it sounds right up my alley.

    • March says:

      Ooops, meant to add: if you’ve not read the books they are a pretty fun read too.

      • cinnamon says:

        Agree the books are good too. But, watching the films is just different — as we’ve said, strangely relaxing. I think EdF is definitely worth sampling.

  • Dina C. says:

    Sorry Cinnamon, I haven’t tried either, so I can’t add any impressions. I wonder why the marketing department has to name scents such weird names and write such stupid blather about their products? For a smoky scent, my pick is Chanel Les Exclusif Sycomore. It’s got a great burning leaves, smoky vetiver thing that I love in the fall. I’m looking forward to cooler weather when I’ll wear it.

    • cinnamon says:

      If you like any of the classic Lutens this is worth a look. As to Sycamore, I think I tried it and the vetiver just didn’t work on my chemistry, which is fairly usual regarding vetiver. We’ve had more than a month of cooler, wetter weather. I wouldn’t mind some Indian summer.

  • Tom says:

    I haven’t tried these but I did notice cruising the Lutens website that Musc Kublai Kahn is back with the full name. Now bring back tubey crim!

    • cinnamon says:

      I don’t know how widely available Cannibale is. Interesting on MKK name. Wonder if the perfume itself has changed. Indeed, maybe this heralds a turnaround for TC.

      • alityke says:

        I wonder if Lutens has someone or a bot searching the t’interweb for anything related to Lutens. Then the finding are assessed & decisions made marketing in response. SL as a business is probably small enough to flex even though it’s a subsidiary of Shiseido

    • Tara C says:

      Tub Crim is being moved from the gratte-ciel bottles back into the bell jars, which is why it’s temporarily unavailable.

  • Musette says:

    You have to SNORT when reading some of the overblown perfume marketing prose – and Cannibale does not disappoint – I got a good snort out of that one.
    Neither of these has me rushing to order a sample but the Lutens would win that race, were there a race.

    • cinnamon says:

      Oh, the Cannibale marketing stuff is just out there even for most perfume faff. Beyond it being silly, the various sentences have no relation to each other. I do think EdF is worth sampling for no other reason that it really does smell good.

  • alityke says:

    Cannibale passed me by completely & EdF seems to be the first Lutensesque Lutens for donkeys years.
    I seem to have put my back up bottles of the older presentation Lutens “somewhere safe”. The bane of post menopausal life

    • cinnamon says:

      I have this sense that Cannibale, which was released with a few others in a grouping, came and went very quickly. For whatever reason. I do think EdF is worth sampling and agree with your assessment about being Lutenesque in a classical sense.

      That happens to me all the time: where did I put it? I’m sure it was X place.

  • Song says:

    Inspirational fragrance writing as always – fun to hear you critique these perfumes so truthfully! Does not make my heart go pitter pat; a note to keep to myself when I am trying perfumes 🙂

  • Tara C says:

    Never smelled Cannibale, but I just ordered Écrin de Fumée and am looking forward to wearing it a lot this fall/winter. I also ordered La Couche du Diable and La Dompteuse Encagée (for a nice price at the discounters). Speaking of immortelle, I can recommend Tabac Tabou by Parfum d’Empire, which is a tobacco/hay/narcissus scent that dries down to a nice immortelle scent, not overly sweet or cloying like some can be. Another one I plan to wear a lot this fall.

    • cinnamon says:

      There are very few Cannibale reviews it seems. Will have a look at the Parfum d’Empire fragrance. Am always curious about what is done with tobacco.