Friday, May 29, 2009

Of White Flowers & Supple Fruit: The Joys of Spring

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane

In many ways, I feel like the late comer to the perfume ball on this one. Serge Lutens newest addition, Nuit de Cellophane, has been reviewed all over the place. But let us begin at the beginning, with the words Serge Lutens offers by way of description for Nuit de Cellophane:
As the night unfolds, it reveals a cluster of heavenly bodies.
The velvet pirouette of moths fluttering around glowing lanterns.
Creatures of darkness, crickets and other dwellers of the shadows lying undercover, transmit their requests.
-Excuse me, miss? Could you wrap that please?
-Is it a gift, sir?
-Indeed it is, a gift for you.
What that is intended to tell you about a perfume named “a plastic wrapped night,” I do not know. Upon announcing the addition to the Serge Lutens stable, there was a great deal of who-ha over the name. Folks aplenty spent a lot of time trying to figure out what kind of scents this name was supposed to evoke in the mind’s eye. Some of the best name-gaming can be found over at Perfume Shrine. Despite the quirky name, however, reviews of Nuit de Cellophane have been mixed, with some reviewers lamenting its plain/obvious/inoffensiveness, wondering “where is the signature weird we have come to know, love, and expect from Serge Lutens?”

I, however, will not lament Serge Lutens choice to make something generally considered as more “marketable” or “mainstream.” I figure, times being what they are, who am I to judge a manufacturer for throwing in a little bit of normal along with a whole lot of strange? Plus, while I recognize that certain perfumers build a name for them for creating along specific lines (e.g. CB and his ultra realism), I hold with the tenant that any olfactory artist should be able to create any item of beauty, even if it smells kind of like every other beautiful thing around that year. There’s always room to do the standard just differently enough to create a new perfection or interpretation. Nuit de Cellophane is exactly that.

While the notes listed for Nuit de Cellophane include jasmine, osmanthus, carnation, lily, muscs, almond, wood, and honey, on me the initial application is all white flowers and old fashioned soap with a little bit of fruit-like sweetness, which others peg as apricot. The lily and jasmine are especially prominent upfront. It’s possible the fruit note I’m smelling is the “honey” note Luckyscent refers to in its description, but it doesn’t seem strong enough or distinct enough to me for honey. I like the sweet bit though, because it is sweeter than a lot of big white flower scents on me (I’m thinking Kai, specifically) but not so sweet as to be sickening, like dousing oneself in canned fruit salad syrup. It also doesn’t knock you down with its size, which is nice for a white flowers fragrance. It’s not big in that way that so many white flowers are, over powering and loud. This is more realistic. The experience is less like shoving your face full on into a blooming flowering tree, and more like gently sniffing at a well-made bouquet. On dry down, the carnation comes through a little stronger, further sweetening the mixture.

On the whole, Nuits de Cellophane is a very lovely white flower and fruit mixture. Will I be running right out to buy it? No. It’s pretty, but doesn’t grab me in a way that screams, “I must have it!” I do, however, know lots of people who would feel that way about such a well-made, pretty fragrance. And make no mistake, this is well made, like all Lutens fragrances. Rather than lob together a lot of white flower scents so one smells like a blaring, overcrowded, and undergroomed flower garden, bottle it up, and call it good, there was a great deal of intentionality in creating Nuits de Cellophane. I realize that, in the world of perfume reviews, saying “white flowers and fruit” isn’t as detailed a response as one might need to discern Nuits de Cellophane from the vast number of similar scents, but that apricot note really separates this one out from the pack. If you normally think, when smelling white flowers, “Gee I wish this was a little sweeter,” try this one. It might be for you. Certainly it is a lovely invocation of all that sweet Spring implies: the blooming of flowers, supple fruit, and new beginnings.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Robert Frost, "A Prayer for Spring"

To read any of the whole laundry list of other lovely reviews for this Nuits de Cellophane by visiting...
~ Scented Salamander here.
~ Perfume Posse here.
~ 1000fragrances here.
~ I Smell, Therefore I Am here.
~Grain de Musc here.
~ Perfume Shrine review here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Who knew that my first give away would be so uncontested? I can't decide if I have only one reader or simply that most of my readers are people I know in real life who can ask me for samples at any time and know I'll provide.

Well, congrats to Divina, who will be getting 1 ml samples of Kai, L'Artisan Vanilia, *and* Memoire Liquide No. 900 Champagne et Mure Parfum as promised. Indeed, because she is the only person who posted and then mentioned that CB I Hate scents are hard for her to obtain, I'm throwing in samples of CB I Hate Perfume's Wild Hunt, Black March, Memory of Kindness and To See a Flower because I appreciate the support for my perfume ramblings. If nothing spurs the rest of you to post next time, let it be that I might actually send you more gifties than you originally thought available!

Divina, email me your mailing address at and I will have your package in the mail by the end of the week.

And for those of you who care, my last paper is being proof read as we speak and my last exam begins in three and a half hours. Around 9:30pm PST I will be completely finished with my requirements for this semester! I still have a lingering thesis paper to finish, but I have a week and a half of no classes, exams, or job to do that in. Despite this A paper nonsense hanging round my head, I consider myself more or less done as of tonight. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me, but if you've ever watched me write a 20 page paper in less than a twenty-four hours, including the lion's of research, then you know that ten days to write my A paper is more than enough for me to finish in time for the grade deadline.