Miller Harris La Fumée: This’ll Put Hairs on Your Chest


 Miller Harris La Fumée is a butch, smoky delight full of resin and hard edged spice.

If you like Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan or Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain, then read on.  

Whilst I admire La Fumée, I find I am not as fond of it as I am of another Miller Harris that I reviewed recently: Feuilles de Tabac, which has delightful leather and a papery scent that I enjoyed.

 La Fumée has that resinous dried smoke effect that is prevalent in both Ambre Sultan and L’Air du Desert Marocain (aka LADDM). However, whilst I liked the ecclesiastical feel of LADDM, I did not like Ambre Sultan.  In my review, as I recall, it reminded me of the cloud of smoke you would find above a group of insalubrious youths. There is a dryness to Ambre Sultan that catches at the back of my throat, like cigar smoke. That same dry note is present in La Fumée . However, my disliking of La Fumée was a near miss since I would consider scenting my (non smoking) home with this, but I would not put it on my skin. Call me fickle.

 I admire its richness: it has strong Birch, and Elemi ( a substance used in cough mixtures) and it does indeed remind me of a cross between cigar smoke and rum, but as much as I like a bit of Butch from time to time, this was a tiny bit de trop for my taste.  It’ll put hairs on your chest for sure! Maybe that’s what I’m afraid of.

10 thoughts on “Miller Harris La Fumée: This’ll Put Hairs on Your Chest”

  1. Dearest Iscent
    Cigar smoke (inferior to pipe tobacco smoke but it will do) elemi, rum, birch (tar)… this all sounds too perfect.
    Yet, I smelt it sometime ago and my memory is that I thought, like you that is was more of a home fragrance than something to be worn on the skin.
    I have other matters to attend to at MH soon, as I was reminded when I walked past the Bruton St store the other day.
    I will certainly give this another go then as it reads so beautifully.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Your headline has discouraged me from ever trying this one, as my chest is one of the few areas that have not required hair removal. (Part Armenian. Well, maybe. Things get murky on that side of the family a couple of generations back. In any case, my father can grow a full beard in about 16 hours.) (Now that I think about it, maybe this explains the Kardashians: the amount of hair removal necessary to survive a Southern California adolescence required them to spend hours in front of a mirror every day. Okay, now I’ve rambled on and on, and you may be fortunate enough to have no idea who the Kardashians are. Sorry.)

    1. Dear Laurels,

      It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you that I do indeed know who the Kardashians are. They are everywhere over here, much to my dismay. You have given me some comfort (and a chuckle) in letting me imagine their constant de-hairing activity. Serves them right.

      Your Dad growing a beard in 16 hours made me laugh! I do hope you escaped inheriting that one!

      Thank you so much, as ever for dropping by.
      Best wishes

  3. I tried this for the first time a few days ago and rather liked it. I thought the cool grey smokiness might work on a woman in a more formal context (in contrast to richer, warmer perfumes such as my favourite tea for two), say with a tailored tweed jacket. (Plus I’ve always wanted to find a MH to love – the bottles are exactly the type I like the best, elegant but no fuss or glitz) However I’ve been attracted to classically male perfumes before, only to regret the purchase. Your excellent review describes very well that point where it can suddenly become just a bit too much! It certainly deserves a bit more testing – feuilles de tabac and this are the best in the line, IMHO.

    1. Dear Alice,

      Thank you so much for your very kind compliment. I think your images of Tweed and formality suit La Fumee perfectly. It is not for the casual. I agree that Feuilles de Tabac is wonderful and I could happily wear that all day. Autumn makes me want to “man up”.

      I have heard from many perfumistas that Antaeus is very good on Women. I hope to put that to the test soon.

      Best wishes

  4. Ooooh, you had me at L’Air du Desert Marocain! 🙂
    This sounds glorious. And I must try it.

    Dear Lyn Harris doesn’t seem to have settled on how she wants to present this particular fragrance, as she has already made two twists on it – the first was a limited edition – La Fumee Arabie – that has now departed (I’m gutted, as I thought it might be SO me), and she then released La Fumee Ottoman, which has roses added to the woods and incense. Again LFO is a limited edition, so I have no idea how much if any is knocking around.

    But I love Lyn, so I’ll happily forgive her for creating limited editions that I can’t smell, as long as she keeps making my beloved L’Air de Rien. I think she and Andy Tauer are my favourite perfumers, as I love more of their creations than any other noses. Well, OK, maybe the great and sainted Jean Claude Ellena as well.

    1. Frankly, this has got balls and a hairy chest.

      It’s tough, but I think you would like it, since I know you are kinky for a bit of Oomph in a scent. I would love thi as a reed diffuser or a candle, but not on skin, it was a bit harsh. However, I do like it, even though it doesn’t suit me.

      I’d love to try La Fumee Ottoman. Fumee with Rose would be very Tauer!

  5. Oh, and Alice – have you tried Bulgari Black? That’s usually in the men’s department, and is delicious: rubber, black tea, vanilla and leather. (Yes, rubber. Trust me, it’s good.)

Leave a Reply