You can tell that I am a fan of Nigella Lawson. The appalling state of my copies of her books is testament to this. The sticky toffee pudding recipe is stuck together with sticky toffee pudding and she is responsible for at least one dress size that I didn’t used to be.
Don’t worry, my blog hasn’t changed direction, but one of Nigella’s recipes sprang to mind instantly when I first smelled Serge Lutens Arabie. The recipe in question is for Nigella’s Black Cake from the Nigella Christmas book. The instruction is as follows:
Cover the fruits and leave to steep for at least two weeks, but up to six months. I say up to six months – which is what Colwin writes in Home Cooking – but I must tell you that I steeped all the fruits one year in November only to find in December that I was just too exhausted to make the cake. So I used it up the following year, after 13 months’ marinating. It was strong, but it was good.
When I first sprayed Serge Lutens Arabie, I was indeed vividly reminded of dark, rich fruit that had been steeped in rum for many years. Uncork the lid and there it is, wafting out like a snake being charmed from a basket. If you’ve ever eaten so much Christmas cake that you feel you may turn into one, you will be familiar with boozy fruit, and this beauty has it by the bucketful.
I wasn’t remotely surprised to see that the main notes were fruit, nutmeg, figs and dates , or that there was some festive myrrh in there too. For some reason, on the second day of wearing this, I picked up a slightly smoky Leather base as well. Leather is not listed as a note, but it could be the myrrh and the resin creating a by product that provides smoky warmth.
This is rich and redolent with feast like properties, but stops just short of being strictly edible. The myrrh makes it fragrant- like incense, and the combination of rum doused fruit and a wisp of smoke makes Serge Lutens Arabie full of mystery and allure. And Christmas.