Smoke in the Winter: Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

It is now the 118th day of January. Christmas was five years ago and winter is positively Narnian in length. It’s cold, it’s miserable and it’s time to crack open the heavy hitters.

I have owned Fille en Aiguilles for just over a week. It’s not a full bottle, but it was pressed into my hand by friend and co-blogger Lisa Wordbird, who said “better give you this whilst it’s still cold.” Everyone needs a friend who does this.

Now although the thinking behind Fille en Aiguilles is that of pine needles in the hot sun, its deep resinous heat is inescapably both cosy and sophisticated.  It makes me feel like a proper grown up and temporarily alleviates the suspicion that I may actually be a frump in winter.

Fille en Aiguilles is the work of genius, and I mean genius, perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. He  also had a hand in the stunning  Serge Lutens (initially Shiseido) Feminite du Bois, as well as the majority of the Serge Lutens back catalogue, for which I thank him daily.

photo by exportportal

Fille en Aiguilles means girl on needles, which also translates, idiomatically, as girl in stilettos (hence the pic of Louboutins). It is primarily an incense scent, but the spiky pine needles give it refreshingly green edges, which appeals both to my love of all green scents and my love of the smell of a very Old High Church. Thuribles are non-negotiable, as far as I’m concerned..

I bet she’s wearing it. Photo from Bergdorf Goodman archives.

Fille en Aiguilles opens and ends with incense, as if it were the cover to a book. I don’t know about sun baked pine needles, but the combination of sharp, bitter green leaves alongside the incense is a heady mixture indeed. Add in some dusty dry black pepper, grassy vetiver and a hint of sultana, and you can see why I have a full bottle in my sights.

Fille en Aiguilles is spice, sophistication and balsam-y incense.  It’s totally unisex. If you were a man I would sniff you to levels that are incompatible with being a happily married woman.


You can buy Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles from Amazon UK, Lucky Scent in the USA or from Liberty London. 



3 thoughts on “Smoke in the Winter: Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles”

  1. Wonderful review Sam….I adore Ambre Sultan, like but not love Arabie, Gris Clair a no, had a love/hate going on with Douce Amere for a bit which finally spilled into cold contempt as it barely lasted on me and have no sillage

    Sergeworld, thanks to the wonderful Christopher Sheldrake largely, IMO, still has so much to explore and I think this one could be for me. (I want to find somewhere open that sells it right now, at 9,30 PM in a small East Anglian market town… proof of the inspiration of this review!)

    Is the longevity reasonable do you find?

    Laura x

  2. This sounds perfect for winter. I love incense inspired fragrances and this looks like it fits the bill. Next time I’m at Nordstrom or Saks in Houston I will grab a sample. Thanks for enlightening us, Sam!

  3. That sounds totally intriguing. I’m always wary of anything claiming to be pine scented (brings to mind horrendous bath salts from childhood and school disinfectant), but I do love a green fragrance. The incense is appealing, as are the black pepper and vetiver. Hmmm, will ponder on this one as it does have a fairly hefty price tag. Thanks for another great review x

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