Tag Archives: cold weather perfume

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.

Stockists

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

 

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Serge Lutens Arabie: Leather and Fruit? Can I Tempt You?

fragrantica.com

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.

chow.com
chow.com

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.

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