La Myrrhe was a calculated blind buy. I love myrrh but in the obvious association with incense it creates the atmosphere of an Orthodox church for me. It is an olfactive memory deeply rooted in my childhood years. All Greeks go to church at least once a year, for the Easter Midnight Mass. But do I want to smell like a Greek Orthodox church? No! So I did my research and I was absolutely certain that there is no incense in La Myrrhe. Of course this is not enough to warrant a blind buy but after all this is a Serge Lutens and in my book it can’t go very wrong from here. I was not prepared however for how different this would smell. This is one perfume that I have a really hard time describing in terms of notes and ingredients.
It opens with a burst of soapy aldehyde with a tiny hint of almond. There is a fuzzy, velvety feeling in this opening that tingles the nose, A sensation of rubbing my nose against coarse purple velvet. A floral aura surrounds the composition but in a vague, abstract way that doesn’t let me pin down the flower. At times I even doubt myself about the floral component as if the aldehydes play games with my mind, morphing into abstract petals.Right after the opening accord the myrrh kicks in with a bitter kiss sending off any notions of rosy flower petals floating in the air. I don’t intend to wax lyrical but wearing after wearing I constantly get this image of purple velvet cloth lifting into the air and morphing into a shiny purple ball, perfectly defined, delineated in an environment of pure light. An apocalyptic, sensual image.As La Myrrhe settles deeper in skin and time the shiny purple sphere starts emanating warmth. Touches of musk and spice, a vague transcendental cinnamon, woods and balsams makes the composition glow.
La Myrrhe is an abstract masterpiece constructed from traditional notes. Nothing in this smells avant garde or weird. It feels strange and nostalgic at the same time, like vintage sci-fi. In terms of texture it is the bridge between the base-heavy Serge Lutens team of Arabie, Ambre Sultan, Feminité du Bois and company and the top-heavy league of Un Lys and Serge Noire. There are no heavy spices and woods, honey and amber but still this perfume is so sensual. It feels like naked skin. It doesn’t smell like skin, Montale Sandflowers excels at this, but it has the sensuality of a perfect navel in an abstract and futuristic form.
Notes from Fragrantica: mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento.
Notes from my nose: aldehydes, myrrh, purple velvet, shiny purple sphere, light