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
I love your description and your attempt to pin down what can’t be pinned down. Your interpretation ads more to the mystery and makes me want to buy blind like you…. only one downfall, it’s not available in the US… which of course makes me want it that much more!
Beware, it is not a safe blind buy though. First of all because it is not a typical SL and then because it is not a traditional myrrh. Myrrh is usually put in a religious context. This is an irreverent, sexy myrrh.
I have a decant coming of La Myrrhe, and as someone who’s only ever tried the wax sample, I’m hugely intrigued…and no one, but no one does intrigue quite like M. Lutens and Mr. Sheldrake. As you say, it’s hard to go wrong, but whatever happens, it will not be what you expected, and I think that’s my most favorite thing about Serge Lutens – that element of surprise, one way or another.;)
I can’t wait to try it properly and see if I can find words half as beautiful as yours! xo
One should really not bother with the wax samples. Unless they like a good tease 😀
Well, you know how it goes…one takes what one can get at the time! And I LOVE a good tease! 😉
You’ve made me add this to my must-sniff list for when I’m in Paris this Spring. Your description of it makes it sound very weird indeed, and I love your line, “It feels strange and nostalgic at the same time, like vintage sci-fi.” 🙂
Perfume sniffing in Spring in Paris… what more can anyone ask?
Your description is far superior to a list of notes, I have to try this now it sounds oustanding.
How would you compare it to other futuristic aldehyde bombs such as Comme des Garcons x Stephen Jones?
I am glad you enjoy it. And a very appropriate comparison. CdGxSJ is more overtly floral and although it is very enjoyable the combination of aldehydes and flowers is not ground breaking. La Myrrhe focuses on less obvious materials and in the end is a lot warmer and ….mature..
You’ve convinced me more!
I found Stephen Jones a little too simplistic. Whilst the aldehyde bomb is fantastic, the clove pairing with the bright violet was just an average almost predictably squeaky clean enhancement, I needed a little more!
This however, sounds fantastic, I can’t wait to hunt down a sample.
I’m not doing blind buys, even in decants size for a while. But when I have a chance I’ll definitely try this one.
I’m with Suzanne, I liked the phrase about “vintage sci-fi”.
I am a very eager swapper 🙂
I’ll come back to you with a list 😉
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