Serge Lutens : Fleurs d’oranger

Created by : Christopher Sheldrake

Date : 1995

Genre : White floral

Concentration : eau de parfum

The last time I saw an opera with Gaston I remarked on how good the soprano was.  He responded without hesitation, “Aaaaah… good sopranos are a dime a dozen.  It’s good tenors which are hard to find!”  And you know… that’s how I feel about good white florals which, for me, are the Holy Grail of perfumery.  There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of white florals but the really good ones are rare.  The great ones can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

I did two informal workshops this past week and despite the beautiful chypres and warm ambers, it was Fleurs d’oranger that drew the most attention.  I’ve had Fd’o in my collection for several months and I never paid much attention to it but after hearing the “oohs” and “aahs”, I figured it was time to sit down and review it.

I still remember the evening I bought it.  I had 5 Serge Lutens scent strips in front of me… Féminité du bois, À la nuit, Chergui, Serge noire and Fleurs d’oranger.  I walked out with Fd’o and, after having tested it, it wasn’t a wise choice.

Fleurs d’oranger starts out very beautifully… a symphonic white floral with notes of jasmine, tuberose and the blossoms of the mock orange hedge that separated my dad’s house from the neighbour.  No doubt about it, it has wow factor!  It pulled me in… and kept me sniffing the scent strip over and over again.  It was the same when I road-tested it… for the first 30 minutes… and then it just got to be annoying.  Fleurs d’oranger had morphed into a shrill, synthetic and fleshless floral… reminiscent of those Pre-Raphaelite beauties which seem to hover between life and death.  Stunning… but I’m not sure I’d want to have one as a next-door neighbour.  They always look like they are about to poison someone, if not themselves.  The drydown was tolerable, but just.

Fleurs d’oranger might have made a better amber, Serge Lutens’ specialty, but as a strict floral, its register is too high and too monophonic.  Think of a sopranos-only choir… beautiful for a song or two but then… can we have a few altos and maybe a tenor or two?

In retrospect, I agree with Gaston… good tenors are rare… as are good white florals.

Image : The Damsel of the Holy Grail (1874) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


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  1. Dane

     /  October 10, 2010

    I almost didn’t read this because I feared you had lost your sense of smell and had fallen for the worst Lutens of them all! Naturally, my fears were unwarranted…this stuff is vile, and not good enough to flavour a cough-syrup.

    ps – A La Nuit gets a bit tiring, Chergui has been reformulated, Serge Noire is a hot-tranny-mess, and well, you can never go wrong with Feminite du Bois. 😉

    • With its great opening, I’m willing to bet that it’s a decent seller… but there are probably more almost full bottles out there than empty ones. That reminds me… I’ve got to wash my scarf… 😉

  2. Thanks for the review! I haven’t tried this one yet and now when I do, I’ll make sure to live with it a while. But now I’m curious, what are the rare, great white florals?

    • I think Diorissimo is still beautiful although, technically, it’s a lily of the valley soliflore. Luca Turin makes quite a convincing case for Beyond Paradise and I intend to agree with him. Private Collection by Estée Lauder is stunning but too green to be considered a white floral. Private Collection Jasmine White Moss doesn’t make the grade for me. I’m always spraying myself with Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma whenever I go to the perfume counter… but great? No. There are many I haven’t tested but of the dozens that I have so few have stood out.

  3. This one scares me and after reading your review of it, more so. I don’t think I can pull off wearing this one at all. A high pitched orange blossom that screams at you. Hmmm..I’ll pass.

    • Subtle… it ain’t. I suppose it could be layered with something else to tone it down… but why bother. There are so many other beautiful florals.

      • You know I was considering getting a bottle of this a few months ago. Glad I nicked that idea. LoL Fleur du Male is also a orange blossom overdose but it is butched up with petit grain, coumarin and Tonka bean. It also screams when u first spray it but then it calm downs considerably. And you are left with the overripe honey sweetness of orange blossoms with the coconut and haylike nuance of coumarin. Very nice fragrance.

      • Thanks for the suggestion.. and L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Séville à l’aube. Granted, it’s not an orange blossom soliflore, but in its context of incense and amber, it’s lovely.

  1. Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger EDP Perfume Review | EauMG

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