Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule: fragrance review & draw

The majestic scent of sandalwood stands as the benevolent Hitopadeśa tales of the Far East, a fan of fantasy woven in didactic morals for princes, much like the precious real fans carved out of the prized wood for cooling off in the intense heat of the Indian peninsula; rich, milky-smelling, with a hint of incense and fresh greenery at times, still retaining their scented glamour as decades go by. The intimate, elegant aura of woody fragrances finds its apogee in sandalwood; perfumes plush and collapsingly soft but with the promise of intelligence. Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens just comes to reinforce this notion as introduced on these pages a while ago, being the perfect sandalwood starter fragrance for those seeking such a thing, but also a welcome Lutensian offering to make me fall again headfirst into his Alice in Wonderland private cosmos I found myself tangled in ever since he issued the sumptuous La Myrrhe. Lutens however remains Lutens: the orient is ever present, but it is the occident which defines his torturing demons. His new Santal Majuscule is an assured step in his Camino de Perfección, modeled after St.Teresa of Ávila whose Latin motto seals the fate of the fragrance: is it the throes of passion or the throes of divine ecstasy that mark the lines of her face? Where does one end and the other begin? Her devotion of silence is symbolic of the enigmatic nature of the Lutensian opus itself.

 "Pride must be celebrated. Thus the boy, clad in armor and perched on his horse, along with a terrible princess in full mourning dress, pictured himself arriving at the Coronation Mass to the sound of thundering hooves, just at the moment of the transubstantiation, that very moment when the priest holds the host up to the cross, to the one agonizing on it."

"As you know, there are a wide variety of sandalwoods. Mysore is one that has been subjected for some time to a hidden trafficking. I had used it in the mid 90s, during the creation of Santal de MysoreSantal Blanc is another thing. Regarding Santal Majuscule, this is an Australian sandalwood, high quality, but with this release, I 'sensationalized' it so much that in the end, it is impossible to tell if it comes from India, Australia or elsewhere. What interests me is what I can do with it. Moreover, using sandalwood for itself alone would be a little 'Sandalwood of misery'...."               Serge Lutens quote from  interview bestowed to Elena Vosnaki

It's not hard to see why sandalwood ~despite having another two in the line already (Santal Blanc recently being moved into the Paris exclusives line to couple with the resident Santal de Mysore)~ was picked yet again as the foundation on which Lutens built his church, to paraphrase another religious reference. Sandalwood is the natural product par excellence, nature's agony and ecstasy: a scent so fine, so rich and yet with a fresh top note, so creamy sweet and so enduring, that it has inspired generations of men and women to harvest its precious, sacred trunk in order to imbue products for personal, religious and public use with its fine aroma. Although as explained in my Raw Material Sandalwood article the Mysore variety is rationed for fear of depletion (hence the wealth of synthetic sandalwood substitutes enumerated), the polished silkiness of the Indian variant could be mimicked creatively only by the choicest wizards of perfumery. And who more excellent than the mercurial figure of Serge Lutens to offer us a vista into the orientalia of a "nouveau sandalwood"?

The maestro revealed to me in an interview (replete with his childhood reminiscences of classroom ennui) that Santal Majuscule is technically based on the Australian sandalwood variety (which smells different), but I can attest the perfume ends up smelling like an radiant attar procured somewhere close to King Víkrama's lion-throne, creamy and luminous in its rose-distillate facets, sprinkled with promise of cocoa and soft spices (cinnamon), silky sheen with a hint of orange blossom honey and sweet incense in the background. After all, Lutens managed to inject a delicious effect of sandalwood in his savory gourmand fragrance Jeux de Peau, where the impression is again built on fantasy.
 For Santal Majuscule, perfumer Chris Sheldrake and Lutens weaved the familiar web of woody tonalities which they have composed a thesis and a meta-thesis on, ever since Feminite du Bois (the latter alongside Pierre Bourdon). But whereas their other woody compositions can veer dark and rather brooding (see the patchouli & cocoa fantasy of Borneo) and we know from Iris Silver Mist and Tubereuse Criminelle the master has a taste for the morose and the morbid, here the treatment is smiling; petal-soft, sweetish (but never much) and with an elegance and refined allure that defies preconceived notions. The rose is perceptible, but not "dated", The apricoty tinge gives just the right fruity, almost edible tenderness, an ally to the liqueur-like essence of Damask rose and the creaminess of the woods. But the fragrance is far from his Rahat Loukhoum gourmand quality you can give yourself cavities with, making it pliable enough for people who don't like double helpings of anything.

The composition of Santal Majuscule also defies ~especially upon drying down on the skin~ the familiar, been-there-done-that rose attar model of the Middle East: that traditional "A Thousand and One Nights" melange of rose and sandalwood, as recognizable as Aladdin's cave in the desert. The longer the fragrance stays on skin (and it stays on very long) the more it gains a skin-scent aura of musk and honey, animalic yet elegant, with an addictive character, unisex and inviting; like living, breathing, caressed human skin this close to the throes of (divine?) ecstasy.  As Serge says: "Obey what you smell, feel, love. Do not obey what you're told, and do not believe it too much!"[from same interview to the author]
Given all this, I just can't wait for Une Voix Noire, his next installment in the canon.

Compared to the other two sandalwood fragrances in the Serge Lutens line of perfumes, Santal Majuscule is less sweet than Santal Blanc, less daring and austere than Santal de Mysore. Contrasted with that other golden standard of sandalwood perfumes, Tam Dao by Diptyque, I find myself ensnared by the Lutens, mainly because where Tam Dao used to be true and rich, it now boasts a pronounced pencil-shavings cedarwood note which limits its prior rich versatility.

Santal Majuscule is available in Eau de Parfum "haute concentration" (i.e. the slightly pricer than normal black label line of high concentration) at Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris and online. Starting September 1st 2012 the new "export" fragrance will be sold worldwide.

A generous decant sprayer of the latest Lutens perfume is available for one lucky reader! Please let me know in the comments what you like or not about Lutens and sandalwood perfumes in general. Draw is open till Friday 27th midnight internationally. Draw is now closed, thanks everyone for participating.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Serge Lutens perfume reviews & news, Sandalwood in Perfumery, Woody Fragrances

pic of statue via thecoincidentaldandy.blogspot.com


  1. I have a bottle of Santal Blanc and now I see it's going to become one of those you go to Paris for. :)
    Ok, not necessarily but it's mucch better that way.
    What I like about that perfume is the fact I cannot just wear it and forget about it - it requires work on my part to enjoy it and wear it. And it won't let me forget it's a partner of my style when I wear it and not just something I forget about during the day.

  2. I love Lutens, I love his two previous essays in sandalwood (I have Santal Blanc and a decant of Santal de Mysore), and I am so looking forward to trying this. I have a feeling that, like Jeux de Peau, I'm just going to buy it as soon as I smell it.

  3. Oh, it sounds perfect--sandalwood, animalic, elegant, with subtle rose--so many of my favorite things; I'd love to try it. These deep, rich, long-lasting notes captivate me, but I'm so fussy about them--mustn't be too sweet, too heavy, too loud, or too frilly. Sandalwood, besides being exquisitely beautiful, has a meditative effect on the mind which I love--it relaxes and focuses at the same time. Lutens is a favorite because his scents appeal to my intelligence, the ingredients never smell cheap (so many expensive perfumes manage to smell cheap), and I have yet to smell one of his perfumes that seems "tacky" to me, which is amazing, almost every perfumer makes something that reads to me as tacky, but SL is never tacky.

  4. brie11:40

    Never had the pleasure of trying one of Lutens' sandalwoods but have sampled others in his line and they are incredible!
    Love sandalwood and I play around with different essential oil varieties (Australian, new caledonia) as singular "perfumes" and mixed with other oils, body cream, cologne bases, etc.
    Funny story-when I was a young lady I worked with a woman who claimed to be clairvoyant. She knew I loved perfume but insisted that sandalwood was "my scent" and gifted me a very large glass bottle of pure sandalwood. At that time I was looking for complexity and was wearing only what was current on the market so I threw out the bottle :(. I could kick myself for that one for twenty years ago it might very well have been Mysore! Now that I am much older and very much into essential oils I do appreciate sandalwood straight up- even if it is not mysore! However, I prefer new caledonia (very creamy) over Australian (which is a bit bracing).

  5. Merlin12:15

    I have to admit that many Serges don't work too well on my skin. A few are even scrubbers. But then, there are ones I absolutely ADORE, though the price is a bit more than I can afford. I LOVE Vetiver Oriental, and my decant of Ambre Sultan is going down too fast...and of course Sa Majeste Rose may well be my HG rose.

  6. I have tried only a limited number of Lutens' fragrances, but what I love about them is their richness and depth. I feel like there's always something new to experience--each one I've tried surprised me!

    I love sandalwood, and I would love to give this a try! Thank you for the draw!

  7. I've not smelled either of Lutens sandalwood fragrances. What I love about Lutens in general is that they tend to morph and change throughout the day. Gris Clair is one of my favorites, changing from cold to hot and back again & again. Your review makes this one positively drool worthy :)

  8. Stephan12:51

    Thanks so much for this post about Santal Majuscule. The first lines of your article managed to instantly rekindle fond memories of yore, when the divine scent of Sandalwood seemed to be abundant everywhere. Coincidently, today I’m enjoying a full wearing of Santal de Mysore that shields the tropical heat outside and caresses me in the air-conditioned confines indoors. I wonder very much what this new Santal Majuscule is going tell us.

  9. I am so curious to try this!
    I love Serge Lutens vision: I remeber the first time I entered in the palais royal - like in a pilgrimage of sorts.
    My favorite Lutens is the soothing Tubereuse Criminelle. Sege Lutens has been able to conjure an entire (and private) universe from his scents: like entering someone's secret world.
    However, sometimes I feel that some scents are too much of a variation on the same theme. that said, I really enjoyed his latest, jeux de peaux and would love to try Santal Majuscule as soon as possible: love love love sandalwood!!!
    Thanks for the draw!

  10. Lutens' scents are wonderful--I love how bold they are. A la Nuit and Fleurs de Citronnier are two of my favorites. I have not tried a perfume where sandalwood is the featured note, so I am hoping to get a chance to try this soon! Thanks so much for the draw!

  11. El, I was thrilled to find your wonderfully nuanced review of this scent upon returning to my new home today, still bereft of my perfume collection, and craving Sandalwood for the first time! Santal Blanc didn't seem to suit me before, although I must resniff, and the orange colored one actually burnt my skin due to the cinnamon element I suppose!

    Like you I adore Jeux de Peau and La Mhyrre so methinks that this is the sandalwood for me, would love to sample!

    I will blog soon from our new place, the Internet just went in today! Xxx

  12. Anonymous14:14

    I like sandalwood but not all scents, but I cannot specify when it is and when it isn´t to my taste. SL´s Santal Blanc is OK and I am sure I would like also this composition. Would be my pleasure to win ;-) Alica - alica at cleis dot net.

  13. i am very fond of lutens in general---though i do not love every perfume he has created, i admire them all and love some intensely. his scents have an intellectual quality to them (some more than others), yet are never devoid of feeling. and i think his work has an interesting intersection between east and west...as regards sandalwood, i have loved that scent since childhood, when i purchased a tiny bottle of sandalwood oil from an import store. i could have chosen sweets or a toy or a necklace, but i picked that sandalwood oil...it's exotic and warm and calming and heady all at the same time...

  14. I have been looking for the "perfect" sandalwood fragrance for years, and your description of this one has me mesmerized!

    I have several bottles and decants of various Serge Lutens fragrances, and what I love about this line is the obvious love and intelligence with which they were fashioned. Even the most idiosyncratic ones which I would never wear have voices with something to say; they're not merely a string of throwaway commodities thrown against the great wall of the consuming public to see if any will stick. They've got soul, and if there's anything I want in a fragrance, it's that.

    Thanks for letting me share, and please enter me in the draw!

  15. Everything about Serge Lutens fascinates me. This visionary artist has been offering us fifty decades of beauty.
    Always true to himself and much like a Sinatra of perfumery, he makes no concessions and surpasses all rules; he's doing it his way and challenging every notion of «absolute truth» in what concerns creativity.
    IMHO, i think his work speaks for himself revealing a constant search for perfection, new atmospheres and new moods for everyone who craves an olfactory identity or simply making an impression by masking his skin with an impressive fume.
    As a sandalwood addict, i hope this new fragrance from Monsieur Lutens is a stunner like the previous Santal de Mysore, Santal Blanc or even Jeux de Peau, a holy trinity i can't live without.
    Tank's for the great draw.

  16. Hello, Elena! Thank you for the draw!
    What I love most about the Lutens line is that in cannot leave you cold. His fragrances are all worth sniffing and a lot of them are worth buying.It's one of the most consistent quality lines I know, and that's impressive considering he has quite a lot of perfumes in his portofolio.His creations are also rich and satisfying, they last so well on the skin, they project beautifully.Sandalwood wise, I have his Santal Blanc, and while I absolutely love its dried fruit jammy sweetness I'd love to experience a softer take on this noble material, especially one that comes from Uncle Serge.

  17. I love sandalwood, and one of my favorite fragrances with that note is Caron's Montaigne. Although I've tested many Lutens, in general I've been underwhelmed by the line - it doesn't have great lasting power on my skin. However, the cocoa note in this one intrigues me, I wouldn't mind giving it a try!

  18. MariaA16:31

    Ah what a great chance to sample this! I love love love Lutens and I also love sandalowood, it will be interesting to see how he interprets it this time!
    Vey intrigued for the future releases as well....
    Thank you for the opportunity!

  19. I haven't tried any of Lutens' sandalwood-centric scents -- but in general I love sandalwood. (Who doesn't?) My favorite sandalwood is (vintage) Egoiste.

  20. Phanie Constanta17:19

    Hello all,

    As a rather newbie perfumista I have not tried many of the SL yet.
    Fleurs de citronnier and Bois de Violette are my favourite,so far.
    On the other hand I do not like Miel de Bois nor the recent Vitriol d' Oeillet.
    Among the sandalwood fragrances I enjoythe most are: Bond no9 Chinatown and Chanel Bois des Iles and I would like to try Le Labo Santal 33,in the near future

    Thanks for the opportunity of an international draw.

  21. solanace18:02

    I love Serge Lutens. His scents have personality, are made of really good materials, and the longevity on skin is good. I like something to 'keep me company' during the day, and his scents are perfect for that. My favorites are fumérie turque, un bois vanille, borneo and à la nuit. Sandalwood is delicious, and I'm very curious about this 'indian take' on the Australian variety. Thanks for the review, great as usual, and for the draw!

  22. I love Serge Lutens, so beautiful and creative and everyting he does seems like an instant definitive of the material. I have Ambre Sultan, Fumerie Turque and Five O'clock Au Gingembre, which are my ultimate, amber, tobacco and ginger perfumes. I love sandalwood, so I am really looking forward to trying this. I'm so glad it will be available worldwide.

  23. Isayah19:07

    Before getting caught in perfumes, I used to wear pure natural sandalwood oil as a perfume. I loved it so! My hair, my sweaters, everything in my wardrobe was lightly scented and I just adored it. Since then I moved into perfumes and guess what? Serge Lutens I discovered! I love his way of handling materials, of searching for beauty in every facet it might have. Of course I do not like the entire line, but I confess that I own a few. From what you say, Santal Majuscule is tailored just for me! Please include me in your draw, and thanks for your wonderful blog!

  24. Put me in the drawing please.

  25. Lutens fragrances can be a bit too honeyed for me and sandal wood can be a tad too dry, together they may make quite a pair.

  26. Gisela19:50

    Serge Lutens' perfumes are hit or miss for me. Nuit de Cellophane was my first SL, but I had to give it away after a while - simply couldn't stand it any more. Others are too spicy and/or sweet for my nose, but I love and wear Iris Silver Mist, A la Nuit, Tubereuse Criminelle and La Myrrhe. Now a Sandalwood that's not too sweet sounds wonderful..

  27. I'm not lucky enough to own a Lutens yet, but I would love to try! I've been a big fan of Sandalwood for many years, and I think it's because of the "anti-flowery-ness" of it. Thanks for the draw!

  28. Anonymous22:30

    I like Lutens when he embraces oriental richness or darkness. Borneo is awesome. I don't find Santal de Mysore at all austere but I do like it - it smells like old-school, grandpa-style sandalwood in the best possible way. This new one is a definite must try, and I would love to win this. Last two SL faves are Fille en Aiguilles and de Profundis.


  29. I'm not a huge Lutens fan, but I'm hoping to explore the line more. I am a sandalwood lover, though... I love everything sandalwood, with its creamy woody goodness. So, I'm hoping to love this one. Thank you for the draw.

  30. I find sandalwood to be the most spiritual of notes. The way it wraps you in its velvet aura combined with its legendary tenacity make it truly regal. The perfume of a priest-king, can't get more mythical than that!

    Wearing a good quality sandalwood is a confidence booster and calms the nerves at the same time.

    PS: I hadn't noticed a change in tam dao. Is it a recent reformulation? If so I regret not having bought a full bottle years ago when I had the chance...

  31. ElizabethC23:58

    Love Lutens and love sandalwood!!!! Sounds amazing! Please enter me in the drawing

  32. I have to admit the SLs I've tried so far must not do well on my skin. Perhaps this will be the one as I love sandalwood. I've tried the Santal de Mysore and while I liked it I didn't love it. My favorite sandalwood, so far, is vintage Bois des Iles. Thank you for the lovely draw and good luck to all.

  33. Thanks for the draw opportunity! I love sandalwood but the only Lutens sandalwood I've tried is Santal Blanc and it wasn't quite for me. I'd love to try this one.

  34. I love Serge Lutens story-telling and the unique vision behind most of his perfumes. Love 'em or hate 'em, SL work is rarely boring and often inspiring. I love Fleurs d'Oranger, Tubereuse Criminelle, and Serge Noire and would love to try Santal Majuscule. Sandalwood has been a favorite note of mine ever since I tried Bois des Iles. I was very excited to read your review and hear that SM captures the golden warmth and milky, creamy aspects of sandalwood, despite restrictions on Mysore sandalwood. Thanks for the giveaway and wonderful blog! :)

  35. I love Ambre Sultan! Sandalwood is one of my all time favorite scents. It just seems to warm and deepen any other notes it accompanies. I finished my last bit of Mysore sandalwood and now I need something to fill the gap!

  36. Anonymous07:34

    I have a sample of Santal Blanc and I do love the sweet note in it. It would be interesting to compare SB with this new one. Sandalwood always brings back a little of my youth.

  37. I have no experience with Lutens' sandalwoods; in fact, I'm steering clear from him in case I'd become infatuated.... Since I do love a few sandalwood things, namely Keiko Mecheri's Bois de Santal and Santal Massoïa, I'll gladly try.

  38. Recent Lutens releases are quite dissapointing for me- prefer to stick to Arabie and Ambre Sultan. Hope that new scent would be great return to oriental traditions!
    Loved Mysore version, not that keen on Santal Blanc.
    Thank you for the draw!

  39. My fav. sandalwood so far is Santal Blush by Ford and Bois des Iles, but can't say I'm absolutely happy with them. Hope to try this one - maybe Santal Majuscule is the very Holy Grail of Sandalwoods?

  40. i have had a bottle of santal blanc and gave it away as i was disappointed with the lack (thereof) of santal but in all honesty that's because i have become so accustomed to serge's creations being so over the top in their richness, concentration, darkness, etc that when a 'lighter' fragrance comes along can't help but be underwhelmed.
    maitre parfumeur et gantier santal noble is probably my favourite santal fragrance. serge lutens perfumes tend quite often to be TOO sweet, cloying, sugary and rich/oriental for my taste, that being said his incense based fragrances are unsurpassed: fille en aguilles, chergui, chene, to name just my favs.. lastly, thanks for such a generous 'give away'.

  41. Holly F.10:38

    This sounds gorgeous! I have loved Cedre, JdP, Arabie, and MdB, and expect Santal Majuscule will be much-loved as well. I love the musky, the honey, the animalic, so those words jump out at me! Thanks so much for the draw.

  42. I would love to be in the draw!
    Sandalwood is calming and grounding for me...

  43. Would like to learn about Serge's creation.

  44. would love to try this one...
    I love Ms. Lutens' ability to make us wonder.. he's a magician

  45. Warm buttery Sandalwood is perfect for our Aussie winter and I reckon Serge Lutens will do it best,
    Portia xx

  46. DRTVrMoi13:31

    My sandalwood affair began with a teenage trip to Brittany. It continues today with my evening misting of my bedroom with sandalwood home spray by Diptyque. I am only fortunate enough to own Jeux de Peau. It's taught me patience until my next Lutens purchase.

  47. Anonymous13:56

    I have several samples but only one full bottle at this point- Daim Blonde. I have to pace myself ;)
    thanks for the review and draw!

  48. I haven't tried that many of Lutens scents yet, but I love Bois Violette, and Tuberose Criminelle is really special! I would love to try this since I'm a fan of woody scents and sandalwood especially- like the drydown in Zeta.

  49. I am a Lutens aficionado of the early days and remember visiting the Salons at a time when there were only four bell jars on display, namely the Cedre variations.

    Since then, I have worn Santal de Mysore with delectation and it still counts for me as a milestone in Sandelwood fragrances, so lush and warm and enveloping, almost carnal in its depth.

    Santal Blanc has also appeared on my fragrant shelves, although this one made perhaps less of an impression than its bell-jar housed counterpart decribed above.

    I am very much looking forward to discovering this new addition to the Lutens opus (un boise, at last! ^_^) so many thanks for this wonderful review and for the draw!

  50. Anonymous17:16

    My first perfume was Samsara, back when it was soooo good! The jasmine sandlewood was amazing.

    For the Lutens line i like Nuit de cellophane, Rousse, Cedre, and Vetiver Oriental. Thank you for the draw! i hope you are well,


  51. Unfortunatelly Serge Lutens fragrances are not available in Brazil.
    I hope I can enjoy them soon, in my next vacations!

  52. Love sandalwood, I've had one from Italy for years. This sounds lovely, and I hope to get a bottle!

  53. Barbara20:11

    Thank you for the draw, I love sandalwood!

    The only Serge Lutens I have tried are Five O'Clock Au Gingembre and Miel de Bois, neither of which lasted long on my skin.

  54. Well, I do not own many Lutens, just a few, Fem. Du Bois being my all time Fav, oh and Miel Du Bois....and Sandalwood is also one I don't have much of so of course I would love to win this one! My Mom has a small bottle of real Sandalwood oil she got on a European trip many years ago and I sneak dabs whenever I visit her as it is in the guest bathroom ;o) Thank you!

  55. Gorgeous review, mouthwatering even at times.
    I love Lutens' ouvre which was really my way into 'niche' fragrances, it is one of the houses that I just would never want to be without. And sandalwood is an absolute favourite note, (original)Samsara parfum...But I must say that unfortunately neither of the two SL sandalwood fragrances were quite right for me, which is why I am all the more excited about the sound of Santal Majuscule- I love the name too.
    Thank you so much for the generous draw.

  56. I admire the fact that Serge Lutens creates his perfumes based on his intentions and desires and is not driven by the usual marketing and focus group dreck.This results in adventurous scents that some will love and some will not.He is a free spirit and his perfumes represent that .I admire that.Sandalwood is such a versatile note in perfumes.It's such a shame what has happened with the Mysore variety.If only we knew years ago.I will treasure my ounce of creamy 20 yr old Mysore essential oil with care.Thanks for the draw!

  57. Amy K01:09

    This one sounds lovely and just right for those cooler months around the corner! I had high hopes for Jeux de Peau but it was 100% pencil shavings on me. When I hear sandalwood, cocoa and honey, I start getting excited.

  58. class flirt04:10

    i've been a sandalwood girl since high school, tho' it was oil from the hippie head shop back then. i used to wear so much of it that me wrists would break out! then fell madly in love with Caswell Massey sandalwood in college. i haven't snuffled any of the Lutens' sandalwoods tho' his Daim Blond is my favorite scent of all time. thanx for the wonderful opportunity to sample this new one...

  59. Sandalwood has always been one of my favorite notes. I appreciate that Serge Lutens has done so many fragrances along the spectrum of the warm, resinous, ingredients I love. Thanks for the draw.

  60. Katrina08:23

    Thank you for the lovely review and the generous draw!

    I have a few loves in the SL line, such as Daim Blond and Fleurs de Citronnier, and a few hates such as Miel de Bois and A la nuit which goes all fecal on me, boo hoo. Sandalwood now sounds fabulous, as I can't imagine it smelling bad in any way, especially the way you describe it with the rose and the honey and the cocoa.

    His fragrances always create excitement.

  61. I love most of the Lutens that I have smelled...and I love Sandalwood, and find it to be such an enveloping and comforting scent. So, I would be veryhappy to try this! Thanks

  62. I have a bottle of Mysore sandalwood that I purchased maybe 20 years ago. I wear it with regularity, usually in the evening after a bath, as I find it intensely relaxing. Much like Ambre Sultan in fact. I do tend to feel drowsy with these scents. Sandalwood anbd cocoa sounds like a very interesting and complementary pairing. I intend to buy this one.

  63. Miss Heliotrope02:02

    I like that Lutens is offering a sample, and that he seems to be open to communicating online, although I have yet to try his perfumes - have only just worked out where I can find them here in Oz.

    Sandalwood, for me, manages to be both exotic and comforting. It is warm & friendly is a way many woody scents are not, yet is possessed of a great and magical history of association and use. In India, sandalwood was used for funeral pyres (including those of Ghandi & Nehru), which associates the gods and the soul with scent in an intimate yet disturbing fashion.

  64. I don't have a lot of experience with Lutens' perfumes though recently I got a decant of muscs koublai khan and was not disappointed! I've been looking for more civety honeyed perfumes after buying givenchy gentleman and this took the best parts of gentleman and turned them way up.

    As for sandalwood I've been trying to get a handle on that for a while with various perfumes. Diptyque Tam Dao many list as a reference for sandalwood but smells very cedary to me, Floris Santal is too complicated to get a feel for anything, Trumpers Sandalwood misleadingly smells like Egoiste which I wouldn't say smells like sandalwood, DR Harris Sandalwood is nice but more a combo of woods and spices, In the end I think my favorite sandalwood is Kanon Norwegian Wood! which is obviously not a good reference for sandalwood, so any help would be greatly appreciated!

  65. Sandalwood is one of those fragrances that I love, but still don't have in my wardrobe of fragrances. I would try to try this one. This perfumista has also never tried anything by Lutens.

  66. I love Fille en Aguiles, and Arabie, and Borneo! And somehow I am sure I would like Iris silver mist, although I can't find any sample, anywhere - unlucky not living in Paris. :(

    I am a big fan of difficult, complex and "hard to like" fragnances of Serge Lutens, and I am always in awe of the unique style of their perfume. They are hard to miss.

    Best wishes from Polish readers! :)


  67. Els v. M.13:18

    I am new to the niche perfume world, and don't know how sandalwood
    smells. From what I read in your
    story, it smells delicious. To get a
    better idea, I looked up my favorite
    scents in the fragrantica database
    and saw that some include sandalwood.
    I'm so fortunate that at the Bijenkorf (store), in the city I
    work, they sell Lutens. I love his perfumes.

  68. Els v M13:27

    I’m not that familiar with niche perfumes yet. I don’t really know what sandelwood smells like. When I read your story it sounds delicious. To get a better idea of what sandelwood smells like I checked my favourite perfumes in the fragrantica database and noticed that some include sandelwood. I would love to receive a sample of Santal Majuscule.
    I’m so fortunate that in the city I work there is a store (Bijenkorf) where they sell Serge Lutens perfumes.

  69. I love Luten perfumes, especially Un Lys! Sandalwood is so soothing to me, but it's hard to find a good one.

  70. Anonymous20:17

    Thank you very much for the lovely review abaut Santal Majuscule and for the draw opportunity! I love both Santal Blanc and Santal de Mysore and I'd be so,so,so glad to try the new one!The silkiness of Sandalwood with rose attar reminds me of Sheherazade,or the magic atmosphere of Emilio Salgari's novels.

  71. I love many SL scents including Bois de Violette and Daim Blonde but what is so very difficult is knowing that the non-export line exists and I don't have ready access.

  72. Anonymous21:58

    Dear Unsurpassable Perfumeshrine, do you know what this year's Lutens Exclusive into Export bottle limited edition will be? If anyone knows, you will...

    All best from Philip in Scotland

  73. I also wanted to heartily thank EVERYONE commenting for the truly fascinating insights into what makes Lutens tick (or not!) for you. I have had tremendous fun and it deepened my understanding reading all your erudite comments.
    Again, thanks all! :-)

  74. Philip,

    sorry for not replying straight away.

    I will confirm in September, as I believe my info is not certain at this point.


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