Thursday, January 22, 2015

Serge Lutens La Religieuse: new fragrance

The divide between darkness and light, between sanctity and profanity, between spirituality and carnality, and the overtones of a Catholic upbringing with its clash of good & evil have for long haunted the imagination of the master, mr.Serge Lutens himself. The contrast of white on black is another of the recurring themes in the canon of Lutens perfumes composed by perfumer Christopher Seldrake. (Just remember the furore about the white skin of his imaginary heroine when Serge Noire was luanched).

Jared Kubicki-Alafoto Photo Gallery via

La Religieuse ("the nun") is the latest Lutensian scent opus, a new unisex fragrance launching on January 30th 2015, focusing on the contrast between white jasmine (the flower of carnality and the South), incense (the religious reference par excellence) and the skin-compatible animalic notes of civet and musk. The monastic name isn't that hard to pin down, it being the title of a famous 18th century epistolary novel by Denis Diderot, posthumously published (and itself a reflection of Lettres Portugaises). In it, the fictional nun in question finds the life in the convent insufferable and pleads with the Marquis, a friend of the French author, to deliver her from her vows.
Can the fragrance be a social commentary in our modern age when religion is again exerting a powerful grip on impressionable minds?

The new Lutens perfume, La Religieuse, is part of the export line, encased in the familiar oblong bottles of the house and tinted an ecclesiastical purple.

Uniting only favorite notes of mine and a concept simpatico to the Lutensian universe, if it proves half as wearable as L'Orpheline I'm sold.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Serge Lutens fragrance news & reviews


  1. Thanks for posting this. I love L'Orpheline since it feels like a gray, sweet, cozy, furry kitten paw caressing my neck.
    This one sounds intriguing although I am not taken or intrigued by the religious allusion. I hardly can envision a nun smelling of jasmine that's for sure and I was educated under Italian and Spanish nuns for what is worth (!?). But if La Religieuse is going to deliver me from my historically ingrained vows, all is fine.

  2. Miss Heliotrope01:26

    The scent sounds interesting, but the colour is a bit too much for me.

  3. I would love to sample this and I need my daughter smell this too .
    Ana is a super fan of jasmine ( and tuberose too ) .

    As we both say ... "there is jasmine and there is jasmine!!" LOL

  4. Jasmin and civet is as classical as it gets (Joy anybody?), and can be wonderful. The incense of the recent eaux is a bit too metallic for my tastes. But as usual, it's hard to understand from stated notes. I wasn't wowed by l'Orpheline, so we'll see.

  5. Anonymous06:06

    I think I'm going to buy this blind. If it is as evocative as L'Orpheline (thank you BTW) I want to see what I see.


    NB: am going to try to get out to remail pkg tomorrow - fell down stairs and mangled knee, stuck at home.


  6. P,

    no worries on the mail, really!!! Take care, keep tight, don't risk another fall. I do hope you get better very very soon!

    As to La Religieuse, the notes sound utterly beautiful! I hope it leaves up to this expectation (will know shortly, hopefully).

    Glad L'Orpheline worked so well. It's so wearable, to me.

  7. WFTG,

    thank you for commenting and especially for describing L'Orpheline in those terms. I concur. And FWIW I also find MKK a similar purring furry ball (on me at least).

    I am convinced that what Lutens has in mind isn't strictly an actual nun, since those shun perfume as an earthy bodily pleasure. I'm sure he plays on the novel by Diderot La religieuse as I said in the article and the pop culture "allusion" to sexy nuns, certainly the ones appearing in De Sade stories (Juliette, anyone?) The 18th libertine literature is filled with stories about sinful nuns and monks/priests anyway. ;-)

    Thus the inclusion of such animalic notes is a foregone conclusion. (If you put a little cantharidin in there too that would complete the feat! hehehe)

  8. MH,

    whoah? That's tame compared to Sarrasins, De profundis or even Serge noire! (he does like this tinted juice, uncle Serge, doesn't he?)

  9. M,

    I have a good feeling that we're all three gonna love this! {tremble, oh good wallet, tremble with woe and awe!}

  10. M,

    the whole thing does sound very very fetching in the best possible "classic" sense and the fact that it's colored purple and has a 18th century "libertine" allusion is even more enticing (to me at least).
    I am itching to get a bottle already!
    I do agree that his compositions need to be tried out, though, so sampling is recommended for all readers.

    NB. I think L'Orpheline is a comparable case to Gaiac 10. These woody musks have potential but they need to grow on you and to really wear them without expectations; otherwise their coy nature can be mistaken for inoffensiveness. They're skin scents and comply to this role.


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