Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Serge Lutens multiple discontinuations: Oh My!

No sooner had the ink dried (or rather the optical signal been transmitted from your screen to your retinas) on the L'Eau Serge Lutens review that we're faced with some rather disconcerting news which haven't been broadcasted anywhere else yet. It doesn't sound too good, so brace yourselves: Not one, but FOUR Serge Lutens fragrances are getting discontinued...

The reasons might have to do with ingredient restrictions making it difficult to continue their production or -more likely- they could be really low sales combined with a rethinking of the whole line (after all, the new "anti-parfum" is as if a rethinking has been going on) that accounts for it. Whatever it is, the fans will be dismayed and a frantic hunt for them will ensue. In a way I will be glad to see the last specimens being taken off to loving homes rather than having them languish on a shelf. No good fragrance deserves less.

The four Serge Lutens fragrances (sounds like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and I feel that way too) that are getting axed are: Chypre Rouge, Miel de Bois, Clair de Musc and Douce Amère.
The rumour on the discontinuation of Miel de Bois had been discussed a year and a half ago (!) and had been thoroughly explained, but it had been fervently denied at the time from the Parisian staff; the rest...let's just say they weren't the most popular of the lot! (Clair de Musc is discontinued through no fault of its pleasant, well-liked scent; it's merely that clean ethereal musks are a dime a dozen in the market, no matter how poetically brilliant Serge's version is, I presume). Personally I will be really saddened to see the excellent and contemplatively melancholic Douce Amère, one of my personal favourites, perish. You'll have to snatch it off my cold, clammy hands, I guess...

Edit to Add: Miel de Bois is currently sold as a Paris exclusive in the bell jars, after its pulling from the export line. Although the Palais Royal representative denies discontinuation en masse, there is a private source that tells me the scents might revert to their alma mater and become Paris exclusives like MdB, which means discontinuation in the export bottles (and the US, as a consequence).,/span>

Edit to Add2: Click to read the latest update on this distressing issue.

Illustration Tempus Fugit by Anomunnus via deviantart.com


  1. Well, this makes me regret not snagging a bottle of Chypre Rouge when I had the chance. It's sad news. Even if those 4 weren't top sellers, I personally know at least one passionate fan of each one.

  2. Ahhh, sad news. Have only tried Clair de Musc: I love it; it's like a dreamy chord out of L'Heure Bleue: musk, iris, rose.... Still, there are so many musks, many of them both excellent and cheap!

  3. We are not amused.

  4. Oh, this is sad. Douce Amere was the first SL perfume I bought. I like it so much. I will treasure my bottle.

  5. Anonymous21:59

    aw, you mean that they can't do the vomit note in chypre rouge anymore? oh, darn!

    will miss clair de musc, which is one of my favorite comfort scents. i know people give it short-shrift, but i love it. and i'm a dirty-musk-loving girl.


  6. But..but... NOOO! It's not fair! I haven't even tried those three and DA is so lovely. So unfair.

  7. M,

    it sounds like you should have! Yeah, it's rather sad when a line which single-handedly made niche hip is stopping production of some. It's (to use an hyperbole) like learning one of the Beatles just died. Which happened, of course. But oh dear...the impact.
    In perfumery analogous terms, if you please.

  8. Amy,

    you said it! Much as I also liked CdM, I always thought this is a market segment which is overflowing with exempla, some of them very good indeed. And since it's all synths anyway for musks, the average consumer didn't really know how to discern the expensive synths from the cheap ones.
    You should try the DA at least, I maintain it was magical... :-( (I wanna cry a bit now!!)

  9. Gaia,

    tell me about it!! I know how fervently you like Miel de Bois (and the search and stockpiling) and I know we share the cult fandom of monsieur SL in general, so I can really feel how you feel...

    Wonder if YOU too fear if this marks the end of an era? Will Serge be immersed in something else, as he had -more or less- hinted at?

    *spits on chest three times, knocks wood and sprinkles holy water all around while chanting "no, no, no" simultaneously*

  10. Arwen,

    I know!!!! Do treasure it, it's a wonderful scent.
    Does it conjure up sad, melancholic thoughts for you as it does for me?

  11. Minette,

    LOL! There, you said it. CR has few fans. Dedicated ones, though. That vomit note has a way of capturing one's attention, that's for sure.
    I wasn't among the fans really, but it does sadden me to see its weirdness go.

    CdM is inexplicable apart from the rationale Amy and I discussed above. (Or some ingredient which is heavily rationed, although surely the new slaught of musks is very promising). Sorry about them taking away your comfort.

  12. Dusan,

    the echo is reaching me all right. If only I could effectuate a change. I can send a sample of CDM but it would add to the aggravation. Pleased to see how DA is having loyal fans, even though it's rather too late now. (oh dear, with this and that, I won't help crying in the end)

  13. Hi E -- Oh! I see what your comment meant now.

    I meant to try them but never got around to it. I wish each day had more than 24 hours.

    So sorry to hear one of your favorites is going.

  14. Hi P!

    It's not easy trying them all out and as you say even when the inclination is there, there is so much time and real estate (i.e.skin) to test.

    Thanks for the kind, consoling words. (((P)))

    I should have really spread the love for DA, I guess, instead of merely writing a review of it...Like sending a sample to every reader or something, which would probably be very costly, but imagine how it would boost it! I can't picture too many not moved when testing it at leisure (as compared to giving it a cursory sniff at the boutique). Apparently I was wrong all along? Argh....

  15. Yes, I adore MdB and also love and wear CdM and DM. I just ordered backup bottles of all threewhich aleviate some of the anxiety but not the deep sadness over this issue. If Uncle Serge whom we thought had the infinite backu and support of Shiseido, is doing this no scent is safe.
    Between this and the IFRA stupidity we're going to remain with nothing but the most current celeb scents. It breaks my heart.

    (P.S. I wasn't signed into my main account earlier, hence the difference in user name)

  16. G,

    there, there *supportive pat on the back* We're in this together!!
    (On a happy -?!- note the prices of these four might drop enough for a while so everyone can stock up to their heart's content).
    This thought you articulated is what's alarming me and has me seriously vexed, now. Where are we headed? WHY is this happening? I thought scents, especially high-end ones and niche, were booming! Everyone is issuing one, they can't be all wrong, from a marketing/business strategy point of view, can they?
    It looks like the market clearly can't bear all of them. I just wish it were the trash that would be not tolerated, not the good stuff... I wonder who buys all the trash then and with what money; since supposedly the sales are falling etc.

    PS.No worries, I can discern your distinctive, wonderful style from miles away! (Here you are, me using an "Americanism"; I meant from kilometres away!)

  17. Let me clarify for those I got confused with my above -seemingly contradictory- comment:

    I meant the high-end/niche perfumes sector is booming (the only segment to report a rise actually) but the middle-range/mainstream sector is reporting a significant drop of sales.

  18. This is really sad sad news, although I am not a fan to any of those discontinued scents, but as a matter of principal. Is this confirmed by the headquarter?

  19. A big thank you for letting us know about the inevitable...I'll now be stocking up for sure on some of those favorites.

  20. I noticed this weekend that House of Fraser (UK dept store) had DA on sale. I did wonder about it as SL is not the sort of line I'd expect to see on sale and now it makes perfect sense.

  21. Sadness and woe!

    I of course have untried samples of some of these. Naturally I must try them immediately to see what I'll be missing. *sniffle*

  22. Well even though I don't enjoy the thought of any SL scents being discontinued, I scrolled down to mention of 'The Four' hoping very much that neither Chergui nor Serge Noir nor Muscs KK would be one of them; sure, they're more popular than any of those listed above, but that hasn't stopped perfumed houses from discontinuing a scent (e.g. Gucci Rush; hardly a flop, and yet it got binned all the same).

  23. I never had a proper chance of becoming a SL fan. So far so good.

  24. I should say that I hate Clair de Musc and Miel de Bois with a fiery passion. But that's all the more reason why it's wrong to get rid of them. Something that I hate _that much_, recoil from, want to saw my arm off to get rid of... is art. It's a creation that pushes the limits of its category. Others hate Serge Noire just as much as I hate these two, and I find Serge Noire to be magnificent. I'm quite sure that these two are magnificent, and that there's a fair chance that someday my nose would have jumped that paper-thin boundary from intense passionate hatred to love. But that won't happen now.

    I already did love Douce Amere. I never tried Chypre Rouge, so now I have to consider the "something else to mourn" risk of trying it.

  25. stella p11:23

    Oh! Douce amère has been on the top of my Lutens-to-buy list since I sampled it some time ago. Inspired by your review (and the whole absinthe-series), by the way! And now it slips away... Sad

  26. It´s a catastrophe!!!!!! I´m a die hard DA fan, in fact it´s one of my favourite scents,and not only of the SL line!!!! I will have to stock...

  27. I'm rather shocked about Douce Amere, which I think is popular.

  28. Wow. I'm glad none of my favorites have been hit ... but I really didn't see that coming.
    Stop the madness.

  29. Tara C18:14

    The only one that really surprises me is Clair de Musc, I thought that was one of Serge's personal favorites? I believe these are on sale right now at www.parfum1.com.

  30. And will add that CdM is the first bottle of Serge I ever bought. And while I agree that in theory there must be 15 replacements out there, I haven't found one. It's a SERGE clean musk. Also I throw it on top of other scents all the time that need a bit of something.

  31. All I can add is Oy Vey.


  32. Oh dear. It's always sad to see something go to the cemetery or history books.

    Luckily, I never became attached to any of these, and have only smelled two of them (Miel & Musc). However, I've had a lot of curiousity about Chypre Rouge, and everything I heard about Douce Amere made it sound quite pleasant. Part of me wants to buy bottles of Miel & Chypre just to HAVE them.

    I would be incredibly curious to see annual bottle sales total figures for many scents. It's hard to imagine certain niche fragrances selling more than one thousand units per year. I know nothing about manufacture and how hard it is to whip up batches of a formula; it seems labor intensive.

    Thanks for sharing this bit of news, though it's not welcome.

  33. wow. I am sad.
    A perfumonecrology section should I open in my newborn perfumesphere blog? yes.
    The momentum is special indeed.
    I simply love MIEL DE BOIS. It is my favorite. My experience of this perfume is each time as almost touched by Grace. ^_^ with the buzzing sounds of bees one lazer summer day.
    snif. -V

  34. Bad news indeed! I adore Chypre Rouge, though why it was named that was a mystery to me. I'll be careful with my what's left of my bottle (only 10ml or so). And I'm sorry I had forgotten how much I loved my little sample of Douce Amere. I know so many who love this scent. . .sorry to see it go even more than the CR, because that feels quite replaceable, as much as I love it. Douce Amere, no. Now I'm wondering why I've never bought a bottle, alas. . .

  35. Both Chypre Rouge and Miel de Bois are among my very favourite Serge Lutens perfumes. This can't be happening! *sighs*

  36. Lucky me! I bought Chypre Rouge in New York a couple of months ago, and bought Miel de Bois just one month ago (on the assumption that it would soon be discontinued, because it was rumoured for quite some time). I've just placed an order for Douce Amere: let's see if I get it. As for Clair de Musc, I've never even tried it (but have asked for a sample), though light, fresh musks are not really my thing.

    I am sorry to see these things go, but I suppose not everything can stay in production forever--and there are still plenty of great Lutens scents available.

  37. Oh no! I love MDB and Douce Amere, I wish I could afford to stock up on several of each!

  38. WHAT Clair De Musc is wonderful- ok so you can buy cheaper and it's not groundbreaking but it's a lovely scent, could be a classic were it more widely known. Bah! grump grump. Sorry about Douce Amere too. Sorry about them all.

  39. L,

    hello there! Hope you're fine! :-))

    It's the principle that gets to me/us fans too! If SL is forced/coached/helped in withdrawing something from the export line, imagine what pressure others must feel...

    Head of communications doesn't confirm, although US source speaks about a definite stop in the distribution. So either they're reverting to Palais Royal (Paris exclusives) if they can be salvaged at all, or they're chopped off for good. :-(

  40. LTS,

    it's always a good idea to stock up on favourites, alas. You never know when you will be hunting on earth and sky for them...

  41. Abyss,

    oh, it's happening as we speak. (The UK had a healthy distribution channel)

  42. Diane,

    I suggest you tackle them quickly, because there is still plenty of stock around, but after a while...

    Thanks for commenting and hope to see you often!

  43. Michael,

    thanks for stopping by. Well, yes, they were not wildly popular, although CdM was a gateway Lutens I guess, which makes it a bit of a bummer. Then again I doubt SN is going to sell very much either. I don't know what that might mean. The line is quite vast by now, so will it mean that the scents will be "stremlines" at some point? So, is this the beginning of a new course? Who knows.

    Rush is discontinued as in "stopped being produced" (as compared to simply distributed in certain markets)?
    I didn't know that as finalised, how sad. Is it confirmed??

  44. L,

    I would probably say you're missing on several good things, but maybe you save some heartache.

  45. Chicken Freak (love your avatar btw!),

    you make a salient point!! If we divest with the weird and the odd, then what is left? I wonder whether there is some pressure from the mother company (Beaute Prestige etc) who owns Shiseido...

    BTW, I'm one of the lovers-camp of SN, can't understand why others hate it...I guess that makes two of us! (it's good to have company!)

  46. S,

    oh, I did create the longing eh? And now this...I'm sincerely sorry. I think DA was exquisite, unique and downright lovely (such a not-too-sweet Lutens and such a melancholic scent without being morose). It will break my heart.

  47. Marchella,

    thanks for expressing yourself so forcefully! Yes, it's a BAD, bad thing. (and not in the naughty Chris Isaak way)
    Having more DA on hand can't hurt!!

  48. P,

    you're lucky! I think there comes a point when the market will bear as much. Maybe that time has come? It's sad to see it from a pioneer, who knows, maybe Serge is tired and wants to leave perfumery? It would sadden me, but what's to do?

  49. T,

    I recall that as well :/
    Thanks for the info on the sale, it will prove useful to many readers, I presume!!

  50. March,

    it's not without merit that it's considered a gateway SL...I like it (and own it) very much as well. It's great for layering or alone.
    Who could see this coming?

  51. Trish,

    can't say it better than that...


  52. Joe,

    there is that feeling of having to own things when they get axed, isn't that so? (I find it very true for me at least)

    Your idea would be about right. Like I said above (and intend to escalate in a seperate post), there is only so much that the market can bear, obviously. :(

  53. Violaine,

    sounds like a good idea to keep track of what dies...(even if it's sad)Your description of MdB is so very lovely. I wish those fanatical few who cherish it petition for it to stay in the line for ever!

    (and congrats on the project, had no idea)

  54. Julie,

    I had included some information on the naming of CR in my review of it (try doing a search). DA is pretty special, I concur. (I have to stop, I am close to misting up)

  55. M,

    *sighs alongside you*
    End of an era? *more sighing*

  56. R,

    you're very wise, so good purchases all around. CdM is not exactly the most distinctive scent out there, but it's lovely all the same.

    You've got an excellent point of realism tucked in your comment though. There ARE still several masterpieces in the SL line. (thank heavens)

  57. Flora,

    oh no is right. Well, I'm sincerely wishing you to have all the money necessary for you to be able to stock up!

  58. K,

    yeah...it is a bit of a classic, among perfume lovers. I think several use it as their "first SL" or something along those lines. Or a layering scent, as March suggested. Bummer...

  59. Just reporting that I was gripped by a bit of insanity and ended up buying a bottle of Miel de Bois. I'm trying to sell a bit of it off, because lord knows I'll never need 50ml ... although if it has to last the rest of my LIFE, perhaps I will.

  60. Joe, thanks for letting us know.

    And for the rest of you who get the comments in your mailbox, there has been some more news on this, please refresh your page on Perfume Shrine for more.


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