Friday, December 18, 2009

SOTD: Serge Lutens A La Nuit

Another no-fooling-around floral today. This one is in competition with Un Lys, another Christopher Sheldrake creation, for the List. (The "bottles I intend to own someday" List.)

And a deeply Wrong thought occurs to me. The category under competition is "another killer white floral". However, one could break that category up into the different white florals, and make an argument for someday owning the perfect tuberose (Tubereuse Couture), jasmine (A La Nuit), lily (Un Lys), and gardenia (Velvet Gardenia). Ooh...

OK, I'm back now. That would be Wrong.

So, back to A La Nuit. The opening is jasmine. A fog of it. A pool of it. But I no longer perceive it as a honey-thick suffocating ocean of it, as I did the last time I tried this, about a year ago. My jasmine appreciation has apparently increased manyfold. I'm pleased, if perhaps just a little alarmed - at what point in this increased tolerance am I in danger of drowning other people?

I think that the "green shoots" note also helps to control the jasmine's suffocation potential - I'm learning, from this and Tubereuse Couture, that I have a much higher tolerance for white flowers when they're accompanied by a good streak of green. The green adds a tart counter to the flower's sweetness, and some freshness to battle the indolic notes. Without it, I'm likely to find the flower lovely for about forty seconds, after which I want to wash it off.

And upon more thought, I conclude that perhaps the "white honey" note is helping, too. Jasmine can be intolerably shrill for me, and green notes add their own high-pitched note, so they're not going to help with that. Beeswax and honey, on the other hand, are very low-pitched to my nose.

(A momentary diversion: What do I mean by high- and low- pitched smells? I don't know, but I know it when I smell it. In general, sour is high-pitched, and creamy/buttery/woody/musky fragrances are low-pitched. But it's not that simple, because jasmine is both high-pitched and sweet, and anyway, sour is a taste, not a smell, so we're still on the wrong sense. I'm not the only perfume freak to use the word "shrill" for a scent, so I know I'm not alone in this particular brand of insanity. But I do rather wish that I had a better explanation.)

So. Back, again, to A La Nuit. Jasmine blowing trumpets at the opening, quieter jasmine in the middle, shy jasmine at the base. Not too indolic. Not too sparkly. Not too sweet. I like it a lot. I suspect that Un Lys is still winning the White Flower Faceoff, but not by much.

Review Roundup: Now Smell This and Bois de Jasmin and Fragrance Bouquet and PereDePierre and  Sweet Diva and Fragrantica.

Jasmine, by Albert Joseph Moore: Wikimedia Commons

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