Sunday, January 4, 2009

A question for the perfumistas:

This is the fourth time I've received a Lutens sample that's smelled significantly different than previous ones (of the same scent). What's up?


BitterGrace said...

Hi, Julie--were these by any chance the ones I sent you? The Ambre Sultan and Chypre Rouge came from Aedes, and were in their sealed cards--I pulled them out to make room in my TSA baggie. The Douce Amere is a decant from (I think) The Perfumed Court. There's never any certainty with a decant, but I've never gotten a questionable one from TPC.

Anyway, assuming there's no vendor foul play involved, there are a couple of reasons why samples can be different. A lot of people absolutely insist that sample juice is deliberately tweaked to amp up the opening, and be more potent than the full bottles. No perfumery would ever cop to that, and it seems kind of unlikely to me, especially for a smaller house like Lutens.

There may be differences--deliberate or inadvertent--between juice produced for the American and European markets. That happened with Piguet's Bandit--the Euro version was much edgier than the one for the U.S.

The other possibility is simple batch variations. Those are inevitable, especially in high quality perfume. A lot of the constant grousing about reformulation comes from people not recognizing that fact.

How this all relates to Lutens particularly, I wouldn't know. I don't know enough about the house--for instance, where is the export juice actually blended and bottled? That can make a difference.

Julie H. Rose said...

Yes, one of them was your Chypre Rouge. I would've just chalked that up to decant vs. sample but it's not just a matter of strength. It's almost an entirely different scent, to the point where I double checked twice that I sampled the right juice. I don't remember where I got the decant. It is a far more complex scent. I don't even like the sample! Good thing I tried it, though, for I was thinking of using my Beautyhabit gift certificate for some and now I won't!

I've never noticed that samples seem amped up. BUT, the SLs do seem to vary from batch to batch, but nothing like this particular one!

Thanks for all the input!

BitterGrace said...

I got curious and checked out the Basenotes reviews--very interesting. If you scroll through and read them all, it starts to sound as if there are 2 Chypre Rouges floating around out there. Some people describe a sweet, rich scent ("hot red Jello") and others talk about dry celery notes dominating the brew.

Of course, I never cease to be amazed at the difference in people's perceptions of scent, but I think this may really be a case of radically different juices.

If I were a serious Serge Lutens fan, I'd be tempted to write to the house directly, just to see what they'd say.

Julie H. Rose said...

Yes, my decant was very rich and sweet. Not "red hot jello" (ick!) but lovely. It was fairly close to Frapin 1270. The sample is dry. Celery? No. It's a note I recognize (and don't like) but I do not know what it is. I wish I did, so I could name it!

Julie H. Rose said...

Well, the plot thickens. I dashed off an email to Lutens in Paris and received a prompt reply with absolutely no information. I asked if they have changed the formulation or if there was a difference between the European and export fragrances. Ms. Ardant said that it was impossible to answer these questions and to please send my address so they could send me a new sample. Let's see if I get one! And, if I do, what will it smell like?