Yes, another jasmine perfume has wriggled its way into my collection. Its a simple, drop-dead gorgeous soliflore, but only in the complicated soliflore way of Serge Lutens. Which means that while the jasmine stands center stage in À la Nuit, it has some supporting players, namely green notes (fresh) honey (sweet & slightly carnal) clove, benzoin & musk. There is that dirty indolic aspect of jasmine but Uncle Serge manages to hide it under layers of jasmine blossoms. I smell it if I bury my nose in my skin – a slightly cuminy sweaty skin note. Probably his mix of jasmine and musk, actually, as we know Uncle Serge loves him some dirty musk. Pere de Pierre’s review of Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan can tell you a bit more, although, like Dane, I only got occaisonal whiffs of naughty dirty undies from MKK and was sort of disapointed. Such is the shape shifter nature of musks.
The jasmine IS indolic, as I mentioned, and I will leave the description of indolic to the brilliant Luca Turin. Don’t be discouraged, dear reader. The indoles are only part of À la Nuit. That said, you would want to try this before buying to see how you feel about them….
Excerpt from a review in the The Guide (which you NEED if you love perfume)
‘One of the many difficulties that nature has strewn in the path of perfumers is the vexed problem of indole. Indole is a small molecule made up of a hexagonal ring and a pentagonal ring fused together and nitrogen. It and its kissing cousin skatole are breakdown products of the digestion of food and are therefore found in feces. They are also found in large amounts in white flowers such as jasmine, ylang, etc possibly to attend to the eclectic tastes of pollinating insects. In the textbooks, their odor is described as, ‘fecal, floral in dilution’, which is nonsense: they smell like shit when in shit and like flowers when in flowers. By itself indole smells like ink and mothballs; skatole smells like bad teeth and that wonderful tripe sausage called andouilette. What, you ask, is the problem? If you measure the amount of indole in, say, jasmine oil and make up a synthetic mix with the same amount of the pure stuff, it will smell of mothballs whereas the natural one doesn’t. Why? Nobody knows. But that is the main reason why white-flower reconstitutions seldom have the back-of-the-throat rasp of the real thing. Perfumers put in as much indole as they dare, but usually stop short of the full dose.’
Excerpt from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, 2008. You can purchase it here or at a bookstore.
Pretty sure Catherine Deneuve is wearing À la Nuit here…
Serge Lutens À la Nuit is, in the end, a gorgeous jasmine perfume. It isn’t “soft” at first, but dries down beautifully on skin to a masterful blend of beauty. I find it is close to By Kilian Love and Tears, with Love and Tears being a little more fancy and embellished. I love them both, and which I choose to wear depends on my mood. If anything, the By Kilian is more formal, whereas À la Nuit purrs on the skin, likely thanks the Lutensian musk. It is jasmine blossoms with fresh green leaves when you first spray, and by jasmine blossoms I mean A LOT OF JASMINE BLOSSOMS. I love that phase, but in the interest of others, I’d advise one to go easy when applying or apply half an hour before leaving the house. This is a case where dabbing vs spraying could give a gentler effect. Its a languid, dreamy jasmine that is indeed, perfect for wearing at night. The sweet honey and warm resinous musky notes linger on the skin with the jasmine as the evening wears on. Why is jasmine so sexy, with all those indoles and everything? Aromatherapy says jasmine is an aphrodisiac, and is said to boost one’s libido and sexual desire. Does it? My experience has shown I “feel” sexy when wearing jasmine, so perhaps that helps? I also find that white floral perfumes almost always invite positive comments from men (and women for that matter) so that is also…something.
…and here, too.
What do you think? Do you have a favourite perfume that makes you feel sexy? Or one that gets a positive reaction from
strangers your partner? Share!
Serge Lutens À la Nuit is available at specialty retailers across North America, or you can order online from Luckyscent in the US and The Perfume Shoppe in Canada.