Serge Lutens releases Santal Majuscule

by Katie on July 29, 2012

Serge Lutens is known amongst perfume freaks as being pretty much the epitome of the niche perfume house, never bending towards trends, stoically and bravely doing it’s own thing for the sheer hell of it for the past five decades, like a recalcitrant teenager gone into adulthood who still won’t give up the ghost, clinging stubbornly to lofty ideologies despite the vagaries of commercialism. And, for this, we rightly salute them and elevate them to demagogue.

Lutens catalogue is rich. Literally. From the ever favourite dense, woody, patchouli Ambre Sultan to the enigmatic Bas de Soie that reverberates with distinction, Lutens uses the finest ingredients (and it shows) to create intense, heady, soul-lifting, nose-pleasing, heavenly scents sent by Seraphim that raise the spirit to another level. These, my friends, are not for amateurs.

If anything, Serge Lutens could be charged with taking itself too seriously. Yes, yes, we all know perfume is a journey of the senses, deeply primal, belonging to the Id, recalling memories and telling stories, but, when each perfume release is sent with an editorial fairy-tale ‘story’, the realist and cynic in me behaves erratically and, well, rather like the recalcitrant teenager mentioned above. Perhaps as perfume lovers at least we have that in common. However, huge flights of fancy built around a new release only serves to distance many from the juice that would truly change their lives if they dared to venture near this apothecaric perfume house, strange and intriguing. 

Making Santal Majuscule the star and not wrapped in Greta Garbo’esque intrigue is the aim. This is an attempt to demystify and unclog the A-level essay type press release hyperbole that begins, “Winter 1952. That night, just before dawn it snowed. A boy, with his collar folded up to prevent his neck, headed on his way to school. A thin white veil slipped his feet and swirled around him, cloaking his mouth and the muffled words, “I’m going to be late!”. (You’re seeing where I’m coming from here, huh?).

Santal Majuscule is a revelation. So much so, it should arrive with a heavenly choral fanfare. ‘Here is what you have been waiting for and you didn’t even know it.’ On first application,  one realises the potency. This is a liquid nitrogen of the senses, the low boiling point of seduction. The deeply intense nature of the smooth brown liquid could almost say ‘Drink Me’ and one would if one dared, promising delight and carnal pleasures, exotic and different and completely beguiling. Just the merest hint of the perfume applied, sets the senses into a Patrick Suskind type synaesthetic frenzy. There’s smoothness, but dangerous darkness in this Indian sandalwood, like fumbling around in the near dark with one sexy mellowed light glowing, to guide one to a fall from grace. This is catnip for the perfumista. Soon, the glow in the dark majesty of turkish rose hits with an intensity that’s dangerously pungent to its core. The delight is in the underbelly of the fragrance, the intense sweetness that hints of dipping one’s nose in chocolate powder and breathing in the aura while surrounded by roses that choke with scent. This miasma is the sweetest decline. Use it wisely, my friends.

Serge Luten’s Santal Majuscule is available at Harrods and launches at selected dept stores from 30th July. 50ml EDP is £83.

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