Datura Noir (Serge Lutens)

...he was dancing with a beautiful woman.

She was tall and auburn-haired, dressed in clinging white satin, and she was dancing close to him, her breasts pressed softly and sweetly against his chest. Her white hand was entwined in his. She was wearing a small and sparkly cat's-eye mask and her hair had been brushed over to one side in a soft and gleaming fall that seemed to pool in the valley between their touching shoulders. Her dress was full-skirted but he could feel her thighs against his legs from time to time and had become more and more sure that she was smooth-and-powdered naked under her dress...

"I like you," she whispered, and he thought that her scent was like lilies, secret and hidden in cracks furred with green moss-- places where sunshine is short and shadows long.

"I like you, too."
Except she is a ghost, and he -- Jack Torrance, recovering alcoholic and hapless caretaker of the haunted Overlook Hotel -- is dancing all alone in an empty ballroom. By the time Jack awakens to the sight of dust motes glittering in the cold winter sunlight, a part of his soul has gone dark without him even knowing it. For with her alabaster skin and scent of sweet decay, his dream girl inhabits a mysterious dimension which swallows the unwary like a carnivorous flower.

Stephen King's The Shining is a fairly thick tome to lug around. If you crave the chill of the Overlook Hotel minus all its avoirdupois, make Datura Noir your portable reference. As ably as an Ouija board, this 2001 Lutens tuberose fragrance conjures up those "places where sunshine is short and shadows long". Tania Sanchez characterizes it as a "tropical heliotropin" designed for summer heat; if so, it's only because Datura Noir is chilly at its heart, a creamy white funeral bouquet straight out of the refrigerator.

Even a July day can turn inexplicably icy when a cloud blots out the sun-- but clouds are weightless, sailing past on the breeze. So it is that Datura Noir eventually mellows into a vanilla-custard accord as cozy and enveloping as a mile-thick down pillow. I'm not saying you should sink into it with perfect, unquestioning trust. Reread The Shining and remember the fate of Jack Torrance: one turn around the dance floor in her cold white arms, and it's over.

Scent Elements: Tuberose, lemon blossom, coconut, mandarin, jasmine, osmanthus, bitter almond, apricot, heliotrope, tonka, musk, myrrh, vanilla