Serge Noire (Serge Lutens)

The first thing I thought was: Frankincense and aged Parmesan. The second thing I thought was: Burnt-black wicks and sooty smoke. The third thing I thought was: It's weird, but I rather like it. Others emphatically do not.

Why does Serge Noire attract so much hatred? Its musk is goaty, 'tis true, but not the ugliest of bugbears to afflict an otherwise decent perfume. Some perfumistas damn that dusty clove note by comparing it to the dentist's office; others praise it as the jewel of Uncle Serge's spice cabinet. The rest of Serge Noire is incense, warm wax, wood ash, and a shade of melancholy which I suppose represents the noire. I shrug; it doesn't trouble me at all. In fact, I place Serge Noire in the same category as Muscs Koublaï Khän-- a relatively meek fragrance whose terrifying reputation produces a sort of smiling bewilderment once you actually try it.

Look, everyone is entitled to their impressions, as well as to their subsequent expressions of delight or dismay. At times, the flood of abuse applied to a fragrance goes so over-the-top it reaches the stratosphere-- but then, so might the acclaim. The only alternative is to meet in the middle and say, It's weird, but I rather like it.

Scent Elements: Patchouli, cinnamon, clove, incense, amber, musk, woods