Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Soft White Paws- Serge Lutens Louve

"She began to walk forward, crunch-crunch over the snow and through the wood toward the other light. In about 10 minutes she reached it and found it was a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming towards her."
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe

It snowed yesterday morning, and while it didn't stick (thankfully!), there was still the snowy smell in the air, a certain silence and the special color of the sky. As much as I hate our winter, I'm not immune to its beauty (which lasts exactly until the first time I get to dig my car out, shovel the driveway or perform the miracle of walking on ice in 4" heels). If there ever was a perfume that calls to mind pretty powdery snow and a winter wonderland scene is Louve, the newest creation in Serge Lutens' export line.

Louve means she-wolf, and the inspiration for this fragrance was snow capped mountains. I'm sure Serge Almighty had a very specific image in mind, but to me this perfume is Narnia in an eternal winter.

The milky almonds in the opening never go completely away. Instead, they are delicately weaved into the other notes, keeping them white and hushed. Thus, the fruity part is contained and kept from becoming joyful and giggly like in Luctor et Emergo, where the marzipan note melts into the cherry liquor heart. The almond is there when the delicate floral part appears. There's rose, but only the soft petals, not the sweetened rosewater that could have taken it into Turkish delight realms (curiously enough, the other almond-cherry Lutens fragrance is the non-export Rahat Loukoum, the name of which means Turkish delight). It is sweet but not quite gourmand, yet the notes and the connotation makes me think of the White Witch tempting Edmund with that very delicacy. Maybe that's the hint dangerous she-wolf Lutens envisioned. He saw a wild animal, I see a snow queen.

Louve dries down into a soft skin scent. It's musky, powdery with a hint of vanilla, without losing the almonds. It smells sweeter in the heat and softer outside on a cold day. On my husband's skin it felt dry, almost woody and a lot cleaner. The sillage is less than what I'd expect from a Serge Lutens perfume, but the lasting power is decent (it's a higher concentration, and comes in the elegant black box). I love spraying some into my hair and on sweaters and coats. It makes a cold day much more beautiful and feels cozy and comforting on a cold night.


  1. Alright! Fine! I will try it on my skin next time! :P You make it sound gooooooood, dear G! The association with Rahat Loukhoum (shudder) made me dismiss this, but now I'll be brave.

  2. I am glad to read Louve getting a little love here on the internets- personally I like it very much (and I own and adore Rahat Loukoum); you are right- this really sings in the cold.

    You are also the second person in as many days that mentioned the smell of snow, imminent or otherwise. I always maintained that I could smell a snowstorm coming and people thought I was nuts.

    Well, I think that's why they thought I was nuts...

  3. Tom, I loved Louve from the first moment on, and got a bottle quickly. For me it's a winter scent and at the moment only Cashmere (Fissore) and White oud can compete with it...

    Gaia, I just tried - and really, on my HB's skin it's very different : much less sweet, and very wood !

  4. Divina- Be brave! you can never know. I first went to sniff it fully expecting to hate it because most almonds turn Crabtree & Evelyn on me (Jarling was a total heartbreak). I ended up buying the bottle on the spot, walking with my nose firmly planted in my wrist.

    Tom- I don't know why the recent Serge backlash. Not every scent is groundbreaking, but they are good and special, which was what made us fans to begin with.

    And, of course snow has a distinct smell. I'm sure not just us perfume nuts know it. I swear my nose isn't that good, but I can definitely smell a storm. But then, you and I share a few quirks...

    Lady Jane- Aren't winter scents amazing? So satisfying and deep (though I can't stand the female version of Fissore. It commits a messy suicide on my skin).
    I wonder what it is in the male chemistry that makes Louve change so much. Actually it's true for many Serges. I seem to amplify the sweetness, while my husband makes them mellow and dry.

  5. What a lovely description (and no purple whatsoever): to the point!

    Have to try this. Connection with RL didn't entice me in the past, but now...


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