Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bittersweet- Serge Lutens Douce Amere

I first tested Douce Amere by Serge Lutens during a hot summer a few years ago. I was entranced by it and didn't care whatsoever that I was probably fumigating my surroundings and every poor soul, feline and human, unlucky enough to share my space. I went through several samples and eventually bought a bottle. I also learned moderation.

Douce Amere means bitter sweet, but my skin is a sweetness amplifier and I need to really pay attention if I want to smell the interesting parts hiding under the licorice. The wood reveals itself rather quickly (cedar, but I could swear I also get some creamy sandalwood. Note to self: try layering with Tam Dao and see if you survive. Preferably on a day you're not planning on leaving the house) and there's a persistent medicinal green bitterness. It took me a while to train my nose to identify the marigold, being familiar with a much bolder approach in Niki de Saint Phalle. But it's there, doing its thing and keeping Douce Amere from going fully into the gourmand territory of anise cookies.

The result is a seductive, nose-to-wrist wonder, but not necessarily what one would call yummy. It's something I wear for myself and is good for brooding more than as a comfort scent. The dry down remains close to the skin for hours, and it's then that you realize it's much more unisex than it seemed before, as the spiced wood takes center stage. I've tried layering with Rousse and Louve (separately) and I hear it also plays well with Un Bois Vanille (but what doesn't?). However, I find Douce Amere rich and interesting enough by itself.

Douce Amere ($120) is part of the Serge Lutens export line and is available at the best department stores as well as at the usual suspects Aedes, Scent Bar and Beauty Habit. I'm not completely sure, but I think I bought my bottle at Neiman's. Samples can be purchased from Aedes, The Perfumed Court and Posh Peasant.

Image: New York Movie by Edward Hopper, probably my favorite artist.

1 comment:

  1. I love this one (shock of shocks) and I do get sandalwood as well as a hint of cocoa. I'm going to go spritz some on right now..


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