Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger

Almost every perfume enthusiast has a story about an unpredictable scent. One that can smell heavenly one day but send them scrubbing the next. It can be mood, season, time of the month and whatever else affect both are skin and our scent perception. Some people sell or swap these bottles only to re-purchase them a week later, wear the perfume for an entire blissful week, completely certain they really got it now, have enough of it soon after, get rid of the bottle... repeat as necessary.

Except for the selling and buying again, I've had a similar relationship with Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger. I've gone through many samples, being utterly in love with its warmth and luminosity, dropped by Aedes to buy the bottle only to spray it one last time at the store and decide it wasn't really working. Then I'd buy something else, request a sample or two of FdO and go through the whole process again.

When Fleurs d'Oranger works it's simply magnificent. While I'm usually mortally afraid of a tuberose-jasmine-orange blossom combination, this one is smooth and balanced without any of the shrieky, flesh eating tendencies of too many white florals (that's what Datura Noir is for). Even the cumin here is well-behaved and only adds a hint of humanity, unlike the gutters and back alleys of Arabie and Serge Noir.

What I get from FdO on a good day is sunshine. It's a scent that can make everything better and radiates optimism and promise. Oh, and it's incredibly sexy. Not in a creature of the night kind of way, but instead by being open and womanly, giving hints of a lacy undergarment under the white silk blouse. It's confidence in a bottle, and some days I absolutely crave it.

The off days find me and Fleurs d'Oranger fighting about who wears whom, with the juice reminding me how I'm not really a floral person and why don't I just go and drown myself in that MKK bell jar. It loses the balance and lets the jasmine have the upper hand, smelling too sharp and cheap. So scrubbing I go.

But I have learned to trust my instinct. When I crave FdO is when I know it's going to be a good day. I have a bottle now, after my husband heard me fawning once too many times and surprised me with it to my utter delight. Incidentally, I haven't had a bad FdO day ever since. I also learned to layer it. At the suggestion of Ida, the fairy godmother of all bloggers, I tried it with a hint of Cuir Mauresque and got the equivalent of my Pucci boots: it stops traffic. Fleurs d'Oranger also works beautifully with Rousse, MKK and with incense scents. I've tried it with Chaos and with CdG Hinoki to good results (someone at the Palais Royal is having an aneurysm right about now).

The bottom line: I love it. Sometimes I stay away for several weeks, but then I have a FdO day and it's all good.

Fleurs d'Oranger ($120) is available both in the 50 ml export bottle everywhere Uncle Serge graces with his other perfumes, and in the Palais Royal exclusive bell jar (75 ml, 110 €). My bottle came from Bergdorf.

Art: White Ladies by JalinePol, from
Vinings Gallery.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. FdO is exactly the same to me: sunshine in a bottle some days, terribly cloying on others.
    In a different way FdC acts in a similar love-annoy relationship...
    But I'm still at the "samnple it again -I'm not sure" stage...
    Hope I get your same happy ending!

  3. I love it too. It's the only scent that even comes close to the fragrance of the night-blooming jasmine I once had underneath my bedroom window in California.

    However...I've had to queue it; there are several FB's I've promised myself first.

  4. Ambre Sultan with Fleurs d'oranger is also a great combo. I don't care for F d'o on its own.

  5. I second that emotion of pairing F d'O with Ambre Sultan. Something's gotta cut the tooth enamel-melting sweetness of all those orange blossoms!

  6. Hello- I enjoy your blog very much. It's a great distraction every day! Is this the reformulation you are reviewing?
    Has Fleurs de Citronnier been reformulated?
    Is there some central place that lists reformulations?
    Thanks, and sorry for all the questions.

  7. chell0, my bottle is about 2 years old I've tested several samples older than that, some smelled the same, others were more animalic, so I'm pretty sure my bottle is the new juice.

  8. Cool. thanks for answering my questions.


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