Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Serge Lutens- La Myrrhe

Three things I wish I had known before trying La Myrrhe for the very first time:
1. It should not be sprayed. Never ever. Under no circumstances.
2. Aldehydes can be more than just floral or green. They can be spicy.
3. Husbands who don't like aldehydes will not appreciate them even in a Serge Lutens perfume. Especially not in a moving vehicle.

Other than that? La Myrrhe is gorgeous and even the husband doesn't complain after the first 30 minutes or so, when the root-beer and spiced honey soda take over and do their thing on my skin.

The first thing I smell if I spritz La Myrrhe is a harsh chemical you could mistake for cheap vintage hairspray (best case) or a pesticide. It really surprised me, since my first couple of La Myrrhe samples were little dab-on vials, so I never experienced this aspect until I got a larger decant. Even when it becomes more perfume-like, this 1995 Serge Lutens perfume is so carbonated and aldehydic it takes up all the air in the room. Luca Turin compares it favorably to White Linen in his five star review of La Myrrhe. I only argue with the fact Dr. Turin sees the similarity as a positive thing. I used to wear White Linen a lot in the very early 1990s, but today I find it stomach-turning.

However, dabbing La Myrrhe, even very generously as I like to do, saves me from the unpleasant toxins and instead smells foody, gently spiced and moderately sweet. This isn't Uncle Serge's famous dry fruit and cedar stew. Instead, it's a grownup's orange soda with a cinnamon stick that shifts between feeling chilled and airy to creamy. The entire existence of La Myrrhe is a play on this icy and fuzzy themes, making it much more sophisticated than one might expect from a perfume that came out in the middle of the horrible smelly 90s, when it seemed that people either marinated in Angel or tried to pretend CK One and L'Eau d'Issey were things found in nature. But, of course, this is an Uncle Serge vision executed by Christopher Sheldrake, so why be so surprised?

La Myrrhe dries down into a soft but determined oriental perfume, laced with honey and amaretto. There's a little incense there that smells as though it was kept in a wooden box together with precious and rare spices. It has magic and mystery, a little danger of the unknown and a whole lot more sex-appeal than one would expect if they started their relationship with La Myrrhe by spraying it.

Notes (via Fragrantica): mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento.

Selected reviews of La Myrrhe:
I Smell Therefore I Am
Bois de Jasmin

La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens (125 eauros, 75 ml EDP) is part of Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido exclusive line, only available from the Paris boutique or online for EU residents. The Posh Peasant and the Perfumed Court sell samples and decants.

Art: Snake Charmer by Deborah Klein


  1. I have only sniffed La Myrrhe in one of my little SL wax sample envelopes, and it smells REALLY good that way. I will have to keep in mind your warning about spraying and maybe dab at first.

  2. Do Not Spray: this is something that should be printed on the boxes of all Paris exclusive bottles. These fragrances are completely transformed by spraying and usually not for the better. In my experience La Myrrhe is a soft spicy soapy perfume.

    I have a double experience (dab/spray) with Sarrasins. The spray experience is very close to your description TNB. The dab experience is the exact opposite and you can read it on my blog.

  3. I will have to try this one. Thank you for your review. I am very fond of the astringency of aldehydes. Especially in the opening notes which I consider the notes to be only for me. I'll heed your warning though about applying it in moving vehicles. You are quite funny and I enjoy your blog very much.


  4. I had to giggle at " when it seemed that people tried to pretend CK One and L'Eau d'Issey were things found in nature" hahaha I so agree!

    Now you're talking root-beer and spiced honey soda, is there anything in common between La Myrrhe and 5 o'clock au Gingembre??

  5. It sounds wonderful. I will have to try out this one.

  6. Oh my goodness! I just discovered The Posh Peasant. I think I just might have found a little bit of heaven on earth. How did I not know about this?

    denise_22315 at yahoo dot com

  7. I've been curious about La Myrrhe ever since I read an inspired review at Museinwoodenshoes.
    She mentioned a medicinal vibe, and - from l'heure bleue to my favorite tubereuses - I find a strange comfort in perfumes featuring cold medicinal nuances... La Myrrhe is on my to-try-list!

    On a side note: yesterday I unwrapped my first bell jar (tubereuse criminelle), and I am just so so happy...It feels and smells really special...

  8. I adore SL perfumes, this scent was love at first sniff for me (like so many of his scents).
    I have to choose carefully though, I only wear this in under 60-degree weather, I find it blooms and develops better. Any hint of humidity and it's just "off".

  9. This is one of my favorites from Serge Lutens. I definitely needs to be dabbed on. I tend to wear this in December. For some reason it reminds me of Christmas. I love it's warmness.

  10. I do not like most aldehydic perfumes, but this one I really enjoy - and I sprayed it! :)


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