Monday, January 09, 2012

Serge Lutens- Fille en Aiguilles

If there was one hurdle on my road to complete adoration of Serge Lutens' 2009 fragrance Fille en Aiguillesit was learning how to pronounce its name (my highest achievement when it comes to French is spelling L'Heure Bleue correctly). So let's get this one out of the way (thanks to Bela from Frag Name Of The Day):

Fille en Aiguilles smells like the best parts of early winter. Evergreens, dark and wet tree barks, a beautiful bowl full of oranges on a polished wood credenza, cold air coming into heated room from the window I just opened, carrying a faint whiff of smoke, a beloved old afghan you wrap around yourself as you settle to read in the evening. Its opening is the smell of well-being.

A lot has been written about the name Fille en Aiguilles. It's a word play on several meaning and idioms- aiguilles means needles (read more on Perfume Shrine and Grain de Musc). But also, like many of Serge Lutens perfumes,  it's a memory. Centered around the smell and the feel of pine needles, it may be Uncle Serge's memory, but it also takes me back to my own childhood and a time I lived in a neighborhood up a heel that was full of Mediterranean pine trees, the kind that produce pine nuts and thick sap that sticks to your fingers and clothes. The ground was always covered with sharp dry needles, clean and aromatic; we used the fresh green needles to make long chains, smashed the nutshells with stones and hid in the fragrant shade of the tall trees, imagining it was our secret cave in an untouched ancient forest.

Fille en Aiguilles has a little more drama than my childhood. The sharp cool camphor that breezes through the sap and incense keeps me on my toes and doesn't let the fragrance go all Christmas on me. Still, it's a happy place and a happy scent, something to wear both for bracing yourself before going out into the winter night and when you stay in wrapped in memories and contentment. It's only mildly sweet (though on my husband there's some serious orange peel marmalade in the opening) and a joy for incense and conifer lovers, whatever their piney memories may come from.

Notes: Pine needles, vetiver, sugary sap, laurel, fir balsam, frankincense, candied fruit and spice.

Fille en Aiguilles ($140, 50ml EDP) is part of Serge Lutens export range and available from all the usual suspects who carry the line, in store and online.

Art: Winter Stream by Hamilton Aguiar
Serge Lutens from
Fille en Aiguilles promotional image by


  1. I remember the day Fille en Aiguilles made its impression on me. I was sitting in front of my favorite cigar shop and saw a well dressed gent on a bike and said to myself, that's grace. There's a grace and confidence this scent has and I just really like it. Great review.

  2. FeA is one of my winter favorites, (my other fave is L' Eau Trois). There is nothing quite like the wonderful sharp menthol, resin and fruit notes. It's so elegant warm and rich, perfect to get me in the right holiday frame of mind.

  3. I know I tried Fille en Aiguilles when it came out and wasn't over-impressed by it. However, my tastes have matured since then and I now have to re-try many perfumes. (Oh what a shame!)

    One of my favourites at the moment is Guerlain's AA Winter Delice, which is very pine-y and incense-y. How do you feel Fille compares to it?

  4. Thank you, Barney. I loved your description of "grace"-- I get what you mean.

    As far as I know, Lutens' signature scent is Cuir Mauresque, but I could just as well imagine him in FeA. He has that kind of grace.

  5. Elizabeth, I love (LOVE!) L'Eau Trois. It's more of a summer afternoon fragrance to me, but now that you talk about it I get why it works so well as a prelude to the holidays.

  6. Wordbird, do give it another try. I know the feeling of evolving and revolving tastes. It's actually delighting to discover that I finally get a perfume that taunted me before.

    As for Winter Delice, the best way I can compare is that both are exactly what I would expect from the houses that created them: FdA is pine and winter in that Uncle Serge way that's always tinged with spice and sweetness, while AA WD is cooler and more French.

  7. I love the concept of it - the name, the notes,and so I decided after quite a few months to buy it.
    It is the scent I wear at work when I need to boost my ego. It's very wearable by the way!
    I still try to get to know Serge Noir (with know I mean rather like...) but Filles en Aiguilles is more the concept of ...a guy, who wears silk, tries on his wifes peeptoes and is still undeniable male.


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