Santal Majuscule is the third sandalwood fragrance from Uncle Serge (after Santal de Mysore* and Santal Blanc), and I think it may be my favorite. Up until the bottle of Santal Majuscule appeared in my life I considered Santal Blanc as boozy, honeyed, and sweet. It still is, but as the husband commented, in comparison to the newcomer, Santal Blanc is actually dry and spicy (and perhaps more masculine). Serge Lutens and his prophet, Christopher Sheldrake, took sandalwood in the same edible direction of Jeux de Peau, deep into gourmand land. Some of the elements like the stewed fruit, spice rack and honey are familiar. The cocoa note is sort of new (there's chocolate in Vetiver Oriental and Borneo 1834), at least in the way it translates on skin and encourages you to take a mouthful and relish the rich taste.
It's weird, I know, to think of a sandalwood perfume in these terms, but try and forget the way most modern santal fragrances have become sharp and cedar-like (because Mysore sandalwood is no longer available); instead, go back to the creamy and rich original with its hints of buttery nuts and you'll see where and how Santal Majuscule is going. It also uses an allusion to a milky Middle Eastern pudding seasoned with cinnamon and rosewater, in case you weren't hungry or besotted enough.
The rose note is the most surprising part in Lutens' Santal Majuscule. I mostly smell it later in the perfume's development, and I find it too wonderful for words. I'm not the biggest rose fan ever, but in this case I'm completely sold: this rose is smooth, sweet, with overtones of Turkish delight and a peachy pink quality that is all skin and seduction.
In case anyone missed the memo, the rumors of Serge Lutens's creative demise were not just exaggerated but also utterly false. Our favorite uncle has not lost his touch. Santal Majuscule is a beautiful perfume that has the potential to earn Lutens new fans as well as delight the fan base.
Notes: Sandalwood, honey, cocoa, spices and Arabian Attar rose.
More reviews of Santal Majuscule: Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Shrine, Persolaise, Perfume Posse.
Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule ($140, 50ml Haute Concentration) is arriving as we speak at all of the usual points of sale. Parfum1 already has it in stock.
*The other day I tried a layering combo of Santal de Mysore and Sarassins. This combo is a good enough reason to buy both bell jars. Seriously, it's Samsara's pervert sister.
Top image by George Barbier, 1912. Santal Majuscule promotional image from Serge Lutens Facebookpage.