Serge Lutens, Chêne

I’ve had my sample of Chêne for a little while now, but have been keeping it “on ice” for a day lacking in natural inspiration. Lightning struck: I’ve just started a fantastic new book which hits me in all the right places (darkness, hilarity, perfume, metal)… Here, it’s better if you just have a taste:

Thirty hours later, my luggage was parked in a fleabag hotel on the Lower West Side, I was wiping my sweaty palms on my skirt, pulling at my suede boots and trying to forget a bra strap was slowly but surely sliding down my left shoulder. I should have worn something else besides Chêne, something safe and innocuous and familiar, but Chêne was my invisible armor. Uncle Serge would not let me down, not at his prices he wouldn’t.
Quantum Demonology

You can’t read a paragraph like that, and not go running for your sample of Chêne.

I carefully dab it on the back of my hand, and before I can ask, “where’s my coffee?” am transported to another age. Oak logs are being stripped, torn, stacked. The men of the land labor to build ramparts around their growing village, and the man directing these labors will one day be their king— but not yet. Women and children help too, clearing and hauling, leading oxen whose carts are laden with fresh logs. They are a quiet folk; toiling in soil by day, crouching around hearth fires by night, living close enough to the forest to fear attack by both bandit and beast. As I stand by watching, a sweet mingling of their odors rises on a draft. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.


Notes: cedar crystals, wood sap, black thyme, oak, immortelle, beeswax, silver birch, rum absolute and tonka bean

Top image from “Pillars of the Earth,” Photo of Tree Knot is mine.

6 thoughts on “Serge Lutens, Chêne

  1. Talk about being…gobsmacked, flabbergasted, discombobulat…you get the idea! Dee…if that’s not a great recommendation – and for one of my all-time favorite, favorite, favorite scents, no less – I don’t know what IS! 😀

    It will take WEEKS to wipe this happy grin off my face. WEEKS, I tell ya!

    I love Chêne. I love it so much, I had to write about it, too! And btw – keep reading! There are other references to Chêne in other places, too!

    1. What I love, Tarleisio, is that I can chat with the author (the author!!!) of my new favorite book at the end of each chapter. 🙂

      I’m trying really hard not to read while at work…

      Chêne is really neat. I’m glad that I didn’t sniff it right away, because approaching it with the idea of “armor” totally shaped the scenario that took place in my head, which was a real pleasure.

  2. I habe been meaning to start reading Tarleisios book too, it sounds so intriguing, but as usual life is not cooperating. I don’t know when I will find the time to just read a book 😦 sigh
    About Chene, I have not tried it yet, always stayed beneath my radar, but after such an evocative review it can no longer stay ignored.

  3. I keep seeing mentions of this book. I need to get my hands on it.

    And Chene, I’ve already fallen in love with Chene. Quite recently – a year ago, I didn’t like it one bit, but on my latest trip to Barney’s, I learned that my perfume taste has changed even more than I thought.

    1. Yes, get your hands on that book! You can click on the link in my quote, or google “Quantum Demonology.” I’m totally hooked 🙂

      It’s crazy how how our tastes evolve; I’ve noticed that, like you, I grow to appreciate things I thought I never would. As we learn and grow, we expand our palette!

      Caveat and confession—there are lot’s of things that I appreciate for their beauty or complexity, but are not things that I really want to wear. Chêne is powerful and beautiful, but probably won’t be going into regular rotation.


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