Monday, 21 February 2011

L'eau Serge Lutens

The marketing blurb for Serge Luten's L'eau was as ever, slightly fanciful. All this guff about an anti-perfume, with the emphasis on wanting to smell like a crisp, freshly laundered white shirt.

The notes, from Luckyscent, include aldehydes, citrus, magnolia, white mint, clary sage, ozonic notes and musk.

I have to admit, there is a ring of truth to the above. If I were to attribute a colour to L'eau, it would be white. And the fabric would be a linen, smartly-pressed shirt, well-tailored, not too smart, not raspy but not silky either. So what does that tell you about L'eau? Well, honestly, this style of perfume is not me at all, irrespective of who the house is or the perfumer. Having said that, L'eau is in my opinion actually very well done. I know there have been quite a number of negative reviews of L'eau, but as far as fresh and ozonic go, one could do a lot worse than try this little number. 

Usually when I read notes like ozonic and descriptions about crisp and fresh, I run a mile. But this is Lutens after all, and no matter what one says of L'eau, it certainly is not generic and manages to avoid the usual cliches, without smelling like  a synthetic mess in the process. This perfume is full of musk, from start to finish, but there is nothing skanky about it. The musk and aldehydes, with that touch of light herbs, citrus and just a hint of mint, give this perfume a feel of the laundry room, the air redolent with the fading heat and humidity of the iron. In fact, the smell mostly reminds me of that metallic, slightly ionic smell caused by a hot and steamy iron on fabric, so I think in this respect Lutens has been very successful with L'eau. 

The first half of L'eau is far more appealing to me, when the feel is most like that of cool, fresh laundry. In the dry down particularly, it all starts to smell a bit stale, when I wish the fragrance would change direction somewhat. Laundry musks only hold so much appeal for me after all.

As I said earlier, L'eau is not something I would consider wearing too often, but for what it is, it is quite impressive. If you enjoy this sort of perfume, L'eau will provide you with something bordering on fresh, with an intellectual twist to it and you could do far worse. Typically for Lutens, longevity is above average. This is one of the lighter and shorter-lived Lutens, but compared to other perfumes of its type, this lasts very well, at least 6-8 hours on my skin.


  1. Michael, I smelled this after reading many reviews and I guess the opposite happened then when you read good reviews and have great expectations. I found it better than described and even I'm also one of those running in the other direction when someone mentions ozonic and fresh, I can actually wear this one.

  2. Michael, I can imagine quite liking this, even though it is far outside of my 'type,' too. Serge got a lot of negative press for simply having the nerve to change up his style. I must give the guy props for having the courage to do something completely different.

    L'eau is one of those perfumes I will try if it crosses my path, but I don't feel the need to track it down. Thanks for giving it a fair review.

  3. Ines, just goes to show, doesn't it? It's nice to be quite pleasantly surprised for a change, rather than the other way round!

  4. Josephine, I'm with you. Even though I have a sample of it, and bottles at my local department store, I doubt I will ever buy a bottle of it. Shows how easily we can pigeonhole a perfumer or perfume house though.

  5. I tried the other day L'Eau. It's a scent I would wear many mornings and summer days. Not every day but it is a fresh signature scent that i like.



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