Sunday, 9 October 2011

Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore

It was with great glee that I recently opened one of my sample packages from The Perfumed Court and saw the little vial of Santal de Mysore. I was quite taken with the intensity of the appearance of the juice itself, which in a certain light is jewel-like and looks like it carries a punch, a bit like others in Lutens' stable, such as Fumerie Turque, Chergui, Ambre Sultan, etc. 

I've seen pictures of Santal de Mysore packaged in the standard-issue tall bottle, common to the export range and saw it listed on Luckyscent's website, so it leads me to believe that this has been available as a limited edition export at some point. Well, I certainly have never seen it here in the UK, but that's not to say it hasn't. In any event, the bell jar pictured above is so beautiful that I preferred to present this picture instead.

The opening of Santal de Mysore is a little strange. There is quite a hefty dose of sandalwood, but it is mingled with certain notes that are decidedly gourmand. I immediately got the connection with another, more recent Lutens creation, Jeux de Peau. I'm not saying the opening is identical, far from it. While Jeax de Peau smells very bread-and-pastry like, Mysore     is a more restrained version. Many reviews I've read of Mysore describe it as smelling like a sandalwood and curry pudding, or something to that effect. While cumin is listed in the notes, I honestly do not get any curry association with this perfume. I do get a gourmand feel to start, with a little spice, yes. But curry? No. 

The middle phase of Mysore is possibly my favourite part, when I detect a musky skin scent, ever so slightly dirty/sexy, that reminds me a little of Kurkdjian's Absolue Pour le Soir, mixed with a woody sandalwood and what I thought was a gorgeous incense note cutting through. The notes don't mention incense, but list styrax and benzoin, which I think might be lending this effect. 

In the dry down the perfume sweetens slightly and becomes milder, when I can most identify with the progression from Mysore to Santal Blanc to Jeux de Peau. Although these three perfumes were all released at very different times, they all share some lineage. Santal de Mysore is a perfume that has marvelous presence and longevity. I dabbed it from a vial and it wears very well that way, when it is warm and intimate, but still full of character. I suspect spraying from a bottle it could produce quite a lot of sillage. 

I haven't tried many Lutens non-exports, but Santal de Mysore is one of those perfumes that to me I almost knew from first spray I was going to like. I love it when I experience that thought-burst of "wow, this is amazing" and my senses go zing! That's a great sign for me that I have a new perfume love.

Incidentally, a few years ago I ordered the wax samples of the non-exports and I have to say that they give you very little of the true feel and smell of the actual perfume. After I had a shower, the faint smell left was closest to what the wax sample smelled like. I think Santal de Mysore would work equally well on man or woman.


  1. I love that "wow" feeling. I'm a little tired of "working on my perfumes". It doesn't have to be too often, I'm fine going through dozens of samples with much more restrained reaction. But once in a while I want these butterflies in my stomach, I want that "wow". The question is: should I choose what I sample more carefully or should I just test more?

  2. Undina, you hit the nail on the head - I'm also a little tired of having to work to appreciate something. At least, some of the time. It's nice when it all clicks together. As to your question, I really don't know. In a way, I think the more one samples, the more one is likely to be disappointed, but that search and finding new loves is half the fun.



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