Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Serge Lutens Arabie

Could this be one of the good Uncle's most polarising fragrances (let's not even talk about Miel de Bois)? Arabie was the first Lutens perfume I ever tried, way back in the 'misty times' of 2007. It set the tone for what I initially thought applied to all the Lutens perfumes - that oft-talked about syrupy, stewed fruit accord. Arabie has it in spades, but over time, as I've got to know and love the Lutens line, I realise that in actual fact not that many Lutens really have that accord. At least, I don't think so.

To this day, I still don't know if I like Arabie. It is strong, forceful, long-lasting and very distinctive. I get the feeling that it is likely to wear someone rather than the other way round. Yet, in a strange way, I do like it. I think once the initial stewed fruit and spicy blast calms (which admittedly is a while) it becomes a very complex and nuanced perfume. Through all the spice and fruit is essentially what I perceive as a fruity leather fragrance, although this accord is not mentioned and I could be wrong. I suppose the intense spiciness of the fragrance just makes me think of leather. I think for most people, this could be a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance.

Like some of Lutens intense and challenging perfumes, I don't think I could wear Arabie frequently, but I do like trying it on occasion. One thing is for sure - it takes no prisoners.


  1. It's interesting to me that you reviewed Arabie because I have just been wearing my old Jean Patou re-issues from the 80's and it struck me all at once, that Normandie was quite like Arabie. You wouldn't think that a perfume made in 1935 would be that edgy would you? And yet it was all there, the autumnal fruitiness, the dry spice,and the dark amber dry down. Not a doppelganger but certainly a long lost uncle.

  2. Blacknall, that is very interesting. I haven't tried the Jean Patou perfume you refer to. In fact, is it even easy to find them?

  3. They turn up from time to time on Ebay but the decanting businesses are the best way to sample them. I'm perfectly happy to share what I have, and who knows, perhaps the new owners of Patou will bring back some of the old perfumes?

  4. Thanks Blacknall, perhaps they will, but I wonder how changed they would be?



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