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March 09, 2011

Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger : Fragrance Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

Fleurs d’Oranger is an orange blossom that pretends to be a tuberose. Or perhaps vice versa. Either way, this Serge Lutens composition dispels any illusions about flowers being sheer, pretty and delicate. Fleurs d’Oranger is sultry and opulent and is one of the most dramatic floral compositions, oscillating between the honeyed sweetness of white blossoms and the salty muskiness of sunwarmed skin.

Created in 1995 by Christopher Sheldrake, the perfumer responsible for most of the Serge Lutens collection, Fleurs d’Oranger is a fragrance for those who cannot get enough lush, white floral notes. Jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose are used in bold strokes to create the main outline of the composition. The fragrance opens up on a note of mandarin and Concord grape (or wild strawberry, depending on one’s cultural background). This sweet, juicy effect occurs naturally in orange blossom and tuberose. To create an especially vivid and striking sensation, Sheldrake amplifies it dramatically. The salty, woody note of cumin gives the floral heart a seductive aura.

As the composition dries down, the cool rose notes create a welcome counterpoint to the heaving mass of blossoms. A sheer accord of musk and cedarwood provides a soft foil for the final orange blossom and tuberose chords of Fleurs d’Oranger. While the honeyed richness of the composition is retained throughout its development, the polished simplicity of the drydown makes it more balanced.

Fleurs d’Oranger was reformulated recently, though even the new version is quite beautiful. The main difference is that it feels fresher and brighter, with the honeyed heft of orange blossom and tuberose being somewhat lightened. The spicy notes are likewise toned down and there is a stronger candy sweet note of vanilla in the drydown. Comparatively, I find the new Fleurs d’Oranger more luminous and easier to wear. Nevertheless, if one expects a well-behaved and demure floral, discovering the true nature of this fragrance will be a shock. It is unabashedly decadent, heady and rich. Make the mistake of applying more than one spray, and you will find yourself searching for some air. Beautiful, but quite demanding, so proceed with caution.

Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger includes notes of neroli, orange blossom, white jasmine, Indian tuberose, white rose, cumin, wood and musk. While it is not in the same olfactory profile, Fleurs d’Oranger evokes to me the spirit of Christian Dior Poison and Giorgio Beverly Hills. It is really that bold! Fleurs d’Oranger is sold in the export range. The export line of fragrances is available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations.



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