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August 10, 2011

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane : Perfume Review

Cellophane

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

If Nuit de Cellophane arrived under a big perfume house label, I would probably not have smelled it more than a couple of times and forgotten it, but it is a testament to the pull of Serge Lutens’ name that despite my initial disappointment, I kept revisiting it. I suppose that I have held hope that one day I would smell this bland fruity-floral and will figure out what Serge Lutens was trying to achieve with it. It has been a year since I have first smelled Nuit de Cellophane and no such revelation has occurred—it still smells like shampoo to me and I still do not care for it.

The idea of Nuit de Cellophane sounds very appealing—an accord of osmanthus framed by sandalwood and animalic notes. Osmanthus flowers smell deliciously of ripe apricot with a hint of warm leather. This complex and nuanced scent is a perfume in itself, and it is rare to find a fragrance that is built predominantly around this note. The opening stage of Nuit de Cellophane is the aspect I dislike the most. The sharp, fruity note that comes through evokes not the velvety softness of apricot skin but rather some drugstore peach shampoo. It is neither pleasant nor interesting, and while eventually it softens enough to reveal the osmanthus heart, the banality of the first impression stays with me.

As the composition develops, the apricot-leather accord becomes stronger, with jasmine and rose highlighting its appealing sweetness. The animalic accents are subtle, never rising above the osmanthus, even in the late drydown. It is a pleasant fragrance at this stage, light and easy to wear. Considering that such compositions are easy enough to find (and often at a much lower price point, I should add) I cannot find any other quality that makes Nuit de Cellophane appealing to me. On the other hand, whenever I crave a rich osmanthus experience, I reach for Hermès Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan, Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus or Lutens’ own Datura Noir.

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane includes notes of mandarin, mandarin zest, jasmine sambac, osmanthus, Mysore sandalwood, castoreum, and civet. It is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum. Nuit de Cellophane is sold in the export range. The export line fragrances are available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations.

Sample: my own acquisition

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