Tuesday, October 19, 2010

InStyle magazine awards The Posh Peasant!

The November, 2010, issue of InStyle magazine honors The Posh Peasant in their cover story called Best Online Shopping. We are listed on p. 246 under the best of beauty/fragrance websites. This is so exciting!

Plus, and this is probably what will interest you the most, (wink!) there is a discount code for 15% off with: instyle

Friday, October 1, 2010

Serge Lutens Bas de Soie and general thoughts on the Lutens brand

Just about every other perfume blogger has already weighed in on Bas de Soie. I purchased my bottle several months ago, and initially my reaction was “its ok, no big deal” and I didn’t even bother myself with writing a review.

I’m finding that more often than not, I need to experience a perfume for even longer than my usual self inflicted rule which is that I wear a fragrance for a minimum of 2-3 days, before I allow myself to make any sort of judgment on it. And I mean wear it, not a few dabs from a sample vial; instead I either spray liberally from the bottle itself or from a very large spray decant. I have now worn Bas de Soie for at least 7 full days and find myself becoming increasingly enamored with it.

The past few years I have been less and less enthused with anything new from the house of Serge Lutens. I didn’t think much of Nuit de Cellophane and I absolutely despise L’eau de Serge and think it’s a pathetic sell-out. I became so tired of anything with that trademark SL “stewed fruits” vibe that I almost didn’t bother sniffing a number of SL’s scent that were described as such. What I’ve come to realize is that the Serge Lutens brand has pumped out 50 fragrances between the years of 1992-2010 (see chronological list below). Of these 50 fragrances, I find only a handful truly remarkable, unusual and breathtaking. What I’ve come to realize is that the house of Serge Lutens isn’t suddenly changing or churning out a bunch of sell-outs (which even if some of the newest releases are sell-outs, we need to keep in mind that the house of SL is a business and need to profit lest they cease to exist). There is nothing wrong with creating fragrances that more mainstream consumers will like, in fact, if that’s what keeps SL in business, then I’m completely happy with that business model.

One issue with me and the Serge Lutens brand is that I’ve become tired of its exalted status. I’m so bored with reading reviews that I personally believe give SL/Sheldrake far too much over-the-top accolades for the product I end up smelling. I respect several bloggers who have oodles more aroma-chemical and technical knowledge than I ever will or ever want to have and I enjoy reading their perspectives. But when I find the perfume community going completely gaga over every last inane, mysterious or vague statement from Serge Lutens himself, it simply makes me roll my eyes. Oh, puh-leez.

Serge Lutens Bas de Soie is not spectacular. But here’s the weird part, I think I’ve really fallen in love with it. Part of my initial boredom with Bas de Soie was that I expected much more emphasis on hyacinth, or at least the sort of hyacinth I can recognize, because I really love this note. I love hyacinth in Chamade, Grand Amour and Parfums MDCI Un Coeur en Mai. So, my expectations were initially crushed when I first sniffed Bas de Soie because this scent is only minimally about hyacinth. When I first sniffed Bas de Soie, my reaction was that it was Iris Silver Mist light. This isn’t the case, BdS isn’t anywhere near the cold, rooty, artistic weirdness of ISM, but it starts off very much ado about iris and therein lies the comparison. There is also a sort of hairspray quality in BdS, which you either learn to love or ignore due to its other positive attributes. When PerfumeShrine suggested that with the launch of BdS, Lutens was doing Chanel, she wasn’t exaggerating. Bas de Soie could easily be mistaken for a Chanel fragrance, in fact, there’s a strong similarity with Chanel 28 La Pausa. I also notice similarities with Hermes Hiris, Donna Karan Iris and Prada Infusion d’Iris. What is special about Bas de Soie is that I like it better than all of these irises I just mentioned. Let me be frank, I would never wear Iris Silver Mist; I respect it and like to give it an occasional sniff but it’s an artistic scent, not a functional one, and one I would never wear in public. But, because these are functional fragrances, I would wear Chanel 28 La Pausa, Hermes Hiris, Prada Infusion d’Iris and Donna Karan Iris. The main problem with these four other irises is that they are gone in 14 minutes. I like Bas de Soie better because it’s slightly more potent and there is the hyacinth aspect, giving it a stronger floralcy and more of a “just plain pretty personality.”

Others have suggested a strong similarity with Chanel No. 19, and I do see that but BdS is so linear, minimalist and sheer it doesn’t even seem in the same league. Chanel No. 19 is a complex and classic “perfumey” fragrance while BdS is so much more linear and simple, without any of the darker base notes of No. 19.

After many months I’ve realized Bas de Soie is a winner for me, but it’s the sort that crept up on me, slowly, over many wearings and many comparisons with others in the same genre. It doesn’t smell groundbreaking in the least, and it’s certainly a functional fragrance compared with an artistic scent such as Iris Silver Mist, but in the big wide world of iris/hyacinth type perfumes, I really like Bas de Soie.

Creating the below chronological list of Serge Lutens fragrances was very helpful for me. I realized that SL has created far more functional as opposed to artistic fragrances over the years, which actually, makes me feel a bit better. I feel better because it’s not like the brand is changing for the worse, it’s just doing what it has always done; occasionally appeasing perfume connoisseurs with unusual artistic fragrances while staying in business with the pretty functional fragrances for the mainstream consumer.

1992 Feminite de Bois (Shiseido)
1992 Bois de Violette
1992 Bois et Fruits
1992 Bois et Musc
1992 Bois Oriental

1993 Ambre Sultan
1993 Rose de Nuit
1994 Un Bois Sepia
1994 Iris Silver Mist
1994 Un Lys

1995 Fleurs d’Oranger
1995 La Myrrhe

1996 Cuir Mauresque
1996 Encens et Lavande

1997 Santal de Mysore

1998 Muscs Koublai Khan
1998 Rahat Loukhoum

1999 Tubereuse Criminelle

2000 A La Nuit
2000 Arabie
2000 Douce Amere
2000 Sa Majeste La Rose

2001 Chergui
2001 Datura Noir
2001 Santal Blanc

2002 Vetiver Oriental

2003 Clair de Musc
2003 Fumerie Turque
2003 Un Bois Vanille

2004 Chene
2004 Daim Blond
2004 Fleurs de Citronnier

2005 Borneo 1834
2005 Cedre
2005 Miel de Bois

2006 Chypre Rouge
2006 Gris Clair
2006 Mandarine Mandarin

2007 Louve
2007 Rousse
2007 Sarrasins

2008 El Attarine
2008 Five O’Clock au Gingembre
2008 Serge Noire

2009 Filles en Aiguilles
2009 Fourreau Noir
2009 Nuit de Cellophane

2010 L’eau Serge Lutens
2010 Bas de Soie
2010 Boxeuses