Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Serge Lutens Gris Clair

OMG--Thank you, Trina, for sending me a generous sample of Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal (Shiseido) Gris Clair (clear grey: ashes and lavender) to test with. This is an awesome perfume, totally signature-worthy--excellent quality but also an imaginative, somewhat quirky, perfectly balanced blend of contrasts: cool and warm, sweet yet airy, spicy yet subtle and not a sexy scent per se but it's pretty sensual stuff, not a wallflower by any stretch. Maybe it's not office-appropriate because it's somewhat gourmand-Oriental sweet but I feel a professional and confident presence and a bold, intelligent character in it, and there's passion there. I smell a bit of the menthol note I find in Tubereuse Criminelle in it but very lightly. It seems versatile; I'll say it has a unisex, somewhat masculine fresh-spicy herbaceous lavender overtone, yet the delicious ambery-woodsy base is cotton candy light and ethereal. Gris Clair is simply heaven in a bottle, and I see a Serge Lutens purchase in my future.

My other favorite Serge Lutens perfumes are Un Lys and Tubereuse Criminelle. One is a heady and rich, superflowery lily-vanilla-musk blend that's creamy, soft and manages to remind me of lilac; the other is a heady, heavy yet fresh and gorgeous, bold and sophisticated menthol-medicinal tuberose that breaks every rule of how nice a perfume should be by being intentionally weird. I would still buy them both given the chance, but as beautiful and exclusive (literally--they're only sold in Paris--not even in Japan and Shiseido is the company that makes them!) as they are, they were acquired loves whereas I instantly liked Gris Clair from the first sniff out of the vial. I'm still sometimes unsure about the aftershave-y aspect of it, as it can remind me of Creed Green Irish Tweed or Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel...OK, I'll think about this more before I jump on an impulsive buy. It also reminds me of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb which I know Trina is a fan of.

If Calvin Klein Euphoria can smell as manly as it does and be feminine, why not Gris Clair? I mean, I was hoping for an everyday scent with more cojones after all, so this is perfect. Gris Clair is called an Aromatic fragrance, and it happens to be one of my favorite fragrance families. Oh, how I recommend this to anyone who can handle a little sugar and spice with woods and herbs. All this time, I was sure I wasn't a spice girl. See; there was a reason I put some spice in my Pink Manhattan, too. Oh, Gris Clair, Gris Clair, GRIS CLAIR...and I even love the grey color of the perfume inside the simple tall rectangular bottle like a skyscraper.

Gris Clair is the newest addition to Serge Lutens’s “export” line of fragrances. Notes: Mediterranean lavender, amber, tonka bean, iris, dry wood and incense.