November 14, 2011

Perfume review: Serge Lutens Vitriol d'Oeillet

I recently stopped by the Serge Lutens counter to get back-ups of my beloved Bois Vanille and Five O'Clock, and the lady gave me a couple of samples of the new and much awaited fragrance release, Vitriol d'Oeillet.

Talk about a name, vitriolic Carnation. To me this sounded dark, possibly violent, and at the same time quite old-fashioned. Frankly, when was the last time you saw a carnation? You get the point.
Actually, launching a Carnation based perfume nowadays is quite a daring gesture, as there are IFRA restrictions on a lot of the ingredients that are needed to create the Carnation smell, so Mr Lutens is facing a big challenge here.
What he wanted to do with this fragrance was recreate a fragrance that would evoke 19th century dandies in a woody spicy way, and would be wearable for both men and women. He also wanted this Carnation to be angry, hence the vitriolic atmosphere.

When I first sprayed it on, my first reaction was: "Wow. Wow, wow, wow!" and you should read that in a claustrophobic tone, because I was actually feeling invaded and overwhelmed by the fragrance. These were the top notes, full of clove and all kinds of peppers, jumping at me in a quite agressive way.
That lady Carnation, she's not a femme fatale: she's wearing war paint with her stilettos, her teeth are deadly sharp and she's a killer. She's probably the cousin of another Lutens perfume called Tubereuse Criminelle (criminal tuberose).

The clove and pepper never disappear, but quite fast, the dry down reveals a subtle flowery note made of wallflower, lily and ylang-ylang. That's the most interesting moment for me, as the scent is complex and you have to stay focused to distinguish the flower behind the pepper but it's there, and it's beautiful. 

And then? Well, to my disappointment, nothing. I was expecting Vitriol d'Oeillet to linger on my skin for a long time but it just disappeared after a few hours. Sad conclusion.

So, my overall opinion on this... The name is justified by the opening, but those top notes don't stay violent for more than a few minutes. The dry-down is less old-fashioned than I expected, as this fragrance never fully turns into a floral and stays a strong woody spicy one till the end because it is loaded with black pepper, pink pepper, pimento and clove that will just not go away. But there are lovely flower notes somewhere behind them, and they're not as old-fashioned as I expected them to be. And, that is an important point for me, I don't think Vitriol d'Oeillet would be bothering to the people around you as it's not strong to the point that it invades the whole room.

If this fragrance weren't disappearing so fast on me, I would consider it as a special occasion/ evening out perfume. I think it would also be beautiful on women layered with something more floral, and I definitely think that this is a great fragrance for men when worn on its own.


  1. My last perfume crush is Jamin Rouge from Tom Ford. I smelled it in Selfridges and was not impressed at first but it ages like a dream on my skin. I felt intensely gorgeous and sexy with it in. But the price is a big fat no for now :)
    My two dreamt Lutens are Datura Noir and Nuit de Cellophane ^^. The first is winterish and the second more sunny summery to me!

  2. @ Lambda: didn't you get a Lutens last time we were shopping?
    Tom Ford are good as well but expensive, indeed.

  3. I just cant help they are old women grandma scents. They smell nice on the bottle then on skin they turn on you and they are like.. Powdery floral pensioner. I have bought 3 now all of which I have had to give away!!

  4. @ Tali, I ALWAYS make sure I wear a perfume for a whole day before I buy it. If I can't get samples, I spritz it on my arm at the store in the morning and check how it evolves during the day!


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