It’s been a while since I have written about a Serge Lutens perfume, but I would seem to be the ideal candidate for Des Clous Pour Une Pelure (nails for a peel; i.e a clove-studded orange). I love both notes. I love nutmeg. And I love this blue bottle.
The scent itself has a certain fresh, untrended appeal – a bit left of centre, a bit ‘out of the middle of nowhere’, probably best suited to deep winter, although I don’t find it warming or lovely enough to be entirely cherishable. The base is a woody spiced, delicately ambered scent that takes me back to gingery men’s fragrances of the 80’s such as Ricci Club and Versace Pour L’Homme – wearable, easy going – it would make quite a nice daytime scent for just hanging out.
The top is very cloved, initially, with a fresh, grapefruity-orange-mandarin note that should feel natural and harmonious with the spices but which personally reminds me of brightly coloured Christmas candles – I don’t feel the peel is correctly studded with the spicy nails; that something is slightly off.
Monsieur Lutens has always been playful and capricious, though, making some interestingly odd little perfumes : he also likes to rejig his collection every once in a while – putting the bottles in entirely different flacons, reformulating them, rearranging the prices – in a sometimes seemingly ad hoc fashion.
Louve, Tubéreuse Criminelle, and Borneo 1834 – three of my favourites from the line – are now in these gratte-ciel skyscraper bottles and are more than twice as expensive (about ¥34,000) as those in the ‘new’ Collection of Politeness ( ¥14,500 – much more doable) which features Des Clous Pour Une Pelure, alongside some golden oldies such as Fleurs De Citronnier, Santal Blanc, Gris Clair, the cold and metallic LEau Froide and L’Eau Paille, and the abisinthine, more herbal and smoky Eau Armoise which I have yet to smell ( I can’t believe I haven’t been to Tokyo in over a year……)
A slight release, then, but one with its own particular idiosyncrasies that will probably find its own niche, quite good for a ‘spiced beginner’ if not destined to become a Lutensian Classic. At the end of the day, the prolific Serge Lutens is always bound by aesthetics – I could buy this perfume for the bottle alone – because he is a true aesthete at heart and always has been.
And I have to say I do love him for that.