Building a Serge Lutens collection: Santal Blanc

More than any other line, Serge Lutens scents are slowly winning over any other line. Well, they actually already won and I’m not even close to owning bottles of all of those I love. That is one of the reasons I am very attached to my credit cards. 🙂

I swapped some time ago for a small decant of Santal Blanc and I totally fell in love with at first smell but didn’t give much thought to actually thinking about what is it that I love so much (probably due to the fact I couldn’t at first recognize any note out of it).

So, the other day after feeling so low I decided to visit Martimex (used to be my favourite perfume/skincare store – maybe will be again) and see if they have Douce Amere before the bottles disappear forever. They didn’t but I saw Santal Blamc and while discussing some other things with the very helpful SA and buying some of them, I decided I will be going home with SB. 🙂 And since I did, it was time to give it a proper sniff and review.

Notes: white sandalwood, cinammon, fenugreek, pink pepper, rose, jasmine, orris root, musk, benzoin, copaiba balsam.

I’m still struggling a bit with it because to me it is complex and not easily broken down into notes. It starts with this warm sandal feel but it has much more depth than those words imply. The slightly warm feeling reminded me of cumin but it’s not exactly that – cumin has a “distinctive” warm smell while this just smells slightly spicy and warm (my guess fenugreek and musk?). Anway, smelling it without notes, I would never have thought of cinammon and then afterward I thought I smelled it through this white sandal spicy warmth but cannot say that for sure. I started to think of it as warm and cuddly but although it comes close to being that, it doesn’t actually get into that category. There is a spicy/woody edge that just doesn’t let it get there and I appreciate it. It exactly fits with me when I want to smell warm and approachable but strong.

I find it rich and deep, I guess all those bottom notes give it that quality. Honestly though, I don’t know where the jasmine and rose are – probably blended so well into the structure that my untrained nose just can’t get them. It took me a while (although it shouldn’t have) to figure out that the slightly boozy-vanilla hint was coming from benzoin (I know that usually!).

It really isn’t an easy perfume for me to get to the bottom of – I got the feeling like it has this quality of its ingredient notes being wet. Not an aquatic note but more like some of the ingredients were wet when getting into the formula. And it gives it even more depth and body. This wetness dissipates later and I’m left with a drydown of benzoin and sandalwood hinting at some saltiness coming from orris (that would be my conclusion).

And since I mentioned my collection, it already has: Cedre, Serge Noir, Chergui and now Santal Blanc (I also have Feminite du Bois but that is a special category). Those that I know I will buy (eventually) are: Douce Amere, Fille en Aiguilles and Fleurs d’Oranger. But since I haven’t smelled all of them, you never know what else might come along.

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12 thoughts on “Building a Serge Lutens collection: Santal Blanc

  1. ChickenFreak February 5, 2010 at 09:24 Reply

    OK, I need to try this one again. I just can't quite seem to understand it, so the sample continues to be un-evaluated. I think that your review will inspire me to try it enough to make up my mind. (As soon as I can find the sample. Those samples that you haven't tried in a while do tend to fade into the crowd…)

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  2. Ines February 5, 2010 at 09:31 Reply

    CF, I can see how this one calls for several tries and then you still might not be sure what to think. :)And your thought on the samples fading – so true! Yesterday I decided to transfer my stuff into a bag I haven't used for a year and while putting them in and checking all the pockets, I found a bag with some 10 samples in it that I completely forgot about. I was deliriously happy when I saw that those are samples I ordered when beginning this perfume journey and that time has come to give them a better sniff. 🙂

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  3. Rose February 5, 2010 at 14:05 Reply

    Ah Serge Lutens- I remember discovering these, a wonderful day! My faves are FDB (but as you say prob different category), Boid du Vanille though I can't wear it strangely, Fleur D'Oranger and Claire De Musc- which is quite an un Serge scent and quite an un me scent but I just think is a perfect musk smell. Apparently it's going to be discontinued though which is maddening.

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  4. Ines February 5, 2010 at 16:53 Reply

    Rose, thanks for stopping by. :)Now you got me wondering. I don't really like musk much (most of it that is) but now that you mentioned it in such context, I should definitely try it before it disappears forever. 🙂

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  5. Bloody Frida February 10, 2010 at 16:00 Reply

    I love his Sa Majeste la Rose! I'm trying to get a bottle on ebay.

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  6. Ines February 10, 2010 at 16:11 Reply

    Bloody Frida, I seem to have a prejudice against rose for some reason. and I always get surprised when it turns out I like something and it contains rose in an amount that is noticeable.I will definitely try this.

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  7. Anonymous June 29, 2010 at 10:56 Reply

    Dear Ines,Hope, you can help=) Are there any other niche fragrances at Martimex? And what's the address of this store in Zagreb?Thanks!=)Daria

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  8. Ines June 29, 2010 at 11:05 Reply

    Daria, I can tell you what I remember seeing there (the store is on the Jelacic square, the main square).They have some Hermes, Etro, some Guerlains not usually found in stores, and I'm pretty sure one other line which I can't remember what it is. :)Hope this helps. :)You have also Viktor Koncept and Institut Parfumeur Flores for more niche lines.

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  9. daria June 29, 2010 at 12:21 Reply

    Maybe Bond No 9 and/or Creed?=))You're a treasure, thanks!=) I did found a lot about Flores and Viktor, including the informations in your blog. It was VERY helpful, since I have a homepage about perfume places in different cities/countries, and I was searching for such places in Zagreb. Given that my croatian is not good at all, you and your blog were very helpful!! =)))) I'll give a link to your wonderful articles about Flores and Viktor!YoursDaria

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  10. Ines June 29, 2010 at 12:35 Reply

    Thanks Daria! :)They used to have Bond no.9 but no longer I think. You could be right about Creed though.If you give me a link to your homepage, I can link to it on my blog.

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  11. Anonymous July 30, 2012 at 09:47 Reply

    Lutens Santal Blanc is the perfume of the red-haired! I love it too, silky woody drydown, beautiful.Marine

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  12. Ines July 30, 2012 at 11:34 Reply

    Hi, Marine, thanks for stopping by.I didn't think of Santal Blanc as a perfume for the red-haired but now you mentioned it, it obviously is when more redheads love it. 🙂

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