I can’t remember anticipating a Serge Lutens release as much as this for a long while. The name of De Profundis had captured my imagination well before the beautiful bell jar with the purple juice arrived in its black box. Describing De Profundis, M. Lutens once again reached Sfinxish heights, referencing certain periods of French and English literature and its flirtatious fascination with death.
I find it is a fragrance full of quiet surprises on every corner you turn with it, from the very first green notes of the funeral march, to the last sweet whispers from beyond. Much has been written about the resemblance to funeral wreaths, church yards and mourning veils, but to me it’s not gothic and dark, if any connection to these, it’s more like a remembrance, a peaceful celebration, a sanctuary. But having said that, I don’t feel that the fragrance has limitations as such, I could certainly wear it often. Perhaps because it’s a quiet, all be it persistent, Serge. De Profundis Clamavi might translate as I shouted from the depths, but there is never any shouting from De Profundis EdP.
I like the opening of the green yet friendly, chrysanthemums followed by the cool violet and rest of the bouquet, which together with the aldehydes are all together more extrovert and less melancholic than I would have expected. The flowers have a bit of own spiciness and it feels like some musk works its way into the bouquet as the violet softly withers from the perfume. I get the decided feeling that the fragrance itself yearns and beseeches you to think of the violet, once gone, like an echo. There is incense but I find it only detectable as a feeling of calm and quiet, it isn’t a dominant note, and yet it almost feels like it is a main player of the fragrance because of the serenity it emits. Is it perhaps some chamomile which reinforces that sensation of peacefulness as the perfume slowly descends into the base? This is richer than one would have expected of the opening and the aldehydic flowers, yes, it turns out to surprise by its Lutenesque familiarity. Like a last caress, it whispers of spices and warmth.
I imagined many different poems and poets, before receiving De Profundis, but the one I’d like to share with you that I find to be the closest poetic soundtrack is by Rainer Maria Rilke and called Traumgekrönt.
Das war der Tag der weißen Chrysanthemen,
Mir bangte fast vor seiner Pracht…
Und dann, dann kamst du mir die Seele nehmen
Tief in der Nacht.
Mir war so bang, und du kamst lieb und leise,
Ich hatte grad im Traum an dich gedacht.
Du kamst, und leis’ wie eine Märchenweise
Erklang die Nacht.
Crowned with dreams
That was the day of the white chrysanthemums,
Its splendor almost frightened me,
And then, then you came to take my soul
At the dead of night.
I was so frightened, and you came sweetly and gently
I had been thinking of you in my dreams.
You came, and soft as a fairy tune
The night resounded.