Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane

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After mentioning Nuit de Cellophane in a previous review for Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus, I thought it only right that I should quick hightail it on over to the sample department and snag a vial of the new Lutens osmanthus-based fragrance, just for comparison’s sake.

Back in December of 2008, when the name of the fragrance was first revealed, some of the more . . . erm . . . “fanciful” perfume bloggers contorted themselves into the most awkward positions in an attempt to derive some deep or hidden meaning from the words, but my own take on it was pretty simple:

“I was thinking the name might be a play on packaging, and since it’s Nuit de Cellophane, it might signify that it’s a fragrance specifically designed as special occasion wear — a kind of shimmering wrap to envelop and protect the wearer. That’s my impression, and it would be a good commercial move for Lutens since a good portion of his existing fragrances lean fairly rich and dense. A light, sparkling fragrance would be a good addition to the line — a Serge Lutens aldehyde, maybe?”

Lo and behold, but that’s pretty much exactly what Nuit de Cellophane turned out to be: a sparkling, shimmering wrap of a fruit-laced floral over a woods and musk core that eschews overt complexity for ease of wear (though complexity is not altogether abandoned — see: jasmine). Yet the mainstream quality of the scent seemed to surprise a number of reviewers who were chomping at the bit for yet another Serge Lutens mystery potion.

For example:

I Smell Therefore I Am: “There is absolutely nothing unusual, unique, jarring or unexpected about Nuit de Cellophane. It is very pretty, very well done and very mainstream.”

1000 Frangrances: “Though I find it not very creative, except for the name, the fragrance smells absolutelly great, like its inspiration.”

Grain de Musc: “Nuit de Cellophane finds the dark magus of the Palais Royal in a mellow, purring, white angora kitten mode.”

Perfume Posse: “Should be a Serge mainstream winner. It is beautiful and not edgy in the least.”

But while it’s probably one of the easiest Lutens you’ll find yourself testing and/or wearing, Nuit de Cellophane’s simplicity is deceptive. Serge Lutens’ ultimate fangirl The Non-Blonde describes it this way: “Nuit de Cellophane does this thing that makes me feel 2″ taller and gives me cheekbones.”

I think that probably sums it up best — it’s a mainstream fragrance that’s part SoCal cheerleader, part East Coast sophisticate, as if Lutens and perfumer Sheldrake genetically spliced Farah Fawcett with Katherine Hepburn and emerged with the best of both worlds . . . a transformative scent that clings to the wearer like a hint of screen siren, lending a heightened sense of gilded beauty to go along with those fast-talking cheekbones.

Listed scent notes are: green note, fruity note, jasmine, osmanthus, carnation, lily, muscs, almond, wood and honey. The jasmine and carnation provide a spicy, fleshy layer that bridges the gap between the bright fruit, osmanthus and lily notes and the smooth musks and woods lightly flavored with almond and honey. The jasmine is exceptionally indolic and provides an intellectually engaging counterbalance to the sweeter, flirtier side of Nuit de Cellophane.

UPDATE:

A friend sent me some photos upon her receipt of a bottle of Nuit de Cellophane from Lucky Scent out of Los Angeles. I’ll let her out herself in the comments if she wants to take credit for them, but I thought they were way too much fun to just keep all to myself (my mother taught me to share, you know) — click here to see more of Nuit de Cellophane.

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