Bitter Sweet Symphony – Review: Serge Lutens Douce Amere

It is not often, that I fall for a Serge Lutens creation immediately.

Too often have I been dissapointed in something I was totally set to adore from what I heard about it, only to turn my nose on it upon first sniff or only coming to a kind of truce with it after a prolonged period of back and forth.

Douce Amere was different.
I had no expectations whatsoever, I received a sample of it recently, and it was one of the few in the brands line up that never caught my interest. Absinthe, hhmmm, never having smelled that before, I just associated something alcoholic, bitter and verboten, so, good girl that I am, that did not interest me.

I sprayed it on my hand, and immediately I was enraptured. Sweet, soft, that indescribably light bitter, pistachio colored note of absinthe in the heart, perfection. So if that is what verboten smells like, damn, I missed a lot then… (Absinthe and cursing, where did the good girl go???)

When I wear it, I thoroughly enjoy the soft tendrils of scent that pass by my nose when I move, I am aware of it and being reminded of it whenever a breath of air moves around me. I really enjoy that it is never overpowering, cloying or overly demanding, but still unique and instantly recognizable. It is quite strong, and longwearing, but stays close to me, just the way I like a perfume to behave. When I close my eyes and smell Douce Amere I see those pale sage green colored almonds, that are often used at weddings or christenings. I hear The Verve´s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” in my head. Almonds and music, not bad for a fragrance.

Douce Amere is described as a “fresh oriental”, and features notes of cinnamon, artemisia absinthium, anise, lily, jasmine, tiare flower, tagette, cedar, musk. The perfumer was Christopher Sheldrake, it was released in 2000.

Of all the featured notes, I have to confess I get none, not a single one. It is so well blended and smooth, that I smell only the sweetness and that lovely pale green bitter note, I assume to be the absinthe. Douce Amere is the first and to date the only Serge Lutens creation I love unconditionally. I can highly recommend it.

My husband did not comment on it, which can only be interpreted as a good sign. Whenever he notices a scent on me, it is sure to be a negative review on his part, whenever I smell good, I think he assumes that is just me 🙂

Now that is just fine by me…

This post if the kick-off to Lutens week, I plan one Serge review a day for the coming week. I would love to hear about your favorite Serge creation! Please tell me in the comments!

Picture sources:, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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6 Responses to Bitter Sweet Symphony – Review: Serge Lutens Douce Amere

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  4. GeM says:

    Truly unique Masterpiece!!! ★…★…★…★…★
    This is more than a Guerlinade…. More than a ‘je ne sais quoi’……….!
    Beauty, Profoundness, Mystery, Sensuality, Complexity, Melancholy…….. it’s like those alchemy recipes made by witches and fairies…
    It’s pure fantastic tale!!!
    It’s awesome!!!!
    I’m mute……..!!!

    It belongs to other times and places that I’ve never lived apparently… except by reading books or by watching movies, so … yes, maybe I’ve felt even more intensely!!
    It’s made of the same stuff as dreams.
    Well, I’m a full-time dreamer, and I know it, a Love is born.

  5. Pingback: Magic Skin! – Review: Guerlain Angelique Noire | Olfactoria's Travels

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