Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine"
W. Shakespeare - A Midsummer night's dream
The smell of an autumnal wood, where you can smell not only the timber, but the whole naked tree, its roots covered in dust, dry foliage glued by the resins drops oozed from the bark, a hollow with a beehive inside, moss and ivy leafs. Lutens expresses here his usual sumptuousness choosing new unexpected words: Chêne has a dry, even slightly bitter mood that confers to it definitely a masculine character.
Chêne is the aroma of a fairy wood, it suggests how the king of fairies Oberon’s couch smells, picturing images of him drunk surrounded by fauns and forests in all their neglected grotesque sumptuousness. This is the suggestion this woody-green creation by Serge Lutens and Christian Sheldrake suggests to me as it fully discloses all the facets around its name and represents a remarkable digression from the candied, spiced and few times even too syrupy Lutens classic register without losing its surreal distinguishing style.
The olfactory pyramid declares cedar crystals, sap notes, birch, Tonka bean, rhum absolute, black thyme, resins, beeswax, immortelle flower, undergrowth moss and from the green and mossy tones, coupled with the booze tinges, one could be led initially to think to certain 80’s macho juices. Anyway smelling it you quickly realize that it goes far beyond, developing a so complex balance of sharpness and powderness of rhum and immortelle, dryness and softness of black thyme and beeswax, warmth and coldness, shades and lights of the olfactory picture, that immediately realize from the lack of a hammering woody note this is a manly scent but for sure not a macho at all sharing some common points with Guerlain Coriolan, Chanel Antaeus and Lutens Un bois sepia.
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