I first smelled Fleurs d'Oranger at The Perfume House this past summer. Serge Lutens is probably my favorite perfume line. Every time I'm at The Perfume House (one of the only places in the United States that carries the line, and, lucky for me, in Portland!), I always linger in the Serge Lutens section.
Even though I don't care for every Serge Lutens creation, I always find them interesting. They're some of the most innovative, different scents I've ever smelled. It's very black or white with me and Serge-- either I fall madly, deeply in love or the juice is totally, completely not for me. This is trouble. How do you not buy a perfume you fall madly in love with, at first sniff? I thought I'd had my fill with A La Nuit, a gorgeous blend of three types of jasmine. I couldn't wait to get to Paris to buy Bois de Violette (one that's not imported to the United States). I didn't care for Douce Amere, Datura Noire, Chergui or Fumerie Turque. Or even Sa Majeste La Rose. I thought I'd smelled what I'd smelled and had my fill (as had my wallet).
Then Fleurs d'Oranger wacked me upside the head.
I was at The Perfume House to meet Angela for the first time. She's a writer for my favorite perfume blog, Now Smell This, and when I found out she lived in Portland, too, I suggested we meet at the shop for some sniffing.
I'd already sprayed it before she got there. I met her, shook her hand and then said, "Ok, smell this!" And shoved my wrist under her nose. Without missing a beat she said, "Wow, that's gorgeous on you!" and I said, "Yeah, I know, OH NO!"
$110 later, I was the proud owner of a 50 mL bottle, all wrapped up in a polkadotted black bag (I also bought Louis Ferraud's Love Story, for a whopping $33! Couldn't pass it up).
Where do I even start with such a great scent? In the beginning, I get the most perfect, equal blend of tuberose, jasmine and candied orange peel. It sparkles. It shines. It illuminates. It brings me such joy. Underneathe all that is the most gorgeous, freshest rose I've ever smelled in a perfume. It's subtle; the jasmine and tuberose definitely fight for the front row, but there it is: rose rose rose.
What follows is a touch of cumin (Angela picked this out right away and it was confirmed from the little list of notes the store had). I don't think I would have picked it out myself, but now that I know of it (and smelled a jar of powdered cumin back at home to verify what it smells like), I can smell it in the background. It's slowly simmering on the back burner. It grounds the sweetness, diminishes the potential cloyingness and most of all, gives the perfume warmth. This scent is far from cool; it radiates sparkly rays of sunshine and always cheers me up.
Coincidentally, one of my male friends fell in love with it, too, about a month ago. He's a fellow perfume fan, and is the person who introduced me to The Perfume Shop a couple years ago. All Serge Lutens fragrances are unisex. On him, the orange really shines through, along with a bitter tea note and lots of woods. I love that-- how the same scent can smell so different on someone else.