La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens: A Religious Experience

Notes: mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento

“Forgive this fragrance, because it knows not what it does! You know about myrrh and the Three Kings. What you don’t know is that, here, myrrh takes on the fragrance of the night. I make it sparkle and fizz like champagne, sustained by a base note of mandarin orange.”

La Myrrhe, a collaboration between Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens, was originally launched in 1995. It comes only in the 75 ML size Bell Jar, and is a part of the Exclusive Palais Royale Serge Lutens Collection. What does this mean? It means that it’s distribution is extremely limited. While Barneys (RIP) used to be an exclusive distributor in the United States of some of the Palais Royale Bell Jars, and Luckyscent still is, La Myrrhe appears to only be available from Serge Lutens direct. At least, when ordering in the U.S..

I can absolutely vouch for ordering from sergelutens.com – I did so a few years ago when I ordered a couple of lipsticks. With them, I received wax fragrance samples for nearly the entire collection. To this day, I’m fairly certain that the Fumerie Turque wax sample is one of the best fragrances I have ever had the pleasure of wearing on my person. It is through these wax samples that I first laid my nose on La Myrrhe. The wax samples were a heightened version of the fragrance, so today’s review is based on a decant that I purchased from Surrender to Chance.

So now, to the fragrance. Upon first spray, the opening of La Myrrhe is unmistakably *sweet* licorice, which is what myrrh smells like. This fairly quickly dissipates, and as it starts to dry down, white florals come out to play. Soft at first, and then stronger and stronger. So strong that it becomes soapy. But only very briefly, and somehow, those few soapy seconds aren’t even unpleasant.

The soapiness gives way to something herbaceous. Incensey. Religious. The licorice comes back at this stage, sweet and slightly medicinal. It becomes a clean floral that is comforting and creamy – I’m reminded of the wax sample. Theres a bit of orange that comes through, not in an obvious way, but subtle and balancing.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland

My thoughts take me to an old church in Europe. It flickers between somewhere cold – perhaps a church in Scotland, and somewhere warmer, in a sense. I can’t shake the memory of my last visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was a hot summer day, amplified by the volume of people and the lack of air flow. The inside was dark (at least relative to the sun beating down, just outside), and the stone walls kept some of the coolness in, despite the visual of people around me visibly perspiring. It’s quite a comforting memory, actually. Like the fragrance is, despite some of the icier notes.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

In short, La Myrrhe (like most of my other SL fragrances) is a TRIP! And I’m pretty obsessed with it. Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake are masterful at composing sensory journeys using unique, high quality notes. Unlike other houses (even my beloved Tom Ford), Serge Lutens fragrances tend to make me think about notes, and even really *enjoy* notes that I don’t normally enjoy. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fairly picky with my florals, although I tend to prefer white florals. And just because I tend to enjoy white, florals, does not mean they always work for me. And citrus? Citrus is an absolute nonstarter for me. It typically turns on me. But not SL citrus, at least not SL orange. There are now 3 SL fragrances that include orange notes that I enjoy, and La Myrrhe is top 2.

La Myrrhe currently retails for $290 for 75 ml, and is available for purchase directly from Serge Lutens. At the time of this writing, through Midnight (Paris time) on May 13th, 2020, get 20% off with promo code LUTENS20. I am seriously considering taking advantage of this offer and purchasing La Myrrhe, it is that good!

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