Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review: Serge Lutens - De Profundis (2011)

Serge Lutens - De Profundis (2011):
My Bottle of De Profundis

Most of the time when we think of the concept which inspired the creation of perfumes, one would often think ....flowers, fruits, happiness, joy, nature etc. On some rare occasions there are perfumes which offers a different experience to the usual, inspired by something darker and more mysterious such as death and funerals in the case of "De Profundis", or perhaps a tomb and its air - Guerlain's Djedi - is worth mentioning. This is what gotten so many of us hooked onto this rare ,but increasingly popular, hobby of perfumery .....the story behind each creation and the creative ideas, histories, ingredients, and craftsmanship that goes into them never fail to intrigue me. There are so much more behind a bottle of perfume than just the way it smells....although this seems to go by un-noticed and un-appreciated by the majority of non fragrance fans.

Christopher Sheldrake
Ever since I started my hobby of collecting and studying different scents....there are a few scents which I stumbled upon on fragrantica which I knew I "MUST" smell and own.....One of them is of course Serge Luten's "De Profundis". The story and inspiration behind it is just too good to remain un-sniffed!

 De Profundis was composed by Christopher Sheldrake in 2011. It is quite rare considering that it can only be bought in the Serge Luten boutique in Paris....for 170 Euros. I am also pretty sure you can purchase it online if you are in the US from Luten's website for a whopping $300 USD. I am lucky enough to be able to own a pre-loved bottle with half remaining.

The Scent & Story:

Chrysanthemum on a grave
De Profundis (De profundis clamavi - From the Depths I Cried) is a greenish floral perfume with an earthy undertone. It is centered mainly on the Chrysanthemum flower - in a number of Europian countries such as France, Italy and Spain just to mention a few. .. . . . Chrysanthemums are symbolic to death and are used for funerals and graves. Other featured notes soil tincture, green notes, violet, incense, and plum tree - a very serene composition indeed.

"De Profundis" is accompanied by the following words:

Painting By Jean Osbourne
"When death steals into our midst, its breath flutters through the black crepe of mourning, nips at funeral wreaths and crucifixes, and ripples through the gladiola, chrysanthemums and dahlias.
If they end up in garlands in the Holy Land or the Galapagos Islands or on flower floats at the Annual Nice Carnival, so much the better!
What if the hearse were taking the deceased, surrounded by abundant flourish, to a final resting place in France, and leading altar boys, priest, undertaker, beadle and gravediggers to some sort of celebration where they could indulge gleefully in vice? Now that would be divine!
In French, the words beauty, war, religion, fear, life and death are all feminine, while challenge, combat, art, love, courage, suicide and vertigo remain within the realm of the masculine.
Clearly, Death is a Woman. Her absence imposes a strange state of widowhood. Yet beauty cannot reach fulfilment without crime. " (source: www.fragrantica.com)


http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/c1/f4/1d/c1f41dbb8fab07c81886f8738d6012d6.jpg For me this perfume isn't something that I would personally associate with death....the imagery that I get from imagining death would be something terrifying and dense/foul smelling ...De Profundis does not smell anything like that. Instead De Profundis makes me think more of the concept of being dead and "At peace", just imagine a peaceful and serene cemetery surrounded by flowers and large trees.

Peaceful Cemetery
Opens with a melancholic murmur of Chrysanthemum and powdery violet, buried underneath the bed of florals I can detect the unusual soil tincture note. It's like being in a tranquil cemetery, you are surrounded by hundreds of tomb stones and peaceful souls with the aroma of flowers bought by loved ones filling the air. Damp dew drops settling on the surface of the dead earth are warmed up by the morning sun rays causing the smell of moistened earth to climb and waltz along with the floral notes silkily.

30 minutes into application, green notes disappears and now you get mostly Chrysanthemum with faint chantings of violet and soil tincture hovering around. The scent remains quite linear and smells quite "white floral" towards the end of the application.
Painting By V.Danu

This scent is something that you have to experience yourself to be able to understand. You may also have a different interpretation of the concept to mine as well .....we all associate different notes to contrasting events quite individually and that's what makes each one of us unique!. I would recommend all fragrance lovers to smell this one for sure....It is a truly humbling experience and the story that goes along with it is even more superb.


  1. Wonderful review! Haunting imagery yet beautiful too:) I wonder how it might compare to Demeter Funeral Home, not that I've tried;)

  2. Oh Funeral Home sounds so interesting ! I would love to try it, I am fascinated by those really strange fragrances!