Friday, May 20, 2011

Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens



Go ahead, press the play button on the YouTube clip above. This blog post has a soundtrack.

I've been wearing "Santal de Mysore" for a couple of days now, and the best way to describe it  is like a Bach concerto, firmly built around a central theme that is indefinitely varied but never gets old.

The theme is, of course, sandalwood and the infinite variations are the way the other notes seamlessly intertwine, playing one off the other, managing to render the sandalwood in different lightings again and again. There is "woody sandalwood" flanked by oak chips and wine barrels. There is "spicy sandalwood", flanked by cumin and Indian curry spices. There is "gourmet sandalwood", flanked by liquorice, vanilla and good quality dark chocolate.

The wine barrel note I find especially interesting. My first impression of "Santal de Mysore" was, my god, this smells just like an Australian Chardonnay. They sometimes carry some pretty aggressive oak notes as they are not only aged in oak barrels but some producers have been known to throw in oak chips for that extra little oooomh (nothing you see on bottle labels though, this is a trade secret). As the perfume dries down the wine barrel note goes softer and after a few hours I've caught notes of softly oaked young Cabernet Sauvignon.
It's funny that the oak notes are so prominent for me in "Santal de Mysore", that is not officially supposed to carry oak, but I didn't catch any oak in Chene, that is supposed to be all about oak, just generic wood.

So, how do I feel about this one? It's not a classical "woody" fragrance to me, it's a sweet, dark and seductive fragrance. I find it  pleasant, but I think it will be even better in winter. I'm rating this a 4 out of 5 for now, but I might very well up that at Christmas.

Music: J.S. Bach Double Concerto for 2 violins in D minor, 1st movement. Solemn and a bit stiff arsed at fist listenings but once you start hearing how the two violins sometimes support each others, sometimes tease, a whole new landscape (soundscape?) opens up. Very much like the process I've had with "Mysore de Santal".

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