Review: Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens

A gourmand fragrance from Serge Lutens.

Santal Majuscule is the new release from niche French perfume house Serge Lutens. Available now on its website and from the Salons de Palais Royal de Shiseido, it will hit the perfumery shelves in September. 

The house’s last sandalwood, Santal Blanc, was withdrawn from the export range after poor international sales, though it is still – as are all the perfumes – available from the Palais Royal. A clean, white, fresh sandalwood that many perfumistas valued for layering, it perhaps – like Clair de Musc – made a difficult thing look too easy and was therefore underappreciated. 

Santal Majuscule (Sandalwood in Capital Letters, or Uppercase Sandalwood), on the other hand, is a much darker (and dark brown) juice that really is in capitals. Even upon smelling the flagon (yeah, I know…), the smell was instantly interesting, while the first blast fairly screams at you with strong, resinous notes of oily sandalwood, closely followed by a wave of raw cocoa, such as you get when opening a new canister of Cadbury’s. One friend mentioned that it brought back an instant childhood memory as it reminded her of some cocoa her mother used when she was a child.

The other note that is mentioned is rose, which I don’t detect on my skin, though I can smell roses on the DH and a Bourbon type, of the kind used in Sa Majesté la Rose, around the spray head of the flagon. 

Sillage is fairly strong and persistence about six hours – I applied this at 11.00 and now, at 5.00pm, my skin smells of vanilla and chocolate. 

Some will say this juice is a return to form for Serge Lutens, though whether or not you like the Eaux that the house has produced lately is largely a matter of taste rather than quality – both Eaux are perfectly well-thought-out perfumes. But this darker, more dangerous affair will certainly appeal to Filles en Aiguilles fans, and perhaps also those who favour Borneo 1834, though I have only tried that in a wax sample and can’t really give a true verdict. 

Certainly I can tell you that the DH and I will be fighting over this perfume, as it is both deliciously gourmand and one of the few that his peculiar anosmia can pick up. 

Santal Majuscule is in the black label range from Serge Lutens and costs 95 euros for 50ml. 

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