The needles of the pine punctured her behind on the floor of the forest. The girl makes ready for revenge! Into the fire of the mountain, she sends the lances that offended her rosy cheeks; their resinous aroma rises to skies overhead. To celebrate her victory victorious, the girl burns frankincense to the goddesses of the woods and prepares a fortifying compote of fruits and spices and strong wine; the orange coals glow intensely by her determination and by the fists of roots, completely dried, she adds, bunch by bunch. At last, satisfied, on pillows of grass, one for her head, one for her ass, the girl reclines and dreams of submissive needles of the pines: “Leaves of hell! Smoke of the sky! Perfume of I!”
No, I’m not celebrating Christmas with a fistful of Oxycodone and a bottle of Champagne…I’m simply having some fun — in the style of Serge Lutens advertising copy. Take no offense, Serge fans; if you fume and fulminate against my frivolous attitude towards le maître, you’ll spoil the happy mood of the season and appear overly serious! I, too, am a Lutens fan, but it’s been a looooong time since a new Lutens perfume has thrilled me. (The last two Lutens’ fragrances I bought the moment they were released were 2003's Fumerie Turque and 2005's Miel de Bois.) I had high hopes for Fille en Aiguilles, because I love pine and incense notes in fragrance.
The name “Fille en Aiguilles” has something to do with a girl and needles; interpretations vary: “a girl in high heels,” a girl cavorting in pine needles, a reference to the saying ‘de fil en aiguille’ (meaning ‘little by little’). I don’t really give a hoot what the name means and will concentrate on how the fragrance smells.
Fille en Aiguilles opens with the scent of warm apple pie cooking in a wood-burning oven. Quickly, the fruit note darkens and is joined by strong frankincense and silky pine/fir notes. Fille en Aiguilles’ spicing is ‘cautious’, with a pinch of cumin (barely there) and, perhaps, coriander seed and cardamom. As Fille en Aiguilles reaches its final phase, it smells of (frank)incense ashes with a hint of savory chutney. Fille en Aiguilles is a pleasant perfume, and it fits into the Lutens’ “mold” perfectly with its notes of warm, spiced fruit and resins.
Fille en Aiguilles has a lot in common with another 2009 perfume release: Parfum d’Empire Wazamba. To personify these perfumes, I’ll go back in time* and reference two French ladies who spent a lot of time in high heels: Fille en Aiguilles is the Marquise de Pompadour (cool, cerebral, urbane) to Wazamba’s Madame du Barry (emotional, buxom, provincial). Which do I prefer? The floozy. Some may say Wazamba is crude compared to Fille en Aiguilles, but I’ve had it with restrained perfumes this year. I love Wazamba’s lusty character and its generosity with ingredients (more of everything, please!) Bow to Fille en Aiguilles if you will; I’ll grope Wazamba instead.
Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles was developed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, and has good staying power but close-to-the-body sillage. It’s available in Eau de Parfum, Haute Concentration, 50 ml for $140; for buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.
* Yes, I’ve been reading about Louis V XV recently.