Second Sunday Sample: Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée

Let’s talk about the weather for a moment. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, what was the highest temperature in the area where you live this summer so far? (Please mention where you are – at least a country, city or area, if you feel comfortable doing so – for those who don’t know you.) How do you cope? And for my readers from Down Under, what was the coldest so far?

In the SF Bay Area where I live, we had a day or two really hot in June (I did a screenshot of the Weather app with 36C/97F on June 17), but other than that our weather was surprisingly nice all that time while I heard and read horror stories from all over the world.

But my vSO and I managed to choose the hottest days to visit a wine country this week. Given, we were limited by dates for which we planned that trip since we did it as a part of celebrating our anniversary, we had to book everything in advance, including the most important part – feeding Rusty in our absence. So, once it became clear it’ll be extremely hot in our destination spot, we discussed whether we should cancel but decided not to.

Two days that we spent in Sonoma wine country, it got to 37C/99F at the peak. Wine tasting in these circumstances was a tricky proposition. But since everything these days must be planned well in advance (and is mostly not refundable), we tried to make the best of the trip (I plan to do a separate post about it soon).

LaRue Winery

And since we were going to the almost tropical environment, I decided it was a great opportunity to test new Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée, which after the initial test at home seemed like a perfect tropical scent.

Since I missed several years of Serge Lutens’ new releases, and after Barney’s demise there are no more B&M places around here where I’d be able to test the brand, recently I got some samples from the Surrender to Chance. I was going back and forth choosing perfumes and sizes (for most of my samples I go for 0.5 ml – 1 ml), and somehow I ended up with two 1 ml samples of La Dompteuse Encagee. I was surprised but then thought that since it’s a new 2021 release, I’d test and review one sample and pass onto somebody else the second one. Nope. Somebody won’t be getting it: for testing on the road, I decided to pour both into a spray vial.

Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagee

Serge Lutens’ ad copy is cryptic, as always, so I don’t want to spend time even trying to make any sense of it. When it comes to providing any specific information on the composition, they are also not being too generous. But I find it entertaining how being given just three notes – frangipani, Ylang Ylang and almond – most reviewers dance around them not daring to speculate on other notes. Too bad Kafka isn’t reviewing perfumes any longer: this is one of the cases where I’d be extremely curious to know what she smells here. Me? I’m sure that this perfume contains more ingredients than the mentioned three. But since I rarely recognize notes even when they are listed, I’ll do what I always do – impressions and comparisons.

As a rule, I don’t like the almond note in perfumery, so I’m very pleased that I do not smell it in La Dompteuse Encagee. When I applied it for the first time, not expecting to like or be interested, it immediately reminded me of something else – not an identical aroma but rather the mood… After searching my mental perfume library, I realized that it reminded me of Annick Goutal Songes. Interestingly, Songes’ notes include frangipani and Ylang Ylang as well (also jasmine, tiare and vanilla). I tried La Dompteuse Encagee and Songes side by side, and I think I was right: they don’t smell similar, but for me, they evoke the same summer vibe. I rarely think of perfumes in colors, but both these are yellow in my palette (even though they both are predominantly white flowers). Speaking of white flowers, both in Songes and La Dompteuse Encagee I imagine smelling tuberose (which isn’t listed in either) and jasmine (not given for the latter perfume’s pyramid).

La Dompteuse Encagee is one of the florals in the Serge Lutens’ line (so, no stewed fruits), but unlike most other florals that I like – De Profundis, Vitriol d’oeillet or Iris Silver MistLa Dompteuse Encagee is not solemn and austere but very bright and radiant. I liked it much more than I expected. I don’t even mind the name, whatever Mr. Lutens meant (online consensus has it translated as a “Caged Tamer” with the noun being feminine). My only complaint is that in hot weather it is more fleeting than I’d like it to be. But I still want a bottle (if/when I can get at least 20% off): I need to give it proper wear in a real tropical environment. I still hope to get there eventually.

Butterfly

Images: my own