Rousse by Serge Lutens

Year: 2007

Notes: mandarin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cedar, amber
In one's opinion, Serge Lutens completely lost the plot around 2006.

With subsequent releases that were either lighter offerings or inferior re-workings of earlier creations, this house has never really made a full recovery. It was bad enough that the chief perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, started working for Chanel, but it was even worse to discover that most of the creations were reformulated years before Serge, himself, finally came clean. And let's not forget the price increases on the inferior reformulations...

Rousse is a prime example of the sudden shift in this house's approach – a mellow, soft and candied cinnamon scent, which is closer to Claude Ellena's minimalist style than any archetypal fragrance from this house's glory years. It isn't as full-bodied or complex, and it's far too sheer with below average longevity.

Recalling the demure (but more substantial) nature of Douce Amère, Rousse is utterly devoid of any real sense of adventure. It's too conventional and betrays everything that this house once represented. With younger niche houses rapidly eclipsing its once unique and ground-breaking olfactory concept, Serge Lutens' gradual fall from grace has been rather painful to witness.