Serge Lutens Santal Majuscle: Fragrance Review

One of the most underrated houses in perfumery – at least according to me – Serge Lutens weaves one of the most interesting and complex stories through perfume. Inspired by the smells of Morroco, I can only use one word to describe the world of Serge Lutens – exotic!

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscle

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscle. Photo is my own.

Santal Majuscle, created in 2012, is a delicious rose and sandalwood fragrance with a gourmand accent of cacao, but it’s done with such finesse by the talented and illustrious Christoper Sheldrake that the fragrance never ventures fully into the gourmand territory and remains firmly in the ground of a very wearable rose/sandalwood oriental fragrance with a dried fruit-smoky incense accord that is a characteristic of many Serge Lutens fragrances.

One of my favourite perfume bloggers, Bois de Jasmin writes,

 At first, Santal Majuscule smells very much like a Middle Eastern rose attar, a traditional distillation of rose and sandalwood, albeit a luminous and refined one. A hint of cinnamon and orange gives it a Turkish delight twist, while the musky sweetness of peach skin softens the woods. There is nothing obviously edible about the perfume, but a subtle gourmand suggestion gives Santal Majuscule an addictive quality. The impressive tenacity means that you will enjoy the fragrance well into the evening, but thanks to the pleasant dryness of woods in the drydown, it feels polished and radiant.

On application, I sniff a huge dose of dark and syrupy Damask rose, given depth and intensified by the cacao and woods. Yet, it never gets to the point of becoming cloying – the luminosity and radiance of the fragrance are never compromised despite the use of heavy sandalwood. The sandalwood here smells dry and I have read somewhere that it is Australian sandalwood. Credit must go to the perfumer in some clever use of synthetics and aromachemicals in achieving such a polished depth that true Indian sandalwood is said to provide. Santal Majuscle smells intoxicating yet elegant, held together with great balance between sweet syrup and dry wood, darkness and radiance, sensuality and spiritualism.

The perfume is tenacious, easily lasting 8-10 hours from first application. This beauty is recommended for personal enjoyment and wear during cooler weather (autumn/winter). It is one of the most accessible perfumes in the Serge Lutens catalogue and serves as a great introduction into the imaginary world of Serge Lutens. I highly recommend this perfume for men and women.