Two Against One

Serge Lutens

About ten years ago, I was working in wine and had a somewhat popular wine blog with friends. A customer would pop into our shop and chit chat about our blog and how much she liked our writing. She recommended a perfume blog to me because she felt the writing was similar. Victoria would detail the initial, mid, and finishing notes of a fragrance, very much like wine writing.

I no longer work in wine, but I had kept interest in both wine and perfume. And I’ve remained a fan of Victoria’s this whole time.

While I enjoy reading (some) wine and (some) perfume reviews, the overanalyzed scent delineations can be tiresome. Objectively, I understand why they exist: professionals or overly avid amateurs are trying to extract the specifics of scent and taste to provide a scent/flavor map of the wine/perfume. And that’s fine. But, it’s also convoluted for enthusiasts. Honestly, who really wants to know that a wine has pencil lead mid-palate that dissipates into horse-blanket?

For me, both wine, perfume (and music, to some degree) provide a sense of time and place. They paint pictures. And that’s pretty much the whole purpose of this blog: to describe the scenes that perfumes paint for me.

I’ve long been in search of a peppery-rose perfume. Often floral perfumes are overly sweet, and I prefer spicy. Serge Lutens’ La Fille de Berlin is the exception.

The reviews I’ve seen are very mixed. Some love it, some hate it, and all for totally different reasons. I’m in awe of it: it evolves constantly after spritzing. The initial rose burst settles down to an earthy spice, but then reverses to very sweet rose again. This fragrant yin-yang continues for hours, and I love it.

It evokes film noir for me… the gorgeous accused who you’d love to be innocent but know is not. It’s that fitted pencil skirt and plain white blouse with just a touch too much decolletage showing. I think of Cate Blanchett in “The Good German,” not because of the name but because of her look. And, despite the city, it smells like “Two Against One” from the “Rome” album – moody, textured, lovely, and edgy.

This may be the scent I’ve been seeking.

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