Today’s floral is Serge Lutens’ La Vierge de Fer, which means “Iron Maiden” in English. The Iron Maiden was a notorious (though possibly apocryphal) medieval torture device, an upright metal box shaped like a person, in which spikes were set into the interior of the opening, which, when closed, would pierce a prisoner locked inside the device. Lovely.
I don’t follow Serge Lutens very closely although I have and appreciate several of his fragrances, and I would love to visit his boutique in the Palais-Royal in Paris some day. So I don’t really buy into the self-consciously arcane descriptions of his fragrances, but here is what the brand writes about La Vierge de Fer:
Let there be light! And darkness no more. He who wishes does not have a black soul! “I will come as a thief …” said Christ; certainly in silence and probably, for him, wearing shoes. To deserve his title, the Thief must act under the wide-open eye of the absent owners. In this case, it is not that tenuous eye with which Cain stares without regret, but another, which in some way will make an accomplice of Abel. If the fetishes, idols and charms of the Museum of Man, in Paris, had not met the 20th century, everyone would have missed that incredible mockery of Eros which The Young Ladies of Avignon certainly is. “The Negros had understood that everything which surrounds us is our enemy”, the wizard Picasso said to his paintbrush. Who, if not one of them, decided on life, by death, would dare, to unclench the teeth of this sex of the world: fear. Since it is the fruit of our entrails, it must be elevated. For that, not fearing incest, we will embrace it. In this way, she will give birth to our most beautiful monsters. That is how, a little rusty by dint of doubts, my steps have rejoined La vierge de fer (the Iron Maiden); that lily amongst the thorns.
Okay, enough of that. The notes listed for LVDF are: lily, pear, metallic notes, incense, and sandalwood. Victoria at the blog “Bois de Jasmin” says that she smells jasmine and aldehydes in the opening, but I don’t smell those. I do smell the pear note and the lily right away, very fresh and green. I really like the pear note in LVDF; it isn’t a sweet, candied fruit at all, it really smells like a fresh pear. I’m not a fan of most of the ubiquitous “fruity florals”, and I wouldn’t really attach that label to LVDF, but it is floral with a noticeably fresh fruit note.
As the opening fades, the lily takes precedence over the pear. It is not a heavy white floral, it’s quite light and green. This is not an Oriental lily, it’s more like a Madonna lily, which seems fitting given the name of the scent. I never really smell anything I would describe as “metallic”, though there is definitely an overall silvery coolness to this fragrance that one could interpret as metallic. In its final phase, there is a very light incense note and an equally light sandalwood note. As others have said, LVDF is among the more approachable Lutens fragrances, despite the slightly terrifying name.
Longevity is not huge, unlike some of his other scents. After about five hours, it becomes more of a skin scent, to my nose. I like LVDF very much, though it’s not such a love that it will displace others. I was able to buy a large tester of it for a very reasonable price, and I will enjoy spritzing it to my heart’s content this summer! I often think of Lutens fragrances as better suited to cooler seasons, as they often have notes of spices, resins, and dried or stewed fruits, but this is one that will work very well in warm weather.
Do you have any favorite Lutens fragrances, and are any of them suitable for spring or summertime?