Vitriol d'Oeillet (lit. Carnation Vitriol) will be the next opus signed by French perfume creator Serge Lutens. A greatly influential figure on the scene of contemporary perfumery, his works, for which he is the visionary alongside perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, are usually much anticipated for their capacity to shake people out of their dogmatic olfactory slumbers, or in quieter times, for their subtle, psychological introspective quality.
The latest composition, which centers on a somewhat neglected flower in the world of fragrances, carnation or more precisely here pink clove also called "oeillet du poète" in French, is one of those Lutensian fragrances that come with a manifesto and a call to arms against the reigning order of stupidity and prosaism...
Alluding to a weaponized carnation fragrance Lutens writes, "No more ghostly than a train, no more suddent than death, nor quicker than the opening of a grave, my vitriol is distilled from carnations. After a moment of hesitation, the carnation -- alias the pink clove -- is what I am in every sense: this fragrance fraught with anger is my riposte. Its petals laced with tiny teeth, hold out the solution: a burst of fragrant spikes."
The thematic of metaphysical angst, which has more explicitly appeared with Jeux de Peau, continues to be addressed and translates into a certain obsessive quality about the artist's meditation on death, a fact made even clearer with a second fragrance to be launched this year called De Profundis. A romantic vision of the criminal underworld is also conveyed "When it doesn't bloom on market stalls and in open fields in southern France, the carnation, blood red, as if bitten by a dapper criminal with a fox-like smile -- perishes."
We find further echoes of the English cultural influence in Lutens' perfumery, which was made most apparent in Five O'Clock au Gingembre, in the mention of London gentlemen across the Channel wearing white carnations in the buttonholes of their silk lapels.
Serge Lutens who hails from the city of Lille in the northern region of France would have experienced that influence. This link to England nurtures his sensitivity towards dandysm as well -- we are reminded that Beau Brummel died in Calais.
Like most of Lutens' fragrances, his works are in great part autobiographical and psychological reflections of his life. In Fourreau Noir, these layers of biography and self-portrait could be particularly well peceived, I then thought.
In Lutensian perfumes, the textual, poetical structure of scent is exposed to those who want to smell it.
Apart from the clove-y carnation, the other perfume notes which are elliptically mentioned for Vitriol d'Oeillet are Cayenne pepper and clove.
Via press release