Bapteme de Feu (Baptism by Fire) is a sheer success. The word ‘gingerbread’ usually incites dread, but true to this master, Serge Lutens evades and upends our expectations. Initially, Bapteme de Feu crackles, a blue-bright fire moving swiftly across skin like the soft tickle of baking spice. This is an invocation of a festive treat that represents the darkest, complexly seasoned, and definitively crisp gingerbread, made to be savored as a private, warming respite. Powdery notes mimic the fine dusting of flour that clings to burnished edges, a matte, unsweetened perpendicular pattern that highlights a dulcet, dank whole. Tangerine is a brilliant twinkle, a flicker of light that illuminates this golden mass. Castoreum is an ingenious ploy to get us to reimagine what we’re smelling even in the moment of recognition: a buttery, slightly funky lipid, castoreum pads out this shimmering scent without building any tedious heaviness. Osmanthus floats atop this fragrance, a tropical effect that perfectly complements this cold weather treat. Bapteme de Feu subtly lives up to its title: like the thrill of risking failure for a dream, this fragrance replicates the moment when we've jumped and sit awaiting the unknown, but are comforted by our daring actions.