The fourth fragrance in the minimalist looking “eau” line by Serge Lutens is L’Eau de Paille. This fragrance is a classical masculine, exploded. Paille (straw in French), means hay absolute. Sweet, crackly and hearty as tobacco, it is prized by perfumers for its lushness. Vetiver, cereal accord and incense assist. Though each of these individual notes are familiar classics (especially in the context of Serge), here they create an unabashed, ironically juicy fragrance and defy recognition. Vetiver is intensely sweet and herbal, bringing to mind a hybrid of lavender and red berries, a freak of a giant periwinkle raspberry worthy of the county fair. Cereal accord is a soothing landing pad for this fruity outburst that preserves and modulates this unusually rendered vetiver. Incense additionally frames the grassy action, it’s the gauzy drift of smoke a color enhancing scrim through which preceding notes take on even greater dimensionality.
Inspired by a hot day of harvesting wheat during the summer of 1954, L’Eau de Paille evokes the hayfield exhanges between our Lutenian narrator and a handsome youth, blond as the paille. Though our narrator feigns indifference and ignores his Adonis’ advances, L’eau de Paille speaks to our narrator’s thirst for this god-like youth, whose undeniable, earthy appeal makes mouths water. L’eau de Paille is a hyper-masculine signature, a real head turner sculpted of classic notes in outsized, boisterous proportion. For most of it’s time on skin, L’eau de Paille is a free-flowing wonder, until it dries into a terse, shadowed elegy for summers (and loves) past. Brazen and vigorous, L’eau de Paille is a golden scent that makes us marvelously confident. Though our Lutenian narrator denied himself the satisfaction of a youthful indulgence, by wearing L’eau de Paille we accept the risk. Flirt away, for no matter who returns your advances; this scent is sure to get you out of the cornfields and onto greater pastures.