Blog post by Gwen

Santal Blanc 2019 – fresh and woody and floral

Santal Blanc was the first Serge Lutens fragrance I bought. Launched in 2001, it was gorgeous – creamy, resinous, warm and woody. It was one of the few perfumes I considered for a signature scent. Then it was discontinued. It's always a bit of a gut punch when that happens, but also a reminder that times change, people change, and tastes change.

Then one day, a newsletter fell into my Inbox announcing that Santal Blanc would be relaunched as part of Lutens’ initial Les Eaux de Politesse collection in 2019.

'Les Eaux de Politesse' translates into English as 'Polite Waters.' One of the keystones of politeness is cleanliness. The Serge Lutens website says: '"Luxury begins with cleanliness". With these few short words, in 2010 Serge Lutens set the tone for a new vision of perfume: light, fresh, devoid of the heady, sticky, overly masculine notes of colognes.'

Reading the announcement, I felt a giddy excitement. The kind I had felt when I lined up with four girlfriends for two days to get Springsteen tickets a few lifetimes ago. Still, as soon as I could get my hands on Santal Blanc, I did. Guess what? I love this new Santal Blanc.

It opens with a fresh, clean note of cedar and spicy, rosy pink peppercorn. As it settles, the spiciness of the pink peppercorn extends to a note of warm, spicy cinnamon; at the same time, the rosiness leads to a floral heart of lush rose, aromatic jasmine and violet, courtesy of orris root. This is a combination that works exceptionally well with sandalwood, and it's not long before the warm, woody, and creamy star of the show appears to take centre stage. As it evolves, fenugreek, spicy and maple-syrup faceted, gently sweetens the sandalwood wood, which blends with a base of musky Angelica root, resinous, spicy benzoin, and sweet, woody copaiba balsam, which adds soft balsamic nuances to the blend.

The drydown is woody and floral, and very elegant.

Santal Blanc 2019 sharply contrasts the other santal fragrances in a Lutens' stable. It's still creamy, resinous, warm and woody, but it's also airy, open, fresh and without the weight and heaviness of Santal de Mysore and Santal Majuscule, yet just as stunning.

I can smell and experience each note in Santal Blanc 2019, and that’s by design: "Allowing each note to fade away or come to the fore at will, Serge Lutens' Eaux de Politesse are the ideal representation of our vague desires for change." says Lutens on his website.

So, maybe change is good. Maybe trying new things keeps us more vibrant, relevant, and interesting. Well, at least that's how I feel when I wear Santal Blanc 2019.

NOTE: Santal Blanc 2019 is what I call this re-launched version to differentiate it from the 2001 version. Santal Blanc 2019 is not an official name.

Check out Santal Blanc 2019 in our Shop.