Skip to main content

Or du Sérail - Layered golden seduction


I lusted to own Or du Sérail from the first moment the sample touched my wrist. I’d read that this 2014 Naomi Goodsir scent created by Bertrand Duchaufour was focused on the tobacco note, but there was something much more going on in that opening accord than simply tobacco. The accord quickly became intriguingly lush and dense, rich and mesmerizing, which I did not expect, and as the scent developed on my skin over the next few hours, it turned out that Or du Sérail was filled with hypnotic surprises. 

Wearing it now, I’m experiencing that same hedonistic pleasure I got when I first sniffed it, only amped up several notches by the heat and humidity of mid-summer. Right out of the bottle, there is a whiff of sour fermention which quickly becomes boozy and fruity. Freshly-cut orange and mango, apple and honey and coconut, rum-soaked, make a potent brew that is tart and luscious, fruity and aromatic so that it’s sweet but not sugary. 

It’s a gourmand cocktail, layered lightly with the aroma of tobacco leaves dried in the sun, golden in colour, flavoured with wisps of hay and herbs and beeswax that add a natural earthiness to the boozy opening. As the top accord dries into the heart it shifts, becoming lighter and more airy. Soft florals emerge, wafting invisibly like the nicotiana (tobacco flowers) in my front garden when they bloom in the early evening – sweet with a teasing herbal tobacco twist. And I smell coconut again, just for a moment. 

Very slowly, Or du Sérail reveals deeper facets.  The tobacco note becomes more aromatic, cedar and woody notes are layered in, then amber, vanilla, labdanum and musks, but the notes seem to appear and rotate through the scent individually in waves rather than swirl together in a heavy dark mix, so that the base remains as textured, and as golden and luscious as the opening accord. 

Women of Algiers - Eugene Delacroix, 1834 - Wikipedia

Or du Sérail hints of decadence, it has a quiet but seductive charm from start to finish. The Naomi Goodsir site says that the scent was inspired by the Delacroix painting, Women of Algiers, which depicts the interior of a seraglio, or harem, with women lounging and smoking a hookah, the quiet interior scene decorated with exotic textures and objects and infused with a golden light. Or du Sérail captures the sensation I get from the painting, of quietly waiting in lush comfort for decadence and seduction to begin.

Tobacco is the golden core, and Duchaufour has layered it with unusual notes from top to bottom that continually surprise and delight the senses. Teasing with sour fruity sweet earthy floral woody ambery musky notes, Or du Sérail has a lush vibrancy that is cleverly restrained and stays close to the skin with a soft personal sillage that lasts all day. Everyone time I sniff my wrist I detect another facet. I absolutely love that.

Or du Sérail is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Naomi Goodsir’s fragrances on

Nuit de Bakelite

Cuir Velours

Bois d’Ascese

Image - Or du Sérail bottle from