De Profundis was launched in 2011 by Serge Lutens. The perfume is named ‘De Profundis’ after the letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in prison, to his lover, and the man responsible for his incarceration, Alfred Douglas.
Wilde’s time in prison transformed him and De Profundis is inspired by this change and a new life through death and resurrection.
On me, De Profundis opens with a crisp green note, followed by blue flowers: bluebells, hyacinth and violet. These spring flowers signal rebirth as they shingle down to earthy, herby-scented autumn blooming chrysanthemum, the flower associated with death. It's joined by fresh, jasmine-like lily of the valley, a gorgeous fragrance but all parts of the plant are poisonous – a clever pairing. I get a whiff of bitterness at this stage along with an animalic note, likely from chamomile that plays off the florals. Lutens' signature dried fruits appear - I wondered when they would show up. They usher in a base of woods and incense, which is often associated with funerals, that weave through the flowers, making the drydown rich yet surprisingly ethereal. It leaves me wanting to smell this and only this for a long time.
Notes: green note, bluebells, hyacinth, violet, chrysanthemum, lily of the valley, chamomile, dried fruits, woods and incense.