Very helpful Review4
The long, lost cousin of Divine's L'Homme Sage
Like many of the newer Serge Lutens' fragrances, Baptême du Feu seems created to have a gentler, less conspicuous personality. There's none of the oak leaves and dirt of Chene, no Fleurs d'Orange flower bombs, and certainly none of the sticky pine resin and charred bark of Fille en aiguilles.
Baptême du Feu takes a while to dry down before its personality emerges. When it does, it's a nice, warm, well mannered, well blended fragrance. While those qualities seem complimentary, there's a downside to being just nice. Aside from a bit of ginger and powdery carnation, nothing stands out to provide a defining character. The overall effect is a pleasant, spicy warmth revealing a pedigree in Lutens' Five O'clock Gingembre and Vitriol d'Œillet. But those fragrances have personality and backbone; they make a statement. Baptême du Feu is meek by comparison.
Despite the family bloodlines, Baptême du Feu has more in common with L'Homme Sage by Divine. Both fragrances have a very similar structure based on warm, blended spice notes. While Baptême du Feu is slightly sweeter with a touch of powdery carnation, L'Homme Sage has of range and variety of spice accords endowing it with a depth of character and definition Baptême du Feu cannot match.
If it can be said without sounding like an insult, Baptême du Feu is, at best, nice. Unfortunately, "nice" means it lacks the personality of Luten's typically bold fragrances. I miss that quality in the newest entries from this house.