Chêne by Serge Lutens
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7.5 / 10 138 Ratings
Chêne is a popular perfume by Serge Lutens for women and men and was released in 2004. The scent is woody-spicy. The longevity is above-average. It is still available to purchase. Pronunciation
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Fragrance Notes
Top Notes Top Notes Plant juicePlant juice Black thyme CedarCedar
Heart Notes Heart Notes BeeswaxBeeswax OakOak RumRum Silver birchSilver birch
Base Notes Base Notes Coppice Tonka beanTonka bean
Perfumers
Ratings
Scent
7.5138 Ratings
Longevity
8.1100 Ratings
Sillage
6.899 Ratings
Bottle
8.092 Ratings
Value for money
6.913 Ratings
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 28.11.2022.
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Reviews

7 in-depth fragrance descriptions
Intersport
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Intersport
Intersport
Very helpful Review 16  
Detour VII
§1 Woodways, xth, edition

The perfume - from the last 30 years - that keeps appearing in the 'oh, I would have liked to have designed that too' category by other perfumers, like brands, is Shiseido's Féminité du Bois.So the Humiecki's, supposedly Mr Mallé too - I like to think, was Pierre Bourdon, who occupies a sort of mentor role in Malle's cosmology, involved in the fragrance. Féminité du Bois, the stepping stone to Luten's universe in the 90's, and the official re-entry of wood in the title. True, there had been dozens of 'bois' perfumes for more than half a century before that, including an early one from Shiseido, but after Féminité du Bois, the 'bois' or 'du bois' wood glut was unstoppable.

There are many stories surrounding the origins of fragrance; why Bourdon was quickly replaced by Sheldrake; there is quantified balancing what percentage of which aroma chemical is the crux of the pudding, and so on. Féminité du Bois was a solitaire. So first of all, nothing smelled with comparable international distribution. The bottle and packaging were of exquisite beauty, a textured cardboard box, the colour palette matched to the bottle in every detail, this in turn in various, 'organic' shapes and concentrations. It had been a long time since a bottle had felt so good in the hand, and a long time since anything had smelled so fragile, delicate, distinctive and clear. In addition to the Shiseido fragrance, Lutens released a whole series of other closely related 'Bois' fragrances under his Palais Royal HQ in Paris: Bois de violette, Bois oriental, Bois et fruits. More than 10 years later, more 'Bois'. The wood perceived in these is said to be indebted to the cedar of Moroccan interiors. But cedar is also a note that exceeds even the stately number of 'bois' titled perfumes listed here many times over.

§2 Chêne

There's a small workshop in my street, more of a 'hole in the wall' at first impression - possibly a former warehouse, set right into the wall, where day in and day out, two gentlemen restore heavy wooden furniture. The workshop is tiny, there are no windows, one can probably only work with the door open, pieces of furniture that need to dry are pragmatically placed in a driveway on the opposite side of the street. There is no planing or carpentry in this workshop, the focus is on glazing, varnishing, painting, touching up. And that brings us to Chêne.

Aside from a few hits in the 90s, Lutens had a good drive in the early to mid 2000s. The subject matter shifted to French, or to repercussions of 'exotic' ingredients in French climes (so Bornéo 1834). Chêne, Oak, one of the releases from these years is perhaps one of the most impressive woody fragrances of the last 20 years. Chêne is very much about oak. Oak wood when it is cut up in a furniture maker's workshop, oak wood when it receives a fresh cell treatment in just such a workshop after decades or more. Chêne is also a good example of the wood polish chord I appreciate. Poliboy et. al, by a good dose of Lutens' beeswax. Chêne is also, however, and hence this detour, another Lutens with immortelle focus, not listed, but helichrysium or a fragrance with clearest immortelle descriptor could pull the strings here. But the framing always remains the oak, perhaps through an oak CO2 extract that may also have dried fruit, rum, and whiskey characteristics - much of which also plays a role in Chêne.

Chêne's shelf life is impressive; that it was only sold in 75ml and 50ml makes sense. The esteemed Gold mentions a 2018 book in her review of Bourreau des Fleurs in which Chêne is credited with a lengthy creation period of about 12 years. Be that as it may, the scent also makes me think of matured oak barrels and their contents, and in the multitude of sometimes worse sometimes better Lutens, for me the special reserve. The spirit of Chêne appeared together with a residual dose of Chypre Rouge last again in Participe Passé, but so dry, woody and Immortelle intertwined, smells only Chêne.
7 Replies
9
Scent
Greysolon

74 Reviews
Greysolon
Greysolon
Very helpful Review 9  
The beauty of an oak forest on an autumn day
If the two halves of my life could be represented by fragrances both would come from the house of Serge Lutens: Fille en Aiguille and Chêne. If Fille en Aiguilles is the sap and needles of a pine tree distilled into the essence of my life in northern Minnesota, then Chêne is the leaves and roots of an oak distilled into the essence of my life in the southeastern US.

Chêne is the olfactory experience of walking through an oak forest on a damp fall day. When fall comes to the southeast, oak leaves drop to the forest floor like scraps of leather and perfume the late October air with a sweet, complex, tobacco-like accord. It’s something like a woody version of the sweet/sour tobacco notes I associate with oriental fragrances.

Also, perfumer Christopher Sheldrake has managed to capture the general forest accords of wood, soil, decay, dampness and moss with an alchemist’s brew of essences: plant juice, black thyme, bees wax, rum, and undergrowth. Those are the actual notes listed for Chêne. It may sound like a potion out of a Grimms Brothers fairy tale but it really does work like magic.

As you might imagine, Chêne is a fragrance with a strong personality. As much as I like it, I don't wear it very often. Honestly, I would guess most people would find it challenging to wear. With that in mind, when I do wear Chêne I need to be in synch with the natural atmosphere of the day. The smell of oak needs to be in the air. I need to feel as though Chêne is helping me fit seamlessly into my natural surroundings.

If you’re having trouble imagining my description of Chêne then I recommend you read AromiErotici’s excellent review. It’s spot on describing the fragrance in a more pragmatic way.

Finally, I had to do some editing of this review because Chêne had me running off on too many tagents. However, I couldn’t bring myself to cut the following description because I have a particularly specific association between living in the southeast and Chêne. It’s the smell of autumn in tobacco towns and the wonderful accord of oak leaves melding perfectly with aroma of curing tobacco. For me, Chêne is reminiscent of that heady bouquet. If you live in the southeast, you know the smell.
2 Replies
10
Scent
ScentFan

331 Reviews
ScentFan
ScentFan
Very helpful Review 6  
Birthday Present
You're in the best-smelling forest on the face of the earth, herbs are smoking, someone's opened a bottle of Ponche de Creme. Chêne means oak in French and the woods here are beautiful on first mellow sniff of oak and cedar and birch. Delightful. On skin, the other notes just dance—some sort of greenish plant juice, thyme, rum, OMG! Just delicious. What is coppice? Trees and shrubs cut back to stimulate growth, so it’s a younger, greener wood. Tonka and beeswax, too, mellowing. No raw lumber here. I’m really gaining a new respect for beeswax. This is a gorgeous perfume. It has the authenticity I love in Slumberhouse and D.S. & Durga, rendered with more beauty. After my SL sniff fest, it went to the top of my Wish List and I'm getting it for my birthday. In fact, it's already arrived. Hubby doesn't really want me to open it until then so it sits alluringly on a glass table, winking as I walk by, rustling its branches, throwing woody, herbal kisses, torturing me. Only because I have a decant do I survive. This is possibly the best woody perfume I've smelled so far.
0 Replies
MasterLi

375 Reviews
MasterLi
MasterLi
Helpful Review 4  
Dark, complex & sophisticated...
I'm constantly impressed by the house of Serge Lutens. With each fragrance I am challenged and surprised. Chene is no exception. Like other fragrances from this house, there is no top or middle, just base notes.

Chene is an extremely woody fragrance. But unlike some other "wood-like" fragrances like Tam Dao by Diptyque, which smell of sawdust and furniture polish (an all too literal interpretation of wood in a fragrance), Chene has dark smoky wood. The word itself means "Oak", and it is full of the aroma of Oak which has been smoked and left to soak in rum and cognac for months. It's a beautiful smell. It actually reminds me of Oud (Agarwood), that same old, slightly musty aromatic wood smell. The birchwood and cedar also make an appearance, along with the immortelle and honey. A magnificent combination which coats the wood and gives it a great flavour and aroma. This is why I love fragrances from this house.

I would recommend this as a boozy take on wood. A very refined fragrance which would suit cooler weather best. It suits my tastes perfectly. For me it's worth it. But I would suggest that people try it out under the right conditions first, and try other fragrances from this line too.
0 Replies
2.5
Bottle
5
Sillage
5
Longevity
10
Scent
WRoth

153 Reviews
WRoth
WRoth
4  
Chêne
This fragrance opens with a woody note which at first is clear and sparkly, like fresh-cut wood and then becomes warm and resinous, like wood that has been left out in the sun to dry. Either way the cedar note is wonderfully done and is enriched by other vegetal notes to give it depth and pungency. This is a very tranquil and evocative fragrance, perfect for slowing down from our hectic modern world. To me smelling this fragrance is comparable to taking a walk through the woods to collect my thoughts. As it dries down, the fragrance does not change much; it gets drier and more intense. Unfortunately, this fragrance does not last very long on my skin. After three hours it has burnt off most of its notes and all there remains is a pale woody shadow. It is nonetheless a gorgeous wood fragrance.
0 Replies
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Statements

3 short views on the fragrance
Jbl775Jbl775 2 months ago
9
Bottle
7
Sillage
7
Longevity
8.5
Scent
Beautiful, natural smelling (leathery) oak and rum. One of the essential fall fragrances,it reminds me of falling leaves and colder weather.
0 Replies
Susina125Susina125 1 year ago
10
Bottle
8
Sillage
8
Longevity
9
Scent
Sprayable autumn
0 Replies
BoBoChampBoBoChamp 1 year ago
7
Sillage
7
Longevity
7.5
Scent
Initially boozy and juicy spicy-green, this warm and resinous spicy-woody Fall fragrance, settles to a gentle earthy-woody base. Masculine.
0 Replies

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