Serge Lutens de Profundis

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 Serge Lutens de Profundis was created by Christopher Sheldrake. From one of the Psalms, de profundis clamavi means "From the Depths I Cried." Oscar Wilde's "De Profundis" essay written during his imprisonment says "Prosperity, pleasure and success, may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things." Centered on chrysanthemum, the funeral flower, this fragrance is not sad or funerial, it is a cry from sadness reaching up to hope - sorrow can only exist when there is hope. Chilly icebox chrysanthemum, woods, hay, incense, these are fall scents, the swan song of summer, when you gather in all the abundance of life and hold it tight as the earth starts to sink into winter. This fragrance twists through the spring, crisp green notes that soar. This fragrance is one of Serge Lutens' masterpieces, coming at a time when rumors started that he was retiring.  After smelling this, you'll be glad those were only rumors.  Exquisite and memorable, it is wearing art.

Reviews of Serge Lutens de Profundis from noses that may or may not sniff like your nose does. 

from Kafkaesque - "Sunrise to sunset in a Spring field of flowers, touched by creamy woods — that was my experience with De Profundis, a 2011 creation of Serge Lutens and his favorite cohort in olfactory adventures, Christopher Sheldrake. It’s a lovely fragrance — matched by an even lovelier purple juice in the bottle — and one which is quite ethereal at times. De Profundis is described as a chrysanthemum soliflore — a scent devoted primarily to one single flower — but it is much more than that in my opinion, and far more than the mere “chrysanthemum and incense” summation provided on the Lutens website. I’ll leave the rest of the Lutens description for now, because I truly don’t think the back story for the fragrance really applies to De Profundis and it may, in fact, be a little misleading as to what scent you should expect. "

from perfumeposse - "I’ve been sniffing on Serge Lutens de Profundis for the last week or so, waffling on what I think of it.  Inspired by death?  This may be a strange way to feel about it anywhere but amongst you guys, who I know understand, but I like that.  I’ve always loved spending time in cemeteries, it is peaceful, the sign of time rolling on, churning you and your life and hopes and dreams under.  Chrysanthemum, violet, earth, green.  

I really can’t tell you what Serge Lutens De Profundis smells like as far as notes. The mums are beautifully fierce, smelling a little of decay.   

What I can tell you is how Serge Lutens De Profundis feels.

What I think of when I hear de Profundis is, of course, Latin -> Catholic -> Seven Penitential Psalms. I don’t know a lot of Latin, but what I do know is churchy Latin.  All the references I’ve read are to Baudelaire for this scent, but I’m just ignoring that and skipping right to the original de Profundis since it speaks to me and Baudelaire puts me to sleep.  Oh, hush, I’m a literary cretin, I know it, and I’m perfectly okay with it.  “De profundis clamavi ad te, domine.  Domine, exaudi vocem meam.”  


Out of the depths I have cried to you, O Lord.  Lord, hear my voice.


Is this scent de Profundis the broader meaning, crying out of the depths?  It is full of pain and longing for hope, supplication to be heard, seen, acknowledged.  Every person wants their life to have meant something, even a small something – wishing all they have done that’s been ugly and small did little damage, hoping that the good they have done had some value.

It is a long, dark hallway we walk through life, sometimes briefly shot through with brilliant light and joy, but too often a trudge to the end.  And everything ends.  At my end, Serge Lutens De Profundis can meet me.   Just a tiny bit bitter, still carrying some of the light it has gone through, pungent, slightly decaying into earth.

My love for Serge Lutens De Profundis is the same ambivalence I have with death." 



Full bottles of Serge Lutens products can be purchased at: Beauty Encounter and Beautyhabit

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Perfume Name Serge Lutens de Profundis
Year Introduced 2011
Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake
Gender Unisex
Collection  Gratte-ciel (Skyscraper)
Notes Chrysanthemum, gladiolus, dahlia, chamomile, peony, woods, hay, violets, incense and candied fruit
Country of Origin France

12 Reviews

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  • Elizabeth McCarthy - 22nd Nov 2015

    No Funeral Here

    Maybe it's me, but I don't smell anything funereal here. Instead, this fragrance reminds me of violets and mossy woods, and it carries a subtle iris note. I love it for most occasions. It isn't overpowering, but brings to its wearer a unique scent.

  • Elaine - 29th Apr 2015

    Wonderful Floral

    On my skin I note violets, chrysanthemums. It's a beautiful, delicate but lasting floral.

12 Reviews

  • Elizabeth McCarthy - 22nd Nov 2015

    No Funeral Here

    Maybe it's me, but I don't smell anything funereal here. Instead, this fragrance reminds me of violets and mossy woods, and it carries a subtle iris note. I love it for most occasions. It isn't overpowering, but brings to its wearer a unique scent.

  • Elaine - 29th Apr 2015

    Wonderful Floral

    On my skin I note violets, chrysanthemums. It's a beautiful, delicate but lasting floral.

  • Unknown - 22nd Feb 2015

    Beautiful Graveyard

    I have sampled many Serge Lutens fragrances, and have been impressed by only a few. I feel that this one is one of his masterpieces. There is nothing else out there I can compare it to. There is chrysanthemum, incense, and soil. The way these notes are combined leaves me struggling for words to describe it, except to say that if this was composed with graveyards in mind, then I want to visit them, often. De Profundis wears close to the skin, surrounding you in a soft aura for the day. This is one of those fragrances that you will either love or leave alone. I can't be without it. For me, it is uplifting. I hope you will try it.

  • elisa - 6th Feb 2015

    Less than I expected

    I sampled the scent on paper in a store but couldn't get a sense of it's character probably from over-sniffing other fragrances. The bell jar with purple juice was hypnotising so i got a sample to try again (thinking how I'd love to have this on my dresser). Also, all the references and poetic imagery drew me in- I'm certainly a fan of funerals and Oscar Wilde and psalms like the next guy.
    But sadly, I am pretty underwhelmed by the fragrance, finding it rather simple: The walk-in fridge at the flower shop. Which isn't a bad thing and great on a hot day.
    It opened green and carnation-y and then went soapy before dying almost completely on my skin (maybe that's the death reference). I was able to revive it somewhat by exhaling on it so maybe damp skin holds the scent better. I'll try it before i exercise and see if the sweat helps it out at all.
    It's pleasant enough but i wouldn't invest in it. I guess I'll work on crafting a jar with purple water instead.

  • tomtom1 - 26th Dec 2014

    Beautiful fragrance

    I had seen a perfume review on this particular fragrance on YouTube and decided to buy a sample vial. Completely worth it, beautiful fragrance. Once opening the vial its almost an unexpected reaction from all you assumed it to be, and being something completely more. Will definitely buy this again.

  • Aelfrik Spektor - 21st Oct 2014

    Beautiful but fragile.

    Chilly, melancholic and wan. De Profundis is a stunning and unique creation, unlike anything I've ever come across before.

    The opening is green, dewy and earthy. Like a shaded, wet garden on a frigid morning. One of the least 'floral' florals I can think of. De Profundis is not an extrovert, it's contemplative, lonely, dark, sad and oddly vunerable.

    The heart settles into a cool violet incense accord that shimmers with a green, damp vibe.

    De Profundis takes an odd turn as the hours go on, actually growing stronger, more stable and less quavering as the base notes start to sing. It bows out with a thrumming, cool incense with a dusty, green, floral chrysanthemum note overlaid. Beautifully blended, wonderfully odd, slightly mad.

    De Profundis is certainly not for everyone - but for those who like their frags on the far side of quirky, or those looking for a truly unisex take on violets - look no further.

    Longevity is on the lower side of moderate. Sillage is polite, but persistant, not a skin scent by any means, but not an 80's style nuclear assault either. Enjoy on cold, windy days with pale skin and flushed cheeks.

  • Unknown - 4th Oct 2014

    Mysteriously sweet

    About an hour after I applied De Profundis I was surprised by the aroma of wild plum blossoms and wet earth, drawing me back to my childhood home in Northern Wisconsin. After the snow melted, amid the verdant growth of spring, the wild plum trees near our house would burst into a mass of bloom and scent. Deliriously beautiful!

  • kfg - 7th Aug 2014

    Complex and enchanting

    Intoxicated by this scent: strong and delicate floral, woody, green, frankincense yum. Long lasting. Perfection.

  • Cynda - 10th May 2014

    Cool and Icy with a Warm Heart

    When I wear this, I think of words like treasure, value, venerate and cherish. Such a beautiful, distant and mysterious fragrance. It wears well on my dry skin. Serge Lutens is a spiritual genius.

  • JoBear - 9th Dec 2013

    Another Hit For Lutens

    This is a heady, spicy chrysanthemum and incense scent. I wore it to an autumnal Catholic wedding and it fit the occasion perfectly. I do sense the tragic beauty others have mentioned, but I also get hope and warmth. Not an everyday scent by any stretch of the imagination, but one to cherish and let yourself enjoy on occasions as special as it is.

  • Heather Wood - 13th Dec 2012

    Beautiful mortality

    This remarkable take on the chrysanthemum whispers to me "dust to dust. You will go the way of all flesh. But before that, there is NOW."

  • A-M - 22nd Jul 2012


    Delicate floral composition with chrysanthemums, violets, bluebells and hyacinths tinged with sandalwood. The result is an elegant fragrance, shy, and fresh with good length and all Lutens.
    The purple color is less intense than in Sarrasins, and both the color and the name refer to the suffering and pain, De Profundis is Psalm 130, multiple origin of medieval compositions, but used mostly for funerals.
    De profundis ad te clamavi, Domine ..

    "From the depths I call to you, Lord:
    Lord, hear my voice!
    Let your ears attend
    the voice of my supplications!(...)

    De Profundis is also the title of the work in which Oscar Wilde from Reading Gaol analyzed suffering. The chrysanthemum, a key part in this floral fragrance is current Western flower to decorate the graves, purple is the relief of mourning. While East chrysanthemum has the opposite meaning is common in wedding flowers and decorations happy.
    It is a wonderful scent, very wearable and fresh funeral despite the connotations of its name and references, I insist on misunderstanding with selections to export Lutens house. It is personal but I look better in a man even unisex.

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