Serge Lutens Perfumes, with a perfume shop located in Paris, France, though the founder himself spends much of his time in Marrakesh, has developed an incredible cult following in the perfume community.
Born in 1942, he began his career in Paris as a makeup artist and stylist. Christian Dior hired him to create their makeup line in the 1960s. Shiseido hired him away as creative director in 1980 and directed the launch of the "Perfume Unicorn" Nombre Noir, a scent molecularly blacksmithed of osmanthus, damascone and prune by Japanese in-house perfumers for Shiseido. Nombre Noir had a short, tempestuous life. Difficult to source, easy to degrade, and expensive to produce, as well as packaging that leaked. Described as one of the Top Five Scents in the world (I would agree from a purely interesting/unusual point of view).
Serge Lutens opened Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris in 1992, soon after Shisiedo released Feminite du Bois, which is regarded as the child of Nombre Noir and the mother of many of the Serge Lutens fragrances, primarily the Bois series - Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, Bois et Fruits, and Bois Oriental. Many of the Serge Lutens fragrances have been created by Christopher Sheldrake.
Other boutique releases that have become iconic for Serge Lutens fragrance fans are Iris Silver Mist (1994) -about 17 tons of iris compounds was the Maurice Roucel's answer to Serge's objection that it didn't have enough iris; Un Lys (1997); Rahat Loukoum (1998); Muscs Koublai Khan (1998) - lord, what a great musk!; Tubereuse Criminelle (1999) - tuberose with a blast of camphor on the open; and many others.
Serge Lutens has specialized in the unique, the unusual, pairing beautiful smells with the not so beautiful or the freakish and creating the smell that will make you stop, pause and think. If you have ever disagreed that perfume is art, try Serge Lutens first. It may change your mind.