At turns delicate and animalic, pure and carnal, jasmine is rightfully considered one of perfumery’s most versatile and valued notes. Both reverent and blasphemous, La Religieuse (“the nun”) uses its jasmine to paint a portrait of a woman in full, where sweet and comforting give way to hidden depths of animalic desire, and ultimately, to freedom.
La Religieuse opens with a gourmand flourish, as the fresh, lightly green jasmine combines with sweet, sugared mimosa and smooth incense to evoke imagery of a saintly servant of god, pure in her devotion and intentions, bringing comfort and joy to those under her care. But as it evolves, and a more animalic civet note begins to coax out the other side of the jasmine, we realize that this woman has her own desires, her own fantasies, and her own yearning to escape the life that has been given to her. While the sweetness lingers, the incense now feels dirtier, the musk sexier. La Religieuse never goes fully down and dirty, but the transition is thrillingly palpable: our heroine, while she might never go completely wild, is no longer content to be anyone’s silent bride. Once again, Serge Lutens has delivered us a gorgeous, encompassing fragrance that tells a story we won’t soon forget.