Zoroastre who writes on Beauté Test (thank you dear, for your kindness), I have received a small vial of Vitirol d'Oeillet by Serge Lutens, out in September.
I was very curious to try it because the carnation note isn't very used in perfumery today, I can think only of Villoresi's Garofano and Prada's Oeillet (exclusive line): the former couples rose, jasmine, geranium, pepper, cinnamon and a clove accord with a result feminine and imposing, very close to the real scent of the flower, while I remember the latter as most sophisticated, delicate and asexual.
Even Carnation by Mona di Orio and Caron Bellodgia offer carnation, but are particular interpretations, quoting it with levity without making it the central focus of the fragrance. I have still to try Dianthus by Etro and I will as soon as possible, but I can't think of any other contemporary fragrance where carnation is the main theme, and if you know others, please notify. You see then, that the idea that the Maestro engaging precisely with that note filled me with anticipation.
The pyramid of Vitriol d'Oeillet cites only a handful of spices: nutmeg, clove, black pepper and pink pepper, but I've smelled also rose, ylang ylang, perhaps a hint of tuberose, and something in the base as a clean as a white musk and soft as a tonka bean. Thus, carnation, is absent. Carnation is just an idea, its fragrance wafting around like a shadow materializing on a wall, without the solid form that generated the shadow being actually present. This happens when rose is coupled with spices rich in eugenol such as nutmeg and cloves: the mental association clicks spontaneously because carnation is characterized by its double aspect "rose/eugenol". Well, Vitriol, too, is a very personal interpretation on carnation.
I must say that although it hasn't been done for me, I wore it happily, I found it rich, satisfayingly intense without invasion, refined with just a hint of snobbery, deeply Lutens. You understand it at the fly. And on male skin is at its best in my opinion, maybe it was meant to express there.
I miss the vitriol. The intoxicating "paw" that hits you in the stomach. Maybe because after Tubéreuse Criminelle, Filles en Aiguilles, La Myrrhe, Sarrasins and others, I would expect that Lutens -metaphorically- squeezed the juice out of carnation until the last drop, bringing it up to the extreme boundaries of the tolerable. Instead, although he manages to keep both the vigor and stormy character of this flower, he still kept within moderate limits, favoring a sleek look, almost dandyfied, and above all wearable without major worries.
The balance flowers/spices will keep for the duration, deviating little from the initial sensation; only in the final flowers tend to predominate as they should, since spices don't live long. Interesting and intellectually stimulating like most Lutens, but less challenging than others, in my opinion.
Pic from La Stampa.it