Serge Lutens Chene EDP Perfume Review

Serge Lutens Chene

Like the name states, Serge Lutens Chêne is an oak fragrance. Years ago when I tried Chêne, I liked it but I dismissed it as a simple fragrance. Trying it now, it’s simple in the way that a soliflore could be called simple (which I’d argue because I don’t find soliflores “simple”). The fragrance emphasizes a single note but there’s nothing simple about that.

Chêne opens as cedar shavings and an astringent raspberry-infused drinking vinegars. My grandmother used to make us drink her homemade concoctions of drinking vinegar for “health”¹. Over the past few years, shrubs have became popular at overpriced bars mixed with spirits (because nothing in this world is sacred). I still drink vinegar teas daily. My grandmother has said this is why I always had nice skin. I drink it out of habit and because I love the flavor.

Back to Chêne…As the scent wears, it starts to remind me of stewed fruits and rum aging in oak barrels. It’s like that classic Serge Lutens-ish “stewed fruits” with molasses, Cabernet Sauvignon and oak. The dry-down further showcases the oak. But, there’s an addition of a dry, sweet immortelle and beeswax with dried fennel seed. And the cedar shavings come back for an encore. The dry down is dry woods.

Chêne is tannic oak. It’s aged barrels. And even though it’s a fragrance built on one theme (oak), it’s as complex as aged wine.


Jean Peters on a wine barrel

Notes listed include cedar crystals, wood sap, black thyme, oak, immortelle, beeswax, silver birch, rum absolute and tonka bean. Launched in 2004. PERFUMER: Christopher Sheldrake

You need to try Chêne if you are looking for an oak fragrance or woodsy scent. Or if you like perfumes like Fueguia Beagle, Ginestet Le Boise, Raw Spirit Winter Oak, MiN Scent Stories Barrel and/or Naomi Goodsir Cuir Velours.

Projection and longevity are average.

The 2.5 oz bell jar retails for $300 at Serge Lutens. It’s a “Palais Royal Exclusive”.

Victoria’s Final EauPINION Oak wine barrels. I haven’t worn an oak-centric fragrance better than this.

¹I am not 500 years old or raised during Prohibition. Neither was my grandmother. She was a fan of the old school recipes. It’s like she had a cultural memory of every recipe her ancestors made before her.

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*Sample purchased by me. Product pic from the brand. Jean Peters pic from


6 thoughts on “Serge Lutens Chene EDP Perfume Review

  1. Could you please give me more information about the vinegar teas you drink? Out of curiosity, I just purchased a bottle of organic apple cider vinegar with the “Mother” in it today, as I heard that is the best kind to purchase. I’ve been having major acne breakouts, and I was searching for something that might help but also contains no chemicals. I know part of it is related to stress, as my brother just passed away a few weeks ago and my father passed away just six months ago.

    Thanks for your time!!

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. That is so much to go through, especially in such a short amount of time.

      As you already know, your acne is related to stress. I had the same thing happen to me after my grandmother passed. Grief impacts our entire body. For my skin, I think time really helped (which I’m sure is related to the grieving process).

      As far as vinegar and skin, I don’t think it’s actually proven but many cultures believe it works. For us, we were to drink it to help with “blood sugar and digestion”. And if it does help with that, it would help with hormonal irregularities (like insulin, etc.) She just perceived it as “balancing”. Growing up, she’d make her own mix (which is like a shrub but not with much sugar – a mix of vinegar, fruits, some sugar) and then mix it in sparkling water or ice water. Now I do a few things. I usually add about 2 tablespoons of apple cider or coconut vinegar to cold water with a splash of fruit juice (just because I like the contrast of sweet/tangy). There are also pre-made Korean and Japanese mixes that I buy and dilute because they’re easy.

      I realize now that a lot of cultures do the vinegar tea thing. At a previous job, my coworkers were always wondering what weird mixed drink I was throwing together. After talking, every culture (this was a localization and linguist team) seemed to have some lore about drinking vinegar from linking it to weight loss (or maintenance) to healthy skin to increased energy. I don’t think it hurts to drink it, other than maybe messes with tooth enamel (that’s why I dilute it). But, honestly, I just really like the flavor (something must be wrong with me, lol).

      I’ve also read that people use apple cider vinegar diluted with water as a toner topically and it seems to work for them with cystic acne. I haven’t tried this.

    1. Google “shrub” and there are some recipes. This is what my grandmother made growing up but I’m certain she didn’t use as much sugar as these cocktail-related blogs are using.

      Typically, I mix about 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider or coconut vinegar to a glass of water with a splash of fruit juice. I also (out of laziness) use pre-made varieties found at Korean (hongcho) and Japanese markets. They are typically found in the vinegar section and have pics of fruits on them. And sometimes I do the proper “shrub” thing which really is good to do if you have the time and some fruits that you don’t want to waste.

      There’s a lot of health lore related to drinking vinegars (energy, clear skin, weight management, stomach health, hormonal regulations). But, I honestly just enjoy the taste and that’s why they’re in my daily routine 🙂

  2. Thank you for the great review. I purchased Chene at Barney’s several years ago because it reminded me of a walk in the woods. I still feel that way when I wear it.

    1. I like woodsy scents; however, I own very few. I could see myself buying a bottle of Chene. I just wish I bought it when it wasn’t an exclusive!

      It does have that delightful deciduous forest feel to it. The immortelle in it even gives it that sap sweetness that you really only experience if you’re in the woods.

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