Five O’ Clock Au Gingembre, I love ya, even if you are a B side in the Lutensian catalogue. Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens were probably going for zest rather than realism when they placed that piercing bergamot note over the candied ginger, but for a moment, it smells like freshly peeled ginger root. Intentional or not, this gives the scent a fresh, sporty masculine start quite at odds with the biscuit-like powderiness of the drydown. Get past the initial whomp of aftershave, though, and this is as soft and inviting as one of those squishy modular couches.
Five O’ Clock Au Gingembre is remarkably free of the dried fruit ambers and incense Serge Lutens perfumes are known for. You half go into it expecting fruitcake, but it is nothing more than a fug of powdered spice lingering in the air after pulling a fresh batch of Speculoos biscuits from the oven. It is slightly edible but not really what I’d call a gourmand, being more wood and dust and spice than dessert. I don’t miss the lack of Lutensian sturm-und-drang here, either. Sometimes, life calls for a scent that avoids pushing any of your buttons, and this is as reassuringly, blandly nice as baby rusks or Jennifer Garner.
The tea note is, as always, a figment of our collective imagination, placed there by the interaction between the acerbic citrus, the mild heat of the ginger, and the milk powder heart. Five O’ Clock Au Gingembre is often compared to Tea for Two, but interestingly, it is the L’Artisan Parfumeur that is bigger, bolder, and more pungently spiced. Sometimes I wonder if Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake simply turned up at the lab that day, said ‘Christ, I don’t feel like anything too weird or heavy right now, do you?’ and then churned out a gingerbread tea scent that is delightfully non-descript and yet just happens to cure all manner of evil.
Source of Sample: I bought my bottle five years ago from Les Galleries Lafayette in Orleans.