Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau is a somewhat controversial fragrance. But there is one aspect of Jeux de Peau on which I suspect we can all agree: its name is totally creepy. “Skin Games”? “SKIN GAMES”??? Serge Lutens marketing team, I refuse to believe that not a single one of you has seen Silence of the Lambs.
Jeux de Peau is not as bizarre as its promised bread notes might suggest, but it is an unusual fragrance. Here is what I smell: burnt toast and apricot jam. While that might sound somewhat unappealing, I assure you that Jeux de Peau smells great. Serge Lutens has used this burnt, roasted effect before in scents like Un Bois Vanille, and it truly works in Jeux de Peau. The burnt effect is necessary to offset the sweetness of the apricot jam note. The toast is just barely bready, and certainly not yeasty (I love the smell and taste of yeast, but I doubt it would have worked here). The apricot is ultra-sweet, so sweet that it comes across as candied rather than fruity. I don’t find Jeux de Peau feminine (or gendered at all, really), but it is an extremely sweet fragrance.
Do I like Jeux de Peau? Very much. This fragrance positively sparkles. Would I wear Jeux de Peau? Probably not. As I have mentioned before, I tend not to wear particularly strange or challenging fragrances because I am already weird enough without them. But even so, I am glad that it exists. Jeux de Peau is that rarest of things: an intelligent gourmand fragrance.