Azure and Grey Skies- Ray of Light April Aromatics and L’Orpheline Serge Lutens

The two fragrances that I want to write about today really couldn’t be further apart. I could find some things that would bind them together, but really all that warrant this combination is that fact that the two fragrances arrived on the same day.

April Aromatics Ray of Light; “Ray of Light is an EdP flooding us with life (…) confidence, joy and clarity.”

Serge Lutens Orpheline; “Fragile but whole. Its name hints at a break but before the fissures show…”

Ray of light is lemon full on; you can smell the oil from the citrus peels and feel the yellowness in a way that makes this citrus dense, rather than the floating space-between-notes that one is used to from mixed and synthetic fragrances. What keeps the citrus peels fresh and thirst-quenching cool is a mint note, which works beautifully with the lemon peel and takes us in a fresh-earthy-green direction. In the middle of all the hesperidic notes and the greens, there’s a bit of sweet floral lightness and in the combination with bergamot, I’m reminded of a delicious home-made ice tea. Towards the dry-down what I get mostly is a mellow vetiver and a light blond tobacco, both maintaining a green and light feeling. Sipping ice tea under a lemon tree, above you the endless azure sky…

Ray of light orpheline 002retteWithout doubt this is a great summer citrus fragrance, 100% natural, for both men and women, or perhaps Mignon, the young girl from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister dressed as a boy when she sings the famous ‘Kennst du das Land wo die Zitronen blüh’n?’ as I am reminded of wearing ‘Ray of Light’

“Do you know the land where lemons blossom,

Where oranges grow golden among dark leaves,

A gentle wind drifts across blue skies,

The myrtle stands silent, the laurel tall,

Do you know it?

It’s there, it’s there

I long to go with you, my love.”


Serge Lutens; ‘L’Orpheline’ is a fairly linear composition, consisting of notes of cashmeran, pepper (?), blond woods and light sweetness of coumarin swirled in a whisper of a clear incense. If Ray of Light was azure sky then the overall feeling of L’Orpheline is like watching a grey sky on an autumnal afternoon, being inside looking out, wrapped in an old blanket.Ray of light orpheline 003rette1 It’s the fragility of a single ray of sun trying to find its way through the clouds. The fragrance is more akin to the Eaux line than to the other Lutens’, and even if not the most exciting SL composition, I must say it’s very wearable and has a way of drawing you in, much like Serge’s stories. Because even if I don’t like to admit it, all this talk of orphans and a fragrance dusty, woody and with a bit of comfort in the middle of the solitude, reminded me of the boy Bastian Balthasar Bux, antagonist in the Never Ending Story by Michael Ende, hiding from the world in the school attic, reading a magic book which transports him to Phantásien/ Fantastica.

“Bastian was aware of the gray daylight, but he could not make out whether it was morning or afternoon. It was bitter cold in the attic, just as on the night of Bastian’s departure.

He disentangled himself from the dusty army blankets, put on his shoes and coat, and saw to his surprise that they were wet as they had been the day when it had rained so hard.”

And in the end, unknowingly, I ended up with a link between the two. Goethe’s Mignon who sings of the land she remembers as her homeland, before a travelling circus group took her away, is an Orpheline… And that’s the magic of perfumes; they speak to you, even when you need some time to take notice.



Samples send to me by Tanja of April Aromatics and Serge Lutens.

Translation of Mignon by Richard Stokes and of The Neverending Story by Ralph Manheim.

Pictures as always by me


18 thoughts on “Azure and Grey Skies- Ray of Light April Aromatics and L’Orpheline Serge Lutens

  1. Breathtaking review! I’m thrilled to have found your blog, I have some wonderful reading ahead of me, you are an amazing poet and artist. I really want to try Ray of Light now! I have adored April Aromatics for many years and have some wonderful scents from Tanja. She is incredible. 🙂
    xxoo thank you for sharing this, really beautiful!

    • Hi Erica, Thanks for finding me and I’m very flattered by your kind words 🙂 If you adore Tanja’s work, no doubt you’ll love this one too. It’s a bit lighter in wear than her other offerings, but I still get 4-5 hours. What I love about her fragrances is that I never think about them i terms of ‘naturals’, they are just great as they are in any comparison.

  2. Beautiful reviews! I have only tried Calling all angels and Unter den linden from April Aromatics and liked both of them very much. Hope to try Ray of light sometime.

    • Thank you Edle. As it happens Unter den Linden and calling all angels are my favourites of the line, with UdL being on a TOP X list, if I did such a thing 😉

  3. Oh, I love the connections you made between these two perfumes, Asali, even if in smell they are unrelated. A perfume blogging friend sent me a sample of L’Orpheline which I haven’t worn yet, but will do so today and compare it to your wonderful description (and pretend I have a room in the attic … your story reminds me that a room in the attic, either a bedroom or a secretive playroom, features in many beloved children’s stories, and that the characters in these stories have a sense of the orphan about them, even if they aren’t true orphans).

    And it’s great to hear that Tanya has a new perfume out. By your description, Ray of Light is very true to name, and I think that’s another thing I love about her perfumes. They have a studied spirit about them that matches up so well to their names … you can tell how much thought and intent went into their creation.

    • They are indeed as far apart in scent as possible, those two. And funny how L’Orpheline really isn’t all that original and yet still very lutenesque, and as I said very wearable- also not a typical SL-trait. I wonder what you’ll think of it 🙂
      And as for Ray of Light, it is very true to name, and even if at first a relatively straight forward beautiful citrus, I find it opens up the more you wear it. The green facets are really lovely and deep.

  4. I haven’t tried yet any of these two but it was interesting to read your reviews and I enjoyed how you ended up with a connection between the two perfumes.
    April Aromatics is such a sunny brand (in my mind)! I hope they are successful. SL… I’m always curious though there are just several perfumes that I enjoy wearing from the whole line-up.

    • You’re right, AA is a sunny and life-affirming brand, and Ray of Light, is perhaps her sunniest yet. And as for SL one always wonders what he’ll come up with next, if it’s another ‘shocker’…

  5. Huh! Perfume synchronicity at play again it seems. Even when you don’t realize it at first.
    I haven’t smelled L’Orpheline yet but that cashmeran is scaring me..

    • Yes, it scared me off a bit to begin with, but it has, despite or perhaps because of its masculin vibe, also a tenderness that is rather snug. I wonder how you’ll like it.

  6. This was a really lovely pairing with contrast and connection. I really enjoyed both the song and book quotes a lot. You broaden my horizons.

    Hopefully I have a sample of Serge’s old blanket on the way 🙂 I doubt it will be for me as with the rest of his work but I always look forward to trying whatever he does.

    • Thank you Tara <3
      Ye Olde Blankett, yes, it's funny how even if this one is simple and doesn't change much (as opposed to RoL which kkeps showing new facets), in best Serge style it's such an easy fragrance to associate and fantasise with. Well, the way you describe it, I wouldn't think this one would be for you either, but I must say it isn't your typical Serge in anything but cryptic oracleisms.

      • I missed the lemon illustration! Must try harder 🙂

        Very lovely it is too.

        • AND the boy in the attic. I should give up really.

          This one reminds me of the illustrations in my favourite book as a child “The Old Nurse’s Stocking Basket” by Eleanor Farjeon.

          • Hi hi, please don’t worry and must look that one up, love old children’s book.

  7. LOL at ‘Serge’s old blanket’ – is it perhaps also made of serge? I am a fan of the April Aromatics line, although I wouldn’t rush to sniff a scent with mint and overt lemons. I loved reading your evocative review of both these scents though, and how you ended up weaving them together. Is that another of your illustrations? It is quite charming. You have really piqued my curiosity about the Orpheline fragrance – I like the thought of an offbeat, grey skies perfume. Says she, having just drained a sample of Jo Loves Gardenia.

    • haha, perhaps, who ever knows what’s in those Serge brews? Yes, illustrations are mine, and thank you.
      I know what you mean about lemon and mint, it’s not my hunting ground either, but this one is very nice. If I loved hesperidic fragrances, it would probably be a must have 🙂

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