First thing's first: contrary to Monsieur Lutens' claims - which are probably meant to be taken with a pinch of baking powder anyway - this perfume doesn't smell of bread. But that doesn't matter for one moment, because Jeux De Peau moves beyond the realm of simplistic olfactory recognition games to deliver one of the first fragrance shocks of 2011.
Try to think of a combination of the following smells... and please forgive me if you're on a diet: melting butter; crushed digestive biscuits; Monin's hazelnut syrup; warm praline; sweet almonds; vanilla shortbread; a faint suggestion of licorice; caramel; the sticky atmosphere of a patisserie... you get the idea, right? Somehow Jeux De Peau manages to be all these things: a fuzzy cloud containing every three year old's favourite scents. But its most impressive achievement is that it evokes an abstract sense of the concept of 'childhood' without allowing itself to be reduced to any one particular image; it presents an idea of bygone years rather than a specific memory of licking the remains of the cake mix out of the bowl. It is this balance that makes it so powerfully evocative: it shows you enough of the past to convince you the memories are real, but it blurs the recollections so they remain tantalisingly out of reach.
In terms of structure, it's essentially linear. At the very end - just before it allows you to wake up and leave its dreamland - it does display a sandalwood glow (reminiscent of Lutens' own Santal De Mysore) but for most of its duration, this is an unabashed 'oven gourmand', turning the pages of the Dessert section of your most beloved cookbook with playful self-assurance.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Serge Lutens in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]