Miel de Bois
To greet the Jewish New Year, I've worn some honeyed perfumes these past couple of days, including the most dreaded, controversial Miel de Bois from the dense atelier of Monsieurs Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake.
Miel de Bois gets more often negative attention than positive, so I've decided to finally give this jus a try on New Year's Eve, following the tradition of dipping the first days of the year in honey...
The carded sample says:
Honey becomes the trickling sap of dreams, graecfeully melding with a very dry, woody accord. Delicate, subtle and true."
What I got from it was an over-intensified honey candy fragrance, the kind you can also experience with honey-scented soap.
And in attempt to be a little more descriptive rather than reminisce about roaming in the thorny bushes of our village with a soldier-teacher bribing us with candy --
It is not so much honey as it is the cliche of honey. A scent I actually like a lot: it reminds me of rather early childhood memories, when I was about four. My family just moved to the village and there was no kindergarten. Our parents got a relief from caring for their preschoolers and build their houses in time for the fall, in the form of a soldier-teacher: an 18 or 19 year old girl whose name was Gilda, and who in order to appease us and prevent us from getting lost in the bush she gave us honey candies (there was no actual building for this "preschool" she had to run - maybe just a tent but I can't even remember that).
So this perfume does not really raise any profound memories otherwise, except that it reminds me of all honey candies and honey soap bars I encountered thereoff - which will forever remind me of Gilda (whom I don't even remember really without the honey candies attached to her image).
I would say Miel de Bois smells like an artificial honey fragrance. Wherever this "dry wood" is, I can't find it. If anything, it reminds me of a very concentrated artificial honey fragrance oil I got at a Bella Pella - an underground soapmaking shop in Mont Royal (Montreal) many years ago when I began my fragrance craze and was purchasing anything that smelled like something... Their scents are very fun when diluted in a soap base (they had an amazing Gianduja soap that made you just want to eat yourself in the bathtub) but way too strong on their own.
Unfortunately, Miel de Bois smells like it was never diluted in anything. So I am beginning to understand the controversy. It doesn't even have the depth and the density that other Serge Lutens perfumes have - that sweetness that sucks you in and makes you addicted whether if you like the scent or not. Instead, it is sharp, persistent and very artificial smelling. The sharpness is a little floral, but not any particular flower. It has more depth on a scent strip than on the skin, which is peculiar. But it certainly improves with time when worn on the skin - if you can get distracted beyond the "honey candy!" effect, which is ever so potent. I can smell some real honey absolute if I put my mind to it - which is a little more waxy than the fake honey smell. And than there is some baby-powder scent, which is hardly an improvement. And if you pay even more attention you may notice something that resembles wood - Atlas cedarwood, to be more exact, as in Feminite de Bois, which is the only point when one could consider this "smooth". But the fact that it is so difficult to make out anything else but honey is the problem with this perfume and what stands in the way of turning the amusement into real enjoyment.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to find some kind of an apple perfume to balance this review. Hopefully something that is as tart as a Granny Smith!