As promised, this year as I sprint through five scents a week, I promised to pause on occasion to sing high praises for the occasional show stopper. The first of these is inspired by that most commerical of lover's holiday -- Valentine's Day.
Here's what L'Artisan has to say about Bois Farine, a 2003 release:
Created by Jean-Claude Ellena, perfume composer of great talent and international fame, Bois Farine (Wood Flour) is the product of his encounter with a magic tree in the Reunion Islands. Here, in a forest known as the coloured wood forest, surrounded by evocatively named trees , red wood, yellow wood, iron wood and milk wood, he unexpectedly discovered the fragrant white tree - a rare and nowadays protected species, reputed to have magical powers. This tree is specific to Reunion Island and its red flower smells like flour.A ton of reviewers comment on an initial encounter with what they describe as a "peanut butter" note. My pretties, I am getting none of that, and I like peanut butter enough that you could probably still list a well-made PB and J among my favorite foods, so I admit it was weirdly disappointing.
Bois Farine is a single and unique fragrance, a magical union between witch wood and flower powder … As rich and fresh as flour rain.
Notes: white cedar, gaiacwood and sandalwood, white iris, farine flower, fennel seed
Instead I was bombarding my a fleeting litany of imagery I can only describe as Valentine-esque. I was so stunned by the experience I actually set Bois Farine aside expressly for a very special February spotlight. I'm on try four now, just to confirm my prior impressions, and if I were going to say that any scent seemed stereotypically Valentine's Day like to me, this would be it. Here's what I get:
Slide 1: A little girl, light brown curls and cupid's bow lips, cutting a string of paper hearts from cheap red construction paper so faded it actually looks kind of sickly
Slide 2: A thin, almost severe looking woman with black hair tied into a bun in a black satin night gown before a large oval mirror on a dressing table, looking at her hollowed cheeks with an air of discerning judgement, then hitting herself smack in the face with a huge and overloaded powder puff
Slide 3: Tiny hands very carefully gluing, with WAY TOO MUCH glue, hearts cut from paper doilies onto purple paper with "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY" printed very carefully across the top
Slide 4: A young woman exclaiming in cartoonesque excitment over flower delivery of completely silk flowers straight from the factory
Slide 5: a pre-teen flopping down on a bed, giant "Princess Leia" esque headphone on as she carefully writes out the tracks on the inside lines of a casette tape in smearing pastel glitter pens
Slide 6: A shower of red hots falling onto a glass bowl sitting on a well-floured surface, then pink frosted cupcakes being pressed, frosting down, into them until they are coated with red hots
I could go on. My initial notes, which are really my immediate, unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness impressions read as follows:
Baby powder and lipstick, silk flowers and red hots. If I were going to say that any scent seemed stereotypically Valentine's Day , this would be it.
Here I am three weeks and several tries later and I stand by it. It's woody, but not in a pencil shaving way or an incense-y way like so many others. It's sweet, but not overly so. I don't think of it as foodie, even though the immediate thought I have every time is red-laquered nails digging in a bin of waxy holiday candy. I think I keep getting red hots because it's cinnamon-flavored candies I keep thinking I'm smelling, and I don't think I've ever thought I smelled that in a scent before. It's not precisely floral, either, but it still has a vaguely sweet floral scent.
So the big question: do I like it? Bois Farine is a controversial scent when you look through other reviews. People either love it or hate it or cannot decide enough to say, which says a lot for its not smelling like anything else, and that alone is no mean feat. Bois Farine was the first in the Far Away Travels line, and I have to appreciate the strange pace it set for what followed. when it comes to the "Far Away Travels" series, which I personally either psychotically love (Timbuktu, Dzongkha) or find really disappointing (Havana Vanille). FN1 This one I'm putting tentatively into the love category, which surprises me. I do really like it, though, perhaps because of, instead of in spite of, its weirdness. It's definitely a "try before you buy" scent; hell, you should probably try it twice. Like Robin, I wish I could get it in a 15ml sprayer. I think I'd wear it, but not often enough to merit 50ml. 15ml would be about perfect. That, or I need to find another Bois Farine loving weirdo to do a split with me.
You can buy Bois Farine direct from the perfumer, as well as at Luckyscent, Beauty Encounter, Beauty Habit and I'm sure a ton of other places. The price? 50 ml for $95 and 100ml for $135, which let me tell you is a downright reasonable price point if this melts your butter.
"O-o-old habits die hard when you got,
when you got a sentimental heart .
Piece of the puzzle, you're my missing part.
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?"
"Sentimental Heart," She & Him
Want more? Try...
~ a rare reconsideration from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Bois de Jasmine
~ a review from Aromascope
~ a review from Pere de Pierre
~ a review from Olfactoria's Travels, who looks like she started back in October and has a pretty good thing going
FN1 Yeah, yeah, yeah, you all love it. You seriously question my taste if I don't. Etc. Etc. Let the stoning begin.
Photo, and all attendant rights related to it: kristelyoneda.