Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Lyn Harris founded her perfume line Miller Harris in 2000 and included fragrances ranging from the crisp Citron Citron to the delicately pretty Fleur du Matin. Nouvelle Line is a separate range of fragrances, having limited distribution, higher prices and exotic descriptions. The names alone are rather enticing: Cuir d’Oranger, Piment des Baies, Terre d’Iris…
En Sens de Bois is the newest fragrance from Miller Harris, and it was inspired by the scents of Japanese temples. The mere allusion to temple incense was enough to capture my attention, as my imagination immediately began to paint images of smokeless Japanese incense, the silky embrace of cedarwood and the resinous clarity of pine wood. …
However, En Sens de Bois does not take me quite as far as Japan. Instead, it stops in the English garden on a foggy morning right in front of a toolshed. The resinous green vapors rise and fade as the grey accord comprised of woods reveals itself. The smells of damp woods, trimmed branches and rusty gardening implements rush past me. Pale smoke swirls out of the woods and in contrast with their dampness, it serves as an interesting counterpoint before the composition falls flat on the vetiver heavy base. The base is reminiscent of chypre compositions, with their combination of earthy notes of iris, coolness of vetiver and sweet powderiness of mosses, enlivened by a bit of patchouli. It is not particularly rich, and while it has smoky touches, En Sens de Bois retains the cold, grey air as well as transparency, which in this case simply strikes me as thinness.
While I have not been captivated by any of the fragrances from the regular line, which struck me as somewhat flat and pale, the Nouvelle Line fragrances are more complex and interesting. Nevertheless, wearing En Sens de Bois, I keep expecting more warmth and depth, which it does not offer as it continues to expand panoramically until the last twist of vetiver exhausts itself. I find myself wishing that it unfolded into yet another layer, complementing the wet woodiness and the grapefruit crispness of vetiver. The fragrance would be suitable for both men and women, and it would fit perfectly into the unisex category of fragrances with its woody base touched by the subtle mossy coolness.
Notes include cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, bois des landes, moss, cade, amber, iris, carrot, and ambrette seed. Miller Harris En Sens de Bois and the rest of Nouvelle Line is available from their website and Saks 5th Avenue Miller Harris boutique in New York. Moreover, samples sets are also available directly from Miller Harris.
Photo: from germanngardens.com.
Tomorrow: Paul & Joe Bleu, a fragrance created by Pierre Bourdon.