Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Sometimes one becomes captivated with the beauty of a composition upon first inhaling it, and sometimes it takes more time. In the case of Serge Lutens Miel de Bois, repeated exposure does indeed uncover new facets; however, these discoveries do not result in my increased appreciation for it. Quite the opposite, I realize even more why it does not appeal to me. Part of the problem is that I envision a magical forest of trees dripping with honeyed nectar, yet instead I end up in an alley filled with malodorous miasmas.
Phenylacetic acid in extremely low concentrations has a luscious honey and animalic malt odor; however, in large dozes, it becomes distinctly urinous. Miel de Bois seems to explore the latter aspect of it, and the dry accord of woods touched with animalic leather provides a supporting arrangement which does nothing to dim the effect. …
Overdose of an ingredient is often relied upon in order to achieve an excess, which in a perfectly harmonious structure manages to draw attention to its dissonant presence thus endowing the perfume with a memorable trait. Féminité du Bois relies on an overdose of cedarwood-toned Iso E Super, Dior Poison on fruity damascones, and Donna Karan Be Delicious on the green violet leafy richness of Undecavertol.
Exaggeration is also present in many of Serge Lutens’s creations, often with shocking results as in the case of Tubéreuse Criminelle. However, while after the initial mentholated blast one encounters the creamy sweetness of tuberose in the case of Tubereuse Criminelle, Miel de Bois does not offer any comparable transformation, other than slightly softening its dry woody accord. In general, fragrances that are merely pretty do not hold my interest for long, while admittedly unpleasant ones do not elicit a desire to experience them more often than needed. While Miel de Bois is certainly off the beaten path, it is a path I try to avoid.
Notes include ebony, oak, guaiacwood, aloewood, honey, beeswax, iris, and hawthorn. Miel de Bois is part of Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido export line. Online, Miel de Bois is sold at Aedes and Escentual.
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