Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Though it is Serge Lutens at his classical best, Bois Oriental from the sumptuous Les Eaux Boisées range* did not immediately appeal to me. The elegant Bois de Violette and the luscious Bois et Fruits were the more likely choices, leaving Bois Oriental to languish ignored. Yet, Bois Oriental deserves its moment in the sun as well, and it turned out to be just as complex, opulent and seductive as the rest of Les Eaux Boisées. …
Serge Lutens excels at weaving images from the Moroccan souks, Arabian Night tales and Moghul palaces. While Bois Oriental is certainly born in that tradition, it seems to possess a certain softness that I do not find to such an extent in the other Les Eaux Boisées. It flows like a tale that Scheherezade might have been told after knowing that the Sultan Schahriar had fallen in love with her, enchanted by her stories and kindness. Where the woods in Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, and Bois et Fruits cradle a dominant note, be it a soft musk or caramelized fruit, Bois Oriental is a lavish tapestry of spices.
Wrapped into the creamy foil of vanilla, the hot spices of Bois Oriental feel warm rather than fiercely searing. Nevertheless, their opulence and harmony assure a dramatic statement. Moreover, adding to the excitement of Bois Oriental are the abstract gourmand touches, evoking the ruby hued candied quince, rose sherbet, and cardamom almond halwa. Yet, the smooth warmth of the base notes tones down the sweetness in a rather elegant manner, leaving one with only a faint impression of something delectable.
The lovers of Les Eaux Boisées and Shiseido Féminité du Bois will find Bois Oriental enchanting. Moreover, if you enjoyed Arabie for its Middle Eastern gourmand character, but found it overwhelming, you might like to explore Bois Oriental. The fragrance is very tenacious and long-lasting like all of Les Eaux Boisées, a range with a strikingly beautiful sillage. Bois Oriental includes notes of violet, peach, plum, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, musk, Atlas cedarwood, and vanilla. It is available from Les Salons du Palais Royal.
Scheherazade Telling the Tales by Kay Nielsen (1922).