Serge Lutens Bois Oriental : Perfume Review

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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.

Les Eaux Boisées range includes Bois Oriental, Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, and Bois et Fruits, Un Bois Sépia, Chêne, and Santal de Mysore.

Scheherazade Telling the Tales by Kay Nielsen (1922).

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14 Comments

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    How romantic – a gift of 28 La Pausa from your Valentine ! I’m getting a vicarious thrill from you ! On my part, I wore Hermes Jardin Sur Le Nil .I put an electric Cupid in my window . I bought La Nuit D’ Amour by Guerlain last Saturday. I think it is really beautiful, so soft and feminine but not long ladting enough.
    I would love to check out Les Chanels Nouveaux – I would probably like La Pausa and 31 Rue Cambon. I will let you know my thoughts. along with everyone else ! Serge Lutens is hard for me to test. because , in my opinion, the drydown is key and that takes time. Love your photos too- I often use them as backgrounders for my computer ! February 15, 2007 at 12:35pm Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I need to try both Bois Oriental and Bois et Fruits because I love those peachy/plummy/pruney/figgy accords. And cinnamon and clove on top of that for this one? It sounds delectably wonderful! I wish they would export them to the states. 🙁

    Did you ever try a fragrance called Fruits and Flowers from The Cross boutique in London? Barneys sold the line for a minute around 2000/2001. Anyway, Fs&Fs had that peachy/plummy/pruney thing going on, with a touch of spice. I wonder how these two SL fragrances compare to Fs&Fs?

    Hugs! February 15, 2007 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Linda: Dear Victoria,
    What a wonderful sounding fragrance! And I looked at the website to find that the Bois range is quite affordable. I just don’t know what to try next… I love vanilla at the base of a perfume, and the key phrase “in a rather elegant manner” makes it more tempting. The problem is that yesterday I drove to the nearest big centre to look for the Chanels you wrote about, and also armed myself with a list of other perfumes to try. Great disappointment – I think it has to be London. But I did indulge myself with some “Vol de Nuit” in the parfum extrait (in the stunning art deco brown bottle) so I guess I’ll have to be patient. My Valentine is away at the moment, but as soon as I tried some of this, I was transported back in time to a tea dance or cocktail party, c.1929. Am I being silly? Anyway, I wonder if he’ll comment upon it when he returns.
    Your beautiful descriptions continue to inspire me! February 15, 2007 at 1:03pm Reply

  • RoseBarbare: My favorite Eaux Boisées are Bois et Fruits and Bois et Musc that I find the most sensual and feminine.
    Bois Oriental felt more on the masculine side, darker, more complex and I kept getting ‘marrons glacés’ and chesnut purée’ notes, something I love in food but just like straight-up vanilla scents, hate or don ‘t care for in perfumes. February 15, 2007 at 2:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, it sounds like you made a great choice, and it is very romantic. 🙂 I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new Chanel fragrances. Today I am wearing No 5 parfum on one arm and No 22 on another. I must say that these are yet to be surpassed. Perfection! February 15, 2007 at 2:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, as far as I recall, it was much sweeter than anything from SL. I think that it was not as spicy. Like you, I love that plummy-spicy accord. I think that you will love Bois Oriental. February 15, 2007 at 2:20pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, oh, that is perfect–the reason why I love perfume very much. Being transported to another place is one of its greatest delights. I am sure that your Valentine will notice the new aura about you. 🙂 February 15, 2007 at 2:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: RoseBarbare, I agree that Bois et Fruits and Bois et Musc are very sensual. I find the former a bit too powdery at times, but it is among my favourites. In general, I find it difficult to pick my favourites from SL. With few exceptions, I love them very much. February 15, 2007 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: DEAR VICTORIA,
    HI ! I CALLED BERGDORF’ THEY SAIS THE CHANELS ARE FLYING OUT THE DOOR WITH THE COROMANDEL BEING THE MOST POPULAR – ONLY ONE BOTTLE LEFT.
    FASCINATING ..AS SHERLOCK HOLMES .. MIGHT SAY.
    I DO SHARE IN YOUR FEELING REGARDING CHANEL NO. 5 AND NO 22.
    I LOVE THEM BOTH. I PREFER THE PARFUM W NO. 5 . MY MOTHER RECEIVED A ONE OUNCE BOTTLE OF THE CHANEL NO. 22 PARFUM FROM MY FATHER IN 1947 – ON THERE WEDDING DAY ! February 15, 2007 at 2:46pm Reply

  • chayaruchama: This is the first bottle I ever bought of SL- it was 12 years ago, I think- my DH sent me this, ISM, and Bois de Violette for my birthday [that was when they would ship them to the US !].

    A lovely review for a magnificent scent- thank you ! February 15, 2007 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Anne: One of my HG’s. It’s warmth is captivating and comforting to me. Thanks for a lovely review. February 15, 2007 at 4:46pm Reply

  • Marina: Love Bois Oriental, and the whole Boisees series. And may I just say- what a wonderful image you have chosen to go with the review! February 16, 2007 at 12:01am Reply

  • Dusan: Vika, a mouthwatering review that I’ve long been anticipating;) thank you so much! And may I join Marina in applauding the choice of the accompanying image! Plummy, warm spices, soft and faintly gourmand – hello BO, I’m coming!:) Is it possible that one can never tire of Fumerie Turque:)?
    A propos, have you got round to smelling Ferre Man?
    Hugs February 16, 2007 at 8:42am Reply

  • Dusan: Vika, a mouthwatering review that I’ve long been anticipating;) thank you so much! And may I join Marina in applauding the choice of the accompanying image! Plummy, warm spices, soft and faintly gourmand – hello BO, I’m coming!:) Is it possible that one can never tire of Fumerie Turque:)? A propos, have you got round to smelling Ferre Man? Hugs February 16, 2007 at 8:43am Reply

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