Building Perfume Wardrobe Guide Part 7 : All About Woods

Part 1: Florals ~ Rose
Part 2: Florals ~ Jasmine and White Florals
Part 3: Florals ~ Lily of the Valley and Violet
Part 4: Florals ~ Blends
Part 5: Essentials
Part 6 : Orientals

Autumn is the time of year when I reach for woods fragrances from my collection, hoping to recall memories of crisp leaves, curls of wood smoke, and the bracing green of pine. Woods fragrances may include sandalwood, cedar, oak, pine, and cypress (plus more), and also include for classification’s sake patchouli and vetiver.  Some woods fragrances smell like the outdoors, while others smell like an antique treasure chest and still more use wood as a basenote, skipping the ambient quality and using wood as a background support.

woods

Wood notes are used in both male and female fragrances and may be interpreted differently.  In male fragrances, woods can suggest rugged masculinity (Coty Wild Woods) or they can be smoothed over with elegance (Chanel Égoïste).  A large amount of sandalwood in Samsara enhances the seductive nature of this Guerlain classic.  I enjoy the dryness and sharpness that wood notes can bring to fragrances, and their combination of elegance and sensuality.

Perhaps the most-talked-about woods scent is 1992’s Féminité du Bois, done by Serge Lutens for Shiseido.  It was a stew of purple plums and cedar.  Discontinued and re-released under the Serge Lutens label, the fragrance is a great jumping-off point for an exploration of the woods category.  Its note of Atlas cedar is pungent and rich while its fruits simmer and release their pulpy aromas.  Féminité du Bois kicked off the variations of “Les Eaux Boisées” from the formerly non-exported Lutens line (Bois Oriental, Bois de Violette, Un Bois Sépia, Chêne, Bois et Fruits, Bois et Musc, and Santal de Mysore) and also Santal Blanc, Santal Majuscule, Cèdre, and Fille en Aiguilles.

Comme des Garçons is another house that has made an investigation of woods.  From its “Red” series comes Sequoia, a pitch-perfect rendition of the forest floor of the Pacific Northwest; and Palisander, an incense-y rosewood and cedar.  There’s also Hinoki, a drily medicinal cypress scent, and the range of Incense series scents (Zagorsk, Avignon, Jaisalmer, Kyoto, and Ouarzazate, all of which have ambient-wood bases).

Woods fragrances appear frequently in niche lines. Ormonde Jayne Woman (and Man) is a darkly tangled medieval forest;  Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain is a hot breath of woods across a Moroccan desert; Sonoma Scent Studio takes on seasonal environments with Winter Woods and Forest Walk (meant to evoke summer in the redwoods).  Tan Rokka Aki transports you to a store full of wooden carvings from China.

Vetiver is a chameleon of a note that is exercised through in myriad ways, from citrus (Guerlain Vétiver) to berries (Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vétiver) to chocolate (Serge Lutens Vétiver Oriental) to ozone (Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire).  Vetiver can be clean or dirty or sweet or bitter, depending on what additional notes are used.

Patchouli comes from the leaves of a plant native to India, but its aroma is classified as woody. It is so deeply embedded into the hippie ethos—the single green note of cheap headshop oil—that some people won’t go near the stuff.  But in the modern era, Thierry Mugler’s Angel wrapped patchouli in cotton candy, fruit, and caramel to begin the “fruit-chouli” trend that is still going strong 20 years later.  But herbal, woody patchouli can also be animalic and hot (Ramon Monegal Mon Patchouly) or dark and liqueur-like (Montale Patchouli Leaves) or blended with other major woods notes (Nobile 1942 Patchouli Nobile).

Wood notes can support a complex fragrance like Amouage Jubilation XXV and Bond No. 9 Chinatown (both with lavish top and heart notes) or they can be as austere as Diptyque’s Tam Dao (rosewood married with sandalwood).

Below is a reference to woods fragrances that are masters in their class.

Must know cedarwood classic: Shiseido/Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois

Must know sandalwood classicGuerlain Samsara

Must know vetiver classicGuerlain Vétiver

Must know patchouli classicThierry Mugler Angel

Must know pine classicPino Silvestre

What are your favorite woods fragrances?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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92 Comments

  • Astrid: Unfortunately, a whole lotta fragrances also feature choke-inducing chemicalesque artificial woods, something called “Cashmere woods” being the worst offender.

    Don’t know about other people, but I can detect this thing immediately in a wide range of overpriced mall offerings. Elizabeth Arden particularly overuses, but its out there everywhere, and instantly overwhelms and ruins (for me) any perfume its in.

    Ditto whatever “woods” chemical is backloaded into YSL Cinema. Smells like those cheapo teen scents from Abercrombie & Fitch, et. al.

    Wish they’d just remove the base entirely, rather than include cheap chemicals. I don’t want to smell them at all.

    Sure miss quality in mainstream perfume. That’s why I don’t buy them anymore. November 15, 2012 at 7:27am Reply

    • Suzanna: Astrid, I have to laugh–I was in the market yesterday and came across an inexpensive candle called “Cashmere Woods.” I agree about the chemical artificiality of that smell. And funny you should mention YSL/Cinema. I found the same fake note in Nuit d’Homme. I really dislike it, too. A faux “plush” wood note. November 15, 2012 at 8:15am Reply

    • minette: astrid – you are so right! for me, the biggest headache-vomit inducers are cashmere mist and sensuous, both by EL. not sure that is what i hate about red door, but maybe it is! November 15, 2012 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: Hi Suzanna! great list, many perfumes to discover for woody perfume lovers like me. Right now I am enjoying Angel le Goût du Parfum, gives me already the Christmas feeling. When I am in the mood, I wear Yatagan. And one of my big favorites is Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa, sometimes layered with Ivoire (both having that bitter note–artemisia?– I like very much. November 15, 2012 at 7:29am Reply

    • Suzanna: Anna Minis, I have not tried Le Gout and will now seek some out to sample.

      V. will probably know the bitter note, but artemesia is a good guess. November 15, 2012 at 8:13am Reply

  • rosarita: Wonderful article, thank you! I am glad to see mention of one of my favorites, Coty Wild Woods. I use it for layering, to *woodify* fragrances that seem to need some depth. My favorite cedary wood scent is Christian LaCroix Tumulte Pour Homme, sadly discontinued and now very hard to find. November 15, 2012 at 7:44am Reply

    • Suzanna: Rosarita, a few years ago around Christmastime, Marshalls had Tumulte Pour Homme at a steal price like $15. Never saw it again after that. November 15, 2012 at 8:12am Reply

  • Patt: My favorites are the woody chypres such as Acqua di Parma Profumo and Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. They are both great everyday scents combining the warmth of wood with the elegance of oak moss. November 15, 2012 at 8:04am Reply

    • Suzanna: Great choices, Patt, and I find both to be suitable for formal and casual situations. November 15, 2012 at 8:11am Reply

      • Phyllis Ann Iervello: I love Acqua di Parma Profumo. I still have a full bottle and another half-bottle of the original formula that I bought in Italy right before the reformulation. I have heard that the reformulated version is really good as well, but have never had the opportunity to sample. November 15, 2012 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Merete: I’m so glad to finally see Acqua di Parma Profumo mentioned on this blog. In my opinion it’s such a beautiful scent that for some reason gets vey little attention. November 15, 2012 at 9:48am Reply

      • Gisela: I fell in love with Profumo two years ago, but before I bought it, it was sadly reformulated. The sample I got in Milan at the “source” smells fresher and thinner, more cologne-y, if that makes sense. There went another great chypre – sigh! November 15, 2012 at 1:07pm Reply

        • Suzanna: I think I mentioned this–or someone else did–a couple of weeks ago. Profumo has been reformulated and is not the old-school chypre it once was. Anyone considering it should look for the vintage blend. November 15, 2012 at 2:25pm Reply

          • Merete: Yes, you did mention it some time ago, Suzanna, and I was so happy to read that comment, actually.
            Gisela and Suzanna, I agree with both of you of course. Profumo has been sadly reformulated like so many other wonderful perfumes. But then again, I still think it is beautiful and enjoy wearing it – even the new one… November 15, 2012 at 3:38pm Reply

      • Suzanna: I agree, Merete, although I wish the price had not doubled :–( November 15, 2012 at 2:24pm Reply

        • Merete: Well yes, double the price and a “lesser” scent…
          (still love it, though) November 15, 2012 at 3:40pm Reply

          • Phyllis Ann Iervello: When I first tried and bought the Profumo it was in Italy before reformulation (which I did not know was going to occur). I bought two bottles because back then (it was the beginning of the euro) it was so much cheaper than here. I was shocked at the high price of buying it here. Now I suppose it is probably even higher in Italy although the value of the euro has dropped since my last trip to Italy in 2008. November 15, 2012 at 6:12pm Reply

            • Suzanna: It is probably still cheaper in Europe!

              I think the “vintage” original was around $150 USD about a decade ago and this seemed so high at the time. November 16, 2012 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Jillie: Welcome back, S! I have been wearing my “vintage” Samsara a lot lately, and have fallen in love with it all over again. However, this is tinged with sadness as the current formulation is so very different – the sandalwood smells harsh and cheap, and it is no longer the gorgeous, glamorous, mellow comforter of old. But I guess it would definitely demonstrate what sandalwood smells like!

    Has Feminite changed since it first appeared? I have no doubt that it has, but must try it. When I wore it, I would just keep sniffing and sniffing its loveliness, and marvelled at how different it was compared with other fragrances at that time. And certainly cedary! November 15, 2012 at 8:43am Reply

    • Suzanna: Yes, Samsara is quite different. I have some of the new (ish) and it is quite chemical smelling. Still wear it, though.

      FdB has changed. The new version, under the Lutens mantle, is not as complex. See comment below from Lyng. November 15, 2012 at 10:30am Reply

  • Cybele: I loved the original Halston for woman and wore it a lot in the late 90ties were it had long passed its best times. I always thought of it as a woody scent and never quite found anything comparable. November 15, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

    • Suzanna: I have a supposedly vintage bottle of this (I wore it in the late seventies) and I can’t quite recall it. I used to love it! It was a modern chypre with mossy and some woody notes in the base. November 15, 2012 at 10:29am Reply

  • ChrisinNY: Great series. I went back and read the earlier installments as I am a new(ish) reader of the blog. Thanks for great info, and a new list of scents to explore. November 15, 2012 at 8:51am Reply

    • Suzanna: You are welcome, Chris! Thanks for leaving a comment so we can meet you! Glad you enjoy the blog and this series. November 15, 2012 at 10:28am Reply

  • kjanicki: I love woody perfumes, especially in the cold dark days of late fall. My favourite woods are Chanel Bois des Iles and Sycomore, Bulgari Omnia, Comme des Garcons Hinoki and Avignon, 10 Corso Como, Ormonde Jayne Woman, and Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo. I’m still looking for a perfume that gives me that smell of wood smoke on a fall night, something like the Diptyque Feu de Bois candle, but wearable. November 15, 2012 at 9:15am Reply

    • Suzanna: Sonoma Scent Studio Fireside Intense might work for you–give it a try! Then there’s the old John Galliano (Diptyque) roomspray trick. November 15, 2012 at 10:27am Reply

      • OperaFan: Ha! Your recommendation “slipped” past mine! Glad we think alike.
        a:) November 15, 2012 at 2:02pm Reply

    • OperaFan: Kjanicki – Have you tried Sonoma Scent Studio’s Fireside Intense? It’s among the best examples of burnt/smoky woods I know. Of course there’s also Tauer’s Lonestar Memory but that’s more tar than smoke. November 15, 2012 at 11:00am Reply

    • RVB: Kjanicki-try Jeke by Slumberhouse.It’s scent is supposed to replicate a nighttime stroll with burning Autumnal woods in the distance.And I can vouch indeed it does through the use of cade oil.It’s deep,smoky and mesmerizing November 15, 2012 at 6:11pm Reply

      • Suzanna: I know nothing of that line and have barely seen it discussed, so I am glad that you brought it into this conversation, RVB! November 16, 2012 at 9:20pm Reply

  • iodine: Yesterday I tested Bois d’Ascese by Naomi Goodsir perfumes- truly impressive rendition of a bonfire! I love it, very auumnal. November 15, 2012 at 9:39am Reply

    • Suzanna: I was wondering about that one and will now have to try it! November 15, 2012 at 10:26am Reply

  • Civava: I love original Feminite du Bois. Actually I find most of wood perfume very interesting, but wouldn’t wear all of course. I’m not fond of dry or pine notes. But to compare them I try most of them. November 15, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Suzanna: Civava, I love dry and pine notes! It’s always so interesting to see how we differ in our preferences. I try as many as I can find, and not all are good! November 15, 2012 at 10:26am Reply

  • Lyng: Thank you, Suzanna. The wardrobe series are an inspiration.

    Féminité du Bois is the perfume I always come back to. I own both the Shiseido and the Lutens version. The Lutens is more linear than the original Shiseido but it’s still unmistakably FdB. Un Bois Vanille is another woody Lutens I enjoy wearing. Rochas Femme is also a favourite. It must have inspired FdB with its ripe plum and woods.

    Right now I’m on the hunt for the perfect patchouli. Last week, I discovered that a department store in city is now carrying Chanel Les Exclusifs. I tried Coromandel right away and found it warm and strong and cosy and wonderful – until the incense kicked in. Incense turns sour on my skin, it smells like dirty socks. November 15, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

    • Suzanna: Lyng, try Reminiscence Patchouli, or Les Nereides Patchouli Antique! November 15, 2012 at 10:25am Reply

      • Lyng: Thank you for the suggestions. I don’t know any of them, they sound interesting. November 15, 2012 at 11:10am Reply

    • Austenfan: Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille has lots of Patchouli and plum ( and iris). Maybe worth a try as well. November 15, 2012 at 10:50am Reply

      • Lyng: I think I have a sample somewhere. I’ll try et again.

        Thank you! November 15, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

      • Suzanna: Thanks for suggesting that! November 15, 2012 at 2:26pm Reply

      • annemariec: I love that one but it’s so raw and earthy (to me, anyway) that I always fear I will offend some patchouli hating colleague in the office or somewhere. I must remember to retrieve my sample and wear it one weekend when I’m by myself! November 15, 2012 at 6:04pm Reply

        • Suzanna: …and there are lots of them around!

          I am lucky to live in a place that is full of old hippies. The smell of patchouli is welcomed. November 16, 2012 at 9:21pm Reply

    • Phyllis Ann Iervello: It never ceases to amaze me how different we all are in every possible way. Coromandel stays the same on me from first spray until last vestige. It seems to be the scent (along with Chanel No. 5) that I wear to bed most of the time. I presume that means they both are my comfort scents. November 15, 2012 at 6:17pm Reply

      • Suzanna: They are wonderful classics, always appropriate. For some time I wore only Chanel No. 5, Coromandel, 31 Rue Cambon, Cuir de Russie, and Bois de Iles. That was all I wanted and I considered it a great wardrobe of fragrance. November 15, 2012 at 8:07pm Reply

        • Merete: Hi again Suzanna! apart from Coromandel of which I haven’t really made up my mind yet, I totally agree with you. Those are great classics that will always have a place in my – smallish – scent wardrobe. I’m thrilled that a “new” fragrance, 31 Rue Cambon, is so lovely and versatile – to me it’s also a great office scent.
          miste
          Back in the nineties, Feminité du Bois was quite a signature scent of mine (interchanging with my then all time favourite Coco). Until I started reading this blog I didn’t even realize how significant FdB has been. I’m learning so much. So far I haven’t had the courage to try the Lutens version as I loved the original so much. November 16, 2012 at 4:29am Reply

          • Suzanna: Merete, 31, Rue Cambon is ideal for office, as you point out (and just about everything else, too).

            You may as well try the Lutens version of FdB. It isn’t an entirely new scent, and it certainly is wearable. November 16, 2012 at 5:19am Reply

            • Merete: 31RC – well yes, although one of our employees pointed out that she detected a smell of peppermint as she passed my office yesterday..

              Yes, I suppose it’s about time for me to try the Lutens version. I trust your and the other perfume lovers on this exquisite blog”s great taste and judgement. November 16, 2012 at 6:24am Reply

              • Suzanna: Peppermint? I suppose I can see that. The iris is cool and could form a partial peppermint note, as crazy as that sounds. November 16, 2012 at 9:22pm Reply

                • Merete: Ha, I’m not much of an expert when it comes to fragrance notes, but that’s exactly what I told her – certainly no peppermint, but maybe the iris.. November 17, 2012 at 5:22am Reply

        • Lyng: Bois des Iles is beautiful but rather thin. I wish Chanel would launch it as an edp. November 16, 2012 at 6:11am Reply

          • Suzanna: I have the parfum and the EdT, so that mostly covers the bases. I’ve let the parfum age for a year and it’s great. I do wish they had EdP, though. And soap and so on. November 16, 2012 at 6:23am Reply

        • Austenfan: One of my great failings as a perfume lover is my lack of love for Chanel. I like Cristalle, No.19 Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie and Pour Monsieur, admire but dislike No.5 and have no good things to say about Coco Mlle, Chance and Allure.
          I find them too smooth, too perfect in a way.

          I should mend my ways really and start sniffing more of the Exclusifs. November 16, 2012 at 1:24pm Reply

          • Suzanna: Austenfan, I never really wore Chanel until the Exclusifs came out. I could kick myself now for giving away a good amount of vintage Bois de Iles parfum, which I considered too stuffy. Oh, dear. I think that the lightening of the scents into what amounts to body sprays drew me in, and I wear a lot of them. November 16, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Deborah: I love this blog, I learn and am intrigued every time I read it. I am in the process of understanding notes, developing confidence in my own preferences and what a fragrance smells like on me. This is a new journey for me, thank you!

    The perfumes in my collection are primarily mainstream dept. store brands – can’t wait to try some of the ones mentioned throughout the blog.

    Can you tell me what is in Kenzo Amour Indian Holi? that was my first venture into something quite different for what I had bought before. Does that have sandalwood in it?
    Another question – does bulgari’s Jasmine noir have wood notes in it?
    Thanks! November 15, 2012 at 10:58am Reply

    • sara: Hi Deborah,
      I’m trying to answer your questions:
      1. Kenzo Amour Indian Holy has sandalwood listed as one of its base notes.
      2. As far as Jasmin Noir is concerned, non specific woodsy notes are listed in the base notes (EdP and l’Essence). Anyway, I think that l’Essence is woodier than the Eau de Parfum.
      Regards. November 15, 2012 at 11:23am Reply

    • Suzanna: Deborah, yes, it has some “woods” type of notes, but isn’t specifically one note or another. November 15, 2012 at 2:27pm Reply

  • Ilia: Lutens’s Feminite de Bois is a classic wood fragrance. I wish I could smell the original Shiseido – but I love the current version all the same. Another favourite is SL Santal de Mysore, the perfect sandalwood, milky, smoky, it’s got everything and exactly right.
    Tauer’s Air du Desert Marocain is a bit too strong for autumn, I find, it just overpowers me. I wear it in summer more often, it stands up to the heat very well. Maybe I should try it again on a dreary grey day, see how it works.
    For myself I walso put Chanel’s Cuir de Russie into woody category, because of the birch tar note.
    Honorary mention for van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris – a very elegant, if a bit tame woody iris. November 15, 2012 at 11:23am Reply

    • Annikky: Bois d’Iris is beautiful, but unfortunately very faint on my skin… Otherwise I would seriously consider a full bottle. November 15, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Suzanna: The original Shiseido, on me, had a very pungent Atlas cedar note that almost smelled burnt. It was most unusual, along with a fruited-up stew that smelled as if boiled in a cedar grove. November 15, 2012 at 2:29pm Reply

  • marsha: This is my all-time favorite category in fragrance! Patchouli by Lalaine is heavenly! It has no rough edges at all and is so smooth and rich. It is so rich and full it could be diluted in some scentless body oil for folks with sensitive noses like mine. Lucky Scent has it.

    Victoria’s article about Guerlain Samsara finally made me go to the bay of evil and take some chances because I absolutely love sandalwood. It is my holy grail fragrance. I purchased some parfum, eau de parfum and eau de toilette. The pure parfum and the eau de parfum is so warm and wonderful on my skin! The eau de toilette stays loud and sharp, so it will go back to the bay of evil sometime in the future.

    My other favorites are 10 Corso Como (big time), Tam Dao and Avignon (both especially good for layering whenever you’re in the mood), Frapin 1270 (I have the older version), and you all might think I’m crazy, but I just love Cosmic Purple from Sephora’s long discontinued Eau line. It is a wonderful soft patchouli with some wood thrown in, but I can’t find all the notes anymore. You all might think I’m crazy some more, but I also love the sandalwood line from The Art of Shaving if I want something light. (My nose is really sensitive and some days it will turn on me and a fragrance I love will give me a migraine!) November 15, 2012 at 11:29am Reply

    • Suzanna: Marsha, I agree that Tam Dao and Avignon are great for layering (with whatever!). The old Frapin, which I used to have, was a lovely fragrance I wore each winter.

      I remember those old Sephora frags and I wish they would bring them back. November 15, 2012 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: FdB is supreme, and the only thing that irks me with that fragrance is that I yet have not sniffed the Shiseido version. Chanel Les Exclusifs Bois des Iles is a great wood fragrance too – but how I wish it had a stronger projection! And by the way – I tried Estée Lauder Sensuous the other day – remarkable likeness to FdB, but much weaker (almost a skin scent) and somewhat lacking in depth (and cumin), but still good.

    PS I used to love Samsara, even in the reformulated version, but lately I am growing more and more bothered by that artificial sandalwood note mentioned in some comments above. Nowadays, I almost never reach for it…..So sad when old favourites turn into “Nah….” November 15, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

    • Suzanna: Ann-Sofie, thanks for pointing out a likeness between FdB and Sensuous. It is much easier for many to access the Lauder. I find it sweeter, in a brown-sugar way, but that’s just an olfactory picture and not a fact.

      Samsara is very sharp on me now. I have some EdP, but I cannot wear it. November 15, 2012 at 2:33pm Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: I sprayed some more Sensuous today, and yes – now I felt the brown sugar, very distinct as well. I am a perfume newbie, and my nose is still untrained, so it is always good to learn to distinguish between different notes and what they smell like. Much appreciated, thanks Suzanna! November 16, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Ah, I forgot the Great One: Coromandel. There are some great inventions in human history, like the wheel, the use of fire, Darwins theory on evolution and Coromandel. November 15, 2012 at 11:58am Reply

    • Suzanna: I always get compliments on Coromandel. In addition, many people have remarked how it isn’t too strong and how it is quite close to the wearer but still noticeable. November 15, 2012 at 2:34pm Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: When I wear Coromandel, I mainly get questions about my drug habits…People tend to like the glamorous weedorama sillage, though. Ha ha! November 15, 2012 at 5:41pm Reply

  • E.Lime: I just got a sample pack from SSS last week, and I have fallen in love with Winter Woods. It has just started to get very cold here, and the perfume has a very comfortingly sweet, smoky, fatty feel to it. It really lives on your skin all day and gives off a great aura. I have been wearing it to sleep in, too.
    I was surprised to find, after liking Winter Woods so much, that Tabac Aurea smelled very strange and sharp on me. It’s helped me identify a wood note that does not get along with my skin: cedar. Unfortunately, I think it’s the same reason I can’t wear Bois de Violette. Thanks for helping me figure this stuff out, Suzanna and V! November 15, 2012 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Suzanna: E. Lime, cedar can be tough. Sometimes, though, the note can be quite soft. It turns into cheese on me in the Lutens line, unfortunately.

      Glad you figured this out as the problem note. November 15, 2012 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Sandra Levine: L’eau d’Issey edt dries down to a nice, woody end. November 15, 2012 at 1:59pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Thanks for adding L’eau d’Issey to the discussion, Sandra! November 15, 2012 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Ruth: What a great article, and a great series! So informative and readable, I’m really enjoying it..

    I love Lutens Jeux de Peau, which takes buttery, milky sandalwood and drenches it in pralines and apricot brandy. Delicious November 15, 2012 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I wanted Jeux de Peau to smell the way you describe, Ruth, but on me it turned into burnt toast! That led me not to want to bother with Majuscule since that note doesn’t work on my skin. November 15, 2012 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Annikky: I, too, belong to the army of FdB lovers. I have the new version and am afraid of trying the original – what do I do if I love it even more? I believe I have liked every Serge Lutens wood (Bois de Violette! Cedre! Etc!) I have tried, except for Un Bois Vanille which is not about wood anyway.

    I find Sonoma Scent Studio’s Forest Walk, Tabac Aurea and Champagne de Bois all beautiful, world-building type of scents. Winter Woods is also gorgeous, but there is a slightly jarring note in it for me that I cannot yet identify. Ormonde Jayne’s Woman is like nothing else I have tried so far (OK, it is like OJ Man, but this doesn’t count) and is on my MUST BUY list.

    By the way, I have just checked and Olfactive Studio’s Lumiere Blanche has cashmere wood as a note. So I guess it can be of a non-irritating  variety:) November 15, 2012 at 3:26pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Perhaps Victoria can explain what “cashmere woods” is. And she is a fan of Lumiere Blanche and thus can discuss the woods note in it.

      I think it’s great that Sonoma Scent keeps getting mentioned. Laurie understands woods/forest smells so well and does wonders with them. November 15, 2012 at 8:10pm Reply

      • Annikky: In addition to her considerable talent as a perfumer, Laurie is also extremely nice. The attention she pays to her customers is really heart-warming.

        I, however, have some work to do in the niceness department – apologies for not complimenting your excellent overview of woods. I like the perfume wardrobe concept, I like the series and I like woods, so this post made me very happy indeed. November 16, 2012 at 3:02am Reply

        • Suzanna: Thanks, I was happy to be able to add to Victoria’s excellent and ongoing series! November 16, 2012 at 5:19am Reply

  • Lila Das Gupta: Yes you are right, time to bring out the woods and the woolly tights!
    Favourite woods: Santal de Mysore/ Serge Lutens, Santal 33/ Le Labo. Black Rose/Illuminum (sandalwood base)… can you tell who likes sandalwood???

    Black Afghano/ Nasomatto, but always use tiny amounts. Heaven. November 15, 2012 at 4:52pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Lila, thanks for adding those, esp. the Nasomatto, which hardly ever get mentioned. November 15, 2012 at 8:11pm Reply

  • Margo: Thank you so much for these inspiring articles, I am learning so much. I also love FdB old and new. I love wood notes especially for this time of year in the UK. The Tauer fragrances L’Air du Desert Marocain and Maroc Pour Elle have beautifully composed woods, and I also like the cedar note in Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmine et Cigarette. It somehow grounds, while reaching for the sky, if that makes sense. November 15, 2012 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I recall when those two first Tauer scents came along and blew everyone away. They still are remarkable creations!

      Love your description of Jasmine et Cigarette. November 15, 2012 at 8:12pm Reply

  • Jennifer: I just wore Samsara for my brother’s wedding this past weekend. I have a 7ml bottle of EDP that I got from EBay so I have no idea how old the bottle is or what formulation I have. I kind of doubt it’s “vintage”. It’s not as distinctly sandalwoody as I would like, but it’s not harsh or sharp on me either.

    One of my favorite woods is Bulgari Omnia, and I also wear Angel on occasion. I’m wearing my decant of MPG Eau des Iles that I just got a couple days ago, and I’m liking it. It starts out pretty herbal but the woods come out in the drydown. I have been wearing that on one wrist and Xerjoff Tobacco Oroville on the other today because when I first smelled EdI I thought they might be really similar. They do have some similarities, but not as much as I thought.

    I’m getting a sample of SL Santal Majuscule soon, which I’m excited about. I need to revisit Feminite du Bois. The first time I tried it I wasn’t thrilled with the fruit notes, but tastes change, and I find myself sometimes more open to fruity notes than I used to be. November 15, 2012 at 6:01pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Jennifer, I was an early fruit-note convert, but I know what you mean. It can take ages to appreciate a note so that you want to wear it.

      Bulgaria Omnia is a lovely, soft woods scent perfect for daytime wear, too. November 15, 2012 at 8:03pm Reply

  • Cheryl: My favorite is Jasmin Noir, which has not been reviewed positively by many perfume lovers that I respect. I find it to be a lovely floral woody. The official description of the wooden note is “precious woods” which does not sound promising; and yet I love it. To my nose, “green sap,” jasmine, and earthy licorice root that I perceive are exactly the way I imagine an enchanted forrest. I used to really like Lolita Lempicka as well, although I may have fallen victim to that gorgeous bottle. November 15, 2012 at 7:18pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Cheryl, I still have my Lolita Lempicka and wear it from time to time quite happily.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts about Jasmin Noir. I’m sure it will be a great frag for many to try! November 15, 2012 at 8:02pm Reply

    • Merete: Hi, Cheryl – I’ve been very fond of Jasmin Noir, too. Have actually emptied two FBs. Yes, it IS lovely. November 16, 2012 at 5:11am Reply

      • Cheryl: Merete,
        Glad to meet a fellow fan. Overstock.com recently had 3.4 oz testers for under $50 recently. Has cap, just plain box packaging. This is my second bottle, which is rare for me as I usually move on to a new fragrance quickly. November 16, 2012 at 11:56am Reply

        • Merete: Thank you very much, Cheryl.
          I guess some of the criticism has been related to the name, as the fragrance may not really justify the “noir”, if that makes sense. November 17, 2012 at 5:33am Reply

  • silverdust: Thanks so much for this informative piece and all the suggestions. I definitely need to bookmark this, because I’ll never remember it all.

    I’m a huge cedar fan and just realized that I wore Eau de Chloe today, which is major cedar. Thank goodness the cool weather is here. When I bought a new bottle in the summer, it turned to wine on my skin, but seems to hold its original intent in the fall! November 15, 2012 at 10:11pm Reply

  • Suzanna: Eau de Chloe is not one I’ve tried, and now I will make certain to do so based on your liking it. Thanks! November 16, 2012 at 5:20am Reply

  • Rina: Suzanna, great article! I’m a huge sandalwood fan. I’ve just fallen in love with Avignon, but my most fave sandalwood ever was Elizabeth Arden’s Sandalwood for Men. I’ve been hoarding my one FB for years and wear it very sparingly. It was (to me)perfect.. December 6, 2012 at 11:57pm Reply

  • Suzanna: Rina, EA Sandalwood for Men was a huge winner and another lamentable discontinuation. What a fabulous sandalwood scent-for men or for women! December 7, 2012 at 12:09am Reply

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