Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Once upon a time, the woods were for men and the flowers were for women. Coco Chanel and her perfumer Ernest Beaux rebelled against these stereotypes by creating Bois des Iles, a dark woody composition that was as elegant as it was shocking. The new generation of feminine woody fragrances, from Estee Lauder Sensuous to Bulgari Jasmin Noir, layers the woods so heavily with the floral notes that the character becomes blurred. Unfortunately, most fragrances in that family are what I label as “acrylic florals”—possessing in equal measure the strident sharpness of woods and the neon brightness of modern floral notes. Elie Saab Le Parfum is the latest example of this genre, a cross between Sensuous and Narciso Rodriguez for Her.