Bois de Filao by Comptoir Sud Pacifique
Helpful Review    01/07/2013
Bottle 5.0 Sillage 7.5 Longevity 7.5 Scent 7.0
A Papyrus Book with Pressed Violet Leaves
Comptoir Sud Pacifique is a mystery house to me. The made-for-women perfumes nearly all smell too sweet and foody. The made-for-men perfumes seem to be obviously unisex, and they generally smell very good. BOIS DE FILAO is no exception to the rule. I noticed that most of the Parfumo members who own this perfume are women, so clearly my sense that this creation is truly unisex--not appropriate only or best suited for men--appears to be shared by others.

This particular scent features papyrus, which I've found recently in a number of niche perfumes, and here it really works with the violet leaf and the clean musk and the amber. There are no flowers. To my nose, this is almost a skin scent. Okay, it's true my skin unadorned does not smell like papyrus. The combination of notes is really quite likeable and uncommon. Think Amouage OPUS perfumes, but dial down the intensity and the citrus and the green elements. BOIS DE FILAO is not bitter or musty at all. It smells to me like a big book made out of fresh papyrus in which violet leaves have been pressed.

I wish that I knew more about this mysterious house. They seem to do no marketing whatsoever. My understanding is that Pierre Montale was somehow implicated early on, which would explain in part the aloofness, the aluminum bottles, and also the niche-esque quality of most of the CSP made-for-men perfumes. There really is a huge distinction in quality between the sweet tropical perfumes and the woody perfumes of this house.

Adding to the mystery, I have never seen these perfumes for sale anywhere but online. They are either sold at niche emporia for full MSRP or at discounters for a fraction of MSRP. My bottles I acquired blind for TJMAXX-like prices (though I've never seen any of these there). Do I think that they are worth MSRP? To be honest, I'm not sure. They are a fantastic value, however, when purchased at deep discount, because they do smell much better than mainstream vat-produced chemical soup.

I also recently realized that Comptoir Sud Pacifique was a concept house long before any of the others, including Scents of Departure, which has also tried to float the vacation perfume idea in recent times...