This spring, I've been meandering with a first date through our charming city. We had happened to talk about perfumes and that was just at the time when my interest in fragrances had exploded. So we figured that we could just as well visit a local perfume shop and, why not, test some scents to let them get rated by the other. In German, the expression "being able to smell someone" actually means "being attracted to that person". So a pretty good double meaning for a first date, heh. And in the worst case, it this event could serve as conversation starter to break any awkward silence.
Straight ahead: My date didn't like Un bois vanille. Too sweet. I didn't contradict her, not because of good mood's sake, but because she was right. It IS a sweet scent, sticky fun fair sweet. Yet, I took great interest into my wrist that the sales agent - to my horror - had sprayed until it was wet, way more liberally than I'd ever apply perfume, let alone new ones.
Time lapse: City tour, cake, ciaaao date, returning home in the rain. On the next day, I sprinkled a tiny amount of a new Hermes test fragrance on my arm and was disappointed from the start. However, when I arrived at the office and took off my jacket, a soft fat vanillaliquorice-cat jumped into my face, snuggled its fluffy fur into my face and purred "TAKE ME, I SMELL GORGEOUS, PET ME!", causing me to call the parfumo site in an excited close-to-panic state to look for the content of the Un Jardin sur le Nil of this morning ... until I realized that I was sniffing at the "wrong" side: I hadn't sprayed this wrist today. And it came to my mind that the sleeve of my jacket had secretly swallowed the Serge Lutens, just to lick it onto my wrist again on my way to work. In my mind, I mumbled a silent sorry to the generously spraying agent from the shop and now it's standing in front of me, my first flacon here that I had acquired through friendly Souk contact - then again, everyone seems to be friendly here somehow ;)
So how does it smell? What I believe to recognize is a subtly tart, not exactly sour liquorice that a relaxed vanille puts to rest in a slightly bitter, smoky bed of bee wax. Would I recognize that without the note pyramid? I don't think so. As stated, Un bois vanille is expressively sweet, but not just that. There are sufficient extra ingredients that give it depth and an enjoyable tension. Yes, extra, they leave the soft sugary character intact and extend it. Yet, or maybe for that reason, the fragrance is unisex for me, assuming that sweet gourmands float your boat; a classic scent for the office this is not, though. In addition, it has enough breath to last a day and leave some traces of fur on my office neighbour's desk, yet another reason to take this expressive pet out in the evening instead. One shot is enough, for me and my environment.
I rarely comment flacons, but I was positively surprised when I unpacked the bottle. Mine came not with the round cap, but the cylindric one like on some of the photos below. For me, that suits the slim elegant flacon design extremely well, going along with the modest colour and the beautifully serifed font. A noble appearance that works better in reality than on the photographs.
By the way, I didn't date the girl again. But the scent has been much sweeter anway ;)
Two additions for this .net translation:
- In German, we differentiate between liquorice as the black sticky candy ("Lakritz") and the sweet root that's used for its production ("Süßholz"). While some people find that those two smell / taste alike, I find them to be fairly different. For this scent, it's hard for me to say if I should refer to the root or rather to the candy. It's blended very well and somewhere in between.
- I wrote the German review some months ago. By now, I can say that I rarely use Un bois vanille. It's thick, heavy and sweet, not many occasions call for that, especially in Summer. But once in a while, I spray it on and even if it's just before going to bed, it brings a happy smile to my face.