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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Serge Lutens Bois et Musc: Fragrance Review & a Draw

Among the four variations on the original Féminité du Bois, which in 1992 catapulted Les Salons business into the niche market (namely Bois de Violette, Bois et Fruits, Bois Oriental and Bois et Musc), this one is possibly the most polished, the most seamless, the most like natural skin scent and yet the lesser known. The latter possibly because it has never so far been issued in the export line, resolutely remaining a Parisian exclusive. Alongside Un Bois Sépia, Un Bois Vanille, Santal Blanc and Santal de Mysore, these woody fragrances form part of an informal family pegged as "Les Eaux Boisées" which cemented the Lutensian canon as we know it today.

Bois (pronounced "bwah") means of course woods and Bois et Musc is a fragrance which marries the two components of the name exactly as promised, in equal measure; first experienced in rapid succession (woods first, musk second), then in unison. The synergy of Moroccan cedar and smooth musk is at the core, while the usual Lutens accord of spice & dried fruits, with which he has invested his orientalised compositions for long, is subdued to the point of transparency. I seem to detect a creamy note of rosy sandalwood too, even though it is not officially mentioned, like those traditional incense beads fashioned in India and the Middle-East. The effect cannot be described as anything less than silky...
This is a fragrance which enters the scene like a shy guest who radiates the room with their quiet presence even though they don't utter a single word and are bespectacled. You'd be hard-pressed to find dainty features, or beauty writ large over them, but they just exude a positive energy that surrounds every living thing within a one-foot radius. Contemplative, sensuous, brainy with the kind of wits that don't show off. Compared with the other Bois variations on Féminité du Bois, it is closer to Bois de Violette, but without the shadowy ambery backdrop.

Bois et Musc is totally unisex, completely ageless and a superb skin-scent (i.e. smelling like human skin would if only angels and devils had cradled it), what the French call "à fleur de peau". Possibly, the idea which perfumer Christopher Sheldrake had in mind when describing a "sexy", attractive scent. And this is even more so the case than in Clair de Musc which misses by an inch via its opaline soapy florals that read as ethereal. In contrast this is nothing like a white musk: In fact it's closer to intimate and impolite, but it's so noble that it invests naughtiness with impecable manners. A sort of Fanny Ardant in a François Truffaut film, totally French.

Amidst subtle woody musks, this Lutens stands as a personal favourite ever since I had sampled it during a rather rushed visit (I had exited craddling a bell jar of La Myrrhe which had just been issued and which is also beautiful). Bois et Musc would make a wonderful musk choice for anyone who finds the concept of animalistic and outré Muscs Kublai Khan ~which I love, love, love~ quite attractive, but is leery of wearing such a potent musk outside the bedroom.

Bois et Musc is a Paris exclusive, sold at Les Salons du Palais Royal only, in the beautiful bell-jars of the exclusive line 75ml Eau de Parfum for 110 euros.

For our readers: One lucky reader will receive a big-sized decant of this exceptional, Paris exclusive fragrance. Comment if you want to be eligible. Draw will be open till Sunday midnight.



Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Scented Musketeers (musks reviews), The Musk Series: ingredients, classification, cultural associations


Photo from the film La femme d'à côté (Woman next door) by François Truffaut, 1981.

82 comments:

  1. I would like to be eligible, thank you!

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  2. How can this Lutens slut(toon?) not beg to be entered? Oh musk gods, let me win, pleez! :) Plus, needlees to say, your description of BeM makes it droolworthy.
    Btw, I tried Arabie and Miel de Bois for the first time over the (HOT) weekend. Arabie felt like a natural tie-in with the weather, and was love at first (long, deep, erratic) sniff. Miel de Harsh Bois avec un Drydown of Staid Piss, not so much. And least of all because of the incontinence effect ;-)
    P.S. You made the right choice leaving the Salons with La Myrrhe, ma dear ;-) I so need a bottle myself!

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  3. Delfina15:31

    I'd like to win the sample, thanks!

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  4. I always wanted to know what perfume Fanny Ardant actually wears. (I've heard the rumor about Jicky, but it's not for sure)
    She also said once that Perfume while pleasent is not essential. So maybe she doesn't have "the one"..

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  5. Beautiful review! Please enter me.

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  6. Stephan16:02

    You have a way to make the reader curious about this Bois et Musc. I wish I had the chance to experience this Serge Lutens fragrance.

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  7. I love musk, and I like to imagine this describes me: "Contemplative, sensuous, brainy with the kind of wits that don't show off." So I'm dying to try this!

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  8. gautami16:15

    Please enter me in the draw. I have not tried any of Luten's musks.

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  9. Philyra16:17

    Please enter me into the draw. Thank you.

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  10. Roberto16:18

    I'd love to be in the draw, many thanks.

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  11. Please enter me, thanks for the exciting chance to win!

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  12. I'd love to try it. i like the idea of a woody musk. I'm wearing L'Eau de Serge Lutens today, and it has a really long-lasting but clean musk.

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  13. Anonymous16:43

    I love the way you use films to add strenght and beauty to your reviews. i recently found a good film store, about 250 km from where I live-and I have watched Kieslowski's Deklaration series, plus the Double Life of veronique. I also saw Innocents With Dirty Hands-I thought you had mentioned this, in a review, about a year ago. Can you recall what movie you used which depicted a complicated plot, and some beautiful people, in a stunning pool scene? And, may I please be entered in your draw? And finally-I broke down and purchased Dans Tes Bras, which you reviewed so well. It's a wonderful fragrance which i might not have tried, had it not been for you.

    Sincerely,

    Carole

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  14. Hi E, I'd love to be in the running for a sample of this. It sounds like a fabulous alternative to my beloved MKK for daytime.
    Thanks!
    Aimee

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  15. Perfumaniacs Anonymous16:51

    Me, me, me! I'm pleading with you!

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  16. Mouth watering review!
    I´d like to be entered in the draw, please.

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  17. chris g16:54

    Sounds interesting! Please enter me - thanks.

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  18. I'd like to be entered too, please.

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  19. Please enter me in the draw!

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  20. Marte17:15

    Please enter me in the draw. Thank you!

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  21. Yes please enter me in the draw - I was able to sniff this lovely on Saturday! Delightful!

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  22. Anonymous18:08

    Feminité du bois is one of my favorite perfumes. I know Bois et violette. I am dying to try Bois et musc. So please enter me. Many thanks.
    borneo65

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  23. Anonymous18:32

    Please enter me in the draw!

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  24. I would love to be entered in this draw!

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  25. I would love to be entered in this draw! Thank you!

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  26. Anonymous20:28

    Hallo, pls enter me in the drawing, many thanks. Alica - alica@cleis.net

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. What a gorgeous favour. Please enter me in drawing. Thank you.

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  29. It sounds beautiful! Please include me in the draw!

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  30. PhinClio21:53

    Always wanted to sniff this one...please enter me in the draw!

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  31. Always wanted to try this one, too. Please enter me!

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  32. I would like to be eligible for this draw. Thank you!

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  33. Please enter me in the drawing! If I ever go perfume shopping in Paris Bois et Musc is on my list of musts.

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  34. I would love to be able to give this one a try. Please enter me in the draw!

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  35. Abyss23:45

    This sounds brilliant so please include me in the draw!

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  36. soniagarcia00:53

    I'd love to try this SL, so please enter my name in the draw.
    Thanks!

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  37. Thank you for the lovely review! Please enter me in the drawing as well, this does sound very promising. I'm really curious about the Bois de Violette aspects!

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  38. I'd love this! Please enter me into the draw!

    Thanks,

    Roland

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  39. Thank you for the great review; please enter me in the draw.

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  40. I would love to hear reviews of the lesser known Lutens... oh how I wish I can visit Paris. Please do enter me in the draw!

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  41. Elizabeth05:59

    I've never tried this fragrance, so I've love to be entered into the draw! I love the others in the Bois series, so I imagine this would be a hit, too.

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  42. Valentine06:48

    As I've definitely always loved musks and the concept of perfume that melds into your own personal "skin scent," I would really love to be entered into the drawing. Thank you,
    Valentine
    bubbles-123@sbcglobal.net

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  43. Gisela07:24

    What a wonderful and imaginative review - please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

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  44. Oooh! I definitely want to try this one. I have tried most of the others in this series and love them all. Please enter me for the draw! Kristen

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  45. I want! And it's all your fault because your articles are so persuasive.

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  46. Fantastic blog. Keep on rockin, I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.

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  47. Peggy09:30

    Sounds magnificent. Please enter me to the draw. Musc is my favourite note. Skin scent with musc?Sensualidad on the top. I hope I'll win because i will never be able to sniff it in the proximate future. You are so good giving these opportunities.

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  48. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you! :)

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  49. I'm always eager for some more SL stuff. :)
    Please enter me in the draw.

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  50. Thanks for the offer! Please include me in the draw. :-) Haven't tried any of the Lutens Bois fragrances, so would love to try this one.

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  51. Funny that you should do a post about this. I was just talking with a friend and I think that we both said that it was the only Serge Lutens that we had not sampled. So I would love to be entered in the draw!

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  52. This sounds very interesting and I would love to try it! Enter me in the draw if I am eligible! LOL

    Glen

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  53. Zazie14:03

    Oh, please please enter me in the draw!
    It sounds just for me!

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  54. I'm not going to miss out on a Serge Lutens draw! Please include me too.

    Mark

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  55. d3m0lici0n14:24

    I'd love to try this one, please enter my name in the draw.
    Thanks

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  56. Anonymous14:56

    Dear E,

    Sounds divine. Please enter me in the draw.

    Natalia

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  57. Please enter me in the draw. I don't own many musk perfumes and this sounds wonderful!

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  58. oh, my...please enter me in the draw! bois et musc sounds heavenly!!
    much love and thanks, as always, for your wonderful writing & generosity!

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  59. I can't believe I didn't know about this one! Please enter me in the draw! Fantastic review!

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  60. lilacskin16:59

    dear gods, yes, please!

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  61. Anonymous18:29

    Please count me in!

    quimerula

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  62. Anonymous19:38

    A full bottle of the great Lutens! Who could resist!

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  63. Oh Lordy, please count me in!

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  64. you smell!!!21:08

    Please enter my name in the draw. Anything Lutens is worth trying. Thanks

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  65. Serge! Please! I would loved to be considered for your drawing. Count me in!

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  66. Please enter me!
    Thanks.

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  67. Please enter me in the draw, Helg--you've awakened the lemmings! And not for the first time.

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  68. lachatis722:51

    Please enter my name in thee draw, I love SL, and I'd love to try this one.

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  69. Mimi Gardenia02:17

    oh yummy Helg ! Please enter me !

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  70. Millicent04:55

    Oh, this sounds gorgeous and right up my alley! Please enter me in the draw.

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  71. I'd love to be entered into the drawing. Thank you!

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  72. Serge Lutens can do no wrong, except for the prices!

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  73. Eleonore19:32

    I've never tested this SL but your appealing review makes me think it's the kind of perfume I'd love to try on my skin, so please, I'm dying to enter the draw too (and a big thank you for reviewing so beautifully all those gorgeous fragrances; I adore the one about Opium)

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  74. I would love to try Bois et Musc in a spray. It is funny how my tastes / skin has changed; all the SL "Bois" smell so much a like on me. Still, Bois et Musc and Bois et Fruits are very special to me.

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  75. Anonymous22:56

    You talk about a velvety sandal note. I think it might be an accord present in feminité du bois also: iso e super - bacdanol plus a bit of cashmeran.
    So a more musky and velvety femenité du bois. Sounds absolutely divine
    Please enter me in the draw.

    -Laurent SP

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  76. How curious... I've been just smelling a sample of Creed's (discontinued) Cyprès-Musc that was sent to me a few days ago. I wonder if the C-M bears any similaritiy at all to this shy boy? (Incidentally, I think the C-M would be a perfect match for Depardieu!) I have to try this.

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  77. I was at the Palais Royal just last month and managed to limit myself to two bell jars, but it was so hard to choose! (I got Fumerie Turque and Fourreau Noir, after having bought sprays of Santal Blanc and Ambre Sultan a couple of weeks earlier in Edinburgh.) I think I must have suffered olfactory fatigue at Palais Royal, because I sniffed everything but don't remember Bois et Musc. Bois et Fruits and Bois de Violette, yes; didn't adore either of them. And I like Bois Oriental. But I would love to try Bois et Musc, because all Lutens are worth trying, aren't they, even if in the end we don't like them?

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  78. I like your review. Please sign me up for the drawing.

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  79. I would love to try this. Please sign me up! Thanks!

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  80. I'm definitely interested in this draw! I'm a long-time Lutens fan, but I'm just recently getting into Musk fragrances in a big way. Sounds heavenly.

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  81. Please count me in! Sounds perfect--I love woods, ever-so-slightly raunchy animalic notes, and scents that whisper insistently instead of shouting...

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  82. Musk is one of the best ingredients... combine with woods - perfect :)

    Never tried. Would love to try :D

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