Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guerlain Boisé Torride: new fragrance and preview

We had been speculating about upcoming releases from major houses and saying that Bois Torride would be the next Guerlain in the exclusive line-up. By the looks of it, it sounded like a new member of the L'Art et la Matière line-up (a series within the Guerlain portfolio available at their boutiques with Lutensian names and bottles). Well, it's time to admit that we were not entirely wrong and we were not entirely right either!

  • The News
Boisé Torride* is indeed the upcoming (October) "exclusive" Guerlain ~after an avalanche of exclusivities this year, one extravagant specimen cleverly deconstructed by March here~ but it will be the fourth little sistah in the Sex and the City gang of Les Elixirs Charnels (Carnal Elixirs) which we had panned in the past because of their not-so-good ad copy and somewhat predictable scents.
Ad copy describes the newest Boisé Torride as "woody, rebellious, provocative, triumphant, bold and beautiful" and the women who would use it would hope to graft these qualities unto themselves. [NB: Please don't get confused with Eau Torride, a fragrance from Givenchy, which was launched in 2002].

A discerning reader and friend of Perfume Shrine, happened upon a random bottle at Saks labeled "Elixirs Charnels Bois Torride"> It transpires it is truthfully Boisé Torride* (I predict a stampede to Saks and furtive glances of despairing sales assistants). The curtain on that mystery of a scent that was under wraps for a whole year following its copywrited name was finally unveiled: It is the latest Elixir Charnel! That should give us ideas... What exactly should a Carnal Elixir entail and how would it fit into the pattern of the existing trio? The previous fragrances were composed by Christine Nagel, before news of the hiring of Thierry Wasser as head-perfumer, however it has been clear by now, that mr. Wasser is not creating every thing of the numerous Guerlain releases and he was too occupied with the newest Idylle for the mainstream release at any rate. Interestingly to me, it seems like there are thoughts to expand this particular Elixirs collection, much like L'Art et la Matière which had also started with just three scents in 2005 (Rose Barbare, Angelique Noire, Cuir Beluga ~reviews linked), to later incoroporate more (Bois d'Armenie). Might we expect a "Fleuri" (ie.floral) next?

  • The name
One of our readers wittily likened it to the title of a bodice-ripper ~which would fit with the Elixirs series, as torrid would suggest passionate or very deep (I pray that the Guerlain headquarters have not thought of what "wood" can possibly imply in English in tandem with those adjectives!) Bois means woods, as I initially thought of this based on the trademarked name and the reportage from my reader, but the actual name boisé means woody, which is a denominator in the fragrance families classification and thus is perfectly in tandem with the other Elixirs Charnels, each picking up on a fragrance family in the name: Gourmand, Oriental and Chypre.
Sylvaine Delacourte, when we interviewed her here, had hinted that the next exclusive will focus on a beloved ingredient of the house (adding: Octavian revealed to me in the comments it will be tonka, and the trademarked name is Tonka Imperiale, the upcoming L'Art et la Matière one which sounds very promising).
  • The scent impression
Jarvis described the scent briefly to me in those words and I am sharing, with his permission: "To my nose,it's a sister fragrance to La Petite Robe Noire. If La Petite Robe Noire was a cherryKool-aid sort of fragrance (i.e. like cherry-flavoured sugarcrystals), Boisé Torride feels more like citrus Kool-aid and perhaps some florals over patchouli. That fruit + florals + ethyl maltol +patchouli seems to suggest it owes something to Angel". He also insisted it is very sweet on the whole.
[please note Jarvis didn't have any notes on hand when describing, but I managed to wean those out and they actully don't sound too different from his experience].

Notes for Guerlain Elixir Charnel "Boisé Torride":
Top: bergamot, tangerine, pink berries
Heart: marshmallow harmony, orange blossom, jasmine
Base: patchouli, white musk, cedar

Elixir Charnel Boisé Torride is launching on October 15th at Guerlain boutiques and wherever there are espaces Guerlain for € 175 a pop.

*Both Karin (the first to say so) and Carmencanada confirm the name is actually Boisé which means "woody" rather than Bois (woods). I have since edited the name I was told initially accordingly.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Guerlain series, Elixirs Charnels by Guerlain: reviews, Upcoming releases.

Pics of Elixirs Charnels/Carnal Elixirs via Surlaterre blog, pic of fields with markings via ecopolis.org


  1. Ugh, those notes nauseate me. I feel like the new House of Guerlain has absolutely nothing to do with the one I knew and loved.



  2. The "bad side" of Angel I hate, in a woody, dark and dusty patchouli, other woods and caramel. Realy not the best, smells like an old leather trunk or the interior of a old car. Why do they have to do that ? The fact is : some people like it, desperatly.

  3. Pink berries and "marshmallow harmony". Sounds exclusive! In the sense that Lucky Charms cereal is exclusive.

  4. I'm glad that the notes I smelled in my blind sniffing don't seem too different from what's being listed as the notes in the fragrance!

  5. "Oh, good God!" was my reaction to reading "marshmallow harmony," almost the sort of outburst I might have if a passing bird dropped something on my arm. I suppose Rochas' Tocade has a slight marshmallowy aspect to it that I like very much. But...seriously, "marshmallow harmony"?? I wonder how they say that in French--maybe it sounds less ridiculous.

  6. In french we say "harmonie de guimauve". It sounds ridiculous and not very positive. This perfume seems to be for deperate young Paris Hitlon or Britneys, who want to smell marshmallow and candys in the dust. The begining of beeing "bad", sweet and not that clean. "I'm not that innocent" says one of her...oups, I did it again, and so did Guerlain. Why ? The new D&G n°10 "roue de la fortune" does the same effect, in the same style (caramel-patchouli-sugar and flowers) for 1/3 the price...It should bring you more luck.

  7. Marshmallow harmony is something to dissuade me totally. Even if I weren't dissuaded by the lack of availability anyway.

  8. Fiordiligi12:50

    Well my dear, sorry to be repetetive but really, the illustrious and legendary house of Guerlain, which gave birth to such legends as l'Heure Bleue and Djedi, is now giving us marshmallow harmony? I am devastated and embarrassed for them at the same time.

  9. Anonymous13:18

    Let's not put the blame on everithing at Guerlain. Idylle is a good surprise and Guerlain Homme Intense reveals the best side of Guerlain Homme, with a renewal of Guerlain style. Those Elixir Charnel, I don't like them, and particularly this one. Méchant Loup.

  10. Bois Tepide ?
    Tant pis...


  11. naughty picture.....shame on you (heehee) - where is this "carnal field"?

    The fragrance sounds fine to me - not really my style, but a well done sugary sweet gourmand hits the spot sometimes....and with patchouli in the base, it sounds like it would have a little earthiness to it. Hmmmm....I'll have to give this a sniff sometime.


  12. I smelled it last week in Paris and to me it seems a variation of the Elixir Charnels theme - it is not far from the main theme (patchouli, sweet, vanilla with an Angel touch but not very strong) with that guimauve note that is very long lasting.
    After 5 days, the blotter is sweet heliotropine musk vanilla and maybe with a small blackberry-raspberry (it has a clin d'oeil to Lolita but it is not similar) and not at all Angel-ized patchouli in the end.
    Jarvis is right about the LPRN effect, I felt that this new one is like a cocktail mix of LPRN and Elixirs.
    To keep things simple imagine a big sweet guimauve accord, add to that the top of LPRN and in the middle put the patchouli sweet sensual floral theme.
    The next one will be around Tonka (roasted tonka extract) and it is very nice (I do not know the name).

  13. I've just checked the trademark.
    The name is Tonka Impériale.
    and there is also a Acqua Allegoria Flora Nymphéa and the bee design is changing.

  14. Marsi,

    they don't sound too sophisticated, do they? ;-)

  15. ML,

    thanks for providing another view on this. I can't say it sounds like my thing at all.
    It's sometimes due to the "success" of something prior (LPRN?)that something ensues, so we should take that factor into consideration when making purchases I think.

  16. J,

    yeah, I thought it was nifty of you and that's why I wanted to stress the point that you didn't have them on hand when describing it to me! :-))

  17. Elfriede,

    it is a little shock to find something like that in a notes description of something "haute". I wonder if it's because we have been so spoiled by their classics or because the celebritoids have spoiled those notes for us unto eternity. Something someplace has spoiled, however. Definitely.

  18. ML,

    I can see that you have really give this some thought. Thanks so much for bring it here! Yes, guimauve sounds right. And please read my comment above about celebritoids (like the ones you mention) "spoiling" those notes for us. I think the house wants to "expand" beyond the classic, but it's a perilous road...

  19. L,

    as always a succinct point!!! :)

  20. D,

    I know...
    Still, to be fair, they can't always produce things out of a timewrap (Djeji for all its greatness is "difficult" to wear for today's sensibilities, there aren't many occassions when one would wear it with comfort; perhaps they should have gone the Onda by Vero Profumo route and modernised it with such quality as the above-mentioned scent, but they haven't ~someone else got there first...tant pis!)

  21. ML,

    good point, this is something I always keep at the back of my mind. I think Guerlain do produce some worthwhile perfumes still, perhaps the fault is that produce a staggering amount of perfumes so statistically speaking they can't be all good....

  22. I,

    LOL on the wordplay!

  23. M,

    there are quite a few naughty fields if you search for them you know (try "phallic sumbols").

    You should always try for yourself first no matter what.

  24. Octavian,

    thanks for the added info on this.
    It sounds like they did respect some of the tradition at least if they're keeping the sweet heliotropin musk vanilla (shades of LHB and Shalimar), but how could one tie them to marshmallow I can't fathom.

    LPRN wasn't particularly to my taste, I'm afraid.

    Yes, I was ticking off ingredients when Sylvaine told me about that next release and it seemed it would be either tonka or heliotrope. (beloved ingredient etc) I am all for tonka, love coumarin!

  25. Aha, you were quicker than me.

    So the next Guerlain L'Art et la Matiere is the Tonka Impériale.
    The name does tie in with their tradition, only it would have been more suitable for a scent in the bee presentations.

    Flora Nymphéa is the upcoming Aqua Allegoria Guerlain for spring 2010; they roll one or two every spring-summer. I bet this is the spring one and they do a more "fruity" one for summer. (see a pattern?)
    I wonder why change the "bee", any thoughts on that? Stop of collaboration with glass maker, desire to innovate like they did with the packaging (don't know if it was the best thing with that)...?


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