Friday, 21 August 2009

Bois Dormant

I seem to be quite fond of antique fragrances. I suspect it's plain greed and snobbery, to have something nobody else has.
Anyhow, I got hold of a bottle of Bois Dormant. I wanted something else from the same seller but ended up with this one - I'm no stranger to irrational impulses. I didn't know what to expect from the fragrance so I didn't bother to expect anything; then one gets more surprise.

It took me quite a time to find out that what my brain classifies as 'powdery', is in fact chypre. And, Bois Dormant is one. I expected something junglelike, lush and dripping wet, like, say, Encre Noire. Or, on the contrary, something very woody, evoking the majestic forest of redwoods at the Californian coast. (1) Simply, something to go with the name of Sleeping Forest. I got a romantic autumn forest, not too dense, rather deciduous, with the specific aroma of dry leaves and a promise of spring flowers.
Yet, it's not a tame fragrance. The start is very green and pungent, I suspect galbanum and maybe artemisia, there is something bitterish about that note; after a while it gives way to a blend of aldehydes and vanilla. Or, I guess it's vanilla, certainly it's a sweet-soapy mix I haven't encountered yet. It is a multifaceted fragrance, yet after another while, the abovementioned sweet-soapy mix becomes a pronounced, slightly decadent rose with a whiff of resins.

Bois Dormant was created in 1925 by Raymond Kling (2) or in 1929 by Arturo Jordi-Pey and Raymond Kung (3) for the house of Houbigant (4), one of the most famous perfume houses... long time ago. Established in 1775, the house supplied many a crowned head but sadly, the company, including the formulas was sold a few times and whatever remained of the name of the house and it perfumes is falling to drugstore squallor. It always makes me sad to be aware that whatever rarity I possess, I'm one of the few lucky; although I'm aware that this fragrance, as many others, couldn't exist today (it's all those anal glands, IFRA regulations and who knows what), everything can be reformulated to at least resemble the old glory. I would like to give a recommendation of something similar yet accessible to give at least a vague idea but alas, I can't think of any.

On a different note, I made a handful of samples for my stay in Italy and I diluted a bit of Fougere Royale. Forgetting to describe the samples, I was left with several vials of approximately the same colour. Fougere kept that bitterness and civet stench despite being diluted in a crazy ratio around 1:30 - in fact, I was cleaning the funnel I used for making Helg's sample and I was pretty unwilling to waste even the tiniest bit. That's a decent perfume.

(1) Kick my shin when you'll feel that my style is getting too close to Helg's.
(2) Says Perfume Intelligence.
(3) Says Museu del Perfum – Fundació Júlia Bonet
(4) Sources agree at least on this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment