Barbara Herman likes the combination of orange blossom and basil: the herb, plus the dryness of the cassis, bringing down the sweetness of the orange to an herbal base. So do I. The base is warm, spicy and woody, as she points out - which gives it the overall feel of a fruity oriental.
It is quite pleasant, but is for me in no way special or interesting. Thus the neutral review. I wish the base notes had been upped and the perfumer had taken the chance of making this a more floral/animalic oriental, since all the players were there, just not mixed appropriately for my taste.
Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Cassis, Basil, Neroli
Heart notes: Jasmine, Orris, Muguet, Tuberose, Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwood
Base notes: Ambrein, Tonka, Benzoin, Oakmoss, Olibanum, Civet, Musk
This review is for the current EDP.
I really don't like the opening - strikes me as very harsh and bitter - though I've learned to wear one spray in warmer weather, where it quickly blooms into a soft, deep, billowing, powdery scent that manages to be elegant and approachable at the same time. The green bitterness I initially don't like proves to make the scent balanced and harmonious as it develops.
For that reason, Boucheron has taken the place in my perfume wardrobe of two older scents that were favorites of mine before reformulation - Must de Cartier and Estee Lauder Private Collection. The counterpoint of bitter green notes, white floral, and vanilla or amber is just so divine and velvety when it's done well, and it's certainly done well here.
I hadn't grown into Boucheron yet when it launched, so can't compare the versions offhand, only know that I feel quite lucky to have it now as I've lost so many of my great ones, even my old vulgar orange blossom/green/vanilla favorite: the original Dior Addict.
Genre: Floral Oriental
Boucheron launches on a lovely honeyed neroli accord and fills out, via tuberose, tonka bean, and sandalwood, into a rich, mellow floral bouquet that rivals even Joy, Van Cleef & Arpels First, and Givenchy’s Le De in depth and balance. The decadence of indole and the lightest touch of civet lend animalic warmth without distracting from the larger-than-life floral heart, while the silky sandalwood provides a dry counterpoint to what might otherwise have been an overly sweet and heady composition.
Sillage and projection are both ample, though Boucheron is not of the same megaphone-wielding volume of its near contemporaries, Giorgio and Amarige. Boucheron endures well on the skin, with a smooth, sweet tonka (coumarin), resin, and musk drydown that generates an appealing warmth while avoiding any trace of the stuffiness that large scale white flower-centered floral-orientals sometimes lapse into. A worthy foray in a field made competitive by so many other classic entries.
I tried to wear Boucheron - for 2 years - in the early 1990s as a very young woman. Even then, at the height of my naiveté and arrogance, I knew it was just too big for me. Twenty years later, it may still be too big for me. But then as now, I appreciate Boucheron for the giant it is and was. My memory of it is pure elegance. Orange blossom and clotted cream. I do not remember any sharper notes, just a huge powdery blast that although it went through several incarnations of powder and cream, did not stray from that softness. I love Boucheron for the time of my life it represents. It brings a wry smile to my face when I think of the awkward, unsophisticated, younger me trying to fit such a pretentious, accomplished fragrance.
22nd January, 2014 (last edited: 03rd February, 2014)
Bowled me over
A saleswoman wafted some in my direction and I was a goner, images of operas, long gowns and jewelry immediately in my mind. At home I sang its praises and a bottle forthwith showed up. What a distinct, deep floral, not for the timid.
Pros: Powerfully female