This review is for the contemporary Eau de Toilette.
Top Notes: Aldehydes, Coriander, Peach, Bergamot, Neroli, Mandarin Orange.
Heart Notes: Iris, Lilac, Orris Root, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lily of the Valley, Rose.
Base Notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Opoponax, Musk, Benzoin, Vetiver, Vanilla.
I have always loved Coco EdP, and I like No. 5 EdP well enough, but none of Chanel's other mainstream fragrances ever impressed me enough to purchase any of them. Thus, I began to look at the Les Exclusifs line. Several of the Les Exclusifs looked very interesting to me including No. 22, Coromandel, and Bois des Iles. Bois des Iles especially looked good to me, so after reading many reviews and watching video reviews on YouTube, I decided to order the 2.5 oz. bottle of EdT. I was chagrined that only EdT and extrait were available as I favour and normally purchase EdPs. I was also chagrined by the price for a 2.5 oz. EdT! Nevertheless, I seemed unable to resist placing the order.
Well, the EdT finally arrived the other day, and after my evening bath, I spritzed it on my decollatage and on my wrists. Oh woe was I! I immediately fell completely and hopelessly in love! It was like a most highly addictive narcotic! I could not believe how gorgeous it smelt! I was totally and irrevocably smitten!
The next day, I amazed myself and ordered the large 6.8 oz. bottle of the EdT so that I could spray with abandon anytime and as often as I wished, AND I ordered a .5 oz. bottle of the extrait. Having now tried BdI, I cannot imagine not having Bois des Iles in my fragrance wardrobe for as long as I live. Ernest Beaux was a genius, and I only wish I could have lived in his time and have met him. Without Beaux, I find it hard to believe that Chanel would have become what it became with him. I cannot help but wonder how many more spectacular fragrances he might have made if he had lived longer.
Some reviewers have said BdI is best suited to autumn and winter, but I think this is a fragrance that can shine beautifully all year long. It is utterly divine! It is sexy, warm, and so very beautiful. Do you want to seduce someone? I wager Bois des Iles will seduce any man you wish to seduce!!
BdI is also very well blended. Thankfully, the (for me) dreaded aldehydes are very subdued in this fragrance. I perceive gorgeous sandalwood, amber, iris, ylang-ylang, tonka bean, vanilla, benzoin, opoponax, and a bit of vetiver and musk. The notes come together to form one of the most enticing fragrances I have smelt in my life ever!
From top notes to the deep dry down this is one of the most breath taking fragrances I have ever smelt. If you like orientals, florientals, and/or woodsy fragrances, I think you will love BdI. I think everyone should at least give it a try. It not only smells delicious, it also smells incredibly well-bred and expensive---and it IS expensive! At this price point especially, this is one fragrance you will not smell on others around you very often if ever, and I like that fact, too.
Bois des Iles is not only full bottle worthy, it is signature worthy, too. If people who know me would alwys remember me by the smell of Bois des Iles, i would be very flattered and happy indeed.
There are two main drawbacks to the EdT. Firstly, it is not very long lasting (three to four hours maximum); and, secondly, it is quite expensive, especially for an EdT. The 2.5 oz EdT currently sells for $160+ tax, and the 6.8 oz. sells for $280+ tax. The .5 oz. extrait costs $200+ tax, which means that a full 1 oz. costs $400+ tax. Some may not find these prices excessive, but I certainly think they are excessive, but a fragrance that smells this heavenly can command these prices it seems.
There are so many wonderful fragrances on the market that cost so much less than the Les Exclusifs fragrances, and I always said I would never pay more than $150 for a 3.4 oz./100 ml bottle of EdP, yet I was unable to resist Bois des Iles. I still cannot believe I just spent over $500 on a bottle of EdT and an half oz. of extrait! (I spent significantly more than $280 on a vintage Cuir de Russie EdT very recently, too, and it also is to die for, so if you have not tried Cuir de Russie, another of Ernest Beaux's creations, you really should add it to your test list.) If No. 22 and Coromandel smell as good as Bois des Iles, I am financially doomed!
Please note that BdI turns into a skin scent on me about an hour after application. It lingers pretty well for a total of about three hours maximum, and then it quickly begins to disappear altogether. After four hours, I can no longer smell even a trace of it, but I so much want to continue smelling it that I reapply it---hence the analogy to a narcotic substance!
Projection: 6/10 (first hour)
Sillage: 6/10 (first hour)
I'm giving this EDT a thumbs-up because it's so lovely - but sadly, it doesn't last on my skin: within one hour of spraying, the scent has diminished by half. Most people get much better performance from it, judging by other reviews. I might need to purchase the parfum. This is a lilting, well-blended spicy-creamy floral, soft and with all the elegance and integrity one expects from Chanel - it's so good that I'll just double up on sprays.
Hmm! The EDT.
After the assault of adelehydes, this is the spot for the dreamy,creamy Chanel Sandalwood drydown.
Chanel has captured the soft round creamy facet of Mysore that forms part of the picture of this precious stuff.
However for a larger view of the whole picture you really need to taste the Vintage Extrait. This presents a better snap of Mysore that I see of childhood. A magical, multilayered, caramel nuttiness that is clearly wood and the transcendence thereof.
I occasionally layer the Chanel EDT with Vreeland Absolutely Vital which leaves a drydown and synthetic that together with the Chanel more closely approximates the Extrait.
As others have said, until you try the Vintage Extrait, you really haven't lived.
22nd October, 2015 (last edited: 23rd November, 2015)
Today I have luxuriated in the edt and parfum layering of Bois des Iles; and I still have a problem with the top. It's better with the parfum version, but the top doesn't quite work for me. About an hour and a half in, we're into the mid and/or base, and it smells like deliciously edible Chanel. But the top is a soapy wood I don't really love. Still, I can't exaggerate and give it a thumbs sideways. The mid and base are delicious.
The vintage version contains someone the best sandalwood I have experienced, preceded by an opening touches of bergamot, rose - gorgeous! - ylang-ylang and the famous gingerbread-vanilla drydown, the latter more marked in the EdT. The original is of stunning quality, with the perfume displaying a dark leathery undertone at times that masterfully combines with the Mysore.
The Les Exclusifs reformulation's sandalwood is quite ordinary in comparison, with much more aldehyde in the top note, a peachy muguet-iris drydown on my skin and a white musk in the base added. More on the floral side, still good but miles off the stellar experience that the original provides. This version gives me a longevity of six hours, the original perfume more than double that.
The original is a grand classic. The new version still very nice. 4.75/5 for the original perfume.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Others before me have described Bois des Îles in accurate detail, and I see no need to retread that ground. I will say that to my nose Bois des Îles has much in common with its sibling Cuir de Russie, especially the prominent doughy iris root, the animalic civet, and the labdanum-tinged amber drydown. Perhaps I’m deluded, as I haven’t seen the observation made before, but I can’t escape the feeling that the two share some crucial DNA. I’ll even posit that whatever core features Bois des Îles and Cuir de Russie share account for the unparalleled sense of indulgent luxury they both express.
Bois des Îles is simply and without a doubt one of the most compelling wood-centered fragrances I know. I rank it alongside (the vintage) Santal Noble as the finest treatment of sandalwood that I’ve encountered. What more can I add? Only that this is a true classic, one of the few scents that every serious student of perfume must smell at least once in order to appreciate the full scope of olfactory art.