Perfume Directory

Bois Noir (1987)
by Chanel


Bois Noir information

Year of Launch1987
Average Rating
(based on 17 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerJacques Polge
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About Bois Noir

Relaunched in 1990 as Egoiste.

Bois Noir fragrance notes

Reviews of Bois Noir

roro Show all reviews
United States
The backstory of Bois Noir has been told elsewhere, and I really have nothing to add. Is it as rare as is claimed? A production run of just one thousand bottles? Seems like I read that somewhere. If you're reading this, you probably know what Bois Noir is, and that bottles don't come cheap today.

So, the scent: It does smell a lot like Egoiste, and closer to the original ('90) than the Cologne Concentree ('92). Bois Noir has less of a gourmand quality -- a more subtle vanilla and less spice. Egoiste is a great fragrance, but I do find the opening to be a bit cacophonous and even unsettling at times. Bois Noir does not have that effect on me. Egoiste is great once it settles down; with Bois Noir, there is a clarity of purpose from the start, if I can put it like that. For a detailed rundown of the other differences, you'd be better off reading what others have said. I've never been good at describing scents or picking out more than a handful of notes.

There are other fragrances even harder to find, essentially unavailable at any price. But of the perfumes I had hoped to own someday, Bois Noir was the one I thought might elude me forever. When I did manage to land a bottle, the sense of triumph was mixed with one of anticlimax. It was as if, as a collector, my work was done. I have bought other fragrances since then, some rather difficult to find, but to this day, Bois Noir remains my biggest get, and I haven't pursued the hobby with quite the same fervor since. That's not to say I've lost interest in fragrance, just that, these days, my focus is much more on enjoying my collection rather than trying to expand it.

To anyone contemplating a purchase, I offer a final word: The only reason you might need a bottle of Bois Noir is that you just have to have it.
In other words, I suspect that the pleasure it would bring will reside largely in the having. You can get a vintage bottle of Egoiste for a fraction of the price. Bois Noir does differ from Egoiste in significant ways, and I have to say my preference is for BN. But would that be the case if I knew nothing of the backstory? It's hard to say.
09th February, 2019 (last edited: 23rd May, 2019)
Stardate 20180521:

Egoiste's predecessor. Spices and woods. Reminds me more of concentree version of Egoiste.

Egoiste is one line where the differences in various vintages and flankers do not change the core DNA.Do stay away from Platinum flanker.
If you need to buy one get Egoiste EDT (vintage preferred but current will do)

21st May, 2018
This is a very beautiful perfume. It is blended and balanced in fragrance. Holds close to the skin a Parfum and gently dries down to a Wood synthetic. Citrus is Mandarin, which has a slightly different scent profile to Tangerine. The whole thing hums a tune of order. Needs more volume though.

It was not widely available for good reasons. Strikes me as a work in progress. The the search for market the following release Egoiste is more vibrant with the use of Tangerine and the amping up of Top Notes.

With the Egoiste and Egoiste Concentree the top notes and Citrus with this amplification, to my nose, seem unbalanced. They have my mind thinking and tasting Apple Pie. Drydown is again to a Wood Synthetic.
All have a life of about 5 to 6 hours on my skin.
The Egoiste of today pales.
My palette prefers the elegant and better balanced Pour Monsieur Concentree and Wow! The Vintage Pour Monsieur.
I would like to thank BN Bavard for this wonderful opportunity to compare these fine perfumes.
07th December, 2015 (last edited: 09th January, 2017)
Bois Noir is a nice variation on Egoiste; cleaner, more polite and refined, arguably with less character. I find it closer to Egoiste than Egoiste Concentree. Bois Noir is sort of between Egosite and Bois des Iles. Of the sandalwood fragrances I've tried, including some from other houses, Bois Noir is my favorite overall, although it would be nice if it lasted longer.

The opening is quite good. Dark woods, as in in the name, and an almost-smoky, almost-leathery feel. Some fruit note counters the sandalwood, and it's mostly those two notes that last, projecting for maybe two hours, no matter how much is applied, and the smoky leather-ish-ness is gone even sooner.

So it works best being re-applied periodically, making it even more expensive than it initially appears. The brass feel, as I think of it in the opening of Egoiste, is toned down in the prequel; and that's where Egoiste benefitted from the reformulation, although some of the fleeting dark beauty in Bois Noir was also lost in the process.
18th November, 2015 (last edited: 01st January, 2016)
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
This would smell devastatingly good at any time of day, but for me, this is a post-prandial scent. After a wonderful dinner, at which you ate well, but not too copiously, imagine that you make your way to a chair pulled up to the fire. On the table next to the chair is a box made of the finest Brazilian rosewood which contains the best pipe tobacco available. Next to this box is a freshly poured glass of eau de vie—or perhaps a Mandarine Napoleon. There is a dish nearby containing marrons glacés and other sweetmeats. This is what Chanel’s Bois Noir smells like to me—an amazingly rich woody scent that, with the sugared fruits and booze, could drift into gourmand territory but does not. The only gourmand here is the lucky man who gets to inhabit this privileged world, bringing his own earthy, masculine aura to the rarefied air that is Bois Noir. A masterpiece, from whose ashes emerged the excellent Égoïste, and a worthy stablemate to Chanel’s other great scents, Pour Monsieur and Antaeus.
13th November, 2015
Bois Noir seems to me more focused on the drydown notes of Egoiste (which is the part that i like the most). The drier, lavender-likem top notes of Egoiste seems to be absent and the fragrance goes straight to rich, creamy, spice aroma. The sandalwood is more on center than in Egoiste, mixed with the spicy tobacco note at the base and with a warm amber. There is also something that goes on cinnamon spice direction. The flowers are not evident on my skin. Compared to Bois des Iles, Bois Noir, seems more of a woody, tobacco, ambered version, lacking the ylang-ylang proeminent touch of Bois de Iles. Something on it also makes me think of an ambered Guerlain, like Guet Apens, and it the overall aroma has a warm, christmas aura. Since my favorite part of Egoiste is the basenotes, i prefer this one, that uses them in an amazing way.
23rd December, 2010

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