Genre: Woody Oriental
More bois than vanille to my nose, and unlike some other reviewers, I find this a tad less syrupy sweet than some of the other Sheldrake/Lutens concoctions. Vanilla dominates in the top notes but soon integrates into a mélange of very rich, heavy woods, spiced with a bit of anise. I’m reminded of Feminite du Bois, but Un Bois Vanille is chunkier and less lithe than its older sister, even though it’s also less complex. Not entirely unpalatable, but not all that exciting either.
I used not to appreciate Un Bois Vanille, but several things have happened recently to make me think twice. First of all, my three-year old son made a special request of me – he said he wanted his mama to smell like vanilla and sweets and sugar – and Un Bois Vanille was the closest thing I could think of that would satisfy his brief without making me retch. Second, I have been wearing Aomassi by Parfumerie Generale a lot lately, and have come to appreciate more the juxtaposition of dairy-rich accords such as vanilla, caramel, and cream against darker elements such as licorice, incense, roasted coffee, nuts, and wood. Un Bois Vanille is sort of a sister scent to Aomassi.
And although I think I will be wearing Un Bois Vanille more for my son’s benefit than my own, I have to admit that it has started to grow on me a bit. It is a simple pleasure done well – a doughy vanilla offset by licorice, milky coffee, dark woods, and a dash of caramel syrup. The only trouble with a vanilla this gourmand is that I am constantly tempted to raid the cookie tin when wearing it. I tempt fate even more by slathering myself in Yves Rocher Organic Vanilla Lotion and a good dosing of Couvent Les Minimes’ Eau des Missions cologne water, said to be a close dupe of Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille. Basically, at weekends, I go around smelling like one giant ball of vanilla ice-cream. But I find I can live with that because anything that makes my son cuddle up closer to me is worth it. I guess it’s true what they say about boys and vanilla after all.
30th June, 2014 (last edited: 12th November, 2014)
I recall Turin's review about this fragrance, and being a fan of traditional coffee making, I must disagree with the "coffee roasting" note he smells here. I don't get it. I get coffee, but not that much and surely not "roasty". All I smell is a bold, kind of soothing and powdery scent of tanning cream, just less creamy and more flowery, but definitely a seaside madeleine (not in the "iodine" sense; more "lying on the beach"). The main structure here is fairly complex and interesting, as I get both a flower and aerial accord blended with a more dense, edible accord of liquorice, coffee, and vanilla. Beautiful, delicate, elegant sandy drydown.
04th April, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)
I think Un bois vanille is just too much of a good thing. The vanilla overpowers the sandalwood and everything else. Don't get me wrong. Vanilla has always been a favourite of mine. It is an important part of my personal olfactory palette as well. However, it does not have to be that sweet. I wonder what Un bois vanille would smell like if the vanilla/sandalwood ratio were a little more balanced...
Coconut and vanilla heaven.
The licorice plays a brilliant role in toning down the sweetness and adding a slightly bitter aura around the scent. Sandalwood joins forces to balance things even more.
2-3 sprays on the chest is all you need and it will last all day. Spray too much and it will suffocate you.
One of my favorite gourmands and arguably my favorite Serge Lutens.