Have you ever built a fragrance up in your head for ages before even smelling it? I do that a lot. The town where I live sells nothing fancier that Beyonce Heat, so I am completely dependent on the Internet.
So, I read. 95% of the pleasure I get from perfume is reading other people writing about it. Words set off a moving train of vivid images in my head, and if a person is a talented writer, they can bring a perfume to life for me in a way that just smelling the damn thing simply will not do.
These images and dreams of a perfume can slosh around my head for years until I actually smell it. Can you imagine the utter joy when the images I’ve filed away in my mental library actually lines up with how the perfume smells? Unfortunately, Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis doesn’t quite live up to the movie reel in my head.
There is just something a little too insistent, too overwrought about Bois de Paradis. It bowls me over….then sticks in my craw. Each time I put it on, I think of the immortal lines of Hotel California - this could be heaven, or this could be hell.
The problem: In the middle of a pool of rich, luscious florals, fruits, and woods, a strident tone eventually juts out and catches my skin on its jagged edges. It’s like running your hand down a gleaming wooden banister and finding one tiny splinter. It gets in the way of what I signed up for.
What I signed up for: A luscious rose-berry syrup, heavily spiced but suspended in a golden elixir, so delicious I want to drink it. Fresh blackberries and dried currants swimming in some kind of quaint alcohol, like mead or mulled wine and draped in the same golden, autumnal haze that I associate with other rich, honeyed harvest scents such as Botrytis and 1270 by Frapin. This, right here, is my bailiwick. Mah wheelhouse.
The splinter: The syrup boils over and becomes pure resin. The woods funnel into pine sap, with a helping of mint, blackcurrant leaf, and camphor, introducing an “aftershave”-like aftertaste. These notes interfere with a creamy-dry, rosy sandalwood in the base. I want to shove aside the throat-catching resin, pine needles, and mint, and enjoy my sandalwood unfettered. It won’t allow me. (If I wanted pine needles and mint, I would wear Nuit Etoilee).
Despite the odds stacked in its favor at the start, it is not a buy for me. But I am grateful to have been given the chance to try it. DelRae stuff is almost impossible to find in Europe.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Bois de Paradis is a very pretty woody-ambery oriental distinguished by a bright and realistic berry note that floats above the rose and wood heart. The amber base is very sweet and powdery, with a large helping of vanilla. Not enough to make the drydown cheap or cloying, but sufficient to make me a bit uncomfortable wearing it. I imagine this appealing to any woman who enjoys Boucheron's Jaïpur Saphir or Byzance by Rochas. Men should definitely test before buying.
This line up of reviews is the best evidence of the elusive "skin chemistry" phenomenon I've seen in a long time.
Thanks to a generous sample pack from BayKat, I've been puzzling over this one all day.
While I get a blast of something brisk (minty? herbal?) on the first spritz, I never detect citrus. Within seconds, a jammy, fruity, spicy rose takes over, against a nice woody base, and I would swear: sandalwood. For hours, the sweet, spicy, fruity rose blend makes me think of something...it's on the tip of my scent memory...one of the fruitier Histories de Parfums? I can't place it. The pineappley 1804? No, not that sweet. The rosy 1876? Getting there.
What distinguishes Bois de Paradis on my skin is sweet, ambery, sandalwood-infused base which, along with the fruity notes (I'm thinking plumb, but also the mix called "fruits rouges" in confitures) has too much sugar for my taste. BayKat identifies blueberries, and though I eat them nearly every morning all year round, I cannot for the life of me recognize how they smell.
Love the opening, love the deep dry down, but I'd prefer to skip the second act, where the sandalwood (if that's indeed what it is) lends a slightly head-shoppy tone that doesn't quite work with the rest of the blend.
All in all, a lovely scent but not quite me. For fruity amber I prefer Alahine, and for spicy rose, I reach for the smokier 1876.
My final rating is "Birthday-Worthy." If I received Bois de Paradis as a gift I'd appreciate it and I'd even wear it; and I imagine I'd be pleased to sit next to someone else who was wearing it.
Oct 10, 2010
It's classy and beautiful and long lasting. It makes you dream of summer. A mouthwatering blackberry lies on a bed of soft roses...with some wisps of resin and woods swirling about. It's very day time and optimistic. The vision of the perfume is strong and clear, with no attempt to broaden appeal by dummying anything down or blurring into indistinctness. I love it, but like the love good friends you feel know about some of their "issues". In this perfume the issue might be a certain rigidity. This doesn't loosen its laces much over time.
07th January, 2011 (last edited: 10th January, 2011)
I"m going to go in the opposite direction on this one: I give thumbs down to the opening, but thumbs up to the drydown.
This opens VERY gourmand on me, which I just can't do. let me try and explain how this wears on me:
When I was in college, my room mate's boyfriend came over one night with some friends and alcohol. I was sitting in the living room having a beer, and they were in the kitchen making something to eat. An orange glow lit up the wall. To my horror I saw that Mr. Idiot was making himself some pan fried everclear.
Burnt, stinky sugar from a dirty frying pan. That is how I wear gourmands. But moving on...
Bois dries out to a lovely, raspy woody scent (If you've tried Sublime Balkiss you'll recognize the blueberry note). I need an hour and a half to sing this scent's praise, so do give it that long before making up your mind. This starts as a stinker, but ends up as an exquisite, fragrant woody. This is the only Delrae scent that I could see myself buying, although I would still like the opening toned down a notch.
As advertised: dense, high-volume fruitiness undercut with wood. It's big and bold and well-done. I don't think there's a dud in the entire Delrae line anyway.
But here's the thing about Bois de Paradis: somewhere in there is a wax-candle smell that just ruins the entire "exotic fruitbasket" effect, muffling the realism of the composition. And once you smell the candlewax, it's all over.