French Lover is an interesting composition. It is a damp, green, woody fragrance with a rugged, earthy vetiver note as the key central piece. I do not get much of incense. Rather I mostly sniff wet woods. I also find something in the beginning that smells vaguely of oranges. It is almost as if I'm sitting in a deep forest after a shower and peeling unripe oranges. The fragrance clears up a bit as it transitions into the base: the damp feeling subsides as a musky note develops.
While it is certainly interesting, I cannot call it engaging. Some might not find it very wearable. Average projection and longevity on my skin.
Well this scent combines ingredients that would actually make their co-existense seem like "the clash of the titans". Incense, pepper, galbanum, vetiver all in one borderline green composition that resembles the odour of green grass and dirt while you have placed your nose a few inches from the ground. The incense is present throughout and there is also a muskiness and smoky "cigarness" to it. A personal favorite form the Malle line composed by the great Pierre Bourdon.
20th February, 2015 (last edited: 21st February, 2015)
I agree with Way Off Scenter... Lets face it the guy can write. Funny that my initial impression was that of a more mature and refined Yatagan. So much so that I wore Yatagan on one wrist and Bois d'orage on the other today. I was glad to see that someone else detected this similarity. They are both unapolagetically manly with the Bois d'Orage less in your face about it. The drydown on both are for my liking awesome with an edge of danger for lack of a better word.
The only word to describe this scent is NUMINOUS.
On a woman with a heart that is both wild and peaceful, deep currents, light and dark, shaman making things grow, the woods after a storm--this is perfection.
23rd September, 2014 (last edited: 30th September, 2014)
French Lover is a very dry incense and vetiver composition, softened by a touch of musk in the base. It opens with a whipcrack dose of peppery woods and galbanum, rendered even more piquant by a subtle hint of clove. The incense that emerges over the first hour on the skin is neither sweet nor smoky, but faintly luminous. The opening green notes eventually morph into a bold, earthy vetiver that's joined by a crisp cedar note in a very suave central accord. This isn't the rude vetiver that headlines Vetiver Extraordinaire or Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Route du Vetiver. Instead, it's a rakish and sophisticated vetiver - still dangerous, but also sharp, articulate, and clever. The strong vetiver and cedar accord persists right through the mossy drydown, warmed by the musk and highlighted by the incense that floats in and out of the background. The scent is incredibly tenacious and will hold for a full day unless it's forcibly removed.
There is no citrus to brighten the scent and no floral notes, benzoin, vanilla, or coumarin to sweeten it. Nor is there any of the obvious smoke or leather that gave the monster 1980s chypres all their swagger. In its uncompromising dryness and severity, French Lover parallels Caron's Yatagan, though with much greater transparency and without the prominent castoreum and artemisia. Exchange Yatagan's crude furs for an impeccably tailored suit and you might wind up with something like French Lover: Yatagan for the twenty first century. Where a scent like Kouros or Yatagan might open its fly and display its genitalia, French Lover simply adjusts its collar.
Yet for all of its sophistication, French Lover has something dark and vaguely threatening deep in its heart, a bit like the foetid animal note that creeps around Dominique Ropion's Une Fleur de Cassie. (Also for Frederic Malle.) French Lover may be a stylish beast, but it’s still a beast, and capable of some brutality.
As for the much-discussed name, I don’t think it’s all that apt – not even if it’s tongue-in-cheek. The American market name, Bois d’Orage (translated poetically as “Thunderwood”), is more accurately descriptive, if a bit less clever and original. This is not a seductive, sensuous fragrance along the lines of Musc Ravageur, and those expecting a boudoir scent are going to be deeply disappointed by French Lover. On the other hand, anyone who's looking for a bone dry chypre, incense, or vetiver but finds Yatagan too uncouth and Vetiver Extraordinaire or Maître Parfuneur et Gantier’s Route du Vetiver too rustic may enjoy the more civilized approach of Malle’s French Lover.