Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

Total Reviews: 41
Initially green, dry, unsweetly resinous, like a cracked branch of cypress. For me this makes it much more wearable than Heeley's Cardinal, vividly close as I find that one to neat frankincense smoke.
Unfortunately have to agree with others about the low mileage from this, especially for something as inherently tenacious as frankincense.
Thumbs up while it lasts.
13th June, 2018
Safe bet for fans of incense. Definitely doesn’t shy away from showing it’s synthetic-smelling mechanics, but they combine with piney, churchy frankincense for an amped up, long-lasting, arid, fuzzy incense extravagnza for a good 6-8 hours. Fits into the genre with Avignon, Full Incense, Lavs etc. but I have found it to be the most satisfying for an incense fix. I recently gutted my perfume collection to narrow it down to favorite essentials and Bois d’Encens isn’t going anywhere, it’ll be on my shelf for the rest of my life.
05th March, 2018
Quartz Show all reviews
United States
Really nice smell- frankincense to me- but the projection & longevity are poor at best, even after spraying clothing. Overspraying didn't seem to help either. I get an occasional whiff of it 3 hours after application and when I asked someone what they thought of it, they couldn't smell it and their nose was almost right on my neck. Someone else mentioned it was more of a skin scent and that is correct. For this kind of performance, it's worth nowhere near the asking price. This is something I'd spend $60-$70 on, not $200+.
Neutral rating only because of the smell.
28th February, 2018
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I know incense and incense blends from an association with a monastery that made its own. Frankincense is essentially sweet and signature "incense" is derived from mixing it with other resins and woods (myrrh, rose, cedar) to create a rich, multi-layered fragrance which, when spooned over live charcoal, creates the smoke for liturgical ceremonies, dispersed through censers, swung around the altar.

What my nose picks up here is simply pepper and cedar - dry, bitter and rather nasty - this is the scent of "burnt" incense, not in the sense of consuming by flames, but in the sense of hard, black, ruined, finished incense, the point at which the censer should be retired to avoid offending the noses of both the congregation and the deity being honored.

It is a poor performance, and a joke considering the price. If you want true and beautiful incense, try Etro's Messe de Minuit, a quarter of the price and four times as good.

29th January, 2016
First sniffed this in 2004 at Sak's.
The Dry Pepper grabbed me, the Vetiver shook me,and the Frankincense sealed the deal. It was the first Armani, for me, that captured the essence of elegance since the Vintage Eau Pour Homme.
In 2008 I purchased it along with a pair of Black Label Gray Flannels.
It remains as my favourite of the Prive Line.
10th January, 2016 (last edited: 27th July, 2017)
An excellent, mysterious incense fragrance, actually my favorite, it realy is a skinscent so if you are looking for "statements" avoid. It starts of peppery and then follows a pungent ambery, slighlty animalic note (labdanum) along with a light airy franckincense which also reveals a citrusy vibe. Then it dries down to a mainly musky cedar with some vetiver. Personally I find all the phases extremely beautiful and I adore the fact that it wears as a cologne. If you like incense BLIND BUY IT.
20th February, 2015
Without question, this is the highlight of the line and one of the best frankincense perfumes on the market.

It’s basically a cerebral chin-stroker of a frankincense with cedar facets that are balanced out by what seems to me to be some kind of floral note. Frankincense can be quite bitter, and here it’s smoothed over in a way that exalts the material’s richness. There are some spices present, but they’re really just there for texture rather than flavor. It’s a cold scent—not quite as sharp as the similarly-themed Avignon—but chilling all the same. However, it has a calming, meditative quality to it that offsets some of the coldness. It’s linear and it winds down to Iso E quite fairly quickly, but it’s really all about highlighting the frankincense—and that’s what this does well. It feels like a solinote, so if you’re looking for a more developed perfume, I’d turn to Clive Christian’s V or perhaps Sahara Noir, but this is great for what it is, and it’s by far the best thing from the line.
07th January, 2015
Bois d'encens by Armani is a realistic, balsamic, piney, resinous and grey incense, still stuffed with Iso E Super but well disguised in a more "organic" way, less futuristic than other incenses like Avignon – and also less heavily liturgical, more natural, mystical and woody. The family is the one comprising Casbah by Piguet or Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile. More exotic than those, Bois d'encens is also more "grey" and a bit darker. Basically that's it, a sophisticated incense cloud with spices on top and woods on the base. A must for incense lovers – for all the others, it can soon turn into boredom. For me? Despite the enthusiastic reviews I find it well made and undoubtedly classy, but honestly a bit shallow.

08th August, 2014
Armani Prive - Bois d'Encens
This a special gem in the Armani Prive-line up. Such a simple perfume but yet incredible rich, thick, layered and also airy smelling. This is superb blending, especially for the all-natural ingredients: hot black pepper, cool yet spicy, salty vetiver and hissy-peppery resinous frankincense. These aromatics were chosen with much care and attention. I guess there were a lot trials made before the exact right combination of oils gave the right effect- but what a marvelous accord this is.
This smells far away from the most masculine’s- this one focuses more on what’s happening inside its form than on the form itself. It moves from light to dark, from soft to raw-edgy, and back and forth. It plays a game with light and dark, casting shadows her and there, giving it a very dynamic interplay. It projects airy-green and dark-earthy notes at the same time. The fresh black pepper harmonizes with the peppery topnote of the frankincense that has the most complete scent-profile of top, mid and base. The vetiver is all the way green: fresh greenish on top, more of a solid rooty-dark green in its dryout. The frankincense acts more as an introvert while the vetiver is more extravert, it radiates more lightness and freshness and becoming more stronger and dominant in its dry-out. Then, Bois d'Encens gets a darker tone, almost of sweaty animalic wet fur, a sort of musk-tone. I guess the salty rooty-earthiness of the vetiver and the sticky stony-resinous from the frankincense are responsible for that.
Its nice to smell a frankincense-based perfume that stays away from the smoky-dusty inside of a church-perfumes. Bois smells more of the outside- like a mixed forest of pine- and broadleaf-trees after a long night of raining that’s being warmed up by a very hot sun, early in the morning, during springtime. Damp, fresh-green, wet, humid and at the same time hot, dry and sweet, sticky-resinous. Definitely a perfume with a heart that beats with an analogue pulsation, not with the digital precision of an alarm clock. A masterpiece. Get it while stock lasts cause this one is gonna hit the perfume-Hall Of Fame...
30th April, 2014 (last edited: 04th May, 2014)
This is what every incense scent should be like.

I'm not talking about the smell but about the way the scent aura envelops the skin and transports the wearer to a calm ethereal place (in this case, it's the inside of an old stone church in Italy).

Incense itself when burned, is light in volume, airy and never overwhelming. This is exactly what bois d'encens is all about.

While other scents mix the incense with patchouli or amber to give it more volume and thickness, Bois d'encens gives it to you like it is and that's what i love about it .

Whenever i wear this, i feel like everyone and everything around me should be quite and calm. I know this sounds selfish but it's the truth and i can't help but feel that way.

Bois D'encens: Selfish incense.
23rd March, 2014 (last edited: 05th April, 2014)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The mix of vetiver with a spicy incense sounds simple - but is is extremely well done. Neither heavy nor dark on my skin, not fat and more of a certain elegance. Great quality ingredients, some development in spite of it's simplicity, great silage, good projection and a splendid longevity of nine hours. Finally an Armani that ticks all the boxes. A great scent for sunny autumn days.
12th January, 2014
This is easily one of my favorite fragrances. It's magical. Like being in an old church deep in the woods. Incense, pepper, woods, blended perfectly. It's powerful, but not overwhelming. I get a lot of compliments on it and I never get tired of wearing it. I probably wouldn't wear it in hot weather though, definitely for fall and winter IMO. It's one of the jewels in my collection.
05th March, 2013
Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani - Initially, one is treated to a surge of peppery incense. A pepper triumvirate, consisting of black pepper with its woody and smooth facets, a slight barnyardy, white pepper, as well as a tart, pink pepper, marries with a sumputously resinous frankincense, with its wondrous pine and ever-so-slight, lemon accents. A whisper of juniper berry, with its gin-like aspect, tiptoes here and there. Transitioning to the heart, this thrilling opening is tamed somewhat by a woody vetiver. This genteel vetiver imparts its green freshness with undertones of tobacco and shoe-tree cedar. The frankincense, darkening, diffuses a mystical aura reminiscent of a Roman Catholic High Mass celebration. Cedar leaves, with their menthol-ish character, flutter about subtly. Segueing to the mellowing base, this splendid melange is imbued with an able cedar, which infuses its slightly camphoraceous and balsamic woodiness. And, a luminous frankincense appears lifted by magical salicylate. A captivating drydown ensues. Regrettably, although this composition is masculine and elegant, it remains a skin scent with below-average longevity.
19th July, 2012
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ohh. sigh. This is my very favourite incense I think. It's very simple. It's very present. It's very evocative. Black pepper. Incense. And some thing else that gives it a translucence or luminosity. It seems so much its own thing as to be archetypal! I too yearn to drain every bank account, maybe trade in the car, to have "enough" in my possession.

01st June, 2012
Alityke Show all reviews
United Kingdom
If I could afford I'd buy all the stock I could and wear forever. Love at first sniff.
Wonder if No 2 son would notice if I didn't pay his University lodgings this month?
06th January, 2012
Simply stunning and standing on the highest places of my personal incense based fragrances parade, just few steps behind those pillars as my lord Black Tourmaline and others favourite of mine as Norma Kamali Incense, Tauer's Incense Extreme, Shams by Memo (which is an aoud based fragrance but nicely incensey in its olfactory outcome), Incensi Villoresi, Messe de Minuit Etro, Kyoto CDG and Dzongkha. Averagely "bodied" (but initially a bit rubbery, resinous and almost dense), incensey and balanced enough to be ranked as a real dark and gothic incense based fragrance in its dusty boise liturgical soul. The juice itsel, starting with a real dusty and pungent blast (black pepper, juniper, spices), evolves towards a slightly rooty and woodsy real incense with the green-dark boise' boldness of the vetiver and hints of secret patchouli. The outcome is a cool-warm whiff of resinous conifers, cedar and smoky frankincense  while the smoothing elements (not listed....,labdanum, florals, amber?) are minimally dosed and hidden just in order to barely  sweeten the juice and to introduce a touch of marketing  appeal. The mildness of woods and some resins enhance the pleasure of the final issue that is surprisingly bold, modern and charismatic in comparison with many of the other incensed fragrances (many of those are too introspective  and out of time). The smell itsel and the relative atmosphere remind a bit those coming from some burning candles or oils in a shadowy room. The packaging is excellent, the price is dreadful. Highly recommended anyway.
24th September, 2011 (last edited: 04th September, 2012)
This, ladies and gents, is one of the most underrated perfumes in the fragrance world. Warm, smoky, and slightly lemony incense with that dusty undercurrent that top-shelf frankincense from Oman is known for is flawlessly framed on one end by deliciously spicy notes of pepper, and by mellow balsamic woods on the other. It's entirely delicious, and I've never smelt such a high quality frankincense note anywhere in perfumery - not in Amouage, not in Tauer, and certainly not in CdG. Not only that, but the supporting players do a perfect job of highlighting the beauty of the frankincense.

If you're enough of a frag aficionado to be browsing this site, then you owe it to yourself to at least try Bois d'Encens. Yes, even if you don't like so-called incense frags.
08th April, 2011
This is a masterpiece! Dark, gothic, deep and mysterious liturgical incense. Together with CDG avignon, this stays at the top of church inspired fragrances and it's surely one of my favourites. It's pungent almost astringent in the opening to turn much more softer, warm and earthy during drydown. Pepper, some coniferous, vetiver and animalic hints give birth to a multi-faceted incense based composition that while smelling dark and gothic it's incredibly elegant in its minimalistic approach. Not too powerful but definitely remarkable. If you want your incense to stay close to the skin but to result incredibly distinctive at the same time, there's nothing like Bois D'Encens.

The original packaging came in a precious wood bottle and was available as a 50ml EDP at a quite unaffordable price. They now made a "smarter/cheaper" version with a dark glass bottle coming in a 100ml EDP size. Highly recommended!
05th March, 2011 (last edited: 16th January, 2012)
The quiescent Bois d'Encens draws on myrrh,  black pepper, and (especially) frankincense for its austere charm; comparisons can be made with Diptyque's L'Eau Trois, and Comme des Garçons' Ouarzazate and Avignon, respectively. What Bois d'Encens lacks in novelty (L'Eau Trois appeared in 1975), it makes up for in temperament: whereas the CdG Incense series is synthetic-smelling and occasionally harsh (I'm going to blame the budget rather than Duchaufour), the Armani interpretation is terrifically smooth and poised, with a lightness of touch that prevents the incense from overwhelming. The overall effect is meditative rather than smothering.

With regards to the serious difference in cost between the CdG and Armani scents, I think a good question to ask is: could the money saved on buying a slightly lesser version within a genre be used towards buying another scent, in a different genre, able to provide more enjoyment than the quality advantage you've forsaken? It's what most of us would do intuitively, and the answer will depend mainly on the extremity of the difference in quality and the value accorded to that genre in your wardrobe. Speaking for myself, the difference in quality here is certain, but I can think of genres or notes other than incense for which I'd prefer to pay more for a comparable superiority. So, I'll stick with my Avignon despite the excellence of Michel Almairac's Bois d'Encens.
10th February, 2011
I'd bypassed the Privé range for a long time, simply because nothing in the mainstream Armani range could possibly have led me to believe that the Privé scents would have anything memorable -- let alone fantastic -- to offer. How wrong I was. I've finally sampled Bois d'Encens, and it is as simple as it is rich and fantastic. Textbook treatment of the genre of the incense-smoke-and-pepper fragrance; dry, with the slight crackle of a slow-burning fire. Warm, yet beautifully austere, as a religious ceremony involving incense might be austere and introspective. Similar price range to the Amouage line, and I'd say worth it.
23rd October, 2010
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The design of the bottles are the best thing about this range of overpriced fragrances. Bois D'encens is a dirty, smoky frankincense, but is on volume 11. It is actually like having the priest waving the smoke right in your face. Get Messe de Minuit or Passage D'enfer or even Chaos instead and save some money.
04th March, 2010 (last edited: 17th March, 2010)
After going into Selfridges for about the tenth time just to get my fix of Bois d'Encens I have had to admit that I really do love this one & must add it to my wardrobe. I've had it a couple of weeks now & find that it actually lasts quite well compared to most modern designer fragrances - not as good as classics like Mitsouko or Coco, but considerably better that Osmanthe Yunnan.

All in all - recommended if you're looking for an incense.
27th February, 2010 (last edited: 04th August, 2010)
Any scent with wood and incense in the name is a must-try for me. Bos d'encens gives you exactly that: wood and incense. I get a very sharp cedarwood at first, with hints of pinetree, I really like cedarwood but this is almost too much for me (pencil shavings and hamster cage come to mind). Then comes the incense, a very dry, light, high quality incense that is absolutely wonderful. I get some smoke and vetiver too, but the overall impression is dry, sharp cedarwood and incense. This would smell great on a man, but is very wearable for women too. The reason why I only give it a 3 is the lack of sillage and staying power. It stays extremely close to the skin, I think I'll spray my clothes next time to get some smell out of it. And it's gone in an hour or so, which is why I don't think it's worth the $$$ - the pricing is ridiculous. If you like this but don't want to pay that much - I recommend Zagorsk by Comme de Garcons.
09th November, 2009
Freshly milled pressure treated lumber... you know, those grey-ish looking wooden poles? They are doused in chemicals to make them more durable in the weather and against insects. The sawdust that is kicked back by cutting these releases a harsh, almost toxic cedar odor. I prefer woody scents even stuff like Hinoki and LesNez's Let Me Play the Lion but Bois d'Ences does not a pleasurable association. It is not a forest. It is not a beautiful log of wood. It is not the distant aroma of a lumber mill's sawdust. It is the smell of the machine in Fern Gully destroying the rainforest.
13th May, 2009
I don't give thumbs down. This frag smells like the Dallas Cowboy's locker room after Superbowl XXVII in 1993.
23rd April, 2009
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
Here in the US the discount chain TJ Maxx and it's sister store Marshalls has received a flood of Armani Prive 'refill bottles', the internal fragrance bottle intended to slip into the wooden container with the fancy pebble cap. The refill bottle itself has a spray and is actually quite solid, physically and visually. In an amazing illustration of exactly how large the profit margin is on these fragrances, the refill bottles sell for $30 (at which price point the chain still profits). As I peruse the reviews, below, many of which mention the high price I almost twinge with empathy for all those who shelled out $150 or more for their bottles. I've had samples of the Prives forever, but because of these deep discounts I've had the opportunity to really play with them.

Bois d'Encens is by FAR my favorite Prive, and in fact it's the only one I enjoy. I've been exploring incense fragrances lately, and BdE is essentially frankincense with light supporting notes. On application the fragrance is all pepper, but within a couple minutes the frankincense note appears. As the pepper fades the frankincense becomes more dominant. The incense note is light and airy with a wonderful balance between being sharp and peppery and sweet and resinous. The absence of other strong notes lets the beauty of the frankincense do the talking, and as Turin points out in the Guide, frankincense has a wonderful quality of 'never smelling exactly the same twice'. I agree with this comment and have found that weather, clothing, situation, etc. all play in role in how Bois d'Encens presents itself on the skin. At first the sillage is very good but fades after a couple hours. Even thought the sillage fades the fragrance continues to develop slowly.

In the drydown slightly sweeter notes appear to balance the frankincense, and as a review below notes these seem to be balsamic, woody notes that have a sweet and resinous aroma of their own. At this stage BdE reminds me quite a bit of Guerlain's epic Bois d'Armenie which is loaded with balsam wood and incense. Bois d'Armenie is, in my opinion, a far superior incense fragrance, but it is also much richer and not nearly as minimalist as the Armani and thus they don't occupy the same niche. Longevity is good, 5-7 hours.

All in all Bois d'Encens is very good.fragrance and that's why I'm giving it a strong thumbs up (I try to judge in a vacuum without regard to value). However, I would never buy this at full price as I don't feel it's THAT good, especially when other great frankincense fragrances like Memoire Liquide Hommage are cheaper, and expensive incense fragrances like Bois d'Armenie are better. If you or someone you know can snag one at TJX/Mashalls by all means grab one. [special thanks to the BNer who bought me a bottle at their local Marshalls.]
02nd April, 2009
I was lucky enough to score a refill bottle of Armani Privé Bois d'Encens at a discount store. No lovely wooden box with the little stone on top, but even the refill bottle has simple, elegant packaging that looks nice on a dresser top. I would certainly not have paid the ridiculous retail price for a bottle in the wooden container. The perfume is good, but it's not that good!

For such a simple composition,Bois d'Encens really has a lot going on. I espeically love the dry wood overtone. It comes on very peppery, like the fresh-ground stuff from the pepper mill, but those notes fade quickly to a warm, dry, sawdust and incense aroma. Definitely unisex, but I admit that I like the scent of this on my husband's skin better than I like it on mine. I get no sweetness at all from this one when either of us wears it.

The sillage is good. My husband was looking around the room to see if I was burning incense before he figured out the source of this lovely aroma, ha ha! Alas, the persistance is just so-so, as some have already noted. It is barely detectible after two hours, and a faint lingering trace of frankincense was all that remained four hours after application.

23rd March, 2009
Armani Prive' Bois D'Encens

I think all of the designer lines want to secretly be niche but their size precludes that from truly happening. In 2004 Giorgio Armani did the next best thing he created an exclusive line called Armani Prive' in an attempt to make a niche-feeling scent. Incense is one of my favorite notes and I am always struck with the variety of ways it can be approached. Michel Almairic's approach was to create a sheer enclosure of incense that always feels on the verge of disappearing but somehow never does. Many incense scents cling to you like being enveloped in a cloud of smoke this one feels like you are in the back row at midnight mass and are getting intermittent whiffs of incense. The top starts off with a mix of pepper and incense this is a vibrant beginning as the spice of the pepper contrasts the sweet of the incense quite nicely. As we move into the heart the sweetness of the incense changes to the more austere version and is paired with cedar. The cedar adds a clean edge to the scent which is continued into the base as a smoky vetiver finishes this off. This is the second of the Armani Prive' scents I have tried and in both cases I have been impressed that a scent with the lightness of touch they have also have a nice longevity and a high degree of complexity out of what seems like a simple note list. This is another example of what a designer is capable of when they put their mind to creating something of quality and beauty.
28th February, 2009
Messe Serale.

Avignon, once more with feeling. (and an enveloping sillage/aura)
09th January, 2009
What a stunning fragrance! Definitely my favorite of the Prive line. It is woody, soft, dark, autumnal incense. Excellent sillage and lasting power. True that it is insanely expensive. Might just try a decant....
10th October, 2008