In a Forest
plain green and herbal, great juice from a great house!
Truth in advertising. Flower, wood. The fun, though, is the way the notes are flipped. FdB starts with resinous, grassy, wet woods. Birch and rosemary give a sort of chilly feel; galbanum and a fairly green lemon moisten things up. This resinous/citrusy opening number ushers in the myrrh by highlighting those particular aspects of myrrh. Soon the high, clear tone of the myrrh is tied to a similarly whispering but direct iris note. The chewy, woody start, something you would imagine as a basenote, is in fact the top note. In the end, FdB is a cozy but not slouchy myrrh/rose with mild sillage and a slightly raspy tone of voice. Distinctive but not odd in the least.
Galbanum – rose – oud. That’s the basic structure of this scent, and if you like those things you’ll enjoy it. The scent starts with the typical dusky-green notes of galbanum. There is a dry, aromatic character at this point. Florals (especially rose) appear and give a lovely aura. Very quickly oud and myrrh come on stage, and the scent becomes bright and medicinal. For the brief period as the rose transitions into the oud, the scent reminds me of Czech & Speake’s Dark Rose or No. 88. Oud dominates for the remainder of the scent’s life. I wish the green notes lasted longer: to my mind this is not really a green scent overall.
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Miller Harris Fleurs de Bois
One of our family friends growing up in S. Florida grew what she called a traditional English garden and it took her an amazing amount of work to keep this bit of England thriving in the tropical climate. One of my favorite natural scents was walking through this garden just after the late afternoon thundershowers that roll through Miami like clockwork. The combination of flowers and damp and wet were what I came to associate in an olfactory way with a garden. When I read that the inspiration for Lyn Harris' 2009 release for Miller Harris, Fleurs de Bois was her walks through Regent's Park in London after a rain I dared to hope that maybe this smell of my childhood could be captured in a bottle. Happily Ms. Harris has succeeded beyond my most optimistic hopes. While I'm not sure how many proper English gardens have citrus trees around them; the one I grew up with did and the top of Fleurs de Bois is a mix of citrus, mostly lemon, and fresh grass. The grass smell is that wonderful lush grassy smell after a hard rain which has earthy undertones but is unmistakably green. This is a beautiful start but we finally get down to the flowers in the garden in the heart; as iris, rose, and jasmine combine in equal measure. I can pick out each note individually but it is when I stop analyzing and let the bouquet just wash over me that Fleurs de Bois is at its best for me. These floral notes smell like flowers still clinging to the stems and dripping with water as the heart contains a humidity and density that is appropriate. The base contains the wood promised in the name as sandalwood supported by patchouli and vetiver finish this off. Fleurs de Bois has average longevity and slightly below average sillage on me. It is always such a pleasure when a perfumer can re-awaken a scent memory and Ms. Harris has certainly done that with Fleurs de Bois, for me. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to breathe in a proper English garden after a rain give this a try it might inspire your spring planting.
This is a very nice green scent with a good supporting base of oakmoss and woodsy notes, notably patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, and birch. The birch here doesn't make a particularly leathery impression. The tangerine in the top will do for bergamot, so I guess this would pass as a woody-green-floral chypre with rose, jasmine and iris doing the heavy lifting for the florals section. There is a touch of incense in this, which is due to the resinous quality of rosemary; any maker of church incense knows that you can atone for inferior frankincense by adding a little good rosemary oil into the mix. Galbanum, grass, and rosemary are a good green note here, with just enough of a hint of dissonance between the dense rosemary and the slightly sharp-and-sour grass note.
Notes: galbanum, green grass, lemon, tangerine, rose, rosemary, jasmine, iris, oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver and birch (from Basenotes articles)
Fleurs de Bois starts very green (as the package suggests) with a burst of bitter galbanum and a stemmy, sappy green plant accord. On skin, the fragrance quickly begins to transition, and the stemmy accord fades to reveal fresh, woody herbs. The galbanum persists, although it is not nearly as strong as in another very green fragrance I love, Chanel No.19. The herbal component is fougere-like with rosemary and perhaps some lavender. I don't really smell much in the way of florals or citrus, although there is a very light powder note which could be iris or oakmoss. I was expecting the herbal accord to last well into the base, but FdB is developing quickly on my skin. The fragrance takes on a vague resinous-balsamic sweetness which I smelled in the base when I tested on paper once before. It is a very welcoming and smooth amber musk, a tad sweet, but not cloying. The bitter green has mostly disappeared at this point, and traces of the rosemary and other woody, herbal mid notes linger. A whisper of vetiver shows itself now--it is faint but lends a slight smokiness. The base is lovely and warm on skin, and for a while during the transition from middle to base, the herbal echoes give a pleasant, cooling contrast.
Overall, this fragrance tends toward the masculine, although the herbal accord is mild in comparison to some men's fougeres I have smelled. The opening and mid development are the real attention-grabbers for me. I have never smelled a galbanum-prominent fragrance in a fougere context, and I quite like the combination. From mid to late development, FdB seems much more like a textbook fougere to me--well done but nothing remarkable. The base is quite fetching, though, and it is commendable that even though this fragrance bears the hallmarks of a traditional fragrance form, it doesn't fall apart at the end with some kind of cheap musk base. What I am really missing in this fragrance is more oakmoss to carry the green impressions from the galbanum and vetiver to the end.