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    Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I must admit-- Feminite du Bois is, for me, not an easy piece to review.

    It's not that FdB is offensive, superficial, or weird. It's not that it is apologetic or pretentious.

    It's beautiful, surely, but....

    Let me go back to the root of my problem. A few days ago, I was reading a paper written by Jean Carles, and in this paper he suggested that a common trap for perfumers is to create well-rounded perfumes; that is, to draw no attention to any single facet of the fragrance.

    This is where my initial problem laid. Feminite du Bois is exactly what Jean Carles prescribed against: it is perfectly rounded--no single ingredient assumes prominence, no single characteristic defines the fragrance.

    But Jean Carles didn't live long enough to smell Feminite. He must not have foreseen the possible advantage of a well-tuned fragrance, of a fragrance that employs equal constituents to create a perfect harmony.

    This is the nature of Feminite. The plummy fruit, the cedar, the snubbed out candle, the violet: none assume dominance during the fragrance,yet each facet is perfectly in tune, creating a beautiful melody.

    This must be why perfume historians refer to FdB as a revolutionary fragrance: the perfume shattered the conception that linear, perfectly harmonious pieces were inferior to discordant ones. Thus Feminite is not only beautiful, but also represent a paradigm shift in modern perfumery.

    05 September, 2012