Perfume Directory

Bois de Violette (1992)
by Serge Lutens


Bois de Violette information

Year of Launch1992
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 216 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
PerfumerChristopher Sheldrake
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Bois de Violette

Bois de Violette is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 1992 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Reviews of Bois de Violette

I love woody fragrances, and I love several Lutens fragrances, including Cuir Mauresque, Chergui, and Fille en Aiguilles, so I am sad to say that I am very disappointed in BdV.

Unlike many other reviewers, I detect neither candied violets, powder, candied plum, peach, orange blossom, rose, cardamum, cinnamon, clove, musk, vanilla, nor honey, in this fragrance. I love so many of these notes, but they simply are not present to my nose. I smell a light but sharp cedar and a very light green note which maybe the violet leaf, but not much else. Performance is very poor, too. It is nearly a skin scent from initial application and thus reminds me more of a cologne than an EdP. The fragrance totally disappears on my skin in under two hours.

Either my nose is not developed enough to tease more notes out of BdV or my bottle is compromised or BdV is greatly overrated indeed. However, I wish to give the benefit of the doubt to the fragrance and to so many other reviewers who disagree with this assessment, so I have awarded BdV a neutral rating. If I have the opportunity to retest this fragrance from another bottle and my opinion changes, I will happily update this review. In the meantime, if you seek a pleasant cedar dominant fragrance, I recommend Cedré.

Fragrance: 4/10

Projection: 2/10

Sillage: 2/10

Longevity: 2/10
22nd October, 2017
This one is a puzzlement for me. I love violet, but prefer the natural, powdery scent. I am not a lover of the sweetened, candied violet so prevalent in perfumes intended solely for women.

At first I got a burst of acrid cedar and pungent cumin. After five minutes the violet began to emerge, but this violet is neither dry and powdery, nor is it sweet. It's there, but so shyly so, I can hardly detect it. The woods move to the background and I am left with a non-descript weak sweetness that is not redolent of violet.

I will stick with my two favorite violets, the vintage Trumper Ajaccio Violet and Balenciaga's Le Dix.
28th April, 2016
This is a comfort-scent for me.

It's applying lipstick before a lone walk in the woods, just as the leaves begin to turn from summer to fall. The scent is really lovely. It is sweet, but the wood keeps it reined-in from becoming a pastry.

I think if you enjoy violet scents, this ought to be part of your wardrobe. It has "good bones".

I believe I'll need another bottle within the year.
27th October, 2015
Starts off with candy violets and then quickly moves into cedar. Much like Gris Clair the top and bottom notes fuse together and continue for a long time. The cedar is very strong and makes this a unisex scent with a smoky wood base. Well done.
23rd November, 2014
Genre: Floral Oriental

I was delighted to find Bois de Violette available for testing – even purchase – at Bergdorff’s recently, and given its reputation I plied my way past one of the most pretentious and ill-informed sales associates on planet earth to try it.

For me, wearing Bois de Violette was like lying in a snug cedar box filled with candied violets. Funereal, isn’t it? Well, Bois de Violette is not a "happy" scent. In fact, it’s close, dark, and thick, especially for its first hour on the skin. After that the lugubrious opening accord begins to sweeten and soften – first very slowly, then with exponential acceleration. Just when I think Bois de Violette is going to careen into the side rail of my tolerance for powdered sugar, its engine catches fire, and the resulting cloud of smoke redeems it for me. Once Bois de Violette settles in to its drydown I’m treated to the familiar smoky, spiced honey base that so many of the Lutens fragrances share.

Bois de Violette is an impressive, hard-hitting scent, one of those that I can admire without actually liking. All for the best, as far as my wallet is concerned, since it’s at least one much-praised niche fragrance that I won’t have to buy.

(An aside: Smelling the two side-by-side, it’s clear that Bois de Violette is the inspiration for Tom Ford’s ugly little Black Violet. Were Bois de Violette widely distributed in North America, Mr. Ford need not have bothered.)
09th June, 2014
A swarm of sweet blue-purple violets, adding up to a haze of sweet blue-purple scent. The cedar base is discernible after a few hours, but it remains firmly in the background. The violets here are both plasticky and candied, lending a juvenile, bubblegum-happy air to the perfume. I find violets difficult, though. No matter what the composition, they find a way to bully and talk over the other notes, leaving most violet scents (for me, at least) to perform as a singular blast of purple blue noise, sweet, high, and penetrating. The smell of violets in perfumery is so powerful and dominant that I cannot find any contrasts in tone/pitch or any significant development in fragrances that rely on them. And without contrast in tone, or development of a scent over time, you do not have sophistication. In my opinion.
26th May, 2014

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