French Lover / Bois d'Orage (2007)
by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


French Lover / Bois d'Orage information

Year of Launch2007
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 421 votes)

People and companies

HouseEditions de Parfums Frederic Malle
PerfumerPierre Bourdon
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About French Lover / Bois d'Orage

French Lover / Bois d'Orage is a masculine fragrance by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. The scent was launched in 2007 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Pierre Bourdon

French Lover / Bois d'Orage fragrance notes

Reviews of French Lover / Bois d'Orage

The opening is a nice, natural woody floral with plenty of cedar and earthy vetiver. The earthy vetiver is the star of the opening, smelling like damp, freshly shoveled dirt. The woodiness is there too so the idea of planting trees or working around a tree root in the ground while digging is what comes to mind.

The dry down is very refined and pleasing, casting off a musky, dry woody scent. There’s a sweet and fruity ambroxan that reveals itself at the end of the scent.

Good longevity and solid projection.
07th November, 2020
He may look like a Belgian accountant but Pierre Bourdon is a perfume genius. With French Lover he's done something that few have tried and fewer have achieved, the Minimalist Perfume. A pale blend of galbanum and assonant naturals : incense, juniper and the natural exaltolide found in Angelica root. They create an indistinct foggy thing which seems to be all surface and no depth. Like a Mark Rothko canvas, there's no image to pick out here but plenty to feed the unconscious.

French Lover doesn't pronounce - like many perfumes do, it suggests. It hints - at things you think you know; the humid sous-bois of the forest floor, decaying leaves, green and sappy stems peeled of their bark...
Or, if you are more inclined to culture than the natural world there is the Homme Chic : silver grey suit, cardamom coffee, potted plants and pale decor. Both are possible; both have their adherents. By giving the same work two different names in different parts of the world Frederic Malle doesn't rule out either interpretation; it is he who names the juice, not the perfumer. And, as there are two sides to this perfume, it has two names : French Lover / Bois d'orage; ambiguity is all.

The scent works because Pierre Bourdon appears to have grasped in it a Zen quality of minimalism, which doesn't lie in a pale featureless thing with no movement, or soul.
Maybe he's got one of those Japanese teapots - with purely functional shape and subtle blends of colour. At their highest, Zen ceramics show that form and content are not separate qualities - as Susan Sontag has argued - it's more a case of Yang form and Yin content melding together in permissive alliance.

Likewise, in French Lover / Stormwood, the very formlessness of the structure focusses the attention on the subtleties of natural content. The effect is, of course, entirely dependent on Frederic Malle furnishing top quality materials. Without them the work would be little more than the plain pencil-shaving thing that often passes for minimalism.

Although it is not weak or wan (in fact the juice is very strong) French Lover isn't inclined to shout. It does not, like many perfumes, clamour for attention. Instead it murmurs, enigmatically, making you lean in to hear what it's saying. It's a brillant conceit which turns current perfume wisdom on it's head.
But of course, French Lover is not perfect, and like a Zen teapot there will always be a flaw; and thus, in ithis way, it's almost a perfect masterpiece.


Travel mini and FB
07th June, 2019 (last edited: 06th November, 2020)
Opens green, bitter and spicy followed by a clear cedar note. The best way to describe it is that is smells of freshly cut woods in a forest on a rainy day. Earthy and moist at first progresses to dry woods with spicy undertones. A nice rooty vetiver envelops the woody heart and transparent clouds of incense straightens the earthy character. Very nice balance of notes and composition, great manly scent.
04th January, 2019
A crisp white oxford shirt in a greenhouse that has opened its windows.

French Lover blends lighter notes of brisk, aromatic woods and peppery angelica with the heft of grassy, smoky vetiver and a slug of vegetal, earthy galbanum. It manages to simultaneously convey both clean, confident contours with plenty of breathing room and a dark, rich, if not murky foundation.

Decent longevity, excellent for humid days. The fragrance reads as masculine but I like to pair it with minimalist and monochromatic looks. Would be great with pressed slacks and black patent leather stilettos.
19th June, 2018
Top marks for being realistic!!

I mean this smells like you just juiced a green leaf and stalk and then rubbed it all over your body. Not my cup of tea but if you are that way inclined then could be ideal.
12th May, 2018
Best perfume ever created. Period. For Me. Unfortunately there was a slight reformulation since the Lauder takeover and it has changed. I'd say it's about 85%-90% the same so it's not a bad reform, but still, the original is a complete masterpiece. Pierre Bourdon will forever hold a place in my heart for creating this.
24th March, 2018

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