Perfume Directory

Bois Mystique (2018)
by Houbigant


Bois Mystique information

Year of Launch2018
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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People and companies

PerfumerLuca Maffei
Parent CompanyLoft Fashion and Beauty Diffusion

About Bois Mystique

Bois Mystique is a masculine fragrance by Houbigant. The scent was launched in 2018 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Luca Maffei

Bois Mystique fragrance notes

Reviews of Bois Mystique

There is one review of Bois Mystique.
Bois Mystique by Houbigant (2018) is a valiant attempt by Houbigant to make something modern male luxury perfume buyers would perceive as relevant to their interests, and feels more like a scent from Maison Francis Kurkdijan than anything previously released by the storied old house. I'm not being hasty and calling this great or any kind of return to form, because it clearly isn't and the house still mostly leverages its remaining portfolio of classics that didn't get sold off during its fall from grace through the 70's and 80's, but Bois Mystique is still a step in the right direction business-wise. For the most part, this is a modern masculine niche perfume based in synthetic ambergris, wood, and amber tones; it is a peppery and slightly powdery-fresh perfume, not unlike something such as MFK APOM Pour Homme (2009) with bits of Penhaligon's Juniper Sling (2011), creating a clean white musk undercurrent in the finish. Bois Mystique tries to be more complex and sophisticated than it is, and has far less detectable notes than listed, but that's fine, really. Houbigant needs a release like this because not a lot of guys are going to wear Fougère Royale (1882) or Duc de Vervins (1985) in the 21st century, especially at nearly $200 a bottle, unless they're hobbyists into older iconic styles and perfume history in general.

The opening of Bois Mystique is mostly a presentation of dry bergamot, artemisia, neroli, and pink pepper, setting up a crisp inoffensive freshness and "clean white linen shirt" kind of vibe that perfectly creates an introduction for what is to come. I find the scent a bit on the boring side even this early on, but I think the composition works well in the context of the office, althogh most people don't want to pay niche coin for an office fragrance unless they're head of the entire firm. Juniper and cardamom come next, flanked with iris and ginger. There is a norlimbanol note here that gets labelled as "incense" but it's not full-on scratch like a bottle of Dior Sauvage (2015) so again, it's fine really. The iris goes well with the spices to maintain clean lines like with the neroli in the top, and all of it sets up neatly for the base, which continues the theme. Cashmeran, cedar, ambrox, and white musk sit under a bit of dry amber to make a smooth cool-playing futuristic "woodyamber" vibe like one of your more avant-garde modern niche houses, which is a brave step away from the traditional fougère accords this house literally invented in the late 19th century and has leaned on since. Bois Mystique wears well in spring through fall, is quite generalist, has good longevity, moderate projection, and is unassuming enough for casual and office use, but is the furthest thing from engaging to the wearer. If high-quality but pleasantly forgettable fragrance that smells like you have good but conservative taste is what you're after, this is the masculine fragrance for you.

The biggest criticism I can throw at Bois Mystique is the fact that it is so intently modern, inoffensive, unexciting, and perfectly prudent, as if Houbigant asked perfumer Luca Maffei to take his best shot at making an MFK-style fragrance but without any of the personality Kurkdijan brings to his creations. Put another way, it's as if Houbigant wanted to take something like Prada L'Homme (2016) and "niche-ify" it by stuffing in double the notes and tweaking the nobs so it smells more futuristic, artistic, and "expensive" for the requisite niche/luxury snobs, but manages to miss the point of why most people move up from designer price points into niche in the process. Granted, this is despite also being well-executed, having no rough edges so to speak, and performing admirably. In other words, this smells good, but doesn't grab you. If you're a guy looking to get your foot in the door with Houbigant, and may not be ready for something like Fougère Royale, this is a better starting point than Cologne Intense (2015), which is confusingly neither a cologne nor intense. Would I wear this? No, as I have my bases covered with office scents (for far less than $185), but I'd appreciate smelling it in passing and would recommend Bois Mystique for a guy who wants to stand above a crowd without standing out from it. Thumbs up.
14th November, 2019

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