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November 14, 2005

Fragrance Review: L'Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine


Warm porridge sprinkled with shaved roasted almonds, Bois Farine takes up the gourmand theme from the standpoint of abstraction and minimalism, both of which characterize Jean-Claude Ellena’s work. The fragrance teases slightly with its soft comforting associations, yet in its ability to transport, Bois Farine does not quite bring one to the grandmother’s kitchen. Instead, like in a swift rotation of a kaleidoscope, the elements of the composition rearrange themselves to simultaneously evoke a scent of warm skin and fresh wood shavings. The fragrance simultaneously conjures a picnic on the beach and a sculptor’s studio.

Ellena’s inspiration for the floury veil of Bois Farine was a small red flower of Ruizia cordata from the Réunion island, which sends forth a unique starchy scent, redolent of fresh dough. Bois Farine, introduced in 2003, indeed at first evokes a whole range of starchy associations from fresh wheat flour to cooked oatmeal. Delicate sweetness pervades the floury layer, softening its camphorous dryness. ...

While the main accord of the composition is comprised of dry, powdery elements, the ornamenting notes change over time. It is as if the main features of the landscape remain intact, while the movement of the clouds and sun changes the mood.

Woody elements of the composition reveal themselves as the fragrance develops. A breath of woody violet envelops the heart of the composition segueing into the base. Cumin provides a surprising element, which while subtle at first, suddenly shocks one with its pungency. Yet, it quickly drowns in the rich powdery dryness, lending a very sensual touch, while at the same time dispelling the opaque quality of the composition.

Balsamic powderiness further dissolves in the vapours of sandalwood and vetiver, which intertwine to produce a cool sensation, making the base resemble a piece of polished marble that has just enough sparkle in it to catch attention. The end result is a balance between sensual and comforting, with a mélange of powdered woods, on the one hand, and sheer musk, on the other.

Notes include fennel seed, iris, white cedar, guaiac wood, sandalwood, benzoin. L'Artisan Parfumeur fragrances are available at Aedes, Barneys New York, Beautycafe, Bergdorf Goodman, Bluemercury, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Theperfumeshoppe. European shoppers can find the line at First-in-Fragrance.

Painting: Paul Gauguin, Pastime (Arearea), 1892. Paris, Musee d'Orsay.From



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