In the course of perfume journeying one meets with all kinds of concepts, from the exotic, to the intricate, to the pure, and the precious. Rarely do these all meet in one brand, however, yet Fragrance du Bois is one such gem. It even impressed prince Albert II of Monaco and the Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain, who became patrons of the brand. Naturally, pun intended, we had to share with you!
In the universe of fragrance making, the purest and most exquisite of raw materials form the basis of truly phenomenal adventures in scent experiencing. When these are woven by 5th generation perfumers, with heritage handed down from the 17th century, the scent pay-off is greatly enhanced. One major component in this exploration of nature, “red in tooth and claw” as the phrase was immortalised by Tennyson, is oud/oudh.
This Biblically referenced ingredient is commonly known by the names of Agarwood or Oud (the name taken from the province of Oudh) and comes from the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, evergreens native to the jungle of south-east Asia. As the trees become infected with Phaeoacremonium parasitica, a fungus, they defend themselves by producing an aromatic resin over the course of several decades. Oud is complex in smell, with nutty, musty-earthy undertones redolent of undergrowth and woody facets.Fragrance du Bois uses a unique model of sustainability and ethical trade, summed in the slogan “From soil, to oil, to you”, to denote the superior ethos with which they embrace this uniquely precious raw material, from acquiring land, to forest stewardship, all the way to fair trade distillation and workmanship, which becomes their distinguishing characteristic. This ensures a clear conscience on the part of the consumer. All fragrances contain 100% pure, sustainable Oud, managed on the Fragrance Du Bois plantations, guaranteeing to be ethically sourced and certified by CITES.
The oil is then sent to Grasse, perfume making capital of the world, where several esteemed perfumers, such as Olivier Pecheux and Guillaume Flagingy, toil over how to enhance its captivating facets and bring out its secrets. For instance, did you know that in order to bring out a specific Hindi reference the oud resin particles are soaked into water from an undisclosed Asian source in aluminium barrels for a week, while steam distillation at a specific temperature and duration (which is not intimated) results in Dehn al Oud, a fine oil product?
The many natural, beautiful facets of pure natural oud are therefore highlighted and supported in the collection of the brand, by other nuanced and gorgeous essences of the highest quality. Consequently there are different collections.
Shades of Oud Collection is the one which highlights the nuances within oud by complementing ingredients, turning them into sophisticated effects, a full spectrum of fragrances from floral to citrusy, to spicy and woody, all enhanced by the mysticism of oud.The line comprises Oud Jaune Intense, tropical and lightly sweet with the floral overtones of tiare and jasmine, fit for an Indian queen’s wedding night; Oud Vert Intense, coolly earthy and piquantly green with the distinctive addition of that tropical Asian grass undergrowth, vetiver, perfect for hot weather; Oud Rouge Intense, where patchouli intermingles with pink pepper to bring out its inherent rosiness. Oud Orange Intense delights with fruity creamy notes with coconut and strawberries, while Oud Bleu Intense is a fantasy on spicy and resinous melodies. And there is Oud Noir Intense, where cardamom and saffron lend spiciness to the oud, while an undercurrent of patchouli keeps it a dark and mysterious blend for the unapologetically cool customer.
Another collection, Nature’s Treasures, includes compositions which focus on popular or more unusual materials, sustainably sourced, with a smaller inclusion of oud in the mix, giving light and fresh, yet substantial and nuanced creations, such as Siberian Rose or Cannabis Intense. Among the line’s stalwarths, Patchouli Argent is like its name; silvery in tonality, its subtly sheen not overshadowing its inherent elegance of structure. The bergamot lightens the heavy load of the natural patchouli absolute, derived from the south-east Asian bush of the same name, and the rose is lively, seemingly unfurling endlessly, helped by the chemistry of the exotic bush’s molecular adherence to its delicate bouquet.
Petales de Cashmere is a fantasy of musky white flowers, where the tartness of grapefruit surprises on the top note, whereas the milky sandalwood of the base smothers the white floral heart into a caress. There is that expert treatment of the composition which ensures a compliment getter in your fragrant choice.
The Collection Prive, even more prestigious extracts for ultra discerning customers, comprises a handful of imaginative chords flourishing into fully fledged sonatas in Extrait de Parfum format, the most concentrated, and therefore precious, edition available. Sahraa Oud, among the brand’s best-sellers, is inspired by the gushing winds that blow over the Sahara desert. The floralcy of rose and jasmine, enhanced by a citrusy ally found in grapefruit, opens the saffron and patchouli elements of the base which bring forth all the warmth of the continent. Heritage on the other hand insists on elegance over warmth, injecting the soapy-powdery nuances of aldehydes and iris, into a composition with easy grace, which captured the connoisseurs’ hearts.Last but not least, Fashion Capitals Collection comes as the affirmation by Fragrance du Bois that the iconic capitals of fashion and style are owed their due. In a at once reverent and playful approach, London, Milan, Paris and New York function as cultural destinations where perfume lovers from around the world meet and shop.
London Oud, inspired by the superior grade of English lavender, mingles the smell of cleanness with the musty woody exoticism of oud, for the UK’s multicultural capital. Milano is a fantasy of airy frankincense and citrus, stylish and minimalist, while New York Intense fuels a spicy blend of culinary cinnamon and cloves with oud. We find a variation in New York 5th Avenue which delights with a sweet blend of caramel-vanilla with rosy tonalities recalling rose water; very much a sophisticated take on the gourmand trend. And Parisian Oud, cheekily playful, appoints pink peppercorns, known in France as baies roses, as the ambassadors of true Parisian chic.
Every creation in this esteemed line has something to recommend it. Highly sensitive to body chemistry, like all natural materials are, and aimed at aficionados who love to venture forth in their escapades into scent, Fragrance du Bois answers that age-old dilemma, science or art, by an astounding Yes to Both!
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