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Féminité du Bois – A different kind of feminine – September 19, 2014 New fragrance Listing

Image - perfumeniche - Serge Lutens Palais Royale boutique, Paris

Féminité du Bois is considered a game-changer in the perfume world.

When it was launched over twenty years ago, this rich Oriental fragrance introduced woody notes that were traditionally confined to masculines, featured them as star players, and opened the creative gates to a whole new world of feminine perfumery in the 1990's and forward. The name means exactly what it says – “the femininity of woods”. Women’s fragrances, both niche and mainstream, suddenly became a lot more interesting.

There are two versions of Féminité du Bois:

Version 1

The original 1992 fragrance from Shiseido in the small plum-coloured frosted bottle, created by Pierre Bourdon with Christopher Sheldrake under the artistic direction of Serge Lutens, and discontinued some time ago.

Luckyscent describes it as, “a dark, honeyed, animalic wood rubbed with candied fruit, sweet balms and the slow burn of spices, encrusted with the amethyst flash of violets.” Rich, woody, different. I’ve never smelled it.

Version 2

The re-formulated 2000 version from Serge Lutens in the familiar Lutens glass bottle, re-visited and tweaked by the same three perfume amigos, and according to Serge himself, very true to the original. Still a masterpiece, and totally unique, this version is balsamic cedar wood, moistened with peach and plum, spiced and sanded smooth, wrapped in dark powdery purple violet. I adore it.

The opening accord is spicy and fruity with the cedar wood note apparent right from the start. It carries through into the heart which reveals a weightless bouquet of florals – orange blossom, rose and violet float around the woods. As FdB dries down into the base the florals recede slightly, the cedar deepens, joined by sandalwood, musk, and a hint of cinnamon, and the scent becomes radiant, with a translucent quality. 

In Féminité du Bois, the cedarwood note is a constant from top to bottom but is never intrusive, nor is it overly sweetened by the fruits or florals, or overwhelmed by the spices. There’s a masterful balance that’s struck, a clever weaving together and coming apart of the notes, and it’s easy to see how this fruity spicy woody accord soon formed the template for the Lutens line. What soon followed was Les Eaux Boisées range, four fragrances which explore different aspects of FdB – see our posts and listings for Bois de Violette, which highlights the violet note, and Bois et Fruits which explores the fruity aspect.

I wear Féminité du Bois mostly during the colder months because it feels like comfort to me, like coming in from the cold, wrapping up in a cashmere blanket, and sinking into a soft sofa. FdB becomes a subdued and serene scent that wears close to the skin, warm and soft, a perfect blending of genders. Masculine, feminine, yin, yang, dark, light, balance, harmony. In short, a modern masterpiece.

Today, we’re adding Féminité du Bois to our Decant Store. Decants Are $6.00.