Perfume Review: Shiseido Feminite du Bois
Created for Shiseido by Serge Lutens, Christopher Sheldrake and Pierre Bourdon in 1992, Féminité du Bois revived the interest in woody notes in women's perfumes and launched a thousand other woody-oriental fragrances, including Les Eaux Boisées from Serge Lutens’s Les Salons du Palais Royal collection*. Féminité du Bois is centered around a cedarwood note that stays present from the top to the base notes. Combined with the dark fruitiness of peach and plum, the sweetness of honey, the ripeness of roses, the spiciness of cinnamon and clove, and the smoothness of sandalwood, cedar shows its feminine, warm, extremely sensual side. Like Bois des Iles, this is one of those scents in which I feel most “at home”, and I suppose in a way it is a comfort scent for me.
Having said that, Féminité du Bois is not soft and cuddly. It is a hearty scent, darkly sweet and robust. It makes me think of Painting, 1944 by Clyfford Still, with its black vastness slashed by a serrated red line. Féminité du Bois has the same abstract forcefulness; like the colors in Painting, the notes here are applied “thickly”, like slabs of paint thrown at the canvas with a palette knife. I can only describe Féminité du Bois as “exquisitely robust”; generous and full-bodied as it is, the fragrance is incredibly well blended, and is one of the most sophisticated scents that I know.
Féminité du Bois is available in a variety of forms, including Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau Timide (a more delicate version of the scent which “softens your skin with water-fresh moisture”, a good option if you find the regular version a little too intense), Parfum Stylo, Too Heavenly Body Cream (indeed a heavenly treat, moisturizing and very true to the scent, I would recommend to all the fans of Féminité, if you can find it), Mist Emulsion Body Veil, and Deodorant Body Spray…And now the bad news…As far as I understand, Shiseido does not export Féminité du Bois to the US, consequently, it is rather hard to find. Right now it seems to be available at Perfumemart.com, $90.00 for 1.6oz of Eau de Parfum. It also sometimes pops up on eBay, but is never cheap even there.
*Apart from Les Eaux Boisées (Bois et Fruits, Bois et Musc, Bois Oriental, Bois de Violette), among other scents undoubtedly inspired by Féminité du Bois are Miller & Bertaux Eau de Parfum # 1 For You, Guerlain Aromaparfum Exaltant, and Delrae Bois de Paradis.
**The painting is Painting, 1944 by Clyfford Still, Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Féminité du Bois ad is from shiseido.co.jp.