Perfume Review: Armani Privé Bois d'Encens
Armani Privé line of fragrances started as a private collection of scents to be worn by Armani and his close friends. Only the finest, purest ingredients were used to create this unisex “haute couture” collection. The line right now consists of four scents, Ambre Soie, Bois d'Encens, Eau de Jade, and Pierre de Lune; a fifth scent, Cuir Amethyste, is about to be released. Armani meant for Bois d’Encens to evoke his childhood memories of attending church with his grandmother. Having said that, in my opinion, Bois d’Encens does not have an overly churchy feel. (As a scent evoking a church and nothing but a church, Avignon by Comme des Garcons still reigns supreme.) Bois d’Encens starts with a black pepper accord, very rich, nose-tingling note that I adore; pepper smoothly transforms into frankincense (which to me often has a peppery smell anyway), then an unexpected but very prominent lime-like note appears and freshens up the composition, and finally cedar and vetiver join the show in the drydown.
Three things surprised me in this scent; first, the unanticipated lime note, which is perhaps a result of my quirky skin chemistry, and for which I am thankful, whatever is its origin, because it livens up the otherwise pale grey wood-incense composition and makes it somewhat different from other scents of this type. Second, for a scent with “bois” in its name, the cedar note is quite subdued, on my skin. As far as my nose is concerned, this fragrance could have been called Encens et Poivre , because pepper and frankincense are much more prominent on my skin than wood. And finally, having read about the inspiration behind the fragrance, I expected a more somber, heavier, more church-like scent. Instead (and this is not a bad thing at all, heaven knows, there are plenty of scents that evoke churches of all sorts of denominations) Bois d’Encens brings to mind a sophisticated, minimalistically furnished loft in a stylish part of a hip city. Its owner (we won’t be gender-specific here, this is a unisex scent after all) drinks lime gimlets, burns incense and loves to decorate the flat with wooden objects of simple, straightforward proportions.
Such stylish way of life does appeal to me on some days, and on those moments when I fancy myself as being or aspiring to be urbane and fashionable, I reach for Bois d’Encens. Those moments are rare and thus Bois d’Encens is not full-bottle worthy for me. I also think that Privé Eaux de Parfum are rather overpriced ($185 for 1.7 oz). Bois d’Encens is an elegant, good quality scent, but it is still decidedly not worthy that kind of money. Bois d'Encens is available at Saks and can also be bought online at Giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.
*The image is from Jason-Brooks.com