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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Perfume Review: Feminite de Bois by Shiseido

By Tom

Holiday shopping usually fills me with fear. I hate crowds. I hate malls when they're filled with people. I am a typical male in my shopping. I don't dawdle over purchases; I want to get in and get out. This is of course the exact opposite of what's going to be happening in my neighborhood: the price of a tony zip code with perfect, balmy winter weather that rarely dips down below the 60's means that there are hordes of shoppers, tourists and locals. Now for tax reasons I am thrilled that y'all are here, and I can certainly understand why you are on Rodeo Drive. But Beverly Drive? I'm sure there's a Gap where you live...

Usually I take care of this "bah, humbug!" streak by shopping early, shopping online and pinning my friends to the wall about what they would like by say, November 30th. This year a couple of them weren't forthcoming with their desires, so I was left to wander to find something. I wandered one day last week through LA's Little Tokyo area, thinking there must be some cool little Manga-ish gadget that could be a stocking stuffer. I passed a small shop and wandered in and saw in a corner one small bottle of Feminite du Bois. I pounced, especially since it was a bargain at $35.oo, and was the last bottle that the store had (the lady said it was discontinued in the US). As you can read in Colombina's review, FdeB is the mother scent to the Bois series from Lutens, which explore various (Boise et Musc, Boise et Fruits, Bois de Violette and Un Bois Sepia) facets of FdeB in depth. FdeB is arguably better than it's rather more raucous children, silky smooth fruits bubble with warm cedar, musky roses and violets, spiced clove and cinnamon and the thoroughgoing warmth of the sandalwoody cedar. It's a stunning scent- it would be wonderful on a woman but in no way (like the best of Lutens) could not be worn by a man. While my description reads like something that Nigella Lawson would have simmering away for a holiday party, it's in no way excessively gourmand. It manages to be both lush and yet spare, warm spiced fruits, hints of flowers and dry woods. You can see the direction that Lutens was going in his later scents, this is perhaps the most spare of his and perhaps (in a very good way mind you) more deserving of the Shiseido brand than that of Serge Lutens. There's something very Japanese about it; it takes up little space and has a gentle hand to it, but it has a rich story to tell.

I went to about four other stores hoping that I could find another bottle, since I had opened this one, purely for scientific purposes and to be able to review it for you good people (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I seriously considered giving this as a Christmas gift to my perfumista friend, even though I had spritzed from the bottle- it's loveliness would remove any trace of tackiness from the gesture (any of the Bois series would in my opinion- how could you not want to take a cut?). But she asked for something else and shall receive her desired gift. If she's reading, I'm willing to split some off to her in addition to the requested blender...

In the mean time, Merry Christmas to me!

Amazon.com insists the Feminite du Bois is available through them at $90 per bottle

28 Comments:

Anonymous MarkDavid said...

Soo many times I just wanted to purchase this blind. I know I will love it...or do I?

I'm biting my fingernails over here wondering what to do. Im too cheap to buy samples...

You make it sound so "me"...

Ugh, why cant I ever pass a shop with something good and hard to find being sold for $35? [And the Tumulte at TJMaxx doesn't count!]

10:17 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

I'm with you on the holiday shopping. Loathe it. Passionately. You absolutely deserved that FdB - stunning scent. And what a great price! Clearly a sign from the cosmos that you deserved it. I'm still trying to decide how to reward myself for having faced 3 different Targets and a Toys R Us this past Sunday trying to track down some toys my SIL insisted (at the last moment, obviously) were *all* my niece wanted. As it turns out, she was completely indifferent to them when she opened them Xmas day and was far happier w/ the DVDs I'd ordered for her online during a peaceful evening two months ago. I'm thinking that this may be the excuse I've been looking for to order Oiro.

10:30 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

markdavid-

It's one of those things that NEVER happen to me- I'm not a person who even gets decent parking paces...

If you like the Lutens bois, then I think you'll like this. It's rather more veiled than his later ones

10:34 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

elle-

not only should you order it, your SIL should pay for it!

Three Target and a Toys R Us? Oy, I don't think I'd try that if I needed a kidney!

10:37 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I'm with you on this one, baby.
My sons associate me with this, and Mitsouko, first-

When my eldest had the blues, I sprayed one of his pillows with it, so he could have me near him, and when the boys were little, I would leave an artcle of clothing inthe crib scented with this...

When I heard that it was going out of the States, I bought up every bottle I could find- out of Mass., too.
So, MD-
When you come to visit, we'll decant like mad.

MWAH !

10:56 PM EST  
Anonymous MarkDavid said...

Tom -
I cant see me not likin this. I dont get that instinct very often, and its rarely wrong.

Must be honest - makes me feel better to hear this find was a fluke in the luck Dept. No offense...

As for Parking Spaces - "The Secret" has changed my life forever in that area. I just envision the parkinG spot I want, and its always available for me. I pull up and expect to find it there and I usually do. You can't get greedy though. I dont always envision the best spot, just to keep good karma.

Chaya - oh you bet we'll be decanting fools when I arrive with a trunk fool of empty spray bottles. What fun we will have. Im getting too anxious now - I really need to pick a date and just come already!! Best to take inventory on all your FdBs - lest you find one missing after I leave.

-MD

12:23 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Chaya-

I'm going to think of your friendly nape when I spritz this and save Mitsouko for when I can smell it in person..

12:55 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

markdavid-

I am so jealous that you are going to partake of the wonder that is Chaya I could spit!

I'm giving up that luck, like the parking for the hope of the lotto luck. Phoning in from planet deluded, I remain yours..

1:00 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Sulketh not, oh he-whose-avatar- is-my-favorite-flower !

You are welcome in my tiny hovel at any time !
What we lack in space, elegance, and blahblah, we make up for in love, perfume, reading material,and fine comestibles, baby.
Also music, and cinema....

So, move thy honkie heinie, willst thou ?

7:18 AM EST  
Blogger Anita said...

As soon as I saw the title of your post, I scrabbled around in my sample box and found my little vial. I like this so very much, it could be love, but I have to admit that I have several other things that smell similar. Not as light and smooth, but maybe close enough. Although if I ever spotted a bottle in person, esp. at $35, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat!

8:49 AM EST  
Anonymous Malena said...

just yesterday i opened my package from the palais royale & among other samples i found a mini of FdB - i´m lately craving some bois et fruits, but before deciding whether to get it or not, i think i´ll have to re-test FdB.
i doubt i´ll come across such a bargain offer like you did - it would make the decision much easier, i guess...
up to now, FdB never really grabbed me, i found it a bit too loud, though everybody else seems to love it. it´s not a bad scent by any means, it´s just...maybe too much cedar for me?
i find bois et fruits to be easier to wear, more enchanting in a way.

9:16 AM EST  
Anonymous Divalano said...

Discontinued in the US? That's so mean. Why is everything I yearn for only avail in France or under a rock on some island in the Med someplace?? It's b/c they don't like our foreign policy, isn't it? SO not fair.

As it happens I wore this to bed last night. Someone just surprised me with half a vial samp of this & I got my first whiff yesterday. I want it. I absolutely smell the relationship to the later SL Bois but it's wholly different on me & I want it.

PS I'm with you about crowds. Geography notwithstanding I consider midtown Manhattan, esp Times Sq to be Not My NYC. Also, Canal Street from about 6th Ave all the way east. Banished, all of it.

11:02 AM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Tom, I will join you in the humbugs! I sympathize.

I live on the central coast and EVERY Thursday night all spring and summer (and many of them in fall and winter), here they come... all the tourists in their RVs (which they park in ugly grocery store, box store, and strip mall parking lots). It's the price you pay for living in paradise, I guess.

As for this one... oh, it sounds exquisite. Thank you for a truly tempting review!

11:13 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

chaya- I'm gonna take you up on that one day soon!

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

anita-

There are other that smell similar, I think partly because as others have pointed out, this kind of reintroduced woods to womens fragrances.

I just got a once-in-a-lifetime lucky strike on it.

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Malena-

Bois et Fruits of gorgeous- sadly it's also $200 for 50ML at Bergdorfs.

11:47 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

divalano-

Cruise your little Tokyo- you may find one; look for one selling Shiseido.

Midtown makes me want to bite people- I turn into one of those New Yorkers who shove. Can't they see they're between me and the Beauty Level? Jeesh, people!

in any case, Amazon insists they have it...

11:50 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ducks-

Yes, that is the price of paradise, which the central coast truly is.

I promise that when I come there, (as I have) I will continue to stay in a hotel. Don't quite get the RV thing, myself. I like maid service.

11:52 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

$35!!!?!?!?!

SCORE!!!!

What an amazing scent. Can't believe it took me so long to come around to it. Either my nose changed, or the stanky cedar note varies from bottle to bottle. And I swear it *does* -- Louise has two bottles and one is clearly stinkier than the other.

2:04 PM EST  
Anonymous stacy said...

I bought this blind and love it. It truly is both understated and complex. I have yet to smell the SLs Bois et etc. Look around because I found this at a discounter for $65 for 50ml. Not the deal you found, to be sure, but worth it.

2:56 PM EST  
Blogger Gaia, The non-blonde said...

I'm the same way about shopping, especially since I live in Mall-land. People from the city rent cars and drive here to do their holiday shopping and save a little on tax. Which means I'm not leaving the house until early next year.

And now I'm on a mission to find a bottle at a reasonable price...

3:32 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

march-

I know, right? Christmas in, er, December!

3:40 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

stacy-

when I run out I will be looking for more of it.

I'd love to know what you think of the Bois series..

3:41 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Gaia-

i have to admit I've done that when I lived in NYC...

There must be a little Tokyo ares there, right?

3:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

$35.00!? Wow, that is wicked cool! As markdavid said, nothing like that has happened to me at TJ Maxx! You never know what you will find.

This one sounds so very good. Even White Flower Queen moi is envious. ;-)

4:11 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

flora-

thanks! like I said, I never score like this!

4:46 PM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Tom, you are always welcome to come stay chez nous, among the many greedy ducks and Rock Band fan-boy-and-girl-ism. We have cozy couches (but alas, no guest room... our place is teeny!)

7:38 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ducks-

that lovely of you!

9:19 PM EST  

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