Perfume Review: Feminite de Bois by Shiseido
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