As they said in Bull Durham, nobody on this planet ever really chooses each other...it's all a question of quantum physics, molecular attraction and timing. Same with perfume. You go to a store for a bit of lighthearted sniffing, you try this and that, Le Labo Patchouli smells like the inside of an army boot AND like cotton candy, Avignon and Zagorsk are fantastic but you are not ready to abandon the sinful ways of the world and join a monastery just yet, everything by Lutens smells like sweet tobacco, Musc Ravageur is pure honey, Vetiver Extraordinaire is too sharply-green, Bigarade is boring, Noir Epices smells like your mother's Shalimar...at this point you are pretty sure you will stay happily loyal to your three current favorites. Then, while they are ringing a gift you bought for somebody else, you absentmindedly pick up and spray Bois d'Orage.
And molecular attraction happens. They can say whatever they want about skin chemistry not existing. When a perfume really works on somebody's skin ...well, you just know it. You know it, your companion knows it, the sales assistant knows it... Barney's goes quiet for just a second to honor the solemnity of the moment. What it smells like on you... It smells like the morning after the night spent frolicking in the woods or the beach or the fields...somewhere NATURAL. It smells of plants that might seem green and fresh but really are dirty little things that are up to no good. It smells of wet earth, which might be one of the sexiest scents ever...on you, anyway. There is a striking, brooding note there (perhaps incense) that is very you, there is no other way to describe it. And there is an unexpectedly sweet accord softening the sharp angles of the composition that is also You, a happy you, a relaxed you, perhaps you in love. It smells rustic but also tres sophisticated... a fragrance of a very urban person spending a romantic weekend in the country. (And here is some more in defense of skin chemistry theory: on your companion, the fragrance smells of...watermelons and cedar, in fact bizarrely similar to Hermes's new Un Jardin Apres La Mousson.)
When you learn that it so happens - talk about timing - that it is actually possible to have the perfume with the original name, French Lover, which amuses you to no end on so many levels, you are completely sold. New perfume love is born.
Bois d'Orage is available at Barneys, $190.00 for 100ml. If you too prefer it under the name French Lover (and I do think that the two smell a little different, Bois d'Orage has a sharper, more resinous top accord, and French Lover has a subtle tobacco-like undertone), Gustavo, the Editions de Parfums counter manager, might be able to help you.
Image source, imdb.com