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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Review by Tom

Miel de Bois is one that (metaphorically) separates the Men from the Boys. It's a honey scent, but one that is like no other. It opens with a harsh, concentrated sweetness that (for me, and I'm in the minority on this one) skates this side of {ahem} pungent. Honey, of course is perfumed by whatever flowers that the bees got the pollen from, hence the different kinds available in your local gourmet stores. Clover honey is almost a completely different honey that say Acacia or Girasole honey. The honey that opens Miel de Bois must have been taken from some very interesting bees indeed, ones that might have been getting pollen from wild boar. Wild boar with issues. All served in a box that was hewn by axe. Axe with issues. It's musky, resinous, woody, ozonic, boozy and in my opinion, wholly wonderful. Not to say that it didn't take some time for me to get to this point, at first I recoiled in horror.

After 20 minutes or so, the spikey opening is gone, leaving a wonderful woody scent with accents of hawthorn and iris. The honey is still there, but not the killer-bees-on-crack of the opening, this is a muted sweetness that underscores the smoky wood and incense. It's immensely wearable in both summer and winter, and like a lot of SL's scents, it's entirely unisex (men, use a steady hand).

Miel de Bois is in the export range, available at Aedes in New York, Barney's in the store (not online oddly), and sometimes on eBay from people who buy blind and swear it smells like cat pee. It strikes me re-reading this that I am being very flip; I do love this scent, much like one loves a kitten that one never knows when kitten will purr, or claw, but loves kitten nevertheless..


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I'd been thinking I was the only one who loves Miel de Bois. In fact, I absolutely adore it. It's honey on me. Not the processed, mildly sweet, inoffensive, always-the-same supermarket stuff. This is honey from the comb, honey from bees living in a hive in the remotest, rockiest, wildest corner of the woods you can think of, and it's gorgeous, edgy, wild.... and melds completley with my skin. When I'm wearing it, I'm not wearing perfume. It's my skin that smells of honey, and somewhere inside me a creature awakens which has walked the wilds barefoot and laughing, with the wind and the sun and the briar roses in her hair... and maybe she's had the occasional issue... ooops... got carried away here...

3:52 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

LMAO!! "Wild boar with issues." Brilliant, hilarious review. I am also one of the few, the proud, the MdB lovers. I swear that on my skin it truly is gorgeous, but I wear it in limited amounts - the harsher aspects (but never cat pee, or even worse, subway pee) seem to emerge w/ a full spritz. Thanks for the wonderful defense of this much maligned scent!

6:58 AM EDT  
Blogger indieperfumes said...

God, I wish I could find this in a sample somewhere -- obviously it would be either love or hate. Perfume lust has been induced by your description.
When I was looking into honey and its making I learned that every place has their own native honeybees, and that they need protection from agressive invaders travelling and colonizing across entire continents, a Genghis Khan school of bees is now in the process of taking over all of Europe...maybe they are shaping the wilder edgier honey you speak of...

7:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Such a great review! The issues part is hilarious.
The thing is, it is said to be a love-or-hate scent, but I must be an exception of that rule, because I really don't have any strong feelings about it. It wasn't bad on me, it just didn't work somehow. It must be because I am such a city-girl, not even in the deepest depths of me is there (to quote dinazad) a creature that "has walked the wilds barefoot and laughing, with the wind and the sun and the briar roses in her hair..." :-) (and what a brilliant description too, by the way!)

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Well, there you go -- "immensely wearable." Confirmation that You. Are. Insane. You stick any of that in my Golden Pearl and I will haunt you forever. However, I think Killer-Bees-on-Crack is just a perfect description! I'm one of the Cat Pee Contingent. I will admit that it is the most beautiful honey I have ever smelled, but it takes 4 - 5 hours to get there.

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Wow! I'm half asleep, didn't read the byline, and was initially very puzzled: I didn't know M. was such a Miel de Bois fan! I must admit, I didn't give this much of a chance. I got a sample, was assailed with the dreaded cat pee note, and sent it to someone else (who loved it). Now you (and the poetic J.) are making me want to try it again! I don't generally do too well with super-sweet scents, but still. . . I want to be the creature J. describes, even if I'm not!!

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is Tom's review, not mine, so don't worry :-)

9:02 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Duh. Maybe I should learn to read?

PS Marina -- check out the nose-picking decant ad on the right side of our blog. I was convinced this is some practical joke by Patty, but I think it's real. Chupa Chups I love me fragrance -- actually, when I started reading them, I thought Mr. Colombina had a hand in it...

9:34 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

I have a full sample of this...I would love to try it again, but my husband made me promise that I would never, ever spray it again inside the house. I'm afraid if I spray it outside, I might be attacked by something from the wilderness that is Georgia. If I spray it at work, I'll alientate my co-workers (wait...there's a thought...) Cigar smokers have clubs where they can go and spread the smell...perhaps an SL Miel de Bois club?

9:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome review! Miel de Bois is undoubtedly the most moderate honey scent out there, and I did go through a stage of loving it but it sort of bored me too soon. Must be because I'm with issues. ;D

10:36 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You aren't the only one, as you can tell from the comments. But it's a rather small group, I gather

10:56 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I find the opening kind of marvelous actually (to me it's not pee, it's just biting-on-tinfoil sweet), but I do go steadily when spritzing this one unless I am going to be in the house for an hour or so...

10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I never got the love or hate thing about this one- or practically any other scent. Even the cheapest one has something going for it, on the right person.

11:04 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Yes. I. Am.

I also smell divine :-)~

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Lily, greeneyes-

try it again. Greeneyes, I say try the ladies room at work. If you get the dreaded pee note, you can wash it off your wrist and glare at a co-worker like that smell is coming from her

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Dearest Tom-the-Madman:

I love you,and dinazad, but the term "wearable" is only applicable after hours of hiding...

My family was outraged by this one, I wound up giving [OUCH!] it away to a 21 year old Moroccan girlfriend...

It takes so long to perceive the charm, that I don't find it practical to wear, but I appreciated your humor and candor.

All sniffers find cat pee, and other odors fascinating, but it doesn't mean we want to smell like them !!!

11:55 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Next time you get one that outrages your family, you just send it to me!

2:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...after reading what Tom and Dinazad and Elle had to say about this juice, I revisited my sample. Too bad it sucks on me. The sweet sweet sweet opening (no cat pee, though!) turned into the "killer bees on crack" who stole all the incense, woods, hawthorn and iris clean off my arm. In return, they left whatever it was they stepped in on the way out of the hive. You guys are so lucky...

3:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Trina said...

Wow, Tom! You seem to be one of the lucky few :~D I was *sure* I'd love MdB and it would love me, but that wasn't in the cards. I didn't get cat pee, but I got a terrible sour and sharp stench, like citrus rotting in the hot sun on a wooden picnic table. Thankfully it was one of those I *didn't* buy unsniffed!

3:52 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Trina, Sybil-

Sorry that's the case, but I'm sure there are other Lutens that will work on you better...

7:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this one, too. It is one of those that keeps you sniffing and sniffing and sniffing. It also has a haunting and wistful quality. I especially love the way it smells on my clothes - a touch less sweet than on my skin.

They don't smell remotely alike, but I would guess that those who like this one might also find Shocking by Schiaparelli interesting - for the honey note it contains. - minette

7:50 PM EDT  

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