Boudoir by Martin Gras for Vivienne Westwood 1998

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Post by FeralJasmine

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Hi APJ,

I did my undergraduate work at a university that was famous for its campus viburnums. Unfortunately it was even more famous for its student suicide rate, and many of them seemed to occur during the viburnum season, although I trust it had more to do with final exams than the flower itself. For me, on my way to exams, the extraordinary, penetrating, sweet and spicy scent of the viburnum was encouraging. It seemed to act on me as a kind of aromatherapy, and sometimes I would stand next to a bush in full bloom, huffing it up like fragrant crack. Those are times that I still remember as moments of pure beauty, when everything else steps aside and joy wells up in an fleeting but perfect moment. So naturally, when I tumbled into the perfume obsession, I began looking for a perfume that would express that scent.
For those who might be interested in a viburnum scent, the perfumes that list this note are:

Boudoir by Martin Gras for Vivienne Westwood 1998

Boudoir Vivienne Westwood FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Viburnum, mandarin, bergamot
Heart: Rose, tobacco flower, coriander, orris
Base: Vanilla, sandalwood, amber

Boudoir. That’s it. One. It’s from the line of Vivienne Westwood, the punky fashion designer. Her firm still sells a reformulated version and here are the listed notes: viburnum, bergamot, mandarine, rose, tobacco flower, heliotrope.
I have the original version, and here’s a more accurate list of the notes: viburnum, heliotrope, powder, slight spice, skank. Faint but unmistakable skank. Like I was scurrying on my way to an exam, sweating slightly, and got laid under a viburnum bush. Which, I assure you, never happened. At least partly because it would have made me late for an exam.

Boudoir Vivienne Westwood Viburnum 66SquareFeetPhoto Stolen 66SquareFeet

There are viburnums that aren’t fragrant, and then there are the heavenly fragrant ones. If you have never smelled one of the fragrant viburnums in bloom, I can only describe it as creamy heliotrope with spice, especially nutmeg. It’s a sweet scent, you will have gathered, and if you dislike sweet scents then no doubt you’ll dislike this one as well. And I can’t pretend that this perfume smells exactly like viburnum, because nothing does. There is a strong sweet opening, then wafts of near-viburnum with faint undertones of skank, then a somewhat powdery and slightly spicy drydown. On my scent-eating skin, the whole show lasts about 90 minutes.

Boudoir Vivienne Westwood Bridal TheBestFashionBlogBoudoir Vivienne Westwood Bridal2 TheBestFashionBlog Westwood Bridal Photos Stolen TheBestFashionBlog

Now, let’s talk price. Some companies seem to hike the prices of their perfumes to create an aura of unattainability. I’m not thinking of anyone in particular here, just anyone whose initials are Killian Hennesey. If you want the priciest, then save your pennies and best of luck to you. But if, like me, you love a bargain, there are many to be had among the older scents that are all over Ebay. I have to add that most of these former mainstream scents are better than any mainstream perfume released within the last dozen years. Think back to the days when aquatic and ozonic notes weren’t around, melon barely ever appeared, and nobody aspired to smell like fabric softener. That’s what you get when you buy older scents. Some are dirt-cheap, and some are only moderately cheap. This one is moderately cheap. The old one and the reformulation are easy to tell apart; the original is cognac-colored and the reissue is pink. I’ve never tried the reissue, because my little flask of original will probably last for years. If you have no prior history with viburnum, the scent may not mean much to you. To me, it brings back those exciting nerve-wracking days when nothing, not career, not home life, nothing, was in place yet. I wouldn’t want to live there now, but I do enjoy visiting.

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Portia on APJ
FragranceNet has $48/30ml before discount
PoshPeasant starts at $3.50/ml

FeralJasmine x

29 comments on “Boudoir by Martin Gras for Vivienne Westwood 1998

  1. brie says:

    bravo, feraljasmine! after reading so many of your comments here and there I was secretly hoping that you would get around to writing a perfume post one of these days!!!! Love it!

  2. Azar says:

    I’ve been wondering about Boudoir. Thanks for this informative post, especially describing the differences between the older and the reissue.

  3. I heartily approve of your first scent as well: I love Boudoir; so viscous and pink and naughty (how dull that it has been reformulated, but then hasn’t everything? )

    I know nothing of this tree and its smell so am now very interested in smelling it, and in trying to catch it in the Westwood.

    More, please. x

  4. LaurenW says:

    Does anyone know what is the difference between the pink Boudoir and the rusty orange Boudoir? I just finished my decant of Boudoir and was looking on *bay and saw them both. Thanks!

  5. LaurenW says:

    Whoops, never mind, just read more carefully and I see the answer.

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Thanks for stopping by. Was your decant the old or the new version? I’d love to hear someone’s thoughts about the we version.

      • LaurenW says:

        It was the older amber-colored one and it was fabulous! Even my kids liked it. 🙂 I’m afraid to try the re-formulation.

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I share your hesitation to move pn from the original. I suspect that the reformulation is a sweet floralfruitysomething just like millions of others.

      • I have a reformulation and it still is interesting, still full of cumin but some of the end depth has been cleaned up. If you can get the Body Lotion it adds all the skenk back nicely and has excellent sillage on its own.
        Portia xx

      • FeralJasmine says:

        Thanks, Portia. I’m going to hunt down a sample of the new stuff and some body lotion. You make the lotion sound luscious.

  6. odonata9 says:

    My college had tons of fragrant viburnum as well! I remember smelling it there for the first time and wondering what the heck it was. Finally figured it out with the help of my mom. It is a delicious scent and didn’t realize there were any perfumes out there with it as a note. Thanks for the review!

  7. poodle says:

    Viburnum with a touch of skank sounds wonderful. Bravo for your first review!

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Thanks so much! What’s your current scent?

      • poodle says:

        I’m sampling the Interludes and the other scent I won so I can decide which one to review since that was part of the deal. I don’t think either of these will be “my” Amouage scent but we’ll see how they develop.

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I have to confess that I’ve only tried two Amouages, Gold Woman and Lyric Woman. I loved that indolent spiced rose in Lyric Woman so much that I bought a bottle, which left me afraid to try any more Amouages lest similar financial disasters follow.

  8. WOO HOO! FeralJasmine is in the APJ HOUSE!! Welcome and congratulations on your first post. Vivienne Westwood is a great favourite of mine and I have often extolled the virtues of the Boudoir Lotion. So naughty and sexy, adds great depth too.
    Portia xx

  9. Mary P. says:

    Love Boudoir and love viburnums as well – great review!

  10. Nemo says:

    Thank you for the great review! I have much enjoyed virburnum this spring, so this was perfect timing.

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I live now in an area where the soil is too alkaline to grow viburnums, so I have to make do with desert willow, another lovely scent that no perfumer has really captured.

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