Hello Fume Heads,
Not so long ago friend and APJ reviewer Michael was over and he was wondering about Bois des Iles (Wood Islands or Islands of Wood) so I went and grabbed my decant. Though I’d spritzed it a couple of times and have a few wonderful memories of wearing it on our holiday this year, I had never taken time to understand the beauty behind this CHANEL princess of a perfume.
CHANEL Bois des Iles 1926
Photon Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, neroli , coriander, mandarin, peach
Heart: Jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, orris, iris, ylang-ylang, lilac
Base: Vetiver, amber, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla, opoponax, musk
Bois des Iles fizzy, fun and fruity opening with a slightly green bent opens up bigger than expected, I know it doesn’t last but the first few minutes could be the slightly muted grand entrance of an 80s blockbuster, so much going on in a fleeting snippet like watching the cars zoom off at the start of an all day car race. After the fireworks Bois des Iles settles into a still slightly zingy, spicy, floral bouquet but sadly on my skin I completely miss the oft talked about and loved gingerbread accord. I get jasmine and ylang ylang as my stand out performers, though the rest are there it is as harmonious background with a quietly insistent sweet woody baseline.
Photo Stolen FoxHarbor
Later we welcome the musky woods with vanilla and various resins in the base. This is the sandalwood dream I remember of early Samsara, a smooth creamy, buttery sweet sandalwood with none of the camphorous/eucalyptus squeaky dryness of modern sandalwoods or the thin artificiality of many of the reinventions through science. Interestingly, Kafkaesque writes that Jacques Polge’s modern Bois des Iles is an imagined sandalwood, an accord created without the use of sandalwood, WOW and Double WOW! A sensual, soft yet lingering masterpiece.
Bois des Iles will forever remind me of Paris, Jin and my journey there earlier in 2013, our friends Aaran & Gerard hosted us while we were there and in their home was a beautiful stained glass double door panel by a very famous glass artist, sadly he sold it recently, and the wonderful art deco/industrial piece is what I was most astonished by in his home while wearing Bois des Iles. Made around the same time, I think, as the glass doors cum art wall piece it all felt very elegant at the time and now that I’ve done some homework the resonances are striking.
From the CHANEL site: Paris, 1926. ‘Art deco’ is all the rage, exoticism fascinates, and jazz stirs passions. People dream of faraway lands and precious woods. Once again, Coco Chanel shakes up the history of perfume by launching the first woody fragrance for women. An intoxicating, enveloping, warm, sensual, spiraling scent. It’s all there: the precious woods, the opiate scents and magnificent, languid flowers. The fragrance is a mysterious, faraway continent in itself.
What was your Bois des Iles experience? Have you, or do you want to try it?
See you tomorrow,