First things first – LindaB, Zazie and Daniele are the winners of the Bois Naufrage samples, as selected by random.org.
The delightful Andreas of Humiecki and Graef sent me a sample of all the H&G scents to try, including the two latest, Clemency and Bosque. This review’ll be about Bosque, with a word or two about Clemency on the side. But first, the preamble.
Like most of you reading this, I’m a perfume freak, but also a little jaded. Humiecki and Graef’s schtick did little to win me over. Slavic tears, referencing to the horrors of war – it just didn’t work for me. More suited to Now Smell This’s Prix Eau Faux than reality, it somehow conjured up new levels of absurdity – star shaped perfume structure, scents for older women with young male lovers, a bald-bodied but bearded man holding a vase. Perhaps it was and is genuinely felt and genuinely meant, but in a saturated marketplace, any authenticity looks suspect. However, I enjoyed their first release Skarb, supposedly about melancholy, but to my mind about the world where celery meets immortelle and breeds lovage. The herb. Not some strange neologism (I’m gonna have some o’ dat loveage, baybee). I hated Askew (it certainly made me feel passionate) and Multiple Rouge (alien fruit and raspy musk and loudness in combo don’t make my heart skip a beat) but thought Geste was beautiful (dirty/clean musks and powdery violets). Eau Radieuse, though too metallic for me, does interesting things with that whole men’s cologne vibe, changing its direction to something, well, askew.
So what about Bosque? Here’s H&G’s details:
A fragrance about contentment
The HUMIECKI & GRAEF brand is pleased to announce the addition of
another new fragrance to the line, the seventh eau de toilette concentrée:
BOSQUE – a fragrance about contentment. The scent describes the feeling of
being fully at one with the moment, immersed in all-encompassing relaxation.
“Arrival”. Being at one. To give yourself over in ecstatic abandon to the one
whose boundless intimacy you pine for. BOSQUE is inspired by this singular
blissful moment of profound satisfaction. It is the sense of togetherness and
deeply experienced intimacy revealed in the primal authenticity of this
moment. BOSQUE, Spanish for bosk – a copse or grove – represents this
feeling. Since ancient times the bosk, as a sacred grove, has been considered a
place of peace and happiness and a sanctuary of the Gods.
BOSQUE speaks of a modern form of quiet sensuality. It is not showy yet can
be provocative due to its natural quality and physicality. It is joyous and
relaxed without ever being overtly salacious or one-dimensional.
LES CHRISTOPHS (Christophe Laudamiel & Christoph Hornetz) are the master
perfumers who developed this intimate fragrance. Primrose notes symbolize
both contentment and new beginnings – their softness together with Narcise
Absolute (narcissus poeticus) creates a subtle floral scent. The unusual
combination of buffalo grass and musk notes is reminiscent of the smell of
warm skin. Grapefruit, vetiver and saffron notes complete the sensual
experience, conjuring the palette of glowing, warm yellow tones that give
BOSQUE its radiant grace.
As with all HUMIECKI & GRAEF creations BOSQUE is a fragrance for both
women and men. It is available worldwide from March 2010 at selected
perfumeries and concept stores.
I don’t know about the sanctuary of the Gods, ( the Pan in the picture is certainly a contrast to the alabaster maiden, even if I think he’d be more at home in a Berlin ‘special interest’ bar with a name like ‘Sanctuary’, than a woman’s arms…And what is he holding onto?), but there is something weirdly comforting about this odd little scent.
The great thing – it smells like nothing else on the market. As far as I know. Actually, the grapefruit, vetiver, saffron thing is a totally accurate set of notes for my initial impression. And mine was ‘saffron custard poured onto a lawn. Someone’s eating grapefruit and watching’. There’s a touch of Angostura bitters added to the mix to make it both gourmand and slightly toxic, in that adult-only comfort sense. It’s closest corollary is probably Bois Farine, but that smells much more foody, and seems almost normal compared to this hairy and smooth wonder. It’s soft – maybe that is the primrose, but for someone who has them as a weed in his garden, I don’t recall the smell. And the narcissus kick gives it that slightly off quality that you get in Fleur de Narcisse – as though you went for floral but ended up somewhere oh so much stranger. Narcissus poeticus – and here I do know as they’ve just finished flowering – is the last narcissus of them all to bloom, with the tulips and even the alliums, and whilst they have a rich floral, some would say classic old lady scent, there’s a whole lot of nasty going on there too. In fact, I picked a bunch for the house, went out for a couple of hours and thought I’d brought dog doodoo back in with me. It was the feral skank lurking underneath all that pretty pretty.
There’s a hint of the beast here, but only a little. Occasionally, I think I get a whiff of something generic men’s cologney, along the lines of dihydromyrcenol (sp?) or somesuch. And then it leaves. It might be the saffronish aromachemicals playing metallic games with me. Or perhaps indeed there is a spermy something lurking deep at this scent’s heart.
But most of the time this is a softly spoken, quirky but cuddlesome geek of a perfume. Loveable, leftfield, and the most curious fragrance I’ve smelled this year. Its relaunched my love affair with scent. And I’ve run out of the sample. Which means something. It’s on my ‘might buy’ list, alongside plenty of others. Only one of which will be selected, though.
With this and Clemency, a slightly austere linden blossom-cassie-rose number that is striking with all the right angles, I’ll forgive Humiecki and Graef nearly all their purple prose.
Both Clemency and Bosque seem to be unavailable in the UK and US right now. My samples were scent via Aroma Company in Germany, and First in Fragrance also stock the whole range, and ship worldwide, both samples and bottles.
Which perfume house can you forgive? And which ones still fail to win you over with their sales patter? Please post – I might not be able to answer for a while as I have a day of meetings follwed by a five hour drive home… Sheesh. I need more Bosque!