Velvet Smoke & Humphrey

Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matiere line has really escaped my attention for quite a long time, until I smelled Iris Ganache, which has quickly become a favorite.  Before IG, I was thinking they were a little on the boring side or at least didn’t capture my interest, but finding love with Iris Ganache prompted me to snag some Bois d’Armenie to try and now I may have to revisit the whole specific line.

Based on the scented paper that is burned for incense, Bois d’Armenie has notes of pink pepper, iris, rose, coriander, benzoin, Indonesian patchouli, incense, precious woods, musk and balsams.  First spritz is very smoky, almost tarry, an almost bitter, ashy blast.  As it dries down, the ash smell softens, the flowers emerge from the ash-covered earth, softened by the woods and vanilla.  It is like hope and life that always comes from destruction, but there is a gossamer feel to it like smoke, but it as smooth as a velvety iris petal.

Wearing it is a pure joy, the sillage wafts and enfolds you in velvet smoke.   This is how I think Bogie would smell.  Yes, I’m sure he smelled of real stale cigarette smoke and strong whiskey, but it’s my fantasy, you get out of my head and stop spoiling it with reality.  Since I first tried it, Bois d’Armenie is one of those that I think about putting on, even when I have something else on —  it’s become a wonderful comfort scent. There is just enough smoke to give it interest, a hint of mystery, but not so much that you think you have landed in a bar or a bonfire.  It’s the fantasy without the reality. 

I thought about doing some other reviews with this today, this doesn’t seem quite long enough, yet it just seemed wrong to have anything share space with Armenie, because nothing should sit next to Velvet Smoke… Or Bogie.

  • Lee says:

    Bd’A is on my must have list, and has been for a while, but I’ve smelled none of the others from the line. I’m awarding myself the honorary title of Scent Slacker…l-)

  • March says:

    I’m still waiting to fall head over heels with one of the line, although it’s just a matter of time, I’m sure.:-w I feel like — there you go, getting all the good stuff from Armenie. Part of my nose must be missing. :”> They all sound perfect; I’ll get there, right?

    Bogie probably smelled pretty ripe. But I think he’s hot anyway.

  • CH says:

    I want to try Bois d’Armenie! 🙂

  • Mike P says:

    I tested Bois D’Armenie out about a couple months ago, and I have this wonderful olfactory memory of wearing this to see a show at the theater (Wicked) and the scent literally wafting all around me. I got lots of honey and smoke on my skin. Just a warm scent, if I had only one word to describe it.

    I bought the papers (Papier d’Armenie) because of the scent and found them great for hiding kitchen odors – but I think the scent actually smells MORE like the papers before they are burnt, not while they’re burning.

    One of the ‘new’ Guerlain’s that definitely made me stand up and pay attention – that’s for sure. Agree, it does deserve its own post!

  • Dusan says:

    I have yet to try any of L’art et le Matière Guerlains. Yup, I know – I’m slow. And then whenever a review as palatable as yours pops up, I get a hankering (wankering? um, no) to try BdA (I remember Ina wrote beautifully about it) and RB.
    Speaking of Guerlain, have you got round to sniffing Héritage I sent, my lovely one? 😡

    • Patty says:

      You do need to try them. BdA is pretty much my favorite right now just as something I could wear every single day and be happy with.

      Nope, I’m slow, sorry!

  • Marina says:

    Lovely review! I think BdA is somewhat softer on me, and so I feel it would be to delicate for Bogart. I see him in Derby…:x

  • pitbull friend says:

    Patty, that was a lovely review which seemed just perfect in its brevity.

    Had to look up the Guerlain line “L’Art et La Matiere” because I couldn’t remember all. It has 5 frags: Cuir Beluga, Rose Barbare, Angelique Noire, Bois d’Armenie, and Iris Ganache. I know I’ve tried A.N., but it must not have made an impression on me because I can’t describe it now that I am at work, without my notes. Rose Barbare, on the other hand, smells like the most luscious Middle Eastern candy on me — all roses, sweet spices, & honey — I took it out last night to sniff but can’t even imagine wearing it in a temperature above 50F. Likewise, Bois d’Armenie. The grass is always greener in another season, and right now I’d be happy to put on a heavy sweater & smell these. –Ellen

  • chayaruchama says:

    So, baby….
    What took you so long, hmmm ?
    I agree, they may not smell like “Guerlain” initially, but this one surely is a beauty, and delicious on anyone.
    We perfumistas are a stubborn lot.

    Kisses to you !

    • Patty says:

      I’m a Dummass. 😉 There’s just a delicateness and light hand with this whole line that takes a while to get, I think!

  • Elle says:

    Velvet smoke – perfect image for this scent. It’s one of my fave comfort scents. I have to admit that I’m one of the token three or four people (max), who actually likes the L’Art et la Matiere line. Although, I have to admit I’m still waiting to feel the love for IG. I trust it will happen. Surely.

    • Patty says:

      I dunno. I think there’s more than a few that love this line. With the last two offerings, it certainly has a more compelling story for me!

      IG, that may never happen for you. I can smell it and totally see why someone else would not find anything to love there.

  • helg says:

    Ah…Bois d’Armenie is a good one: ashy with character. And quite modern, I might add.;-)

    From the exclusive line of “Art et Matiere” may I suggest you (re)visit Rose Barbare: a very likeable chyrpish rendition of rose that manages to smell young and hopeful while still remaining elegant (have reviewed it fully on my Info site on Guerlain boutique page if it’s any help).
    Report back!

    • Patty says:

      I will, Helg, thanks! I need to revisit the entire first three, I’m thinking I missed something or dismissed them too quickly.

  • Louise says:

    Ah, must visit this line better. Iris ganache sounds lovely-though iris and I have a tempetuous relationship, often starting well and going bitter quickly. I enjoy Bois d’Armenie, and must retry in the warmer weather-this winter I rather murdered off the smoke, and left behind a lovely almost pure (but too expensive for the note) vanilla scent. It did last….

    • Louise says:

      Oh, can I just have a general pass for bad and hasty spelling that will last for about a year (I will pay for it and renew as necessary)?!

    • Patty says:

      It’s weird that I’m liking this so much in the summer, it’s like the heat brings out the warmth. It will be interesting to see what it does in winter.

      I found this new program, because my typing is so fast and so bad, called asutype. And it follows along with you and beeps whenever you make a typo and lets you fix it. I’m trying to retrain myself. I used to be a really accurate typist, but the longer I’ve been on computers, the worse I get! I’m tired of seeing all of my typos or backtracking so much! 🙂

  • Gail S says:

    Ah, you invoked the magic words! I love those papiers d’armenie. I’m not entirely certain that I myself want to smell like them (rather than the house smelling like them!) but I believe I’m going to have to give this a try. Because I haven’t spent quite enough on perfume already!!!!! Not. Really need to stop reading all these blogs before I’m evicted 🙁

    • Patty says:

      Oops, sorry!!! 🙂 If you love the smell of the papers, but don’t want it to be that strong, this really is pretty perfect. Just enough of the smoky scent to capture it, but not so much that you’re feeling like a smoke bomb. Speaking of which, the chemist in the house is now making those regularly. He had like 30 pounds of chemicals delivered to the house… Scary boy.

  • carmencanada says:

    Like you, I’ve been on the fence about L’Art et la Matière. I keep going back to try them and not working up enough passion to add them to the full-bottle (or even decant) list. There’s something subdued and subtle about them that interests me and makes me think I should revisit again and again. Bois d’Arménie, composed by Annick Ménardo who also authored one of the most stunningly original scents in recent years, Bulgari Black, does indeed smell gorgeous. But, as I might’ve commented some time ago, to me it smells more of a place than a woman (or man). But of all the line, that would be the one I’d buy.

    • Patty says:

      I’m still not sure I’ve worked up enough energy to go back and try Rose Barbara, Angelique Noire and Cuir Beluga. I liked them and would happily wear them, just didn’t love them, but I am loving the two they’ve added, so I’m hoping for more good things from that line!

  • Gina says:

    Oh, Patty, I’m lusting after this one! Sounds like I’d love it…thanks for another lovely review.

  • Maria says:

    Ah, Patty, there is so much refinement to Bois d’Armenie. It’s lovely. I should put some on tomorrow (Tuesday). I think Bogey smelled of cigarettes, booze, and vintage Tabarome, didn’t he? Still, I was crazy about him when I was in my twenties, even though he was…well…dead.