Sunday, September 30, 2007

Féminité du Bois

I love this fragrance from Shiseido. This fragrance is based on woods, especially cedar wood. Other notes are not used to round off the accord, like it's done in many classical fragrances, but they are used to deepen the main accord. I can't find it in the descriptions of this fragrance, but when I apply it to my skin, I can smell a very dominant cumin note, besides the notes of cedar wood. The cedar wood can be smelled from the top trough bottom, what makes me wonder what materials are used in this fragrance. Somehow if you create fragrances yourself, you smell and judge fragrances differently, you 'feel' the emotion of the fragrance like any other, but you also want to recognize some materials that are used, it's more analytical smelling. Because I know the smell of many materials, and how combinations of these materials do smell like, it's easier to recognize them, otherwise I can only guess what's used. I think there is some Vertenex used, which smells like wood but appears in the top notes as well. Another note that I recognize is Iso E Super, this material smells woody, but warm and amber like at the same time. It makes this woody accord more warm. I can smell a honey note as well, which I think is wonderful in combination with cedar. I think besides the cedar notes a sandal note is used as well.

So in my opinion the following woody notes are used; Vertenex, to create a woody top note, Cedar with Cedryl acetate and Cedrol, maybe some Cedramber as well, Iso E Super to create a warm woody note, Sandal wood to add warmth, and some Ionones for violet and woody notes, which creates a bridge between the heart and the base notes. Besides the Cumin there are other spices used as well, like clove and cinnamon. There is some sort of animalic scent in the base notes that could be Civet or Castoreum, together with soft Vanilla, but not too much though. Some fruity notes of plum and some floral notes are used as well, but in a modest way, not disturbing the all over woody aura of this fragrance.

Féminité du Bois is created by Pierre Bourdon (photo on your right) and Christopher Sheldrake and launched in 1992 by Shiseido. The bottle was designed by Serge Lutens and he was the one that looked over the shoulder of the perfumers. It's a very mysterious fragrance, I think it can be worn by both men and women. It definitely makes a statement, it's emotional and very unique. Although.... I read a review by Luca Turin where he tells that the perfumer Pierre Bourdon used the idea of Féminité du Bois in another context for the perfume Dolce Vita by Dior. Of course I got curious about it and put Féminité du Bois on one wrist and Dolce Vita on the other. It's true, you can recognize Féminité du Bois in Dolce Vita, I would never come up with this myself. The bottles and the presentation of both fragrances looks so different that I never would have found the link between the two. Dolce Vita is not build up with notes to deepen the cedar wood notes like in Féminité du Bois, but is more dimensional. It has more citrus top notes and instead of plum it has peach as the fruity note. The floral heart is more deepened with 'lighter' floral notes like lilly of the valley. Dolce Vita is more crisp juicy and floral than Féminité du Bois, but the cedar wood and again the cumin note are recognized real easy.


Divina said...

Ok, I've been meaning to get re-acquainted with Dolce Vita for some time now - I never really liked it and haven't been near it in years - and now I am even more motivated to do so! Very, very interesting.

Jenny said...

Hi Divina,

Dolce Vita is a nice fragrance though I like Féminité du Bois better. Did you smell Féminité du Bois as well? What do you think of it?

Divina said...

Yes, I am well acquainted with Féminité du Bois and I really like it, although I must admit, I do not feel strongly enough about it to actually own a bottle of it. It garners a lot of admiration from perfume bloggers and while I too admire it, I find the drydown slightly too oppressing.

Jenny said...

Yes, it's based on a note that normally only appears in the dry down. I think that's unique. I don't think it was an easy task to create this fragrance. I like the scent of woods, I can see that a lot of perfumes that I like have a lot of woody notes, besides the woody notes I like green notes like Galbanum and heavy floral notes like jasmine and tuberose.

Which notes do you prefer?

chayaruchama said...

I've loved this, since it came out.
Some of the other notes present are: violet leaves, benzoin, cardamom,beeswax-

For years, my boys associated FdB, Mitsouko, and Femme with 'mama'.

Dolce Vita has a Calone-like note that turns me right off, even though the rest of the scent is nice enough.
I weary easily, of olfactive 'fakes'- aquatic or ozone ones.

Jenny said...

Hi my dear Chaya,

The beeswax makes sense, I clearly can smell a honey note in it. I can't smell violet leaves though, these leaves smell green, however I can smell some sort of iris violet root note, I think they used different Ionones for this.

I hear that a lot that of people get tiered from ozonic notes, also from fruity notes. For me these notes are just notes like every other note. A rose note can be 'fake' as well, but I think it has to do with the fact that rose, jasmine or citrus fruits can be distilled out of nature and there for can be related to nature. Fruity notes like peach, raspberry or ozonic notes can't be distilled out of nature, maybe that's why they are associated with 'fake' or unnatural. All notes can be 'fake' or unnatural eventhough some of them can appear natural or can be associated with nature.

Maybe it has to do with 'new' notes used in fragrances. Ozonic and fruity notes are rather new. Although a fruity note of peach is used in Mitsouko as well, but this is a classic fragrance, we are already used to the peach note of Aldehyde C14.

Octavian Coifan said...

Some other suggestions:
Iralia, Cashmeran, Cypres + linalool, undecalactone and decalactone, ethyl maltol, some C16 aldehyde. And of course a lot of IsoESuper and synthetic musk.

Jenny said...

Thanks Octavian,

It could be that they used some Cashmeran, and of course they used Linalool or ethy Linalool, and also Iso E Super. I'm not sure about the cypres and Aldehyde C16, I didn't recognize these in the fragrance. Are these notes a wild guess or did you find some information about it?

angie said...

i read somewhere that Escentric 01 is dubbed the "man-eater perfume" because it contains Iso E Super which induces a pheromonic effect on men. i don't know how true this is, though it is an interesting thought!

it's apparently used by kate moss and madonna, and a standard bottle retails at S$199.

Jenny said...

Hi Angie,

An interesting thought indeed, but I never heard that iso e super induces a pheromonic effect on men.



I am a new in this blog and i am planning to join in perfume making industry. That's why i am now in this blog. This blog may help me in the near future.

By the way, i am from Manila, Philippines and i can see a good future in perfume making than being employed in my whole life.

Thanks a lot!


Adele said...

Hi Jenny.
It was really interesting to read your post. i am a comfirmed feminite du bois fan but due to the difficulty in availabilty have had to stock up on creams and perfumes (around 6 bottles at the last count) A friend suggested that the other ranges of du bois are nice - i wondered how you rate them? I am an aromatherapist and make many fragrances and toileties myself. Currently i am hooked on a mix of patchouli, neroli, rose geranium and ylang ylang - yum. Also i find the organic oils very different from the non organic. Thanks again for your blog - it was very insightful. Adele

Jenny said...

Hi Adele,

I'm not familiar with the other ranges of du bois. Yes, the organic oils are very different than the non organics, that's because the organic oils have much more components, all having their own smell, which makes it smell more rich. But I'm happy that there are non organic materials, so I can build the fragrance the way I have in mind.

Fragrant wishes!

Jenny said...

Hi Arthur,

It's not easy to make a living from creating your own perfumes. There are tons and tons of new perfumes coming out every year. A lot of money is used for their commercials, and to make yourself known in this industry is almost impossible. But of course, you can always try.

I wish you good luck to follow your dream.

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Jenny said...

I report everyone of you who use this blog for spam at Blogger!