The Scent Detective - Ebony
For Bois d'Ébène, its creator Aurélien Guichard gives only four notes, which are supposed to give a dark, amber woody scent and which immediately made me take a closer look at what was actually going on here...
THE CASE EBENHOLZ
It is always exciting to observe how much marketing is done to almost every single perfume and how many people question that too little. For example, one hears with all the YouTubern almost exclusively formulations such as "this fragrance has ... in it" / "this contains ...". Fragrance notes primarily describe what is to be perceived, not necessarily what is actually used. Real rose absolute, for example, is much too expensive to be contained in so many perfumes. Ultimately, also only the question is important:
What do I smell?
With Bois d'Ébène, I immediately thought that the fragrance as a whole seemed very familiar. It essentially acts like the base accord of some woody, sweetened perfumes. In short, I perceive the following facets:
- the volatile (!) Top note is slightly ethereal resinous and cardamom comes to mind
- dry cedar wood or lightly scorched gujac wood
- a sandalwood component like Javanol
- a strong ambery facet, but not as clean as pure ambroxan, but discreetly dirty near the skin, which leads me to conclude Cetalox
- something sweet and creamy that was probably added in the form of vanillin and tonka bean (coumarin)
The color association to the precious ebony is thus quite appropriate, since the woods already seem a bit darker overall, but get a cozy atmosphere through the sweetish-creamy counterpole. But what is it about the notes that the perfumer indicates?
In a short video, he presents the fragrance concept (https://vimeo.com/375868040). The main ingredient, he says, is the dark and smoky guaiac wood from Paraguay, while Indonesian patchouli and cypriol (Nagarmotha) are said to intensify the fragrance and make it more earthy. Brazilian Cabreuva, on the other hand, would reinforce the amber facets and have an almost malty quality. If you pause at 0:49, however, you can read the handwritten components:
Iso E Super
So it's pretty clear that Bois d'Ébène seems so familiar to me because it contains so many aromachemicals that are quasi-omnipresent in the world of woody/amber fragrances. Whether Aurélien Guichard now uses no essences of guaiac wood, patchouli and cabreuva, of course, can not be deduced exactly from this, but it just clarifies for us what I explained at the beginning.
Geographical information on the fragrances let them possibly not only appear more authentic, but also the clientele sometimes think, it would have been processed raw materials from all over the world. I want to put here in no way in denial that this also happens very often, but at the same time contribute something to the demystification of some evening adventurous, inventive fragrance pyramids. (Currently, for example, only 21 other fragrances can be found on Parfumo, where Cabreuva is indicated as a note.)
In my opinion, Bois d'Ébène is nevertheless successful, because it delivers what it promises - to be a dark, amber woody fragrance. No more and no less. Because it is relatively linear, one should already engage in at least one complete test day before buying it, to determine whether it does not become too monotonous in the long run. Because he creates a fairly long-lasting, moderate sillage, which make him a versatile companion in the colder seasons.
In the livestream of Persolaise on YouTube, Aurélien Guichard answered (diplomatically) my question about how many natural ingredients he uses for the fragrance: he elaborated that his intention was to make guaiac wood (the main ingredient), darker and he deliberately resorted to cypriol and patchouli for that, and cabreuva as another wood. Synthetic ingredients are necessary to create a modern perfume and he does not think much of purely natural perfumes (which hardly exist).