One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Attack of the Rhizomes: Christian Dior Bois D'Argent

I should probably just permanently disqualify myself from writing about anything that contains iris as a major component.

Dior's recent Bois D'Argent does. The very top is sugared incense, not unlike Demeter Incense, with a men's-cologne feel to it, but lurking just below the surface--BANG, iris and vanilla. A lot of iris.

Iris and vanilla must have some sort of chemical affinity for one another, because without even trying I can think of three scents which have both elements in some quantity--CdG Sticky Cake and Guerlain's Terracotta Voile D'Ete and Apres L'Ondee--and I bet there are others. In Bois D'Argent as in those other three scents, the two notes seem to move in unison, each enhancing the other. (In Voile D'Ete, the iris actually works to cut through some of the languorous sweetness of the vanilla and ylang, a tropical pairing that would overwhelm the senses in what is meant to be a hot-weather scent.)

The iris in Bois D'Argent is not as metallic or artificial as Demeter's Iris: in fact, I don't know what the name even means, because Bois D'Argent is French for Silver Wood, and the scent is neither silvery nor woody. Still, it has a disagreeable quality that all iris-heavy scents have for me: it smells as if someone has placed a flower and a vinyl record album in a microwave and heated them until the vinyl started to melt. (The Guerlain scents don't have enough iris to trouble me, and the flower appears in a great number of scents that I love, such as Gaultier's Le Classique, so in those it must be a minor note at best.)

Bois D'Argent isn't actively weird, as Sticky Cake is, and the middle is attractively sweet and edible, the flowers notwithstanding. The drydown, though, has even more iris, and that was the point at which I said, "Enough!" (There's supposedly leather in the base as well, but if it's in there, it's subtle, or at least, to my nose, drowned out by you-know-what.)

A lot of people, I feel compelled (as usual) to say, love this scent very much, and I suppose if you loved iris, you probably would, too. It's well-made, and the ingredients are certainly high-quality and probably expensive. But it is not for me.


  • When perfumeurs brand their ingredients as "expensive" usually the juice cost 2 euros to produce instead of just 1.

    Love Bois d'Argent though. ;-)

    By Anonymous Le critique de parfum, at 2:08 PM  

  • I couldn't agree more. The actual cost of the contents of the bottle is rarely more than a small fraction of the price: the rest is advertising, kickbacks, markup, packaging, and of course payment for the perfumer's labour and skill.

    And the markup is critical. If Bois D'Argent cost $17 (probably not a bad estimate of the value of the juice plus the packaging and a small profit margin) instead of $170, it would be seen as dishwater, having no more perceived value to people than a drugstore brand. Because it's artificially expensive and hard to get, its perceived value increases, a lot.

    I'm glad you love it. I can tell it's good; I just don't like it.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 11:20 PM  

  • I love it too!

    And your package arrived this morning - don't know where it got held up! Thank you so much!

    By Anonymous leopoldo, at 7:37 AM  

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