One Thousand Scents

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scentroulette Day 4: Real Patchouly by Bois 1920

You know you can't trust the lists of notes you get, right?

First of all, they could be completely invented: the company, if it is telling you anything at all, is telling you what it thinks you would like to hear, which is why you get so much trendy balderdash these days about "frozen peach margarita accord" and "toasted meringue". Second, they could be wrong: if some blogger or perfume writer declared that a particular scent was composed of bergamot, strawberry leaves, wisteria, black rose, sandalwood, and patchouli (entirely plausible, by the way), and a few people copied that and posted it to their blogs, it could become established as the "list of notes" for that scent, regardless of its connection to reality. And third, they could be more or less accurate, but since they tell you nothing of proportion or composition, they could tell you nothing useful, or lead you completely astray.

Luckyscent lists the notes for Real Patchouly as

Texas citron, Indian sandalwood, vanilla, amber

which is nonsense, because there's no patchouli listed. Fragrantica lists the base notes thusly:

Top notes are lemon, mandarin orange, celery seeds, caraway, cedar, thyme and artemisia; middle notes are patchouli, sandalwood, eucalyptus and french labdanum; base notes are tobacco, vanilla, benzoin and musk.

All well and good, and probably much closer to the mark. But here is what I am smelling: little bit of herbal something BIG BLAST OF AMBER some patchouli but not really that much for a scent that calls itself "Real Patchouly" MORE AMBER AND SOME VANILLA OR POSSIBLY BENZOIN AND IS THAT LABDANUM I THINK IT IS. Oh, and AMBER AMBER AMBER.

It's the most ambery scent I've smelled since my beloved Ambre Précieux, and that's saying something. It is very reminiscent of that scent, but rougher, earthier. It's nice enough, but it gets on my nerves after a while, because it doesn't really develop past that first huge hit of amber, and it all seems a bit much. (I can't believe I'm saying that, because Ambre Précieux is pretty much definitionally "too much", but somehow it seems comforting and cozy, while Real Patchouly reads as aggressive.)

The bottle, though. Isn't that killer? The packaging of the Bois 1920 scents is uniformly gorgeous: see?

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