Bois de Violettes (Serge Lutens)

Someday, if I have a spare afternoon free of all other obligations, I'll carry out a rating-by-rating comparison to see what percentage of the time I disagree with Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.

Granted, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide is my Bible; on troublesome days, I rely on it to restore inner calm and equilibrium much as Flora Poste relies on The Higher Common Sense. I am pleased when T&S' recommendations prove satisfying, and I'm chuffed when my own flash instincts about an unfamiliar fragrance (such as K de Krizia or Duc de Vervins) find support in their camp. But I resist depending too slavishly upon their expert opinions. Sometimes a girl wants to smell a fragrance blind and make up her own damn mind.

Unfortunately, notions like these become the proverbial elephant you've been told not to think about, so of course you do-- and you start wondering if you have the fragrance reviewer's version of oppositional defiant disorder, wherein you find yourself dissing a fragrance just because Luca 'n' Tania love it so.

Luca Turin, for instance, gives Bois de Violettes five stars. I can only give it three. It's nice enough-- a tart, woody violet with lush greenery and an intriguing air of existing only in the shade. Bois and violettes are both definitely present, joined by a suede note that would smell great on a highwayman, as long as he wears it with a wink.  (I'm thinking of Adam Ant circa Stand and Deliver.)  It lasts longer than Iris de Nuit and Cuir Pleine Fleur put together and seems to have more depth and dimension, too, offering up bizarrely entertaining new notes (confectioner's sugar, cedar, glue) every minute or so.  I liked it.

But that's all I can say.

I could try wearing it a couple dozen more times to see if maybe I'm just being contrary, but I don't really think there's any need to go to such an extreme.  Bois de Violettes simply didn't float my boat the way it floated Luca Turin's.  And that's okay.  If he and I ever get stuck together on an especially slow-moving escalator in Harrod's, now we'll have something to argue about.  

Scent Elements: Cedar, violet leaf, violet flowers