I stopped in the L’Occitane store in the Pittsburgh airport the other day, really to do nothing more than kill time, only to be surprised by a host of new and re-released fragrances. Which was the scent that stole my heart and made the biggest impression? Easy: their newest fragrance for men, Eau des Baux; a blend of cypresswood and incense with hints of cardamom and coumarin.
Eau des Baux opens with an ambery blast that immediately reminds me of Nina Ricci Memoire pour Homme and L’Artisan Tea for Two — warm, resinous, almost-smoky, with sweet honeyed tones. Within 15 minutes the scent relaxes and becomes much more subtle and here I’m reminded of Boss by Hugo Boss or Dior’s Bois d’Argent; the drydown exudes the warmth of an aromatic pipe tobacco. This is really the entire story, with the coumarin adding an almost vanillic edge, and the cypress adding a hint of powdery woods.
The scent goes on strong and then quickly settles into an ambery second-skin aroma. Thirty minutes on the skin and the scent is in its final and permanent stages. Forty-five minutes in and I find myself thinking that I should add a hint of coffee bean oil to this scent to give it a deeper base. Heck, this one could be easily accented with anything from patchouli to almond and the area of my skin where Baux overlapped L’Occitane Vetyver was even more heavenly! Alas, though I love the scent, I get the distinct feeling that somehow the composition is unfinished, or lacking something.
I was surprised that when testing the sample later at home, the overall aroma seemed slightly more subtle than I had imagined, which quite frankly is a good thing considering the potential for “ambery goodness overkill”. The unisex factor is high on this one — I can think of more than a few gal pals who will swoon the first time they sniff this — and the sillage and longevity are both average, which is par for the course with L’Occitane.
This is going to be a hit for L’Occitane, I feel it. Though with five other re-releases and current standards, not to mention the tea trio, fleurs collection, lavender and verbena aromas, and of course, fragrances like the recently re-released classic, L’Occitane Amber, there’s a lot of competition. But I immediately liked this and thought that though I would be very unlikely to wear Baux in the summer, this simple yet stunning composition will be perfect for the fall.
Eau des Baux is $40 for a 100 ml Eau de Toilette.