One of perfumer Pierre Guillaume’s inspirations for the new limited edition Parfumerie Generale Bois Naufragé was a photograph by Lucien Clergue — Le Nu au Bois Flotté [Ed note: the image is NSFW]. Taking into consideration the photo (showing a naked woman lying on a huge piece of driftwood) and the fragrance’s name (“shipwrecked wood”), I was imagining a salty perfume (salt of the ocean, salty skin), a perfume with a silky, sun-dried, and yes, salty, wood note combining with the scents of seaweed and sand. I was preparing myself for a summer sea breeze in a bottle, and Bois Naufragé’s fragrance notes gave me hope: carob tree, fleur de sel and ambergris.
Bois Naufragé starts with a sweet-milky accord that reminds me of candied figs stuffed with coconut: NOT what I was expecting. The ‘fig’ note loses a bit of its sweetness during the initial dry-down as a touch of mild, “green” musk emerges. I don’t find Bois Naufragé particularly “salty” but the fleur in fleur de sel is apparent in a sheer floral note, smelling a bit like “flat” jasmine mixed with tonka bean/vanilla. Most of Bois Naufragé’s “wood” must have been washed back out to sea; all I smell from the “carob tree” are sweet (dessert-like) carob seeds/pulp, not bark or wood. I do detect some wan — and artificial-smelling — ambergris (mixing with a tonka/vanilla-benzoin-type accord) in Bois Naufragé’s extreme dry-down. Bois Naufragé reminds me of a less intense Givenchy Pi — and many other tonka-benzoin-rich fragrances.
Bois Naufragé is, considering its inspirations, tame. It’s a warm and sweet and downright cozy fragrance…not “oceanic” (or sexy) in the least. Of course, if you like warm, sweet and downright cozy fragrances — give it a try.
Parfumerie Generale Bois Naufragé Eau de Toilette (limited edition) has average sillage and lasting power; it’s available in 50 ml for $95. For buying information, see the listing for Parfumerie Generale under Perfume Houses.
Note: top image of carob (Ceratonia siliqua; Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany; Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber), cropped, via Wikimedia Commons.