Eau d'Italie released Bois d'Ombrie* in 2006 — and I loved it. I was going to buy a bottle but something terrible happened and I didn't want to associate the perfume with personal sadness. A smell can attach itself like glue, or a leech, to an event and its associated feelings.
Years sped by (and many hundreds of perfumes, too); Bois d'Ombrie was left behind.
A month ago, while placing an order for perfume samples, I bought a fresh vial of Bois d'Ombrie. Surely, in 13 years, the fragrance had been reformulated...but I was curious. When I received my package from the perfume shop, I sniffed Bois d'Ombrie and the scent took me to the brink of nostalgia.
Bois d'Ombrie (like its sister perfume Sienne l'Hiver) has a "dim," hushed, mellow quality; you won't wear it to attract attention. Bois d'Ombrie begins with the sweet scents of wine and leather. (Imagine a new wineskin, filled with red vermouth, aimed at your mouth.) A delightful honeyed tobacco aroma arrives next and is joined by powdery orris root and balsamic notes (copahu?) An ethereal smoky amber scent rounds out the perfume, with glints of myrrh, opoponax and smooth patchouli.
Bois d'Ombrie did attach itself to my loss, but it's a gentle ghost who gives reassuring hugs, not brutal shoves.
My new bottle of Bois d'Ombrie should arrive this week. I think it's a perfect scent to wear while looking at old photographs (wistful accompaniment: Jessye Norman's recording of Four Last Songs), or while wrapped in a blanket reading Yōko Ogawa's The Memory Police (with its theme of disappearance and its haunting mentions of perfume and the scents of nature). While writing this review I was sipping some homemade plum brandy on my cold deck as geese flew over the lake in formation, heading south — I wish I were going with them!
Eau d'Italie Bois d'Ombrie Eau de Toilette is $140 for 100 ml.
*Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour; fragrance notes of cognac, calamus, wild carrot, leather, iris, myrrh, copahu, tobacco, opoponax, patchouli, vetiver.
Note: top image is Umbrian panorama by Anthony Majanlahti "antmoose" [cropped] via Wikimedia Commons.