New Perfume Review Scents of Wood Oud in Oak, Oud in Acacia, Cedar in Acacia, Cypress in Oak, and Vetiver in Oak- Lightning Round

To conclude my overview of Scents of Wood I am going to do quick reviews of the remaining five samples I received. Owner-creative director Fabrice Croise has shown this collection can be more than just making wood more woody. The four I reviewed the last two days are my favorites. These five are also worth trying if the description piques your interest.

Fabrice Croise

Oud in Oak by Celine Barel– There had to be oud you just knew it. This one takes the classic pairing of oud and leather. Mme Barel finds all of the joy in that combination. A little safrron adds texture. Some spices add heat. The oak-aged alcohol adds an interesting veneer to the oud.

Yves Cassar

Oud in Acacia by Yves Cassar– In comparison tto the other oud above this is where you see the effect of the different wood-aged alcohol. This is a lighter version of oud and rose. Which the acacia-aged alcohol gives some lift to. Immortelle and Orris provide different floral interrogators for the oud before Amberwood dries it out over the final stages.

Cedar in Acacia by Pascal Gaurin– By the end of the summer this may become my favorite of the collection because it is so good in the warmth. M. Gaurin uses cypriol to form the core. The acacia-aged alcohol adds some expansiveness, Which then gets turbocharged by ginger while being made resinous through olibanum. This is a perfume for the dog days of summer.

Mackenzie Reilly

Cypress in Oak by Mackenzie Reilly– If you wonder if this type of concept can be made to be clean and fresh. Ms. Reilly answers in the affirmative. This is a beach where the cypress tress are the landward edge of the beach. Close enough to get the sea spray on them. This is full of all the tropes inherent in that most ubiquitous of fragrance styles. Yet it is made just different enough through the oak-aged alcohol along with the ethereal beauty of the cypress.

Vetiver in Oak by Celine Barel– Vetiver is probably the tailor-made keynote for this idea of making perfume. The green and the woody faces find a resting place in the oak-aged alcohol. Mme Barel adds the freshness of lime and baie rose. This forms another one which will be at its best in the summer sunshine.

I want to thank M. Croise for taking the time to speak with me and send me the samples of the different alcohols. They were great help in understanding the delicate effect they add. He has executed his vision pretty impressively so far.

Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Scents of Wood.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Scents of Wood Orange in Chestnut and Plum in Cognac- Fruity Woody

The way owner-creative director of Scents of Wood, Fabrice Croise chose to engage me was to send me three mystery samples. It worked. I was interested enough to want to know more. One of the three stood out because instead of wood the keynote was orange. After receiving other samples it seems as if the use of fruit is where M. Croise’s concept really rises. Both Scents of Wood Orange in Chestnut and Plum in Cognac show it off.

Fabrice Croise

The second half of each name is the type of wood-aged alcohol used to host the perfume oil featuring the keynote from the first half. In both of these cases that extra layer of scent adds a lot. Another thing that has an effect are the perfumers M. Croise chose. They clearly had fun employing this alcohol as part of their design.

Carlos Benaim

Orange in Chestnut by perfumer Carlos Benaim– This would have been on my Top 25 list of last year if I knew what it was. It’s likely to be on it for this year. What is so appealing is M. Benaim takes an uber-orange accord and contrasts it with a very dry woody accord. In between the two is the chestnut-aged alcohol.

That orange accord is made up of bigarade, neroli, and orange blossom. This is a lush mostly citrus given softness through the floral components. Early on that subtle chestnut reminds me of the trunk of a summer-warmed orange tree. In counterpoint are austere ingredients of cedar and amber xtreme. The latter can just obliterate everything else in a perfume. M. Benaim keeps it on a tight leash. Turning the the wood accord into a hot desert wind cutting through the orange grove.

Pascal Gaurin

Plum in Cognac by perfumer Pascal Gaurin– This is the one which really shows off the possibilities of this approach to making fragrance. This isn’t truly a woody perfume. It is a syrupy boozy gourmand with wood highlights. M. Gaurin uses the cognac wood-aged alcohol as a piece of the boozy pool upon which his fruit floats.

This opens with a rum-infused plum. It has a fruity narcotic scent profile. In the early moments a spicy swirl of cinnamon forms a spiced fruit cocktail. The rum has a richness to it which I am ascribing to the presence of the cognac wood-aged alcohol. This is full-bodied perfume making. It finishes with a warm accord of vanilla and vetiver.

Both have 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

It was these two perfumes which removed my thoughts of M. Croise’s idea being a gimmick. These are some of the best perfumes I’ve smelled this year or last. I didn’t know that fruity woody was what I desired until now.

Tomorrow I will do a set of quick reviews of the remaining samples I have.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples supplied by Scents of Wood.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Scents of Wood Sandalwood in Oak and Oak in Oak- No Gilding Here

Towards the end of last year I was contacted by Fabrice Croise about his new fragrance line. He enticed me with a set of three mystery vials containing perfumes for his Scents of Wood brand. They were all interesting to me. I spent some time learning about the brand on the website. As I read there seemed to be a gilding of the lily effect they were describing. The concept was to use alcohol aged in different types of wood barrels as the carrier for the perfume oil. I liked my blind samples, but I really wanted to understand if the alcohol thing was a gimmick.

Fabrice Croise

M. Croise jumped on a videocall to explain it to me. He sensed my skepticism and sent me a set of just the different wood-aged alcohols and just the fragrance before being added to the alcohol. I also received a set of the perfumes with labels, too. With all three forms I was able to detect the effect these wood-aged alcohols give.

The fragrance concept is to take wood-focused perfume oils and add them to the wood-aged alcohols. Thus each name is a keynote of the oil first followed by the type of wood used to age the alcohol. I have spent most of the first part of the year enjoying what was sent to me. I was really waiting for warmer weather because with only a couple of exceptions I expected them to be best in warm weather.

M. Croise then took the next step of collaborating with a set of talented perfumers. This has resulted in a collection of fragrance for those who can’t get enough wood perfume in their life. Instead of just clobbering you over the head each scent is a layered effect beginning with the alcohol out of which the perfume oil can rise in waves. Over the next three days I am going to give reviews to most of the current releases.

I’ll start with the ones which really seemed like they were going to be overkill but turned out not to be.

Sandalwood in Oak by perfumer Mackenzie Reilly– Prior to trying any of the perfumes my biggest concern was they were going to be too heavy. It seemed like it was unavoidable. One of the things I have admired about Ms. Reilly’s career to date is her ability to create a sense of openness even with the strongest ingredients. This is another great example of that.

This is a gorgeous sandalwood dry and austere. The oak-aged alcohol provides a subtle texture. Places for her to hang things on. Early on it is a set of discrete smoke in a burnt sugar accord and smoked sage. This adds an engaging odd contrast. It leads to a carrot-like iris and vanilla adding vegetal and baker’s sweetness to the sandalwood. It is another perfume which shifts its mood as it evolves on my skin.

Oak in Oak by perfumer Celine Barel– When I spoke with M. Croise he told me this was coming. It was impossible not to think about overkill. Then he told me Mme Barel was going to be the perfumer. She has a fascinating way of plumbing the depths of her keynotes. I was wondering how far down she would take us into the oak tree.

The oak-aged alcohol probably does the least here of any other perfume it is used in. That’s because the oak at the center of this is so rich. It is the reason the natural scent is so prized. She enhances it using incense and saffron early. They add a silvery resin and a golden glow to the wood. This is where the oak feels less dense without sacrificing depth. A precise amount of cumin and orris add in a textured earthiness as if the roots of the oak are speaking up. It turns back towards warmth as tonka adds the final piece.

Both have 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I will continue these reviews tomorrow with two of the most interesting designs in the collection, Orange in Chestnut and Plum in Cognac.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample set provided by Scents of Wood.

Mark Behnke