When I get asked the silly question about if you could only have one perfume or one brand, I have an answer that surprises. I have mentioned over and over that Frapin Caravelle Epicee is my answer to the one perfume question. It has never failed to do everything I can ask for a perfume. It wasn’t until last year upon the release of R.K. that I realized I own bottles of every perfume produced by the brand. Not only that but those bottles are at lower levels of many others. I have now become cognizant when I am conflicted about what to wear on a day my eye always looks at the shelf of Frapin bottles. Which is why the arrival of Frapin Bois Blanc put a smile on my face.
I think I need to give more credit to creative director David Frossard than I have in the past. I’ve been looking back over the fifteen perfume they’ve release since 2006. What I found was a creative director who knows how to communicate a brand aesthetic to some of my favorite perfumers. For Bois Blanc he renews his partnership with perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel. This is the third perfume she has done for the brand after Nevermore and R.K.
I am noticing a resurgence in the category of rugged woody perfumes on my desk lately. This is a style which offers a lot of flexibility to a clever creative team because the perfumer’s palette is loaded with choices. Mme Behaghel puts some of those familiar woody ingredients in different places.
The opening accord is a citrus and herb mixture. Orange is greened through rosemary and eucalyptus. The entire thing becomes turbocharged through ginger. Then in what I expected to become a flaw ambroxan began to arise. That ingredient too often becomes an impenetrable monolith Mme Behaghel uses it as a spine for this, without it becoming overbearing. As it inserts itself into the top accord the dry woodiness of it fits ideally. The heart forms around a rich cedar given texture through sage and violet leaf. There is a green freshness to good cedar. The complementary ingredients pull that out as the ambroxan provides a foundation for it. In the base another problematic ingredient cade wood holds prominence. Just as with the ambroxan Mme Behaghel uses just the right amount to display its smoky charms. This is again with just the right amount so that quality does not become annoying. A lighter guaiac wood completes the trunk of this perfume tree.
Bois Blanc has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Bois Blanc is the kind of woody perfume which finds its uniqueness in the precision of its design. By the time it is complete it is a towering example of the form.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.