Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, 1992

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(image, colourpop ultra satin lip marshmallow)

Perfumer Christopher Shledrake

The first time I tried Bois de Violette I kicked myself for having bought Feminité du Bois a few months earlier. You know that shitty feeling of having bought the good, and then finding the better? I quickly came to the conclusion, though, that I prefer Feminité du Bois for most purposes and would choose it over Bois de Violette if I were to have just one. In order to take advantage of the higher pitch created by the violet overdose, Sheldrake’s reconfigures his signature fruit/wood motif. He shears some weight, particularly in the heartnotes, and creates a perfume that is less dense though still quite radiant. The result is that Bois de Violette sings in a higher, perhaps prettier register, but loses some of the implicit harmony of Feminité’s middle register.

People tend to be drawn to the most prominent, the brightest, the highest in the hierarchy, but some of the most beautiful music is written for the viola and the mezzo-soprano. Listen to a recording of Marilyn Horne singing Rossini and you’ll understand why I prefer Feminité du Bois’s particular balance of heft and luminosity over Bois de Violette’s glitter.

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