V-Day Wishes For a French Lover


When the calendar year turns its last page and begins anew, I like to strip down and simplify things as much as possible. That means the sparkling over-the-top indulgences over the holidays are being replaced with something quieter, something with subtlety. Such as my favored fragrance. To that end, I’m making an early Valentine’s request (it’s just one month away…) for a bottle of the magnificently refined Bois d’Orage (50 ml is just the right amount). A more potent take on the exquisite Angeliques Sous la Pluie, this is the winter version of that gin-inspired summer tonic. Created by Pierre Bourdon for Frederic Malle, it exemplifies the elegance that Malle has made a hallmark (as in the equally-excellent ‘L’Eau d’Hiver’ as crafted by Jean-Claude Ellena).

“A serene manliness, both brutal through the overdose of single notes and subtle thanks to the sophistication of the raw materials, Bois d’Orage is the ultimate man’s scent. Pierre Bourdon has composed a perfume that is powerful, sensual and refined, aromatic and spicy. Its heart is built around angelica and its natural complements: cedar wood and vetiver. Shaped by an accord of Florentine iris, pimento and galbanum, it lies on a bed of patchouli, incense and musk. A perfume with an unusual vegetal animality.”

In Europe its christened name is “French Lover” – a rather cheesy moniker for a fragrance too refined for such cheap tricks. The powdery presence of angelica stays close to the heart, the way one keeps many things at this time of the year.

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