Skip to main content

I remember the first time I smelled Miel de Bois as it were yesterday. I was standing at the counter of Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris, waiting to buy a bottle of Miel de Bois as a gift for a friend, when it occurred to me that I had never really sniffed it. So, I asked one of the SAs, to spritz me, and she kindly obliged. I inhaled deeply, and a nanosecond later made a sour face. 'Who would wear this?' I thought.

And I began to wonder about just how well I knew my friend. Then the penny dropped - it's Lutens, the provocateur who likes to elicit strong reactions from people with his scents. The truth is that while Serge Lutens has created some of my favourite fragrances, not all of his fragrances are my favourites. Yet, as I went about my day, I found myself drawn to the fragrance on my wrist again and, with each sniff, falling more deeply into it. Miel de Bois had settled, and its beauty revealed itself. It was a slow seduction, and I happily surrendered to it. I left Paris with three bottles in my luggage – two for me and one for my friend.

I fell in love with Miel de Bois but didn't know much about it. I went to the Lutens' website and found this quote: "Let me thank all those whose labor contributed to making this fragrance.... in other words, the bees and flowers." Not very helpful. I give it a B +.

I did a little digging and discovered that Miel de Bois is a unisex fragrance that was originally launched in 2005 and that the nose behind the fragrance is Christopher Sheldrake. To really know Miel de Bois, you have to smell it.

It opens with notes of oak, ebony and guaiac wood.  The woods are dry, and heavy. There is a sharpness, like vinegar, that comes from the oak, but there's a slight sweetness too. The guaiac has birch tar facets, and the ebony is bitter, almost to the point of being unpleasant. If you embrace the wood accord as part of the experience, you will be rewarded with a fabulous, golden, raw honey note that's soft and sweet but not enough to be in gourmand territory and animalic. The creaminess of the honey is the perfect counterbalance to the bitterness at the top so that only a lovely woodiness remains. A sweet, floral hawthorn note echoes the honey with its animalic aspect at the base, while powdery iris adds another floral dimension to Miel de Bois. The flowers lie atop a note of sweet, musky beeswax.

Miel de Bois dries down smooth, warm and woody. But that honey/woody balance is what makes keeps me reaching for Miel de Bois again and again. And that bitter, acrid opening? I've come to see it as the perfect way to showcase that beauty that comes after it, and so I've come to appreciate it. Oh, Mr. Lutens, you really are a genius.

Miel de Bois is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 for 1 ml.

 

Image - Mauvais Garçon by Brecourt Paris - perfumeniche.com 

I have a new friend. She's much younger than I am, and I think she sees me as a cool older woman, a substitute for the grandmothers she never knew, but despite the large age gap we absolutely love each other's company. We met at the local dog park, and immediately bonded over our love of dogs and the challenge of living with young puppies. We share many interests but when she learned about my perfume passion, that cemented the friendship. 

A few weeks ago she said she was looking for a special fragrance for her boyfriend, one she'd read about called Mauvais Garçon. Had I heard of it? Did I know what is smelled like? Was it good? Well, I said, I just happen to have a bottle of Mauvais Garçon that I'd recently bought online, mostly because I liked the French name - it means Bad Boy - but also because I liked the note list, and I especially liked the price since it was on sale. I make these irrational unsniffed purchases sometimes, none of which I've ever regretted.

Mauvais Garçon is from Brecourt Paris, a small French niche brand launched in 2010 by perfumer Emilie Bouge. She describes her inspiration on the website:

"He thought that he could seduce the whole world with his physique and virile attitudes. He almost convinced me by his guile and polish. Too late, I realized that he is a bad boy..

His guile is the fragrance he wears, a refined Oriental, woody and spicy, fresh and masculine at first with bergamot and basil and nutmeg and cinnamon, but which dries down through lavender and white flowers steeped in vanilla and tonka bean, transforming into a softer fragrance with subtle gourmand appeal. In the base, Mauvais Garçon slowly sweetens with dark vanilla floating on blond woods, creamy sandalwood and pale cedar dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg, rubbed with patchouli. Warm and velvety and inviting... smooth and uncomplicated and totally irresistible. Who can resist a Bad Boy?

And who can resist wearing a Bad Boy's fragrance? Mauvais Garçon is not only irresistible to a woman, but is irresistible on a woman. I know this from my friend, who bought a bottle for her bad boy after I decanted a sample for her. I smelled it on her one evening, and commented that it smelled so good on her. 

"Yes" she said with a laugh, "we share it, and indulge our fantasies."

I think she's ready to try Mitsouko.

Mauvais Garçon is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

 

Welcome to perfumeniche.com

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."

                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.

What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

We’ve tested and tried hundreds of samples over the years, and when we deemed a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

Also, we include many perfume "classics" that are the foundations of modern perfumery - like Shalimar, Chanel No.5, Eau Sauvage - plus other perfume "gems" that have been discontinued, or were ahead of their time when launched but now fit perfectly in the Niche category. 

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let others buy and try samples from our collections and experience the fragrant beauty we write about.

WHAT WE DO

We blog

We blog once a week and post a story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent critics, so these aren't negative reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.

Or we post conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention recently. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to explore new territory by trying 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.

We sell

We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.

Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 

When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.

Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retail store or online source.

We provide

A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
 
We hope you enjoy perfumeniche.com, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.