Blog post by Gwen

Songe d’Un Bois d’Eté – refined and woody and French

Photo: perfumeniche

It was just an ordinary day until the email from Guerlain dropped into my inbox.

“Thierry Wasser will be visiting Toronto later this month. Would you be interested in a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with him at our boutique?”

That would be Thierry Wasser, the Swiss-born in-house perfumer for Guerlain since 2008.

I could not hit ‘Send’ fast enough.

I prepared a few questions to prompt conversation and when the big day came, I was ready.

I needn’t have bothered. Gregarious and convivial, Mr. Wasser welcomed me with a warm hug. Elegant and charming yet down-to-earth and playful and far more handsome in person than in any of his photographs, he’s the ideal ambassador for the Guerlain brand.

We fell into an easy conversation that touched on many topics: his pride in the relationships he has developed around the world in sourcing raw ingredients, how his interest in herbalism led him to perfumery, his ‘tick’ for putting green notes in perfumes, travel, and unicorns. His knowledge of perfumery and ingredients is encyclopedic and from time to time, we’d move to the fragrance counters to spritz and sniff, and the stories would pour out – sourcing Tonka beans in Venezuela for Tonka Imperiale, the lovely fig note in Promenade des Anglais or the inspiration for Les Déserts d'Orient collection.

Mr. Wasser said he was in the Middle East, looking for ideas for an Arabian-inspired fragrance collection when one of his suppliers in Dubai told him French perfumes needed more “Wow” or impact. The conversation stuck with Wasser and led to the development of the Déserts d'Orient collection. Then, he took the time to sniff and talk about each fragrance in the collection with me.

All the fragrances delivered the “Wow” but I kept going back to Songe d’Un Bois d’Eté.

It opens with a note of camphor-tinged herbaceous bay leaf and fresh, floral neroli. Together, they create a sophisticated and aromatic opening that sets the tone for what’s to come. As it blooms, a note of saffron comes forward. It’s dark and spicy and linked to a note of cardamon that’s fresh and spicy. Together, they temper the bay leaf and neroli beautifully with an exotic, spicy warmth that opens the fragrance to cedarwood and oud. The woodiness is enticing with a smokiness I find irresistible and a balminess that, at times, gets deliciously medicinal on me. An undulating note of jasmine is floral, sweet and animalic and adds femininity to the woods. At the base, patchouli deepens the woodiness. A warm, sensual leather accord evokes luxury at the base, while aromatic myrrh that’s balsamy, slightly spicy and slightly smoky odour rounds it all out.

Songe d’Un Bois d’Eté translates into ‘dream of a summer wood’, which explains why the heavy-sounding ingredients are transformed into a refined, beautiful, woody scent that showcases Middle Eastern notes in a very French way. And that oud! It stays right to the drydown, which leaves an elegant trail for ages.

I came away from the meeting buzzing with excitement, smelling great, and with a bottle of Songe d’Un Bois d’Eté. I suppose ‘salesperson’ should be added to his list of accomplishments as well.

Check out Songe d’Un Bois d’Eté in our Shop.