Blog post by Gwen

Sens et Bois – bright and dark and alluring

Jean-Claude Ellena is a titan in the modern perfume world. Born in 1947 in Grasse, he’s had a hand in the development of over 50 fragrances for such houses as Van Cleef & Arpels, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Bulgari, Cartier, L’Artisan Hermès. In 2000, he teamed up with designer Thierry de Baschmakoff and launched indie Paris-based fragrance house The Different Company. Their mandate is to inspire perfumers to create unique fragrances by allowing them to explore their own path with few restrictions using precious and rare ingredients seldom seen in perfumery today. This is what sets The Different Company apart from other perfume companies. Their website says: “Each of our fragrances is the result of a non-compromised creation from a true artist.” This attracted talented perfumers like Christine Nagel, Bertrand Duchaufour and Céline Ellena to the brand.

I first experienced their scents at their store at 10 Rue Ferdinand Duval in Paris. I went in to sniff around and came out a bona fide The Different Company devotee. But the first one I bought was Sens et Bois, by Céline Ellena, and it’s still a favourite.  

Sens & Bois, or Sense & Wood, opens up with a nose-tingling burst of bright bergamot warmed by spicy black pepper. A note of ginger is fresh, and its citrus facet echoes the bergamot. The black pepper lingers to the heart, linking with spicy, piney elemi. White violet, floral, sweet and powdery, is joined by neroli, citrusy, sweet and green. Verveine boosts the fruity, citrusy neroli, which perfectly contrasts the spiciness that’s come before. A note of frankincense steps up; it’s resinous and piney and leads to a woody base of balsamy cedarwood, creamy sandalwood and sweet, dark patchouli.

The drydown has no hard edges and no harshness, despite having some heavy hitters in the mix. Instead, it’s elegant and refined, and I can smell the quality of the ingredients and craftsmanship. It’s just a gorgeous fragrance that's a pleasure to wear.

Sens & Bois is a shadow game between dark and light - sometimes spicy and warm, sometimes bright and green. This is what makes it so alluring and sensuous, and unique.

Check out Sens & Bois in our Shop.