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The Woods

This is the third episode in our exploration of the Fragrance Wheel by Michael Edwards, after the Florals and the Orientals.

Edwards sub-divided his wheel into 3 Wood families: the Dry Woods also known as the Leathers, the Mossy Woods commonly called Chypres, and simply the Woods. All fragrances of these families share a strong woody base but the Leathers and the Chypres have a different focus than wood alone. They are furthermore so important in modern perfumery that they deserve an article of their own. Let’s focus this week on the “core” family of the Woods and understand their typical notes.

The Wood fragrances are based on notes of large trees, such as northern conifers like cedar, pine and fir, and the sacred hinoki. South-Asian species such as sandalwood and agarwood (oud) give a more oriental tone to the perfume. Many other fragrant trees qualify to add woody notes to the perfume but the list is too long to figure here. Interestingly, one perennial bunchgrass and one tropical herb also belong to the club, thanks to their woody aromatic spectrum: vetiver and patchouli.

I selected hereafter some interesting Wood fragrances you may want to try :

CONIFERS FRAGRANCES PICK:pine-branchs-5456x3632_21047

Vert d’Encens and Vert des Bois by Tom Ford are new classy fragrances with conifer notes and a genuine woody nature. I just had the chance to find them in a duty-free last week and try them on, for a great enjoyment during the flight . Difficult to choose between these two. I think I’ll need both one day.  🙂

Fille en Aiguille from Serge Lutens. Nice wordplay from Mr. Lutens here, as “aiguille” in french means either high-heel shoes’ stilettos or the needles of conifers. The fragrance has a superb heart note of pine and balsam fir, sweetened by fruity notes and some spices on a bed of incense. Again a marvel from the great Serge.


Bond No.9 with New York Sandalwood. One of the very best in my home collection. I truly love this spicy and slightly powdery sandalwood. A masterpiece from a great New-York perfume house.

Samsara from Guerlain is a classic cult fragrance for women based on sandalwood, vanilla and ylang-ylang.  Flowers and citruses accompany the precious wood in this sensual juice. A very feminine scent for your important moments.

agarwood-oil1-2-2-2OUD FRAGRANCES PICK:

Oud fragrances are a world apart in perfumery due to their extreme appreciation  in the Middle-East. Perfumers from the Arabian Peninsula, often unknown in the West, abound with a broad range of oud fragrances, often very concentrated. Having little experience yet with these houses, I preferred to play safe with my picks this time:

M7 Oud Absolu by Yves Saint Laurent. This is a relaunched version of the discontinued cult fragrance M7 by YSL which was commercially created by Tom Ford himself, during his work for the fashion house. Some critics see it as less powerful and too different from the original, but I  believe that it is overall a very fine oud perfume with a superb accord of myrrh and patchouli and a mandarin top note.

M7 Oud Absolu from YSL - a beautiful revamped version of the cult M7
M7 Oud Absolu from YSL – a beautiful revamped version of the cult M7

Oud Royal from the Privé Collection of Giorgio Armani. This is one of the gems of this fabulous collection of fine fragrances launched six years ago already. Armani paved the way in this new trend of high-end and high price-tag fragrance collections for the wealthy in search of exclusivity. This being said, Oud Royal is a very sensual and refined oud, in an accord of sandalwood, olibanum and saffron. This is a very oriental, very deep and long-lasting juice for winter.

Kindly visit my previous posts on Vetiver and Patchouli to read some interesting facts about these amazing plants and get a selection of related fragrances.

As temperatures are getting fresher now in the Northern hemisphere, it is the right time to uncork your woody scents and enjoy the hypnotizing slow diffusion of the perfume around your body.

Keep warm my friends and enjoy the weekend !







About Laurent 70 Articles
Born in Switzerland but lived half of my life in fragrant Asia, I want to share my passion for scents and flavors

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