Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Serge Lutens- Un Bois Vanille

It occurred to me that while Un Bois Vanille was my first step into the Lutens universe, I never actually reviewed it beyond telling the world I was completely and utterly smitten. It probably had to do with being too busy cooing at my bottle.

My love affair with Un Bois Vanille has unleashed my passion for gourmand notes. The richness of the anise/licorice, milky coconut and roasted, caramel-like sweetness reminds me of making dulce de leche at home. It's too interesting and complex to be a simple comfort scent. It's darker than many other vanilla perfumes, and while I often see it compared to Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille, I find them very different. SDV is very boozy, and while I like it well enough, my skin neutralizes most of the interesting aspects of smoky incense and leaves me with something too simple. Un Bois Vanille has that Lutensic (Lutenesque?) magic that makes household items start singing and dancing.

Un Bois Vanille can be intoxicating by itself, but it's also a wonderful team player when layering. It works well with many other Lutens fragrances. Try, for example, with Louve, Rousse or Chene. But I also go outside the family: it transforms Eau d'Hadrien and makes it sparkle over the rich vanilla base. But the most wonderfully outrageous combination is something I thought about one day when I layered UBV with Fleurs d'Oranger (another good one): the next day I wore two (small) sprays of Un Bois Vanille and two dabs of Rubj (Vero Profumo). It just might be my greatest contribution to the world.

Un Bois Vanille ($120) is part of Serge Lutens export range and available wherever the other square perfumes are sold. In the US it means Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Blue Mercury, Aedes, Scent Bar (Luckyscent), Beauty Habit and probably a few others. Most of them also offer it online. If I remember correctly, I bought mine from Aedes.

Photo of homemade dulce de leche by audinou on flickr


  1. do you know I've never tried this one? I will have to correct that oversight pronto.

  2. Tom, you must try it. I seem to remember you liked SDV, so this should really make you happy.

  3. I found Fleurs d'Oranger disappointing until your suggestion of layering it with un Bois Vanille, so thank you for saving a nearly full bell jar of it from oblivion at the back of the queue

  4. I bought Un Bois Vanille after reading your review and don't regret it Tnx
    However, I would like something lighter for spring
    How you ever tried Vanille gourmande by Laura Mercier ?


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