Some years ago when I first began pursuing what we now call "niche perfume" I was completely taken with the idea of compositions that were made to convey a vision more than to just smell pretty. Evoking a time, a place or an image was a novel idea to me and I couldn't get enough. I still look for this feeling in my perfumes, but I'm somewhat less tolerant of things that smell off.
Bois d'Ombrie was created for Eau d'Italie by Bertrand Duchaufour and released in 2006. It's named after the woods of Umbria, Italy, which is a(nother) gorgeous Italian region just north of Lazio. It includes the provinces of Perugia and Terni (thank you, Wikipedia) and is famous for its black truffles, vineyards, the town of Assisi and various saints. I've been there twice and I remember the area very fondly despite too many olive trees (I'm very allergic). Rolling hills, beautiful B&Bs in stone cottages and great food. The smell outdoors is like in many similar parts of Italy- lush green, fertile soil, fresh fruit from the trees, whiffs of cooking from kitchens in the village.
Bois d'Ombrie doesn't smell so much of Umbrian terrain as of indoor spaces. Yes, there's some promising dry but earthy iris in the opening but it soon turns inwards into somewhat stuffy rooms, furniture polish, old leather sofas and damp stone floors. It's interesting and evocative, but then the briny pickle note shows up and I'm not too happy with that. The sourness is more pronounced when worn indoors. I've had this Eau d'Italie fragrance on when out on a cool day and enjoyed it a lot more, so fresh air does it good. Still, until the very crisp vetiver shows up late into the drydown (which lasts forever), Bois d'Ombrie feels more like an experiment than a personal scent.
Bottom Line 1: I need a shower.
Bottom Line 2: I miss Italy.
Top Photo: casacattani.com
Second Photo: Trevi, a village in Umbria, by me, 2003
Bois d'Ombrie by Eau d'Italy ($120, 100ml EDT) is available from Aedes, Luckyscent and Lafco NYC, which is where I got my samples.