One of the thing I like best about the legendary Bois series by Serge Lutens is the almost musical aspect of it- you can smell them one by one, recognize the common theme and "listen" to the different variations. Then you can choose your favorite(s), which will likely depend on your preference between musk, orientals, dried fruit or violets. Or all of the above.
Bois et Musc wears similarly to the granddady of the series, Feminite du Bois- it has all the elements we know and love- boozy plums, cedar, spice (yes, cumin) and a nice heart of clean musk. It's sexy, warm and goes beautifully with a cashmere scarf and a glass of red wine on a winter night. I can't recall if I've layered FdB recently with Clair de Musc, but I won't be surprised if the result would be pretty close.
It wasn't always like this, though. I seem to recall older samples of Bois et Musc where the perfume had more bite. It wasn't so literal a love child of Feminite du Bois and a harmless musk, though it didn't seem related to MKK, either. It had its own personality, which is also evident in the wax sample I still have. The changes aren't surprising- the new FdB has been reformulated, and though it's still recognizable and very nice, die-hard fans are not amused. It makes sense that the rest of the Bois series also lost something. Serge Lutens doesn't denies that there have been changes in the formulas- between issues with availability (and quality) of raw materials and IFRA, nothing stays the same. I'm kicking myself a little for not getting a full bell jar of Bois et Musc when I was at the Salon in 2008, but back then Uncle Serge and his creations seemed a little more eternal than they are today.
Bois et Musc is part of Serge Lutens non-export line and only available as a bell jar (115 euro, 75ml) from the Salons du Palais Royals Shiseido in Paris. Those living in Europe can also order it online (sergelutens.com). The rest of us only get to pout.
Art: Piano Concept In G by Vladan Ignatovic