My friends in scent and I have been doing a lot of kvetching lately about Dior. We keep asking ourselves and each other: "what's wrong with the current Dior perfumes?". The answer is everything. So this is a way to comfort myself and others by going back to one of few modern perfumes Dior has got perfectly right: Bois d'Argent from La Collection Privée.
Bois d'Argent came out in 2004, composed by Annick Menardo under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane. In the early days Dior's exclusive collection offered only three fragrances (Bois d'Argent as well as Eau Noire and Cologne Blanche), was called La Collection Couturier and was marketed as masculine fragrances, hence the title Cologne on the bottles (regardless of the perfumes' actual concentrations). Back then you could buy these at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Dior Homme boutiques and the dearly departed eLuxury website. The turn into an ultra-exclusive, excruciating to find unisex line happened later, as more scents were added.
Bois d'Argent is a beautiful juxtaposition of warm and cold notes played against each other. Iris and cypress confronting wood, ambery vanilla and leather, with the incense and myrrh negotiating the space in between. It's the kind of subtle elegance, creativity and quality that have been sorely missing from Dior's mainstream market offerings. That, and some respect for their longtime customers.
Bois d'Argent is fully wearable by both men and women. It doesn't have the dreaded thin harshness that often occurs when a masculine cologne is sprayed on a woman's skin, and it's not too sweet or candied that a man would raise an eyebrow when sampling. Unless they're my husband whose skin brings out ample amounts of honeyed and vanillic woods which he prefers to smell on me than on himself.
Bois d'Argent is light but not sheer in that modern minimalist Ellenistic way. Instead it has all these silver-toned facets that mirror each other, and the main attraction (for me)-- the iris note on its tailored and quiet elegance. It's just a little honeyed, a bit richer than my go-to masculine iris, MPG Iris Bleu Gris, and since the husband shows no interest in sharing the bottle I get it all to myself.
Notes: juniper berries, cypress, iris, incense, myrrh, patchouli ,vanilla, musk, amber, woody notes, honey and leather.
See other reviews of Dior Bois d'Argent on Pere de Pierre and Olfactoria's Travels.
Dior Bois d'Argent and the rest of La Collection Privée are exclusive to very few Dior boutiques (the one in Vegas has them) and upscale department stores. They can be found in Paris at both Printemps and Le Bon Marche.
Dior photo fashions: Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1940, top) and Richard Avedon (1957).