Bois Plume came out in 2009 as part of Esteban's Boises series but never received much attention. On a second thought, the entire Esteban brand lives pretty much under the radar in the US. If you're in Paris, though, they have a couple of boutiques, including one in the Marais (20 rue Francs Bourgeois, a quick walk from the Etat Libre d'Orange store on 69, rue des Archives) that deserve a visit.
But back to Bois Plume, a very soft and cuddly wood fragrance, that leans a little feminine but I can see men pulling it off easily. The "plume" here (French for feather) probably refers to the lightness and almost airy feel of the perfume. Despite the presence of darker notes such as patchouli and spices, Bois Plume is defined by a powdery and soapy iris over a very smooth light wood. Sandalwood and cardamom have been known to create a chai effect/accord, but this Esteban fragrance is more abstract and less sweet than that Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant, the ultimate chai. It's also quite low-key and doesn't try too hard to assert itself; the very gentle floral heart makes it even more sheer and dream-like.
Some might say that the mellowness and makes Bois Plume boring, but I disagree. There's no drama there but the effect of a warm skin scent makes up for it, especially when worn in hot weather that allows it to fully develop into an almost fruity musk that is quite a contrast to the soapiness I get earlier. I do wish there was more there, but mostly in terms of concentration and longevity. Most of Esteban's perfumes are in eau de toilette form and I wish for at least an EDP (not to mention some extraits). Bois Plume last for five or six hours with very polite and office-friendly sillage.
Notes: bergamot, cardamom, lavender, iris, rose, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, rosewood, cinnamon.
Esteban Paris- Bois Plume ($82) is available from estebanparis.com.
Image: Peacock Skirt by Aubrey Beardsley, 1892.