Bois Noir is one of the five Nouvelle Collection fragrances issued by Robert Piguet Parfums earlier this year. Unlike the previous Piguet perfumes that were re-orchestrations and relaunches of creations from the original house's catalog, the Nouvelle perfumes are, indeed, new. They focus on the modern concept of showcasing high quality raw materials. As such, Bois Noir is centered around wood and incense.
Bois Noir features several aspects of woods: smoky, lacquered and sappy-resinous. It opens up pretty assertive (aggressive, even) with a sillage that is armed to kill. Kill softly, that is, because it's beautiful and highly attractive. Still, they will smell you in the next room. I like it, obviously, and don't mind the whiffs of smoke and wood polish. It's interesting, but I get why some women will find it far too masculine for comfort, at least until some of the sweet balsams enter the picture.
The incense is soft and almost cuddly. I actually would have liked a lot more: perhaps in the style of Andy Tauer's usage of cistus labsdanum. Then again, I do appreciate the sheer aspects of what perfumer Aurelien Guichard has done for this Piguet perfume. I probably would have loved it dearly had Bois Noir not die a very untimely death on my skin after about four hours. It's the weirdest thing: the fragrance clings to my clothes forever, and you'd think that something that is basically all base notes would last until the end of days. But it doesn't, and only a minor woody sweetness remains at skin level. I guess that the same elements that create the pyrotechnics and help this composition soar and not feel too opaque also robs it from the stuff that makes similar perfumes stick to my skin
Notes: gaiac wood, cedar wood, sandalwood, patchouli, balsam and cistus absolute.
Robert Piguet- Bois Noir ($150, 3.4oz) is available from robertpiguetparfums.com.
Photos of various Robert Piguet fashion creations from the 1940s via eaudarouche.com.