Silver Haze – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Bois d’Argent

By Tara

I was sniffing my way around the new Dior perfume boutique in Selfridges when the Sales Assistant gave me something sprayed on a card, without telling me what it was. I was bowled over immediately and asked for a sample. When it turned out to be Bois d’Argent I wasn’t too surprised, as I had liked the sound of this perfume for a very long time, but had never actually tried it. I was largely interested because it was composed by the incredibly talented Annick Ménardo, who is responsible for such distinctive and unique fragrances as Bulgari Black, Lolita Lempicka and Dior’s own Hypnotic Poison.

Bois d’Argent is classified as a woody chypre and includes notes of incense, iris absolute, myrrh, honey, musk, woods and leather. I’ve seen it referred to as “hazy” and that’s a very good description. It is named “silver woods” after all, so we are not talking about your usual dark, dense woody perfume but something a lot more ethereal. I envision a glade of silver birches at night, shining in the moonlight.

The first thing that you notice when spraying Bois d’Argent is the incense, a subtle white frankincense that hovers lightly over a gorgeous honeyed vanilla, and this forms the main character of the perfume. The iris is there, but the musk and leather are so muted as to be unnoticeable.

Bois d’Argent has a soft, second-skin feeling about it and wears very close to the body. It is a joy to catch its aroma every now and then. Lasting power is very good and it gets somewhat woodier as time goes on.

Extra points go to Dior for the very pleasing hand-made, padded, cylindrical packaging.

Originally released in 2004 as one of a trio of men’s colognes, Bois d’Argent – along with Eau Noire – joined La Collection Couturier (now called La Collection Privée) in 2010 as an eau de parfum. It is certainly unisex, so this was a wise move by Dior. At the risk of stereotyping, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually appeals to women a lot more than men because it does have a significant degree of sweetness.

Gustav Klimt Buchenhain

If, like me, you are a fan of modern chypres, do give Bois d’Argent a try if you get the chance. It’s a perfume that manages to be sensual, luxurious and easy to wear all at the same time – which is quite a wonderful thing.

Bois d’Argent is part of Dior’s La Collection Privée and is available in 125ml, 250ml and 450ml Eau de Parfum.

Image source: dior.com, wikipaintings.org
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This entry was posted in By Tara, Dior, Dior La Collection Privée, Fragrance Reviews, Incense, Iris, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Silver Haze – Review: Dior La Collection Privée Bois d’Argent

  1. Judith says:

    I like Hypnotic Poison very much, yes sweet and loaded, but a staple for me!

    • Tara says:

      Hi Judith, I will have to give Hypnotic Poison another try; thick, sweet perfumes and almonds are off-putting for me but I’m glad it’s just your cup of tea. Bois d’Argent is sweet but not dense or “loaded” as you say, which is a great description!

  2. It seems like my impressions of Bois d’Argent never seem quite on par with everyone elses. From what other people write, I should absolutely love it. But I don’t, on the contrary I very much detest it. To me it is a supersickly sweet concoction, with just the tiniest hint of iris. I’m huge fan of Dior Homme though, which works perfectly.

    It puzzles me.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is Tara’s review, so I’ll let her answer of course, but I wanted to say a quick Hello! It is lovely to see you here, Martin! You were the first person to ever talk to me on Twitter, thank you for that! :)
      I find Bois d’Argent quite sweet as well, but also heavy on the iris and extremely similar to Dior Homme, so it is puzzling…

      • Tara says:

        B, I really never thought about it in comparison with Dior Homme, so will have to investigate further. Dior Homme is certainly my favourite masculine and the only one I’d happily wear.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Martin, I can understand your reaction because that underlying honey-swirled vanilla is decidely sweet. I think it could be overwhelming if over-applied but its light weight is what saves it from sickly gourmand territory for me. I have to say I don’t get as much iris from it as B does, but she is the iris aficionado around here!

      Dior Homme is a great iris scent and I have considered buying a bottle before LVMH re-formulate it.

  3. Oh, I feel honored now, you are welcome of course!

    Yes, they are definitely similar, in many ways. To make matters worse, Annick Menardo is one of my favourite noses out there. :)

    • Tara says:

      Martin, Annick Menardo is one of my favourite noses too but we can’t love everything – as I’ve said above, for me Hypnotic Poison is a struggle for reasons similar to yours regarding BdA and so is Lolita Lempicka because of the licorice note. Plenty of others to enjoy though!

  4. lady jane grey says:

    From Tara’s description it sounds exquisite (on the other hand I’m a bit scared of “sickly sweet”…). I’ll investigate, whether I can find & sniff it in Vienna.

    • Tara says:

      lady jane grey, knowing your tastes I would imagine this may well have too much sweetness for you, but do give it a try if you get the chance – you just never know and people do seem to react differently to it.

  5. Suzanne says:

    Tara, you do make this sound very good indeed. I’m fairly certain I could handle the sweetness, which sounds like it is as diffuse as it is sweet. Annick Menardo is quite interesting in the way she moves between extremes: from things like Hypnotic Poison and Le Labo Patchouli 24, which are rather rebellious scents, to the veil-like Le Labo Gaiac 10, which is rather misty and silvery and the first thing I thought of when reading your description of Bois d’Argent (though Gaiac 10 has no sweetness, of course).

    • Tara says:

      Hi Suzanne! Totally agree about Annick Menardo, her perfumes are very diverse and have such strong characters, she can seemly turn her hand to any style. I admire her immensely. I think you may well like Bois d’Argent and diffuse is great way to describe it. You have me intrigued by Le Labo Gaiac 10 now, will research that one further.

  6. deeHowe says:

    I actually don’t find Bd’A overly sweet at all, so something in my skin must tone it down. Mr. Howe is a big fan of this one (nursing his Tara-gifted sample very judiciously!), and I absolutely find it full-bottle worthy. You know Tara, I didn’t even realize it was initially targeted specifically to men?! It feels like a very powerful feminine to me, and usually Mr. H doesn’t go in for the masculines at all… This one, and Eau Noire have won us over completely. I think I need a Dior shelf in my cabinet!

    • Tara says:

      dee, I’m happy that Bois d’Argent has been such a hit in the Howe household! I’m surprised this was ever a masculine cologne, I do wonder if Dior noticed BdA and Eau Noire were more a hit with women. Like Mr. H, I’m not normally a fan of masculines but this is way over on the feminine end of the spectrum for me too. Pleased to hear you like that weird one, Eau Noire – it fascinates me no end. Get that Dior shelf ready!

  7. Lucy says:

    sounds like you were at the right place at the right time, a lucky find!

    • Tara says:

      Lucy, it’s so funny, I spend all that money on samples and rarely find anything I truly love and then one day while shopping, a full bottle-worthy perfume finds me!

  8. CC says:

    Has Dior changed the formulation when it became part of La Collection Privée? I am not a lover of very sweet fragrances but Bois D’Argent only has a slightly sweet “cast” on me. The frankincense and, perhaps, benzoin (maybe the source of the vanilla leather?) I can smell the iris, too, along with the musk. The bottles I have wear like an EDC or EDT, but I see you have mentioned EDP. Perhaps those who find the EDP too strong may like the older version? I’m just guessing…

    • Tara says:

      Hi CC, the Eau de Parfum has now replaced the EDC (though it comes up quite regularly on ebay in the UK), I wonder if it differs much from the original version – which I’ve never tried – apart from presumably having greater longevity due to a higher concentration. I not a lover of very sweet fragrances either but Bois d’Argent is not overly sweet on me, thank goodness!

  9. Lavanya says:

    ooh- I love the sound of “white incense over vanilla”..I need to try this. Hypnotic Poison was one of my first loves, but there is something metallic and thin in there that makes it difficult for me to wear these days. [It has been a while since I've worn HP though- I should bring out my bottle once the weather gets cooler]..

    • Tara says:

      Hi Lavanya, white incense over vanilla pretty much sums it up for me though others seem to get more prominant iris than I do. It’s funny about first loves such as Hypnotic Poison. I think the more perfumes we experience and “smell consciously” when we go back to our old loves and we might suddenly find something we’re not so keen on that we didn’t notice before. I hope HP works for you again in the Autumn/Fall.

  10. Undina says:

    Sweet? Supersickly sweet?!! My skin probably has its own chemical laboratory going on there but “sweet” is probably one of the last characteristics that come to my mind while I smell this perfume (and I have my wrist glued to my nose as I type these words). I smell no sweetness at all. Gourmand? Not even a hint for my nose. Amazing.

    There is some herbal note in the beginning that I do not like but later when it calms down letting the iris to become more prominent I like it more.

    It is very quiet and close to skin when applied from a dab sample so I wonder how it would feel sprayed: I might give it a try if I ever come across it in a B&M store.

    Tara, thank you for the review (and a sample to go along with it ;) ).

    • Tara says:

      Hi Undina, glad you got the sample in time so you were able to sniff along with the review! I do think skin chemistry affects the level of sweetness and it’s amazing that you get no sweetness at all. People are obviously getting very different experiences of it so BdA must be one of those perfumes that reacts differently on different people’s skin. Personal taste is also a factor, don’t you think? What is too sweet for one person will be not sweet enough for someone else. I have to say though, I think Bois d’Argent is pretty far off gourmand territory.

      I think it is quiet and close even when sprayed but do try it when you get access to a tester and let me know what you think.

      • Undina says:

        This is the second perfume that has a similar reaction from me. If you look at my comment to recent Birgit’s review of Santal 33 you’ll see the same trend. I checked notes for both perfumes and can’t figure out what can cause that. But it’s definitely not the case of a personal taste since I can’t smell the sweetness at all and not just think that “yes, it’s sweet but it’s a right amount of it”.

        • Tara says:

          Hmmm, interesting. Obviously it’s not a taste issue in your case because, as you say, you just don’t get any. I have heard a lot about sweet-eating and sweet-amplifing skin so there is definitely a skin chemistry factor for many. However, it sounds like in your case you’ve only experienced this with two perfumes so I wonder if there is a particular common molecule in both that is supplying the sweetness – or not – which you are reacting to. It’s impossible to tell from note lists because they don’t tell you the precise chemicals they are using. I guess we’ll never know for sure but it’s fascinating. At least it doesn’t seem to be stopping you from enjoying these perfumes, which is good!

  11. Asali says:

    Tara thank you very much for this beautiful review. I would probably have passed on this, as it seems all houses are now doing private collections, but you make it sound absolutely worth testing. And the notes are really all ‘mine':-)

    • Tara says:

      Hi Asali! Pleased you enjoyed the review, the notes in this are just my kind of thing too. I find the huge privale collections daunting as well but there are some gems in the Dior Privée line that are worth seeking out and BdA is definitely one of them – glad I was able to bring it to your attention!

  12. Vanessa says:

    Hadn’t heard of this, so thanks for the heads up. Sounds like a must try – for the “honeyed vanilla” facet in particular. Great Klimt pic, too!

    • Tara says:

      Vanessa, I’m happy to have alerted you to the existence of Bois d’Argent!

      I’m very lucky that B picks such great pics. I seriously want that Klimt print for my house now…

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  14. parker says:

    I hope my girlfriend loves Bois d’Argent, i pick BdA over Ambre Nuit.

  15. Rob says:

    Oh boy !…Now this whole decision process gets harder and harder. I was just about to order a bottle of BdA and then felt my enthusiasm lightly deflated by what I read on here. For one thing, I desired this scent from the very start. The ingredients seemed spot on for what I look for in my purchase. Then I read the words ” much more suited to a woman” etc…and I became puzzled why this is a clearly masculine frag from Dior . I know I know, Dior Homme is prob more feminine for most male tastes. But please put my mind at rest here. Is BdA as sweetly makeupbaggish as Dior Homme?……and from that is this one of those fragrances that gives off that ” somebody should tell him he smells decidely and undoubtedly girlish” ….I love Dior Vetiver and looked for a companion from the Dior Privee range with a little leather to chew on ….Leather oud was a distant unlikeable stranger I hope not to meet again …..And one last thing ….if indeed BdA does have a baby powder type vibe going on ……why oh why would any man want to smell of the stuff……maybe my great grandad ….but that would be for purely practical reasons alone given his age and the issues that come along with it…
    Would BdA be sexy on a woman but maybe too effete for a guy? And how about those other blogs written by guys stating BdA’s similar bewitching allure on a male?……..Now I am confused .

    • Tara says:

      Hi Rob, sorry to have caused you such a dilemma! I have to say though that I would really not recommend purchasing unsniffed especially something as pricey as BdA. It is certainly nothing like Poivre 23 and to me it has a very noticeable sweet vanilla backdrop (although that varies from person to person as you can see from the comments above).

      I would also not take the note list too literally. I think you’ll be disappointed if you’re searching for “a little leather to chew on” because I for one can’t detect any! I’m not saying a man can’t wear it, of course not, but I think as you are wary of feminine sweetness, I wonder if BdA is right for you and would at least highly recommend trying before you buy. I do think it stopped being classified as a men’s cologne for a reason!

      I agree with Birgit that Parfumerie Generale would be a good line for you to try. I also suggest Timbuktu by L’Artisan Parfumeur which is an airy woody scent with a nice dose of pepper and incense (and not in the least feminine) so I’d give that a go too. I hope this was of some help!

  16. Rob says:

    I forgot to mention that I am wearing Poivre 23 right now. Would BdA, if I do decide to purchase, be somewhat similar to Poivre 23?……so many qsts….gosh .this Rob is an eager young entrant to the world of frags is he not ?…..hahah

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Rob! Welcome!
      This post was written by my friend Tara, and she is the one who knows this perfume very well, I alerted her to your dilemma, so she’ll be answering you soon.
      I thought I’d just add my opinion on the Poivre 23 comparison. In a word: no. I think the Le Labo and Bois d’Argent are quite different, Poivre being darker, with a broader, more resinous base. And the peppery top is singular to Poivre 23 anyway. Also I get a different mood entirely, silvery-hazy and a bit ethereal for Bois d’Argent on the one hand, and an earthy softness that is very grounded for Poivre.
      Good luck, I hope you come to the right decision! :)

      • Rob says:

        Olfactoria,
        You are spot on about Poivre 23 having an almost grounded albeit enigmatic effect in its development. I was totally awestruck by its comforting elegance that remains accessible and inviting while also stimulating the senses to recall distant memories once thought long forgotten. A heady brew that in fact never encroaches on the wearers personal place of serenity and calmness. Well worth the relatively steep coinage and the longevity is superb in the 30% parfum extrait concentration.
        As for BdA, I wonder if it may be too “dandyish” for my tastes ?……I feel there is spot in my frag collection thats fills a priscient need for a versatile warm alluring soft woodsy scent that has insense and myrh notes without going into a Musc Ravageur allout sweetness territory. I usually can handle sugary baked items for no longer than it takes to consume them, and then wash my hands of the residue that is not allowed to linger for any time afterwards.
        If we can determine that BdA is a less sweet more subtle and airier, if you will, composition not overly feminine , then a wardrobe pass will be issued.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I get the feeling it might indeed be too feminine for you…
          I am someone who does not wear overly masculine creations, but I have no problem with any masculine vibe from Bois d’Argent, so that could be an indication. Bois d’Argent is not as sweet-gourmand-ish as Dior Homme, but it has a very delicate air that one might interpret as feminine, if you are sensitive to and don’t care for such a thing.
          Let’s wait what Tara says, she’s the Bois d’Argent expert. :)
          But what you say about “softly woody, incense and myrrh” gets me thinking inevitably in the direction of Parfumerie Generale. Do you know Pierre Guillaume’s creations? Maybe you smell your way around those a bit (for example Cadjmeré, Myrrhiade (Huitième Art Collection), Cedre Sandaraque…)

  17. Lula says:

    Olfactoria,

    Thank you for the wonderful review of this fragrance. Do you have any indication where one could purchase this outside of the UK? I live in the states and am having the hardest time tracking down this fragrance :(

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Lula,
      the fragrances of the Dior La Collection Privėe are available in all Dior boutiques and also online at Dior.com.
      Bois d’Argent is a beautiful perfume indeed. :)

  18. Angelo says:

    Greetings everyone,

    I’ve been a loyal fan of Bois D’Argent since 2005 and haven’t regretted any subsequent purchases of it. Bois D’Argent is an incredibly elegant perfume with its mild sweetness toned down with the iris & woodsy ingredients that work flawlessly on my skin. I find myself enveloped by its hypnotizing & ethereal vibes. Concisely put, it does its job of having an effect on those surrounding me. It’s my signature fragrance that garners the most wonderful compliments all across Manhattan (Seriously, if I’m out shopping or at a bar, at least one person a day compliments me when I’m wearing Bois D’Argent. In fact, just yesterday I was at Sephora chatting to a salesgirl who randomly blurted out, “Oh my goodness, your fragrance is intoxicating. I love it” – this was about 10 hours after I had sprayed it on in the morning).

    Women tell me I smell incredibly confident and sexy. Some also say it’s a perfume they would wear themselves. I’m never one to conform to solely buying products marketed for men. I personally go for fragrances that work well with my skin, regardless if it’s promoted as a female or male’s fragrance. My second favorite scent, which sometimes comes rather close to BdA, is my parfum of Chanel’s remarkable Bois Des Iles. I even wear the legendary No 5 which is almost like diamond powder to my skin. Who cares if it’s marketed for a man or women, just buy what smells good on you! :)

    As a sidenote, and coming from someone who is a devout admirer of Dior & the House of Dior, the first three fragrances of the exclusive Dior Homme line, where BdA comes from, were never created in Eau de Cologne concentration but have always been Eau de Parfum. As I noticed with my first bottle in 2005, the scent would last for well over 12 hours which is not a typical characteristic of Eau de Cologne formulas (Even though it clearly states “Cologne” on the box & bottle). As I was curious to know whether or not it was EdC or EdP, on my next visit to the Dior Homme boutique the manager confirmed my initial speculation: he stated that they are indeed Eau de Parfum concentrations but have the word “Cologne” stamped on the box & bottle simply as a marketing ploy. Apparently, the term “Eau de Parfum” may turn off men from buying the product thinking it’s for women so the house decided to use “Cologne” which is generally associated with men’s fragrances.

    The formula hasn’t changed as I just recently received a brand new 250mL bottle last week that smells exactly the same and garners the same compliments. I was also delighted to finally have some proper, and adorable I might say, miniature versions of BdA (as well as Ambre Nuit) for my bag (Who doesn’t like having a travel size to touch up later in the evening if it’s needed!?).

    This is my fragrance for life (I also wear Ambre Nuit which is a new favorite).

    I go for top quality and lasting strength when it comes to fragrances (Not meaning to sound like a snob but it’s either parfum or eau de parfum for me – I’m sure many of you will kindly agree!)

    Question for the pros here: Apparently I go for lighter, mildly sweet, amber yet woodsy & powdery fragrances (Bois D’Argent, Bois Des Iles, No. 5, Ambre Nuit, Coco). From what I’ve been told, I always smell “classic” “clean” and “old world” (thanks to my best friend!). Do people build a certain subconscious aesthetic or intelligence when it comes to selecting personal fragrances?

    Also, as I’m a male that lives for fragrances, along with the minis of BdA, AN, PI, the salesgirl gave me tester vials of the rest of the collection and I must say that New Look 1947 BLEW ME AWAY! (It is indeed a powerful floral but the dry-down is so sensual.) Mitzah is quite stunning as well.

    La Collection Privee is such a wonderful collection. As the little booklet says, it’s “true olfactory creations.” :)

    • Tara says:

      Hi Angelo, I’m glad to hear that you love Bois d’Argent so much and that you receive so compliments on it. It’s a wonderful thing when you find a fragrance that you know will be with you for life.

      That’s an interesting question regarding the reasons we choose the perfumes we do. I’m definitely no expert – rather a perfume fan(atic) – so in my purely personal opinion, I would say that for the vast majority of people, whether they like a perfume or not is largely down to a subconscious, somewhat visceral reaction to what they are smelling. A lot of people do tend to go for a certain category or style of fragrance and this is mostly a question of personal taste – what we find appealing. Like you, I have found that I go for quite classically styled fragrances such as B d’A and Bois des Iles. It just so happened that these were the perfumes that “spoke to me” on testing. So all in all I would say taste in fragrance is a very subjective, deep-rooted, emotional matter rather than an intellectual process.

      Of course we do not choose perfume in a vaccum, so on a intellectual level issues such as how we perceive the brand will come into play. Many people like to associate themselves with a brand whose aesethetic they admire. These companies aren’t spending millions on advertising for nothing! However, unless all you really care about is being associated with a certina celebrity/brand and will wear anything as long as it’s not replusive, then ultimately the way you feel when you spray that tester is the key.

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  20. Giuliano Michelangelo says:

    voglio acuistare il profumo bois D’argento dior

  21. Philipp says:

    Bois d’Argent is a very well-done scent and absolutely pleasant, but when I wore it two days ago I felt it was very similar to Bois d`Iris by Van Cleef & Arpels. What do you think Birgit?

    • Olfactoria says:

      I think the two are indeed similar. But Bois d’Iris is a bit more leaning on the feminine side to my nose. When it comes to sillage and longevity the Dior is in the lead. If money were no object, I’d own a bottle of both, but then I am an iris fan. If I had to suggest one or the other to a man, I’d go with Bois d’Argent.

  22. Philipp says:

    I think I will test Bois d’Iris and Bois d’Argent side-by-side tomorrow… I am curious to compare and contrast the two. Iris is one of my favourite notes too, so far my iris collection comprises: Hiris, Homme de Coeur, Infusion d’iris EdP and EdP Absolue.

    I am looking forward to adding Iris Silver Mist to my collection soon, I am just waiting for Serge Lutens to offer complimentary personalisation on bell jars to pull the trigger.

    I am not sure if Iris Poudree, Bois d’Iris and Bois d’Argent are fb-worthy.

  23. Philippe says:

    Great review of Bois d’Argent. I love notes of iris, wood and leather so I’ll have to check it out.

    I have a question though, I’m always intrigued about how amazing the Dior Homme boutiques smell. Do you know what scent they use to fragrance their Dior homme boutiques?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Philippe,
      thank you! Bois d’Argent is one of my all time favorite fragrances.
      I’m afraid I can’t answer your question, since I only ever go to the women’s boutique… Maybe you can just ask them the next time you are there.

  24. John says:

    Hey,do you think it’s okay if I wear this frag in hot humid weather?Especially in Miami…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hey John,
      I think applied in moderation this is absolutely fine in humid weather. I have a friend who lives in Cocoa Beach, she wears it regularly even in summer.

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