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.
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.