I never liked licorice until I got pregnant. Apart from changing my entire life forever, pregnancy also, interestingly, changed my attitude towards licorice. I really craved it then, and the predilection has stayed with me since (thankfully the mood swings have not, or have they?).
Un Bois Vanille, as the name cunningly implies, is supposed to be about vanilla. It is, too, but not solely. This is pretty close to the picture I get in my mind when smelling Un Bois Vanille…
It was created in 2003 by Christopher Sheldrake and features notes of black vanilla absolute, licorice, sandalwood, coconut milk, beeswax, caramelized benzoin, bitter almond, Gaiac wood, and tonka bean (according to Luckyscent).
But the fragrance doesn’t stay that innocent. Soon after the first spray, Un Bois Vanille starts to develop away from the merry licorice tree towards something darker, decidedly more grown up. The forest I start to see in my minds eye is straight out of the Brothers Grimm, dark, shadowy, still sweet, but there is danger lurking beneath the sweetness.
(Okay, I’m being not entirely truthful here, I am a very, very big coward, but bear with me for the sake of the story. Whatever, moving on, back to the business at hand.)
Many reviews center on the gourmand aspect of Un Bois Vanille (Gaia at the Non-Blonde writes an especially mouthwatering review), I get much more of the dark, woody and smoky notes, less of the foody ones, which makes it quintessentially Lutens for me. The dark forest, where one can get lost easily, where all the bad creatures hide out, where it is forbidden to go, that is where Serge and Christopher love to take us.
And many of us gladly if shiveringly follow…