Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Crème brûlée vanilla infused with the darkness of smoky woods. That’s the essence of Serge LutensUn Bois Vanille, which seeks to turn the gourmand category on its head through the contrast of devilish woods. To quote Uncle Serge, “both the devil and vanilla like black.”

Source: Luckyscent.

Source: Luckyscent.

Un Bois Vanille is an eau de parfum that was created with Lutens’ favorite perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, and released in 2003. On his website, Monsieur Lutens speaks about the perfume’s character in allegorical terms

To paraphrase Freud, it’s not the evil who are full of regrets, but the good. Both the devil and vanilla like black.

No sentimentality here!
Within each of us, this mellowness grows stronger and more refined thanks to contrasting wood notes. Continue reading

Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois



A thick fog of red and brown spices covers the cedar forest, while the ground runs purple from a river of darkened fruits and sticky plums. The leaves are sprinkled with ginger and cumin, hiding the heavy peaches from sight. One giant cedar towers above all the rest, with dark, dry bark that is lightly peppered, and sometimes dusted with sweetened powder. Its ancient roots protectively cradle African violets that cast a purple glow like a beacon. Its fragrant smell briefly infiltrates the sticky, purple haze of gingered plums, but the cedar forest rules over them all. It’s a forest called Féminité du Bois.

The original Shiseido Feminite du Bois. Source:

The original Shiseido Feminite du Bois. Source:

Féminité du Bois is an eau de parfum that is considered both ground-breaking and quite revolutionary. At the time of its debut in 1992, there was nothing quite like its Oriental play on woody masculinity and feminine sweetness, all running on a river of heavily spiced, darkened fruits, and meant to evoke the precise smell of Morocco’s cedar wood.

Beyond that, however, Féminité du Bois has a very important history within the Lutens brand itself. It is essentially the mothership for many subsequent Lutens fragrances, particularly in his Bois Collection, and was the first to demonstrate the famous Lutens signature of sweet, spiced, dark fruits nestled in a wooded framework inspired by Morocco. Yet, Féminité du Bois originally began as a perfume for Shiseido, and it is one of the few Lutens creations that was not made solely by Christopher Sheldrake. Actually, most of the work was done by the famous Pierre Bourdon.

Luca Turin, the famous perfume critic, briefly talks about the origins of Féminité du Bois in his book, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. He explains how the “woody-fruity structure of Féminité du Bois was first devised by the perfumer Pierre Bourdon, … and then passed on to perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, who developed it with Lutens… to keep it as dark and transparent as possible.” When Lutens decided to leave Shiseido and open his own perfume house, he needed more perfumes for his brand, and decided to do variations on his uber-successful Féminité. Enter, the Bois series, with such fragrances as Bois en Violette and Bois et Fruits. Shiseido, however, seems to have kept ownership of the Mother, Féminité du Bois, until it was finally and officially returned to the Serge Lutens marque in 2009.

The Lutens Feminite du Bois.

The Lutens Feminite du Bois.

Luckyscent elaborates further on the background, development and significance of Feminite du Bois (which I’ll spell from here on out without the accents for speed and convenience), as well as reformulations made to the scent in recent years:

A milestone in the history of contemporary perfumery, Féminité du Bois can be considered as the template of Serge Lutens’ trademark woods, fruit and spices variations. As the stories goes, Lutens, who had yet to launch his Salons du Palais Royal line, dragged the Shiseido and Quest teams to Marrakech to make them understand just what he was after: the quintessence of Atlas cedar. Christopher Sheldrake was the one who caught on; the great Pierre Bourdon completed the formula. The result was a breakthrough in the world of women’s fragrances: a dark, honeyed, animalic wood rubbed with candied fruit, sweet balms and the slow burn of spices, encrusted with the amethyst flash of violets.

Today, Féminité du Bois, the mother of all Lutens fragrances, has left Shiseido and found its true home. It has shed its strangely compelling dusty pink and plum flacon and Lutens has officially admitted that the formula was slightly tweaked to comply with new regulations, though he maintains that “the quality (creative and olfactive) remains authentic”. Aficionados may find the top notes a tad softer and the base a little muskier, but the fragrance is still entirely, deliciously Féminité du Bois.

Surrender to Chance has a similar comment about the new version (which it says was released in 2012, not 2009) and the reformulated changes:

Serge Lutens has noted that the formula has been altered to comply with the new IFRA regulations – softer top notes and a muskier base.

A young cedar tree trunk.

A young cedar tree trunk.

For Serge Lutens, the focus of the scent is not the plummy, spiced fruits for which he has become famous, but the cedar and the perfume’s twist on femininity. On his website, Serge Lutens says:

This scent expresses the masculine side of femininity and vice-versa.

It’s all about cedar. Wood accounted for 60% of the composition. Amazed, people called it revolutionary. The fragrance took on its own identity, which is the one thing that really matters to me.

As always, the official notes in a Serge Lutens fragrance are unknown, but Luckyscent says they include:

Ginger, cinnamon, clove, plum, peach, orange blossom, violet, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin.

I would add beeswax or labdanum to that list, along with cumin. To my nose, there is definitely some cumin in Feminite du Bois, slight though it may be. As point of contrast, the original Shiseido Feminite is said to have the following elements:

With top notes of cedarwood, orange blossom, peach, honey, plum, and beeswax; middle notes of cedarwood, clove, cardamom, and cinnamon; and base notes of cedarwood, clove, cardamom, and cinnamon.



The modern, current version of Feminite du Bois opens on my skin with a dense, concentrated, syrupy blend of ginger, cooked plums, cumin and cedar, followed by lighter touches of orange blossom and cinnamon. The dark, almost resinous, stickiness of gingered plums is heavily bracketed by the dry, slightly smoky cedar, but a subtle, tiny pop of vanilla lurks at the edges. The orange blossom adds a floral sweetness to ensure that Feminite du Bois is never all about the spices or the woods, but it is a subtle touch that seems to fade quickly into the background.

Crystallized, candied Ginger. Source:

Crystallized, candied Ginger. Source:

As a whole, the most dominant elements in Feminite du Bois’ opening moments are the spices and fruits. The ginger is simultaneously pungent, slightly biting and fresh, crystallized and sweet. It is backed by a definite trace of cumin, adding to the Moroccan inspiration. It is a very subtle and muffled touch on my skin, though much more noticeable than the cinnamon that barely appears in any concrete way. As for the cloves, I’ve worn Feminite du Bois a number of times, and I’ve never noticed it. Generally, the ginger dominates them all, while the rest melt into the plum molasses merely as an abstract, very generalized “spice” accord.

Monin violet syrup. Source:

Monin violet syrup. Source:

Other elements are noticeable alongside the ginger. The peach is juicy, sweet, and thoroughly infused with the orange blossom. Then, there are the violets. Initially, they hover at  the edges, noticeable primarily through their dewy, liquidy, slightly woody, green floralacy. Within 10 minutes, however, they turn more syrupy, lose some of their dewy delicacy, and seep onto center stage where they join the ginger plum molasses and the dry cedar.

Around the same time, Feminite du Bois undergoes a radical shift. The perfume turns very airy and light on my skin, losing at least 60% of its initial dense viscosity and weight. I cannot believe just how rapidly this perfume changes from the heavy, thick, sticky opening, almost as if the whole thing had been diluted with water.

It’s a shockingly fast transition to the transparency mentioned by Luca Turin, and it’s matched by a similar softness in sillage. Two big sprays from my atomizer yielded 2 inches in projection, at best, while double that quantity only increased the radius by another inch. Don’t get me wrong, Feminite du Bois is still very potent up close, but you have to be up close indeed. This isn’t a powerhouse scent by any means. From afar, it now feels practically gauzy as compared to the heft and syrupy density that I first experienced. And all this within a mere 10 minutes! It has to be due to the reformulation issue, and I suddenly understand why so many lovers of the vintage Shiseido version act so depressed when the subject of the modern Feminite comes up.

Photo: Manal at

Photo: Manal at

I find Feminite du Bois to be an odd scent on other levels, too. Primarily, the way that Feminite rapidly diffuses, as its notes lose shape, clear delineation and distinctness. It takes less than 30 minutes for the notes to blur into each other, and for Feminite du Bois becomes a haze of ginger, syrupy plums, and violets in a dark, spiced, dry, cedar embrace. The other elements pop up occasionally in the background, particularly the peach and, to a lesser extent, the cumin, but they’re rather weak. The whole bouquet hovers just an inch above the skin, at best.

Photo: my own

Photo: my own

The cedar grows stronger with every passing minute and eventually turns into the dominant element after 90 minutes. It is infused with plumminess, dusted with ginger, and has a light dash of powderiness as if from tonka. The violet retreats to the sidelines where it joins the peach, orange blossom and cumin in muted silence. In the base, there is the tiniest suggestion of labdanum, judging by the tell-tale trace of honeyed beeswax and a flicker of toffee lurking at the edges.

"Shell Life" by David White. Source:

“Shell Life” by David White. Source:

That’s really about it in terms of layers, complexity or major developments on my skin. At the end of the 4th hour, Feminite du Bois is a skin scent and an abstract blur of spiced, fruited, lightly powdered cedar with a mix of sweetness and dryness. Eventually, it turns into powdered, vaguely sweet woodiness, and dies away entirely. With 2 sprays from my atomizer, Feminite du Bois lasted exactly 6.75 hours on my skin. With double that quantity, the time frame was pushed out by another 75 minutes. Truth be told, I found the sillage and longevity to be disappointing.

In preparation for this review, I read back what I’d written on the famous Bois de Violette, one of Feminite’s most beloved offspring. I noticed that much of my experience with the Mother paralleled what I had previously gone through with the child. There is the same tendency for the secondary notes to rapidly hit small peaks before ebbing away like the tide. In the case of Feminite du Bois, first it was the florals which melted into the background about forty minutes into the perfume’s development, and which were no longer noticeable in an individual, distinct manner. Then, it was the turn of the spices which turned amorphous and abstract, having merely an indirect effect on the fruited cedar duo. Finally, just as with Bois de Violette, Feminite du Bois took exactly 90 minutes to turn muted and subdued, with blurred edges that made the fragrance feel like an out-of-focus snapshot of fruited, spiced woodiness.

For everyone else, the response to Feminite du Bois seems to depend largely on whether or not the person knew and loved the original Shiseido version. Newcomers to Feminite du Bois seem to thoroughly enjoy it. Old admirers generally bemoan what has happened with the reformulation, though there are a few commentators on places like Luckyscent who don’t find it too terrible, and one who insists that the new version actually lasts longer.

Cedar bark. Source:

Cedar bark. Source:

On Fragrantica, the vast majority generally like the scent, but a few have some issues. Cedar is a note which can translate to some noses as “pencil shavings,” and that is a point which comes up a few times. A handful found the cumin/wood combination to be difficult. Some women rave about how feminine the perfume is, while a few men found it wholly masculine. One woman’s extremely positive review reads as follows:

It opens on my skin with a burst of cedar, conjuring up images of bonfires in autumn. It’s like a nostalgic hug. As the heart notes begin to show themselves, I get spiced plum and ginger. A gorgeous, spiced fruit concoction that never gets sweet, but never too spicy either. The cedar and other wood notes stay lingering in the background, but allow the fruit and spices to steal the show during the dry down.

I adore how feminine this is without being floral or powdery in the slightest. It’s fruity without ever getting sickly and spicy/woody without ever getting overtly masculine. It even has peach that doesn’t smell like it belongs on a teenager! It’s basically everything I always wanted a perfume to be. [¶] Excellent longevity, very light sillage (which I appreciate here. I wear this like a secret).



As some of you know, I really like and own one of Feminite’s offspring, Bois et Fruits, so I was interested to read a Fragrantica review that compared the perfume mother with two of her Bois children:

One my favorite fragrance of all time. Feminite Du Bois smells like a slightly more feminized version of Bois et Fruits. It is lighter in weight to me than Fruits (although some people say the exact opposite). They smell extremely similar but BeF is more dense and spicy; FdB is more soft and feminine, especially the dry down. I love them both but if I had to choose one it would probably be FdB. Bois de Violette smells extremely similar to both also. I am amazed at how similar the Lutens “Bois” all smell.

It is impossible to put into words what smelling Feminite du Bois does to my brain. It is sort of an other worldly experience. It smells so good that it is distracting and literally makes it hard to focus on anything else when I get a whiff of it. I have heard that the original Shiseido version is ever better…and if that is the case I am certain my heart might stop if I ever smelled it. [Emphasis to names added by me.]



Some people find the scent to be all about roses, others about creamy woods, a handful mention Dior‘s Dolce Vita, and a few think it’s sexual as hell:

  • oh my goodness. I’ve found the holy grail of perfumes. This is manifique’ …beautiful exquisite, definently unisex however leans more twords feminine. Just a perfect rose blend, not too much cedar just the right amount and the spice pepper is perfect.
  • This is a woody rose fragrance, but on top of this is a prominent herbal-medicinal smell, particularly on initial application. As this medicinal smell fades, it becomes warm and sensuous and very likeable. It is for the evening, but does not screech sexuality – rather it is deep and womanly.
  •  it is beautiful! I can smell the resemblance to Dolce Vita, but this one is much more woody and less sweet. In the drydown I detect an animalic element, not at all evident from the beginning. Feminite du Bois speaks of an almost primitive, raw femininity that not everybody can handle. But if you have the persona to wear it, it will be a combination one of a kind!
  • Feminite du Bois by Serge Lutens is a highly sexed and slightly sloshed slice of everyday bohemia. [¶] It dances along the line between near propriety and beyond the pale and ends up firmly planting its big feet on the wrong side of the tracks. [¶] After an early and brief spring of orange blossom and a slightly boozy, on the turn peach, the foliage and fruits give way quickly to the main part of the tree and the backbone of the perfume, the trunk. [¶] This is a fragrance that never fails to get and give good wood.

And the most hilarious assessment of them all:

Pencil shavings, erasers, and sweaty, over- sexed nether regions ensconced in powder and petals on a dark forest floor. This is female, dark female, at its most natural and primal realm, all possible elements included. This is the fragrance of a pinned up librarian by day, sex goddess by night. The lady is not what she seems…



The detractors are louder on Luckyscent, though not always about the actual fragrance itself:

  • The first Serge Lutens I have disliked. The combination of cinnamon, cedar and musk has a simultaneously antiseptic and Aden quality that is headache inducing.
  • This was a gorgeous light and feminine sandalwood for all of the six minutes that it lasted on my skin. I’m impressed by the elegance of the wood mixed with light floral notes but not by the lack of durability.
  • Well, not bad, but nothing special. Rather flat scent.
  • i have 1992 feminitie de bois, this is not even close. really not the same. very dissapointed when i compared

That comment about Feminite du Bois lasting a mere 6 minutes might be hyperbole, but perhaps not by too much. I’ve read several comments on Fragrantica and elsewhere saying that the perfume lasts a mere 15 minutes, 45 minutes, or just a brief few hours. The very soft, intimate sillage doesn’t help in making the perfume’s presence known. However, for a small minority of people, Feminite du Bois was quite long-lasting. On Fragrantica, the votes break down as follows:

  • Longevity: 42 chose Moderate (3-6 hours), followed then by 20 votes for Long Lasting (7-12 hours) and 8 for Very Long-Lasting (12+ hours).
  • Sillage: 45 for Moderate, 23 for Soft, 20 for Heavy, and 11 for Enormous.

I suspect that Feminite du Bois is a fragrance which will require a good number of sprays to really last, but which will always be extremely discreet and unobtrusive in projection unless your skin really amplifies perfume. Thankfully, the perfume is quite affordable on a number of discount retail sites, thereby enabling you to spray with wild abandon if you want to increase its longevity. In the Details section below, you will find links to places which offer Feminite du Bois for as low as $68 in lieu of the usual retail price of $130.

The bottom line for Feminite du Bois really comes down to a few things. If you’re a hardcore Lutens fan who hasn’t tried either version of Feminite du Bois, you should explore the new one — if only to know the Mothership for the Lutens signature as a whole. If you knew the original Shiseido legend, however, odds are that you’ll be disappointed with the reformulated, weakened version. And if you’ve never tried either one or if you are generally unfamiliar with the Lutens line, you should give Feminite du Bois a sniff provided that: you enjoy very woody, spiced, unisex Oriental fragrances; and you don’t mind scents that are initially heavy in feel, but then quickly become soft, sheer, and intimate. Ideally, you shouldn’t mind a bit of cumin or some sticky, fruited sweetness, either. If any of that sounds like you, then Feminite du Bois may be right up your alley.

General Cost & Discounted Sales Prices: Feminite du Bois is an eau de parfum that comes in a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle. It costs $130, €85, or £74. There is also the option of buying the scent in two sleek, black, 30 ml “refill” sprays, for a total of 60 ml or 2 oz all in all, for $135 or €90. That last option is exclusive to the Lutens websites (see below). However, you can find Feminite du Bois discounted in the 50 ml size on Amazon for a mere $68.95. It is sold directly by Amazon, not through third-party vendors. Feminite du Bois is also discounted on FragranceNet for the same price of $68.95 with a coupon and free domestic shipping. (International shipping is free for orders over $100.) FragranceNet has numberous sub-sites for the UK, EU, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia, and more. Go to the top right-hand side of the page, click the flag icon, and chose your country. The UK price is £41.64, the Canadian price is CAD$76.78, the Australian is AUD 74.70, and the EU discounted price is €50.
Serge Lutens & U.S. vendors: You can find Feminite du Bois in the 50 ml bottle on Serge Lutens’ U.S. and International websites. The refill option is also available on the U.S. and International sites. Elsewhere, Feminite du Bois is available in the 50 ml size from Barney’s, Luckyscent, Aedes, and Beautyhabit.
Outside the U.S.: In Canada, you can find Feminite du Bois at The Perfume Shoppe for what may be US$120, not Canadian, as it is an American company with a Vancouver branch. They also offer some sample or travel options for Lutens perfumes. In the UK, you can find Feminite du Bois at Harrods and Liberty, priced at £74. In France, it is sold at Sephora for €87.50, but Premiere Avenue has it for €79. The latter ships world-wide. Essenza Nobile also has Feminite du Bois for €79. In Belgium, the Lutens line is found at Senteurs d’Ailleurs. In Australia, Feminite du Bois is discounted by FragranceNet at the link given above. For regular distribution, the Lutens line in Australia can be found at Mecca Cosmetica. For all other locations, from Bahrain to Tokyo, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Korea, you can use the Lutens Store Locator Guide.
Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Feminite du Bois starting at $6.99 for a 1 ml vial. It also has the very rare, possibly vintage Shiseido Version starting at $7.99 for a 1/2 ml vial.

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane: Bipolar Extremes

Olfactory bipolarity, a perfume holding you hostage with assault weapons, Michelle Pfeiffer in “Married to the Mob,” 80s big hair, prepubescent girls, Pantene, and generic facelessness that “is not worthy of the Lutens name” — you better hold on, because this is going to be a bumpy ride. All those disparate things (and more) are reactions to Serge Lutens’ Nuit de Cellophane, and not just from me, either. This is a perfume that gave me olfactory whiplash, and whose opening almost verged on the oppressive. It takes a lot to make me cower, but I would have whimpered like a child, were it not for an extreme shift due to the aforementioned bipolarity.

Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Nuit de Cellophane is an eau de parfum that was created with Lutens’ favorite perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, and released in 2009. On his website, Lutens describes the perfume as follows

When, beneath its cellophane, Haute Couture was but yet an idea.

Are you familiar with the scent of osmanthus? The flower is white or tinged with orange.
From the tight clusters of its petals bursts the scent of jasmine laced with mandarin orange.
On hot summer days, it provides a breath of fresh air.

According to Luckyscent, the notes seem to consist of, at a minimum:

Green note, fruity note, jasmine, osmanthus, carnation, lily, muscs, almond, wood, honey.

I first smelled Nuit de Cellophane on a paper strip in Paris at a Sephora boutique, and I really liked its plummy sweetness. It seemed heady, and like a very opulent fruity-floral. On skin, though…. Oh God. Oh God. Nuit de Cellophane opens with the aforementioned plums, followed by something akin to mandarins, and apricots. Seconds later, a metallic, dewy blast of white lilies arrives on the scene, accompanied by the fiery bite of red carnations and something that smells distinctly like a big, fat, white peony rose. 

White Peony. Photo: Will Borden on Fineartamerica.  (Website link embedded within photo.)

White Peony. Photo: Will Borden on Fine Art America. (Website link embedded within photo.)

It’s a visual of heavily petaled, loud whiteness tinged with vermillion, as if blood were dripping from a long, taloned nail onto snowy flowers. There is a subtle greenness to the scent, along with a concentrated bitter-sweet almond, but neither element is strong enough to cut through the intense florals. The whole thing is encased in fleshy orange, from pulpy, sticky mandarin oranges to a vaguely nutty apricot-peach. All of it feels extremely loud, and a thousand times more vulgar than anything that I’ve tried thus far from Serge Lutens. Part of me likes its unbelievably concentrated forcefulness, while the rest of me feels a little stunned at the assault. 



Five minutes in, a very metallic, synthetic element arises, making me wonder if Nuit de Cellophane was, in fact, the first in Serge Lutens’ recent line of quasi-metallic florals. Here, the note smells simultaneously soapy, clean, like hairspray, and like shampoo, all in one. It lingers around the lily aroma that is increasingly overtaking Nuit de Cellophane and becoming the main note. I love white lilies, but the version here is really quite something else. It is over-the-top in its sweetness on my skin, more dense and syrupy than even LutensUn Lys. At the same time, though, it also has a cool, synthetic steeliness and hairspray quality underlying it, something that wasn’t apparent in its lily sibling.

Michelle Pfeiffer in "Married to the Mob." Movie still from

Michelle Pfeiffer in “Married to the Mob.” Movie still from

Something about the overall combination continually makes me imagine a very big-haired, vulgar woman, like Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in the film, “Married to the Mob.” (It’s a hilarious film, by the way.) The connection in my mind stems from Nuit de Cellophane’s hyper-femininity, blowsiness, excess, loudness, and sweetness, with a very tough-as-nails swagger. And did I mention “big hair”? That too, especially as the floral hairspray element in Nuit de Cellophane keeps growing in volume. I do like Nuit de Cellophane a bit more than that description may sound, but not by much. And certainly not for long.

The perfume just keeps becoming sweeter and more shampoo-like on my skin with every passing minute. I realize my skin amplifies both sweetness and synthetics, but this experience leaves me feel utterly overwhelmed. That’s pretty unusual for someone who likes such forceful, powerful scents as Amouage‘s Ubar, Fracas, and Opium. Nuit de Cellophane’s florals, however, will either stomp on you with 9-inch high, plexiglass stripper heels, or drown you in a vat of sweetness, holding your head down in syrup with the longest, crimson dragon nails. You’d think that the spicy, clove-like note from the carnation or he almonds would counter the sweetness, but they don’t. Somehow, on my skin, they merely add to the wild disparity, especially when the almonds take on a cherry-like subtext.

Osmanthus. Source:

Osmanthus. Source:

I truly don’t smell osmanthus in the way that I’m used to, and it actually made me start doubting my own understanding of the note. I’ve always encountered the flower as a sweet, delicate, white thing with nuances of apricots or tea. Occasionally, it even seems to have a dark, leathered subset. Here, however, my skin is really radiating a quasi-rose peony note with some sort of peach-plum combination. I was bewildered because, even if no-one knows the actual notes in a Serge Lutens fragrance, I’d never seen a list that included “rose” or “peony.”

So, I looked up Nuit de Cellophane in Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez‘ book, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. Well, it seems that Tania Sanchez and I may have the same skin. She categorizes Nuit de Cellophane as a “plum peony” fragrance, and writes, in part:

Nuit de Cellophane is another dramatic lapse in judgment: a fruity floral derived from J’Adore, boiled down to a syrup, and in desperate need of dilution. Clearly, some osmanthus was harmed in the production, and in general the florals are much better than you usually get in this genre. But it never manages to overcome a depressing banality and feels a step down fom the creativity of Sarrasins and El Attarine. [Emphasis to names with bolding added by me.]

20 minutes in, I still didn’t smell the osmanthus, but the shampoo and scented hairspray tones were beating a steady drumroll. Nuit de Cellophane remained as a really intense blast of white lilies, white musk synthetics, and peony rose, infused with heavily fruited sweetness. It wafted about 3 inches until the end of the first hour, when the perfume finally began to soften and the projection shrank.

It takes 90 minutes, all in all, for Nuit de Cellophane to calm down enough for the osmanthus to come out from the shadows. Finally, I smell the note that this perfume is meant to celebrate, but it feels as though there were a hostage situation where the lily held the osmanthus for ransom for a while. As the lily retreats to the sidelines, the thick wave of fruited sweetness sharply drops and is cut in half. The shampoo and floral hairspray impression lingers, but it too is much less aggressive. The whole thing is now a blur dominated primarily by osmanthus, then that peony-like note and an increasingly abstract fruitedness. There is a very hazy, blurry feel to the notes, but I think I can still detect small traces of the clove-y carnation and some peach. However, the overall effect from afar is of a very soft, fruity-floral with few distinguishing characteristics other than sweetness and cleanness.

As time passes, Nuit de Cellophane devolves further. The osmanthus, the peony-rose, and the fruited elements become even more nebulous, and the perfume feels like a generic, department store floral. The problem really seems to be two-fold: shapeless and cleanness. The florals elements don’t stand out in any way except as a blur of some generalized “white flowers,” while the clean musk creates an artificial sterility.



At the end of the 4th hour, my greatest impression of Nuit de Cellophane was of towels which retain the vaguely floral scent of fabric softener and dryer sheets. The softness has a certain fluffiness, which one might argue is a positive, but the scent as a whole has a complete facelessness which is most definitely a negative. When I smelled Nuit de Cellophane really hard up close, I could pick out a vaguely rose-like, white floral scent with some vestige of fruitiness, but it took serious effort. And it may have been wishful thinking.

From the start of the 6th hour until its very end, Nuit de Cellophane was nothing more than a generic blur of floral cleanness. If you put it in a lineup next to any department store fragrance, even earlier on in its development, I honestly doubt I could pick out the Lutens. Regular readers know how I love the house and how much I admire Serge Lutens in particular, so none of this was easy to write, but I really disliked the fragrance that much. All in all, Nuit de Cellophane lasted just shy of 11.75 hours on my skin, and I was unhappy for all of it.



The one thing I kept thinking of when assessing the perfume is how Nuit de Cellophane compares to some of the Lutens florals of the past few years. As many people have noted, 2009 seems to mark a time when Serge Lutens embarked on a course of exploring scents with a light, watery, silvery and/or metallic floral twist. There was his L’Eau Serge Lutens in 2009, Vitriol d’Oeillet in 2011, L’Eau Froide in 2011, La Fille de Berlin in 2013, La Vierge de Fer in 2013, and the upcoming Laine de Verre (i.e., Fiber Glass) next month in February 2014. It feels to me as if Serge Lutens began with L’Eau Serge Lutens, took a detour into a hyper-sweetened (but partially metallic, piercing) Nuit de Cellophane, then decided to keep stripping away at the baseline until he arrived at the recent, metallic, icy, shrieking hairspray lily of La Vierge de Fer.

On my skin, Nuit de Cellophane begins like the earlier 2007 Un Lys, only much sweeter (if you can believe it) and without the narrow lily soliflore focus. It actually fits closer on the scale to La Vierge de Fer given the piercing white musk, yet it has the Serge Lutens’ signature of plummy fruits. La Vierge de Fer feels like the apotheosis of Lutens’ metallic or icy floral trend that Vitriol d’Oeillet and La Fille de Berlin also reflect to some extent, and so, it fits into a definite pattern.

Nuit de Cellophane doesn’t. It has some of the traditional Lutens signature with the plummy fruits, and also, some of the loud schizophrenia of the 2001 Datura Noir. Yet, it lacks the latter’s lushness, more balanced, interesting aspects, as well as the steelier, iciness of recent Lutens florals. Nuit de Cellophane is a bit of everything and nothing for me, as it lurches from one extreme to another. One minute, it holds you hostage with such strongly delineated, syrupy, piercing florals that they feel like assault rifles; the next, it is a faceless girl simpering in a department store in the cheap hairspray and shampoo aisle. Between the discordant notes and the extremes, the whole thing feels quite bipolar to me. As should be quite clear by now, I don’t understand the perfume. I’ve tried but I don’t, no matter how much I search for a pattern. I just don’t get it.

Lest you think this is all just me and hyperbole, let me reassure you that I’m hardly alone in my reaction to Nuit de Cellophane. Take Bois de Jasmin who gave it a rare Two-Star review, and whose bottom-line conclusion was…. shampoo. In fact, try as she might, neither time nor a year’s worth of additional testing could change Victoria’s feelings about the perfume:

… I have held hope that one day I would smell this bland fruity-floral and … figure out what Serge Lutens was trying to achieve with it. It has been a year since I have first smelled Nuit de Cellophane and no such revelation has occurred—it still smells like shampoo to me and I still do not care for it. […]

The opening stage of Nuit de Cellophane is the aspect I dislike the most. The sharp, fruity note that comes through evokes not the velvety softness of apricot skin but rather some drugstore peach shampoo. It is neither pleasant nor interesting, and while eventually it softens enough to reveal the osmanthus heart, the banality of the first impression stays with me.

As the composition develops, the apricot-leather accord becomes stronger, with jasmine and rose highlighting its appealing sweetness. The animalic accents are subtle, never rising above the osmanthus, even in the late drydown. It is a pleasant fragrance at this stage, light and easy to wear. Considering that such compositions are easy enough to find (and often at a much lower price point, I should add) I cannot find any other quality that makes Nuit de Cellophane appealing to me.

However unpleasant her experience, I still think mine was worse. In fact, parts of Nuit de Cellophane on her skin sound almost interesting. Animalic accents? Would that I have been so lucky! At least I’m not crazy in smelling roses in the Nuit de Cellophane.

For I Smell Therefore I Am, Nuit de Cellophane is a pretty white floral (with lilies) that “is not worthy of the Lutens name.” The review states:

Nuit de Cellophane does not smell particularly like osmanthus. Instead it is a bright, joyous and billowy white floral, heavy on jasmine, lily, champaca and some fruity citrus. Nuit de Cellophane is a beautiful white floral but it is not worthy of the Lutens name. There is absolutely nothing unusual, unique, jarring or unexpected about Nuit de Cellophane. It is very pretty, very well done and very mainstream. [¶][…]

I must admit that my first thought after wearing Nuit de Cellophane was, “the SL brand must need a mainstream success very badly; they must need some easy sales in a tough economy.”

On Fragrantica, the very first review you see at the top of the page also happens to be the most amusing, in my opinion. “Arabian Knight” sums it up, quite simply, as:

If you want a cheaper alternative to this overpriced scent, shampoo your hair with Pantene, blow dry it and then shake it back and forth. It smells exactly like freshly shampooed hair….

Baffling :/

On Luckyscent, the comments are split between the haters and those who love what they describe as soft, clean sweetness. On balance, though, the haters seem to win out:

  • On me, this smells like Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, the shampoo all the cool girls used back when I was in seventh grade. Two stars for nostalgia, but I wouldn’t wear it.
  • Very boring. It smells like a generic department store scent, nice and wearable, but just not something from dramatic and tasteful Lutens.
  • This is a very soapy jasmine reminiscent of dryer sheets. Piercing and relentlessly dull, it is a huge disappointment coming from Serge Lutens.
  • A full, brash, sharp floral fragrance. This is almost identical to Michael Kors’ Very Hollywood. There are cheaper perfumes that smell similar to this.
  • I’m really confused by this one… I definitely agree that is smells like “Very Hollywood,” but would venture to say that there is absolutely nothing noteworthy or exceptional about this flat, high-school smelling fragrance. If you like to smell like Victoria’s Secret or the generic department-store fragrance, look no further.

I haven’t sniffed Michael Kors’ Very Hollywood in ages, so I can’t speak to the details. All I can remember is that it was a very sweet floral with little character.But I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty, though: the retail price is not $130 for a 50 ml bottle. (In fact, you can find it on a discount perfume site in a bottle twice that size for $28, while the Lutens’ discounted rate is still significantly more.)

In fairness, and to demonstrate the other side of the picture, there are people who truly love Nuit de Cellophane. Some of the positive reviews on Fragrantica:

  • This is truly an exercise in subtlety. Yet it does not smell like anything else. It is peppery carnation, fresh green, osmanthus, a breath of jasmine, a drop of sweet honey, with a bit of lily dust and soft musk to hold together. [¶] It is a quiet, delicate work of art, for the person who wants to keep her (or his) little secret, that they are wearing something special. Not for the person who wants to announce their presence before they have stepped into a room. I think that winter is not the best season; I think this is an ideal early March through end of April scent.
  • I love this fragrance. It’s juicy fruits supported by heady white florals makes it truly swoon-worthy. The opening is brief and to die for, albeit a bit too short lived in my opinion. It dries down to a soft and clean soapy smell. Even though it doesn’t project as much as I would like, I still adore it.
  • OMG, how could I live without this fantastically well done Osmantus scent??? I`m an Osmantus lover, but never I heard this note so pronounced, so clean, tender, innocent but not simple, simple but far from being primitive… it`s hard to describe, it`s a little sweet, a little acid, you keep sniffing it, trying desperately to disclosure the secret: what is this evasive beauty… It smells like a prepubertal girl must smell… Innocent and vicious in the same time. [¶] I love it.

Honestly, I don’t think smelling like a prepubescent girl is a compliment, but it takes all kinds. All the more power to her. Still, it noteworthy that a few commentators — on both sides of the fence — have brought up youthfulness, whether mentioning preteens or seventh grader girls. I do think the fragrance has an innocuous, safely generic, floral freshness that somehow translates to some noses as innocence. Intellectually, there is logic to the perception, even if I don’t understand it personally or emotionally. (The thought of actually wanting to smell like a prepubescent child brings my mind to a skidding, screeching halt. I’m completely flummoxed.)

I suppose if you’re looking for a fresh, clean, sweet Lutens (or for a department store floral with the innocuousness of a shampoo-drenched gnat), then you may want to try Nuit de Cellophane. There are cheaper alternatives, though, even if you buy the Lutens fragrance at the massive discount offered by some US retailers. Frankly, I found the perfume’s bipolar nature to verge on the alarming, and its extreme shift from one end of the spectrum to the other initially gave me whiplash, before leaving me feeling quite exhausted. It was not an experience that I enjoyed. 

General Cost & Sale Prices: Nuit de Cellophane is an eau de parfum that comes in a 1.7 oz/50 ml size, and costs $130, €85, or £69. However, you can find it highly discounted at a number of U.S. retailers. On Amazon, Nuit de Cellophane costs $64.99; at FragranceNet (which ships worldwide), it is $68.16 with a coupon; and at Beauty Encounter, it costs $69.95 with the coupon code they provide as well. Serge Lutens: you can find Nuit de Cellophane at regular, full price on the U.S. and the International Lutens website, with other language options also available. U.S. sellers: Nuit de Cellophane is available for $130 at Luckyscent, Barney’s Aedes, and a number of other stores. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, you can find Nuit de Cellophane on Amazon UK for £59.35. At the regular £69 price, you can find it at Harrod’s, Liberty London, and SpaceNK ApothecaryIn France, you can buy Nuit de Cellophane from Sephora for €84, though it’s cheaper at Premiere Avenue which sells it for €79. In Germany, you can find Nuit de Cellophane at Essenza Nobile. In Australia, you can find it at FragranceNet Australia for AUD$78.34 with the coupon. For other countries, you can use the Store Locator on the Lutens website. Samples: You can test out Nuit de Cellophane by ordering a sample from Surrender to Chance where prices start at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. There is also a Four Lutens Sample Set for $18.99 where the vials are larger at 1 ml each, and you get your choice of 4 Lutens Export fragrances (ie, not those that are Paris exclusives).

Serge Lutens Bois et Fruits: Autumnal Sweetness

Some of the Lutens Bell Jars. Source: Barneys.

Some of the Lutens Bell Jars. Source: Barneys.

A funny thing happens when a Serge Lutens addict visits the mothership in Paris. A profusion of scents, sensations, sights, and lust floods over you, leaving you rather at a loss to make objective decisions on the spot. Or perhaps that was merely my experience in visiting Les Palais Royal. In any event, it took me two visits to make up my mind about what to buy, and one of the main bell jar candidates was Bois et Fruits.

The rare, 50 ml spray bottle of Bois et Fruits. Source: Luckyscent.

The rare, 50 ml spray bottle of Bois et Fruits. Source: Luckyscent.

In the end, I walked out with Fourreau Noir and De Profundis, but I kept thinking about Bois et Fruits. I know it is a favorite of Serge Lutens’ personal assistant, the Paris boutique manager, Suleiman, with its blend of wooded, spiced, and candied fruits. Upon my return, I took the wild chance of looking up the fragrance to see if this expensive $310 bell-jar might possibly have been released in another form at some point. After all, Rousse and some other Paris Bell Jar exclusives seemed to have come out in a cheaper, limited-edition 50 ml spray bottle from time to time, so perhaps Bois et Fruits as well? To my joy, it had. And not only that, but the $200 retail price in the U.S. was significant undercut by discount retailers who offered it for around $82. Score! I’ve never hit the “Buy” button quite so quickly. Bois et Fruits is not the perfect scent, and it has some flaws which make it hard for me to swallow at $310, but it’s certainly fantastic and perfect enough for $82.

The official bottle for the perfume, the Bell Jar version. Source: Serge Lutens Facebook page.

The official bottle for the perfume, the Bell Jar version. Source: Serge Lutens Facebook page.

Having started at the end of the tale, let’s go back to the beginning. Bois et Fruits is an eau de parfum that was created by Christopher Sheldrake, and released in 1992. It is one of a quartet of “Bois” (or wood) fragrances to follow from Lutens’ ground-breaking, debut perfume, Féminité du Bois for Shiseido. The latter is a highly admired, much-loved fragrance which essentially served as the mothership for all the Bois siblings which followed.

Luca Turin, the famous perfume critic, has a very useful explanation of the history of the Bois line, their perfume structure, and how Bois et Fruits differs from both its mother and its siblings. In Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, he talks of how the “woody-fruity structure of Féminité du Bois was first devised by the perfumer Pierre Bourdon, … and then passed on to perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, who developed it with Lutens… to keep it as dark and transparent as possible.” When Lutens decided to open his own perfume house, he needed more perfumes for his line, and decided to do variations on his uber-successful Féminité.

Enter the technique known as overdosage, widely propagated by Bourdon, in which a backstage component in one perfume is moved to the forefront in a new composition, a sort of rotation in perfume space. From Féminité du Bois came four variations, three of which create new effects by bold-typing one of the components of the original: musk (Bois et Musc), fruit (Bois et Fruits), amber (Bois Oriental).



Serge Lutens explicitly states that Bois et Fruits is the fruit-dominated child of Feminité du Bois:

Like candied fruit.

This is another descendant of Féminité du bois, whose base notes contained a complex blend of several types of plums. Here, unadulterated, it’s like candied fruit.

It’s an accurate assessment, but it is only part of the story. It leaves out the important counter-balance to those sweetened fruits: the spices and wood. Luckyscent puts the woods front and center at the start of its description of Bois et Fruits:

A cornucopia of luscious woods and succulent fruits, Bois et Fruits is what we think Paradise would smell like…We are addicted to the candied cedar note in the heart of the fragrance. Surrounded by ripe, honeyed plums, figs, apricots and peaches, the woody note of Bois et Fruits is absolutely delectable. We would not call this darkly-sensual concoction gourmand in an obvious manner, but there is a sweet, lush quality in Bois et Fruits that is nothing short of mouthwatering. A blissful, endlessly enjoyable bled that is as sensuous as it is comforting, Bois et fruits is divine!

As always, Serge Lutens keeps the notes in his fragrance secret, so it’s a guessing game to know what is involved. Fragrantica, Luckyscent, and Surrender to Chance estimate that Bois et Fruits contains:

cedar, plum, fig, peach and apricot.

Barney’s tosses in cinnamon and Turkish rose, but doesn’t think there is apricot. I would include a lot more than that. To my nose, the notes in Bois et Fruits would be, in order of importance:

Plum, Peach, Cedar, Cumin, Apricot, Cloves, and Figs. Possibly, vanilla, almonds, and either licorice or anise.



Bois et Fruits opens on my skin with the dripping juices of sun-sweetened peaches, followed by plums and the tiniest hint of apricots. The fruits are infused with a distinct, definite note of cumin, and something strongly resembling chewy, black licorice. The entire bouquet is cocooned by dry, dusty cedar, then softened with what I’d swear is a touch of almond-y vanilla. In the distance, the fig flits about, simultaneously a bit leathered and quite milky. The whole thing is a very soft, airy cloud that radiates out by a foot in the opening minutes, but soon softens to something tamer.

A young cedar tree trunk.

A young cedar tree trunk.

I enjoy the sweetness of the fruits so much that I sprayed Bois et Fruits onto my other arm during my test for this review, and I was completely taken aback to see that the fragrance had quite a different opening. I generally stick to one arm for all my tests, out of some odd thought about scientific conformity, but maybe that idea isn’t so weird after all, as the notes in Bois et Fruits were all jumbled up in a different order and with different strengths.

While the two scents soon ended up in the same place, on my other arm, Bois et Fruits opened with a very cognac-y, boozy note, followed by peaches, dusty cedary, and sweet, light, almost osmanthus-like apricots. The cedar was strong and pronounced, but there wasn’t a lot of plum at first. And there was absolutely no cumin at all — to the point that I thought I’d gotten it all wrong, until it suddenly popped up after about eight minutes. There was also no any licorice, almond, or fig tonalities, and very little vanilla. On the other hand, there was a milky anise element that flitted in and out, and anise is related to licorice. In any event, the two versions end up in the same place after about 20 minutes, so the minor differences aren’t significant in the long run, and I’ll just stick to writing about the version on the arm that I usually use for testing.

Photo: David Hare. Source:

Photo: David Hare. Source:

After 10 minutes, the notes seamless blend into each other. The fruits are on top, and the woods are diffused throughout, but in the base, the cumin adds a soft, muffled growl. It’s not a sweaty note like body odor, the way cumin can sometimes be, but it’s definitely a subtle touch of animalism and light “skank.” It works subtly from afar to add complexity to what would otherwise be primarily a two-pronged scent. I’ve seen one person describe the cedar as a “sweaty” note, but I would bet my bottle of Bois et Fruits that there is the cumin in the fragrance. For the most part, it’s a dusty note, like the powdered kind you’d find in a spice market, but with a distinct earthiness underneath. I have to admit, it’s my favorite part of the fragrance, even though I’m not usually enamoured by cumin. Something about the spicy dryness and earthy muskiness adds a brilliant counter-balance to the sweetened juices of the fruits, while simultaneously accentuating the dryness of the cedar.,

Soon, a subtle creaminess starts to stir and rises to join the top notes. It’s not vanilla or almonds, but neither is it purely milky fig, either. It’s like a teaspoon of ice-cream flecked with sweetness, as if the lactonic qualities of the fig had melded with the dryish vanilla to create the impression of textural creaminess. I still wonder about the black licorice note that I initially detected because, at the same time as the creaminess, there seems to be some sort of milky white anise lurking about.

Cloves, close up. Source:

Cloves, close up. Source:

About 30 minutes in, there is an accord which strongly resembles parts of Serge LutensSerge Noir, a fragrance dominated, in part, by cloves and cumin. Christopher Sheldrake and Serge Lutens reportedly worked on Serge Noire for more than 10 years, and it was released in 2008. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the cumin-clove-cedar trio in the 1992 Bois et Fruits was later “overdosed” in the way that Luca Turin describes above to become the foundation for Serge Noire. The difference is that the trio are much more subtle and balanced in Bois et Fruits, while they’re tripled in strength in Serge Noire. In any event, both my arms are most definitely radiating cloves, but it’s so well-blended that, from afar, the whole thing merely translates to dry, brown spices.

The unusual thing about Bois et Fruits’ overall development is how the notes never seem to stay in the same place from one minute to the next. It’s like a horse race where several contenders are all racing neck-and-neck near the finish line. Sometimes the Peach-Plum horse takes the lead and dominates, but the next minute, it’s the Clove-Cumin chestnut horse, and three minutes after that, it’s the Cedar stallion. Trailing far, far behind is the vanilla, looking like just a speck in the distance.



About 2.5 hours in, the horse race looks a little different. The clove has faded away, and the cumin softens to a dryly spiced woodiness with a very earthy feel. The cedar adds a similarly dry touch to counter the fruits which are primarily just plum now, with much weaker amounts of peach. The apricot never really showed up on my skin, beyond the opening minutes, and the almond note didn’t last much longer. What is more noticeable throughout is the muskiness lingering at the edges. It melts into the cumin’s earthiness, evoking the image of heated skin. To be precise, a guy’s skin under layers of thick, winter clothing after he’s exerted himself. Let me be clear: it does not smell fetid, and there is absolutely no impression of ripe body odor or smelly armpits, but there is a subtle sweatiness that evokes warmed, musky skin.

An hour later, around the 3.5 hour mark, Bois et Fruits is a discrete, very soft sheath of dark brown silk. Yet, the scent is still strong up close, and tendrils of spiced plum occasionally float in the air around you. It’s an airy, gauzy, balanced blend of plum, cedar, cumin, with just a touch of peach. Slowly, Bois et Fruits grows more abstract, the cumin and peach fade away, and the remaining notes lose their shape or distinctness. In its final moments, Bois et Fruits is merely plummy sweetness with a hint of dry woodiness. All in all, it lasted just a hair above 8.75 hours on my skin with 3 sprays from an actual bottle (as opposed to an atomizer). Through out it all, Bois et Fruit evoked images of an autumnal forest filled with trees bearing heavy, ripe fruits in a colour palette of red, orange, and dark brown softness.



On Fragrantica, the perfume has received mixed reviews. Judging by the longevity votes, a number of people think Bois et Fruits doesn’t last long, and it also has moderate to weak sillage. Quite a few posters talk about Feminité du Bois, the mother perfume, with most commentators agreeing that Bois et Fruits is much more fruited in nature. One woman, “woodlandwalk,” had an interesting comparison of the two fragrances, and her experience with Bois et Fruits mirrors my own to some extent:

Very Autumnal! I find Bois et Fruits easier to wear than Feminite du Bois. I love Feminite du Bois because I love the smell of cedar wood, but often FdB can feel a bit one dimensional – so if you find FdB a little too ‘wood workshop’, Bois et Fruits might suit you.

The sweaty cedar and boozy plum of FdB are softened considerably here with fig and apricot, so Bois et Fruits is a little more pillow-like – you can relax into it. The fig adds a lactonic (milky) note so it just feels more smooth. There’s a ‘nutty’ quality to it – a sort of bitter-sweet almond that again gives a softer edge

The apricot is slightly syrupy in feel, so this with the fig and less spicy notes makes for a sweeter, cosier, easier to wear perfume, still boozy though, and very warm. Friendly.

On me the silage is fairly close to skin, longevity soft to moderate. This perfume is growing on me and I might upgrade from decant to full bottle.

I obviously detected a lot more spices than she did, but little apricot. On the other hand, I’m glad I’m not crazy, and that she noted the almonds too! I also agree that Bois et Fruits feels quite pillowy soft.

Others describe the scent in the same vein, talking about autumn and sweetness:

  • Bois et Fruits is a fragrance that would be perfect for fall and winter- and in a way makes me think of Christmas and those very rich cakes with dried fruit and spices. The fragrance is heavy, oozing with sweet, juicy and smoky plum and apricot. If I could give it a texture, it would be that of a liquid honey that has been warmed up. I would classify it as oriental-gourmand, although it does not feature vanilla nor honey, it is very sweet, almost edible. The scent is so intense and long lasting, 5 hours later smells as if it was just sprayed.
  • I love the dried,succulent fruits(mainly apricot on my skin), against the warm, spicy cedar. It`s like an imagenary tree covered in red,brown and yellow leaves with peaches, plums and apricots(.All growing at the same tree.) Under the heavy loaded branches, a dragon is sleeping peacefully, only opening one eye now and then just in case.. Perfect for autumn!

Some people were not as enthused. Some prefer Feminité du Bois, while a few thought Bois et Fruits smelled “pungent,” no doubt due to the cedar. One thought the fragrance was too cedary, while another thought it was too fruity instead. There is also the same sort of split amongst the Fragrantica critics about whether the fragrance is too dry or too sweet.

In short, for Bois et Fruits more than for most scents, it’s really going to come down to your skin chemistry. Mine happens to amplify base notes and sweetness, and, yes, I happen to find the fragrance very sweet. It would be too much so for me normally, but it works in this rare instance because of the dryness and spices that lurk underneath. Plus, I find the cumin to make all the difference. It is the perfect, well-calibrated amount to add character, while simultaneously helping to cut through the fruits. Still, if your skin chemistry is like mine, then you should try Bois et Fruits only if you enjoy the possibility of a very sweetened, fruity fragrance with a lesser dose of dry woodiness.

All the blog reviews that I’ve found for Bois et Fruits are positive, though none of them rave about the scent as a complex masterpiece. It’s not, as it is too simple for that. But it is still very appealing, as Perfume-Smellin’ Things reports. In fact, it is seems to be her favorite Lutens out of them all, and she imagines it to be “the scent of Paradise”:

Les Eaux Boisées are my favorite part of Les Salons du Palais Royal collection, and of them, Bois et Fruits is the most beloved.

Bois et Fruits combines cedar with notes of peach, apricot, figs, and plums, and thus emphasizes the fruity side of its “Great Mother”, Féminité du Bois. Having said that, Bois et Fruits is actually much drier and less sweet than Féminité. It starts with a dry cedar note, within seconds the ripe fruitiness of figs and plums becomes apparent, the fruits balance the dryness of the woods and cedar keeps the potentially excessive sweetness of fruits in check. The overall effect to my nose is that of dried fruits mixed with a slightly incensy, sometimes even almost leathery accord. Bois et Fruits is a subtler scent, it is much less forceful than Féminité du Bois, and even though it has fruits in its title, it actually translates much less fruity on my skin that its predecessor. I always imagine that Bois et Fruits is the scent of Paradise, or at least of the woodier, wilder part of the Garden of Eden.

Victoria of Bois de Jasmin also didn’t think Bois et Fruits was all that sweet, and she liked it. In her four-star review, she wrote:

Chris Sheldrake and Serge Lutens’s Bois et Fruits (1992) captures a moment of autumn before one becomes aware of its farewell connotations. Warm cedarwood is folded over lusciously ripe fall fruits—figs, peaches, and plums, which speak more of a voluptuous aspect of autumn than of its nostalgic side. This fragrance is one of few instances when fruit is not rendered as treacly and artificial. Instead, sweet resinous cedar married to fruit results in a very elegant scent with the brightness of sweet-sour plum courting the soft powderiness of fig.

I think her four-star rating (which is what Luca Turin also gives it in his Perfumes Guide) is perfect, because the fragrance does have some flaws. I agree with those on Fragrantica that its sillage and longevity tend to be on the lighter side of things, but there is also something else. For me, Bois et Fruits doesn’t stand out enough to warrant inclusion in the Bell Jar line. Those are the most complex, nuanced, morphing, and twisting Lutens scents, so their high price is understandable and usually worth it. They are the masterpieces that, whether or not you can wear them, are brilliant works of olfactory art for the most part.

Bois et Fruits doesn’t measure up to that standard. For me, it would be a perfect addition to the regular export line, and it’s well-worth it at $82. It’s great for autumn, and it also works wonderfully as a layering scent to go with much drier or smokier fragrances. But I’m very dubious about the U.S. retail cost of $200, and I honestly could not imagine spending the much-inflated U.S. Bell Jar price of $310 on Bois et Fruits. Not in a million years.

The bell jar is cheaper in Euros at €145, without the annoying, extra-high U.S. mark-up, and I think it may have been €135 back when I was in Paris. Yet, if you notice, I didn’t buy it even at that price, and the main reason is that it didn’t stand out as much as its siblings in the bell jar line. It simply didn’t feel special, complex, or strong enough — lovely and succulent as it may be. Fourreau Noir, De Profundis, Boxeuses, Un Voix Noire, and some of the other Bell Jar fragrances are in a different class, in my opinion. However, I found one European online retailer to carry the rare, discounted 50 ml spray bottle of Bois et Fruits, which is priced €105, and that may be much more reasonable for what it is.

I wouldn’t recommend Bois et Fruits for everyone. You must like sweet perfumes, and a lot of fruit. You also have to appreciate cedar, and a touch of cumin. If you do, and if you can buy Bois et Fruits at a discount, I think you’ll enjoy it very much. It’s not very intense or edgy, it’s definitely not very complicated, but it is quite an Autumnal treat.

General Cost & Discounted Sales Prices: Bois et Fruits is an eau de parfum that comes in a 2.5 oz/75 ml bell jar that costs $310 or €145. However, you also can find it in a 1.7 oz/50 ml spray bottle which retails for $200, but which is massively discounted on some sites for much less. Bois et Fruits is currently on sale at FragranceNet where the 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle is priced at $84.31, when you include their an additional 15% OFF with the coupon code RESFT5. (I think I bought mine for $82, so it may have gone up a wee bit since then.) The site offers free domestic shipping, but they also ship world-wide. Bois et Fruits is also discounted on Amazon, where the seller is listed as Serge Lutens, and the perfume is priced at $96.87. Beauty Encounter sells the perfume for $99 if you use their 20% off code.
You should also check eBay as the fragrance is sometimes deeply discounted there. At the very least, it is commonly in the $95-range. 
Serge Lutens: you can find Bois et Fruit in the expensive bell jars on the U.S. and International Lutens website, with non-English language options also available for the latter.
U.S. sellers: Bois et Fruits in the 50 ml atomizer bottle is available for $200 at Luckyscent, Barney’s, and AedesBarney’s also sells the very expensive bell jar form.
Outside the U.S.: In Canada, you can find Bois et Fruits at The Perfume Shoppe for what may be CAD$200 or US$200. I’m never sure about their currency choice, since it is primarily an American business. They also offer some interesting sample or travel options for Lutens perfumes. In the UK, I couldn’t find any vendors as this is primarily a Paris exclusive bell jar. However, in France, I found it sold at Laurent Mazzone’s Premiere Avenue in the 50 ml atomizer bottle for €106, and the site ships worldwide. French Sephora carries a lot of the Lutens perfumes, but again, Bois et Fruits is a Palais Royal Paris exclusive. In Australia, the perfume is on sale at the FragranceNet site for AUD $94.41, with the discount code, instead of what it says is the Australian retail price of AUD $223.96. 
Samples: You can test out Bois et Fruits by ordering a sample from Surrender to Chance where prices start at $6.99 for a 1 ml vial. There is also a Five Lutens Sample Set for $18.99 where you get your choice of five non-export, Paris exclusives, each of which comes in a 1/2 ml vial.