Sometimes I’ve wished for the woody equivalent of a light, clean, citrus Eau de Cologne — Cartier has just answered my wish with Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois, a watery concoction “accented by oud wood.”
Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois includes notes of yuzu, bergamot, violet leaf, violet flower, lavender, musk, patchouli, ambergris and oud wood. That combination of notes sounds a LOT richer than anything you’ll experience. The Cartier image shown at the top of this review is apt; the character of Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois is of aged wood floating in water (this is a simple cologne, nothing that will tire your nostrils or test your perfume I.Q.)
When first applied, Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois gives a nano-second of sharp citrus that immediately leads to a close-to-the-skin aroma of pencil shavings. The “wood” (we’ll call it “oud” wood) is mellow, sweet, sheer: a combination of cedar-sandalwood aromas (think of a dilute Diptyque Tam Dao). As the scent dries on skin, I detect some aqueous violet leaf and airy “beige” amber. That’s it!
Sometimes such simplicity in perfumes can annoy or disappoint, but the point of Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois is to be see-thru. I think Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois would make a great sport fragrance: it’s clean (but not “scoured” to inanity), and it won’t weigh you down or annoy gym-mates; it would also be a perfect cologne for scent-adverse places like crowded offices or airplanes.
Of all the Eau de Cartier fragrances (Eau de Cartier, Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange) this is my favorite, but though I hoped for this type of scent, I’ve realized after wearing it I like my “woods” more substantial.
Cartier Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois is unisex and has average lasting power and minimal sillage; $90/$121 for 100 ml/200 ml Eau de Toilette.