Cartier Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois ~ fragrance review

Cartier Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois ad visual

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.

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36 Comments

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  1. lucasai says:

    Sounds great! Will try it when the possibility occurs.

    • Kevin says:

      Lucasai: hope you enjoy it

  2. Michaelm says:

    Sounds quite interesting. I generally like my perfumes with a bit more ‘oomph’ but I do think Cartier put out some decent fragrances. They remind me of Hermes in a way – fairly understated, but good quality.

    • Kevin says:

      Michaelm: this one has no oomph!.

  3. robinhoo says:

    Would you say this is unisex, or does it lean towards masculine? It sounds like the kind of unisex woody fragrance I would love, but sheer enough for the heat of summer. Hope to give this one a try.

    • Kevin says:

      Robinhoo: unisex for sure

  4. moore says:

    Why am I not impressed with… the review?

    • KateReed says:

      *grin* Probably because we’re all horribly spoiled and used to Kevin’s reviews being more like the one he wrote for Etro Magot.

      • moore says:

        Ooops. Can you believe I forgot Eau de Cartier is not niche?! How fool I am!!!

        • KateReed says:

          It was more a comment on how we usually get a story in Kevin’s reviews, and this one…no funny story, just a straightforward review. Didn’t know you have an actual problem with Kevin’s review style as a whole.

      • moore says:

        Ah, and thanks (not sure yet) for the recom on the review. I’ll try to waste some time reading it. I swear!! ;)

    • Robin says:

      Wow, why so rude?

      • moore says:

        Sorry, Robin. I treat him as he riculed me in public sometime ago when I was just trying to be fun. Also, I’m tired of his “ns” point of view what I think is not good for users or the reputation of your site(but this, who has to judge is you). Have you noticed the male’s number of comments on the male’s reviews have decreased? Maybe it’s time to review some concepts. Feel free to delete my posts. I really wanted the best to you site, but I’ve seen some things here I don’t agree or like. Actually I’m a mere member, and don’t know what’s gonna happen to me after my sincere comments.

        • moore says:

          Feel also free to delete my account if you judge necessary. You know my mail.

        • Robin says:

          Kevin’s comments have generally decreased since the time when he stopped being able to respond during the day, when the reviews appear. And in general, comments here are fewer than they used to be, which makes sense because we require registration, and fewer people are likely to register (here and elsewhere) given that most people now do much of their online socializing on Facebook & like places. That is ok with me – I go on requiring registration precisely because I’d rather have fewer, but civil comments, than lots of comments but also incivility.

          Kevin’s last review has 32 comments. My last review has 16 comments. And in both cases, about half the comments are author comments. Comments reflect many things, but they’re not always a good barometer of how many people read a review, or of how many people find a review helpful. I hope that we never start writing reviews, or anything else, with an eye towards how many comments we’ll get.

          Personally, I appreciate Kevin’s reviews because they’re always honest, sometimes brutally so. He says it like he sees it. That does not appeal to everybody, which is also fine with me. I like that our contributors have very different styles and tastes

          If he was ever rude to you though, I am very sorry for that. And of course nothing will happen to you. You are more than welcome to disagree with Kevin or anyone else here! If you want to say you think his review is wrong, no problem, please do. But wish you wouldn’t be rude just for the sake of being rude.

          (And by the way, what is an “ns” point of view”?)

        • Kevin says:

          Moore: I don’t recall ever ridiculing you. I apologize if you took offense
          At something I said though I can assure you I didn’t aim to hurt your feelings.

          • moore says:

            Ok. Better than asking apologize is to do a self-critic and think before posting arrogant stuff or offenses. It’s easy to do something wrong and ask for apologize later. I’ve already seen many questionable behaviors here and I think on how many people felt and still feel bad about these situations. When dealing to people we have to have touch and humility. If you’re not in a good mood day, so sorry, but we have nothing to do with that; we don’t have to pay the price for you. Imagine me arriving at work and treating my patients bad cause I’m not in a good day! Mind that! That’s at least a lack of professionalism and respect. Everyone who is respectful worths respect. It’s a pitty I shall say this in here.

          • Robin says:

            You know, it really is a pity, because I’ve seen the original discussion you had with Kevin that you refer to as him ridiculing you, and it seems to me it is you that was unkind, not Kevin.

            He was nice enough to apologize anyway in the event that you misunderstood him, but since that didn’t work, let’s all drop the subject and move on.

          • moore says:

            Yeah, Robin. It’s really a pitty. It’s aso a pitty my new dissapointment to you: why after our mails you have posted this? I was asking you to let things the way they were and here you are.
            Kevin had the chance to unmake the misunderstand and didn’t make that. So as I told you by mail your arguments are empty. Here I was talking to Kevin now. I’m not rude for free.
            For those who are interested on this discussion, check out this, first comments: http://www.nstperfume.com/2011/04/13/diptyque-34-boulevard-saint-germain-fragrance-review/

            Now I hope this discussion stills here. I think I have the right to defend myself. About my account, again, make whatever you think is better for you.

          • Robin says:

            Because after I replied to your email I saw your new comment, that’s why, and realized you’d been rude to Kevin yet again, even after he apologized. No problem with posting a link — I stand by what I said too. Kevin made a joke and you totally misunderstood it. It was over a year ago, and if you had some problem with it you surely could have emailed me then. I don’t see why you’re suddenly being unpleasant now.

            Please don’t post here on this subject again.

    • Dilana says:

      I am always impressed with Kevin’s reviews. He reminds of a once famous film reviewer named Pauline Kael. I may not always agree with his conclusions, but his writing is so good that I enjoy reading the reviews as individual essays. In addition, I always feel that I understand the scent and have enough information to make my own decision on whether to seek it out for a sniff.

      I understand that a lot of fragrance lovers enjoy very dramatic, high silage and complex scents, but not every occasion or mood calls for them. Just as our closets must have some jeans and t shirts, some type of work clothes, whether bright orange vests and construction boots or business suits, as well as evening wear, our fragrance “needs” include the equivalents. A really good pair of jeans or a well cut t shirt can be flattering rather than sloppy and a well made sheer fragrance can be the difference from annoying to pleasurable for us and those around us.

      • Kevin says:

        Dilana: what a great compliment; thanks!

      • peony63 says:

        Agree with you Dilana entirely on Kevin’s writing style…..and with the description of uncomplicated scents. Sometimes my nose needs a break from the heavier scents I normally gravitate to, but I still want to smell *something*.
        Anyway, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this review. Thanks!

  5. nozknoz says:

    LOL – this reminds me of one of LT’s reviews in which he summarized a scent as “for those who enjoy the act of spraying on cologne without actually having to smell anything.”

    To me, what hits the unheavy wood spot is BK Pure Oud. I find it light and dry, and perfectly balanced – and it smells great and lasts! If you were to apply two to four sprays (instead of – ahem – 15), I think you might get the enjoyable effect you had imagined.

    On the other hand, I REALLY thought you would like Caron Third Man, so maybe you should take this suggestion with a spritz of Essense de Bois! :-)

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: I have to look at my notes but I do like one of the BK ouds VERY MUCH and plan to review it in depth soon (it’s niche!) HA!

    • poodle says:

      I love that quote Noz. There are a lot of scents that have that effect on me. On paper this sounds nice but if it’s light and fleeting then I won’t even bother sniffing. I need oomph or my skin just eats them up in a matter of minutes.

      • nozknoz says:

        LT is so witty! I probably paraphrased a bit, since I couldn’t remember which fragrance that was to look it up.

  6. Omega says:

    Anything with Bois in the name, I want to try. Love wood.

    Thanks Kevin, you’re awesome!:D.

  7. Rictor07 says:

    Good review Kevin. It is my favorite of the Essence line as well, but i think some of Cartier’s other offerings are much better. I certainly wouldn’t place this as the ideal choice in the light, clean woody category.

    • Kevin says:

      Rictor: thanks…I think I prefer Declaration myself

  8. Emily says:

    “Sometimes I’ve wished for the woody equivalent of a light, clean, citrus Eau de Cologne …” You and me both, Kevin, though I do generally prefer more oomph-y woods. This sounds like it’s worth a shot and might fill the light-woody niche (so to speak) in my perfume wardrobe.

    • Kevin says:

      Emily: Hope it works out for you; at least it is an easy scent to find.

  9. joseangel says:

    Kevin I dont know you from a hole in the wall but I love reading your reviews…you have a great way of making me imagine what you say in words…thanks kevin :)

    • Kevin says:

      JoseA: that’s a sweet thing to say…thanks.

  10. peony63 says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I adore your reviews. I am now reading your previous posts, as I enjoy your writing style so much and find your reviews extremely helpful.
    Keep up the great work!!!!

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