It’s appropriate the Bois 1920 perfume line is created in Florence; that Italian city, compared to Rome or Naples (or anyplace in Sicily!), is formal. Florentine people seem more reserved, conservative (in dress at least), orderly, and quieter than other Italians; they are not show-offs or big-mouths — and I‘m not knocking show-offs or big-mouths (I’m one). Bois 1920 perfumes, likewise, do not seek attention: they are understated, beautifully composed, and ‘at ease’ in almost any setting.
I like almost every perfume Bois 1920 makes and was surprised when I realized I’ve only reviewed my least favorite from the line. Today, I’m making amends by reviewing two quintessential Bois 1920 fragrances — Sandalo e The and 1920 Extreme.
Sandalo e The
(jasmine, Bulgarian rose, sandalwood, tea leaves)
Sandalo e The starts off with a smoky, dry and sharp (almost “dirty”) note. At times this note smells like smoked tea and at other times like an incinerated log left in the fireplace, ready to crumble. The perfume maintains these aromas into its heart and base, though in the extreme dry-down the sandalwood smells more like sawdust than ashes, and a dense floral accord materializes. The floral accord does not read “jasmine” or “rose” but smells like a combination of strong floral elements, intensified by heat or “curing.” These flowers are not fresh and they do not dominate the tea, smoke or wood notes. Sandalo e The has moderate sillage but excellent endurance.
(bergamot, fern, jasmine, Brazilian tonka beans, Bourbon vanilla)
1920 Extreme begins with the richest bergamot imaginable, combined with a “straw” aroma (fern? immortelle?); this opaque, sweetish and gleaming accord lasts throughout 1920 Extreme’s dry-down and is autumnal in tone (I often harvest beautiful strawflowers in fall for winter flower arrangements and the strawflowers’ dry-sweet scent reminds me of 1920 Extreme).
As 1920 Extreme enters its heart notes, a rich, but not indolic, jasmine becomes apparent; this is a syrupy jasmine, given some sweetness by 'self-effacing' vanilla and tonka beans. In the extreme dry-down a butterscotch note (faint, and a bit talcy) appears.
Though 1920 Extreme seems to fade rather quickly, I got compliments hours after I put it on; if you get the scent on fabric, it will last for days. 1920 Extreme is a great perfume for chilly weather; it makes me feel “cozy.”
Bois 1920 Sandalo e The and 1920 Extreme are available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette, $195. For buying information, see the listing for Bois 1920 under Perfume Houses.
Note: top image via Wikimedia Commons.