4 de jun. de 2021

Condé Bois d'Orange - English Review

When talking about niche and indie perfumery there is a misconceived idea that niche perfumery needs to be expensive and indie perfumery needs to be challenging. Both in fact can be that and many other things, but these characteristics are not what define them. A niche perfumery is, marketing speaking, a segmented perfumery to meet the needs of a very specific group. And indie perfumery ends up being like a niche inside the niche, a perfumery that reflects the artistic and personal vision of the person who creates the brand, who is often (but not necessarily) an artisan and is also responsible for all other aspects of the brand.

Bois d'Orange may seem like one of Fábio Condé's most mainstream perfumes, but in the definition of what an indie perfumery is it is perhaps one of his fragrances best suited to the concept. Bois d'Orange reflects Fábio Condé in his love for both citrus and wood, reflecting his cheerful, lively and energizing personality (or at least the person I met and who passed those characteristics on to me).

Bois d'Orange is also a creative perfume even if it looks familiar. Condé reverses the logic of creation and moves citrus fruits from spring/summer to autumn. It's a smart and interesting idea, because by associating citrus with the color orange it very well captures a synaesthetic sensation of the orange color and the transformation of the heat and intense life of summer to the transitional and contemplative state of autumn.

Bois d'Orange has a mineral and citrus style that reminds me of a fusion of elements from Hermès fragrances, in particular Eau d'Orange Verte and Terre d'Hermés. There's also something that's familiar from another fragrance in the Conde portfolio, Cologne Bleue. But whereas Cologne Bleue has always seemed artificial to me in its clean and fresh aroma in Bois d'Orange I find a lot of comfort in its citrusy.

The opening is an explosion of different shades of orange, a cornucopia of citrus sensations. It is possible to notice the bitter orange aroma combined with a more succulent sweet orange and with a more fruity appearance of the mandarin. Bergmot is used to balance citrus fruits, lime adds a light touch reminiscent of sicilian lemon and there is a use of aldehydes here to elevate citrus and bring sparkle to the first moments.

In the transition, the fragrance modulates the citrus sensation focusing on petitgrain, a steam extraction from the orange tree leaves, which has an aroma between a bitter floral and a citrus green. Rhubarb and tarragon accentuate the more herbal aspect of the idea while the peppery, mineral touch of pink pepper and elemi paves the way for the final step.

In the last phase Bois d'Orange has finally lost its orange and beige leaves and the trees are bare in their browner woody coloration. The idea is to convey this in a more abstract and mineral way - I suspect there is use of natural vetiver backed by iso and super and musk to give a balance between the rougher side of the natural and the smoothness of the synthetic. Guaiac wood gives a light smoky touch, while cedar complements the forest's coloring with its dry, slightly incensed woody aroma. Although Bois d'Orange is not intense in evolution it remains in the skin for many hours and revives as the skin heats up. It is a very beautiful work by Fábio Condé and perhaps one of his most faithful fragrances is the essence of Fábio as an individual.