As a child growing up in South Florida there were so many things the Cuban exile community added to our lives in the 1960’s. One of my favorites was that the Holiday season ended a week later. Not until the Dia de los Reyes happened on January 6 did we consider taking down the decorations. It was always the kind of mellow after-party to the hectic Christmas/ New Year’s shuffle. The mothers of my Cuban friends would give us Anglos a stocking stuffer while their kids usually got one last “big” present. My family was always invited to dinner. The traditional dessert is called “king cake” which didn’t interest me that much. What interested me was the home-made flan my friend’s mother would make. The caramel covered custard is still one of my favorite desserts. I would sit in their living room with the Christmas tree, wreath and roping breathing in the combination of pine and sweets. I didn’t expect to find that in a fragrance until I tried Maison Rebatchi Bois D’Enfants.
Maison Rebatchi is the new line from owner- creative director Mohamed Rebatchi. Who debuted four perfumes at Pitti Fragranze in 2018. Each of them is inspired by M. Rebatchi’s life. The story attached to Bois D’Enfants is summer walks through the woods of where in France he spent his summer. From the moment I tried it I saw the pine tree focused early going as a Holiday style of perfume. When the flan accord came together in the base that made me think January not July.
M. Rebatchi collaborated with perfumer Karine Chevallier on Bois D’Enfants. I can see the summer walk through the pine woods if I choose that perspective. It is much easier to see it as the final days of the Christmas tree adding its scent to the wood-paneled family room. A hint of scent from the Holiday flowers coming through. As I drag my spoon through the caramel and custard of flan.
Mme Chevallier uses baie rose to open with a green freshness tilted to the herbal side. The pine comes next uplifted by an austere incense. The piney nature intensifies with fir balsam mellowing the sharper camphoraceous aspects. A powdery veil of iris and rose also shows up during this. What comes next is an amazing construction of a gourmand accord using sandalwood, vanilla, and musk. I’ve seen these ingredients come together as a praline accord but here this is combined as rich caramel custard. I’m not even sure I’ve got all the ingredients that Mme Chevallier uses because this is a solid accord which I found difficult to analyze completely into its components. Once the accord is in place you have a creamy gourmand counterpoint to the resinous pine.
Bois D’Enfants has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Bois D’Enfants translates to “wooden children” it definitely connects with my “enfant” but not in a wooden way. It takes me back to the final days of my childhood Holidays on the Dia de los Reyes.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Maison Rebatchi.
It has been almost a year since I joined the Fragrance Republ!c. For those unfamiliar with the concept behind Fragrance Republ!c it is an effort to allow some of the biggest perfumers working the opportunity to work on special small batch perfumes. This time the perfumers are allowed to create their own brief and encouraged to go where their creativity takes them. The perfumes are then shared with the membership of Fragrance Republ!c and I receive a new 15mL bottle as each creation is released. I look forward to my new box every time it arrives as a perfumer who I admire gets to try out an idea they have wanted to try. Fragrance Republ!c is the subscription service for the perfume lover who already has a lot of perfume and wants to try something which goes in a different direction form the purely commercial. This review will cover the latest four released over the first part of 2014: 01/05 by Antoine Lie, 01/06 by Karine Chevallier, 01/07 by Jean Claude Delville, and 01/08 by Jean-Christophe Herault.
01/05 was given the name “Eau Verte” by M. Lie and what he wanted to accomplish was to create perfume made up of overdoses of notes used to make up the fresh fragrances so ubiquitous on the market. Now if he had just overloaded the perfume with a bunch of explosive green notes it just would’ve been a loud boisterous mess. Instead he chose to use the wormwood used in absinthe as his nucleus and then puts into orbit around it electrons of mint, star anise, oak moss, galbanum, and vetiver. These are in overdose so there is no missing these notes and they each find a place to complement the wormwood at the heart of the perfume. I found 01/05 to have an off-kilter kind of freshness and the more I wore it the more I found it to be just the right perfume for the summer.
Mme Chevallier was enchanted by a Persian lime raw material she encountered while attending the World Perfume Congress. It was this she used to make the centerpiece of 01/06. What caught her attention about this particular lime was besides the typical citric zest it also has floral facets of rose and lavender, creamy coconut, and woodiness. From when she smelled it she knew she wanted to pair it with vetiver to tease out that woody quality. She also wanted to use fig to get the creamy coconut quality. All of this rests on a base of sandalwood. This comes off very simple on a strip but it absolutely soared when I wore it. The full impact of this very special lime at the heart of 01/06 completely comes alive and each of the notes Mme Chevallier chose to go with it work seamlessly.
Jean Claude Delville
The inspiration for 01/07 was the “grace of a woman”. In M. Delville’s olfactory world this woman is wearing a sheer cotton dress edged with black, the antithesis of the little black dress. 01/07 opens on a fresh cotton accord that has been washed with mandarin blossom fabric softener. It has a softness that the best cotton gets from being used. This opening is everything I want from a Fragrance Republ!c experience. M. Delville is able to go to an extreme in creating this textured fabric based accord. Since this is a woman we are talking about orchid and freesia make up a sweetly floral heart before a soft mix of cashmere woods and white musks add that bit of sensuality. The outline of black on the figurative white dress I spoke of at the beginning of the paragraph.
Osmanthus was the ingredient M. Herault wanted to explore in 01/08. I have always loved the fantastic nature of osmanthus to be floral but also to carry distinct aspects of apricot, leather, and tea along with it. When in the hands of a skilled perfumer they can take that chameleon-like nature and play to it. M. Herault does exactly that as he first allows you to appreciate the osmanthus in its pristine glory before letting other notes start to attract your focus elsewhere. Bergamot and apricot bring you to the fruity character. Violet leaf brings forward the tea. Jasmine and orange blossom get their white flower bluster out to turn fully floral in the heart. Finally, the leathery quality forms a faux chypre with a deep patchouli. Of the eight fragrances which have been released 01/08 is my favorite so far.
If what I’ve written has made you curious a sample program is now available on the Fragrance Republ!c website where you can try any three of the releases from 01/01 through 01/07 for the cost of shipping. I would recommend checking out the three you think sound best to you. This is really one of the great new initiatives for perfume lovers.
Disclosure: This review was based on the bottles I’ve received from being a member of Fragrance Republ!c.