I’m not sure what it is about the cooler months but there are times I crave simplicity as comfort. As I’ve written over and over again those comfort scents are almost always high in resinous character. Sometimes I crave the less complex I wonder if I shouldn’t just dab some essential oil on and be done. Then a fragrance comes along which reminds me that there is a difference between essential oil and perfume. The latest lesson in this came courtesy of Diptyque Benjoin Boheme.
Benjoin, or benzoin as it is also called, is one of the most versatile notes on the resinous end of the perfumer’s palette. It is so versatile it can be used in almost any style of perfume you can name. It is because it is so prized as a support note that it rarely becomes the focal point of a fragrance. Even if it is the focal point it is usually surrounded by equivalent amounts of other notes. In Benjoin Boheme perfumer Olivier Pescheux trusted in the source of his benzoin that it could be all that was needed to take the lead in this perfume.
M. Pescheux opens with the botanical musk of angelica seeds. The seeds also provide a peppery aspect which is exactly what is needed to announce the arrival of the star. The best benzoin comes from the mountains of Laos and this is what M. Pescheux uses here. What is highlighted first is the cinnamon character of the Laotian benzoin. As the peppery character of the angelica seeds blends seamlessly. As the benzoin warms up, the balsamic vanillaness inherent rises slowly but surely. Benjoin Boheme holds this note for a good long while before sandalwood complements the sweetness. Styrax turns it more familiarly resinous as some patchouli grounds the entire composition.
Benjoin Boheme has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Benjoin Boheme shows why a perfume is not just one note or accord. By using a cleverly assembled ensemble of complimentary notes M. Pescheux shows off everything that is interesting about the best Laotian benzoin. If you love ambery resinous perfumes this should be high up on your wish list.
Disclosure: this review was based on s ample provided by Diptyque.