This just smelled like Bijan to me from high school. So very similar.
Bois des iles, supposedly the first woody fragrance for women, is an iconic perfume created in 1926 by Ernest Beaux and reissued in at least a couple of different official incarnations since then. Today it is available in (light) edt concentration as part of “les exclusifs” collection at Chanel boutiques; a tight selection of flagship stores carries also the extrait de parfum concentration.
The notes describing the current edt are not really helpful in conveying the feeling of the fragrance (Sicilian Mandarin, Calabrian Bergamot, Ylang-Ylang, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean and Bourbon Vanilla; source: chanel.com).
Bois des iles bears the signature fizzy aldehydic opening of classic chanels, announcing “money!” and “perfume!” in a very effective way.
The aldehydes blur the top and heart notes into an golden and soapy haze - though you could manage to perceive a faint citrus and peachy sparkle suspended on a delicate floral blend of neroli, jasmine, rose, iris, and ylang-ylang.
Polished and elegant, Bois des iles’ opening has a certain severe and clean quality that is balanced by a warm “gingerbread accord” that intensifies in the wonderful woody and oriental dry-down: a rich blend of vetiver, sandalwood, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla and musk.
Bois des iles is often considered a reference sandalwood perfume; however, while this might be true for earlier versions of the fragrance (or for the extrait de parfum concentration, which I haven’t smelled), in the current edt the precious wood is not particularly prominent, maybe due to strict regulations on mysore sandalwood harvesting – or to cheapen the formula (or both).
In any case, Bois des iles edt, as it is now, is a beautiful, complex and layered fragrance, truly elegant and timeless, with a luminous and golden feel...and suitable for both women and men.
Very generous application is required to allow the warm, woody base to soften and infuse with a sensual laziness the otherwise formal and soapy aldehydic cloud – and it is downright necessary if you simply want the fragrance to last.
With only a gigantic 200 ml bottle format available, I suppose generous application is not an issue… unless, while you’re happily spraying around, you happen to recall the price (200 Euros).
[If you like bois des iles you may also like, in addition to the classic Chanels (n° 5,n° 22, Cuir de Russie), Frederic Malle’s dirtier and funkier Une fleur de Cassie.]
I don't find this to be masculine at all, though I'm sure a man could wear it. It's a bit powdery when first sprayed, which would normally put me off, but it dries down to be sweet, floral, woody deliciousness. Bois des Iles means "exotic wood." I do enjoy woody frags, maybe that's why the woods in this don't smell masculine to me? Very light and pretty, smells feminine to me, great to wear to a wedding.
my mom gave this perfume to me. well,the smell is too strong & borderline masculine for me. Plus,the notes are too complex & it doesn't smell that good on me. I prefer Chanel Chance the best. this probably would 'click' with someone who loves warm & strong borderline masculine scent. the staying power is good tho.
Bois des Iles is one of my top 5 of all time (along with Mitsouko, Chamade, #5 and Vol de Nuit). I select this one when I want my best woods fragrance because the sandalwood in this is totally lush and dreamy. Not as old fashioned as it's age may lead you to believe, Bois des Iles does for sandalwood what #5 does for jasmine...pumps it up and rounds it until it's about to burst. Love the parfum concentration most but I'll take the current EDT too....I just hope Chanel keeps producing this.
This is the fragrance that opened my eyes to great fragrance. Before, I was one of the people that wore the fragrance of the moment - Anais Anais, Obsession in the 80's, Issey Mikaye in the 90's, you get the idea. Smelling this fragrance and all the nuances as it opened up was a revelation. This fragrance is both incredibly sexy yet still very refined. The woodiness and warmth stay close to the body. There is something animalic but at no point do you ever get "skank". You get this feeling as if you were wearing a fur coat with nothing else, but expensive lingerie and Christian Louboutin pumps. Of the hundreds of fragrances I have tried, this easily makes my top 10.
Note, I purchased this in the pure perfume while it was still being sold in the US boutiques. I believe this concentration can still be purchased in Paris. I prefer this to the concentration they are selling in th 6.8 oz bottles in the states.
Really wish I could wear this! Wondering if the parfum would work any better. Heavenly on a card or in the air but on me takes on this horrible baby wipe accord. My standard winter fragrances are Black for day and Chergui for evenings, so I'd be keen to just wear this one all the time and totally enjoy it but I cannot. Sigh. Also who needs 6.7 oz of a very strong body spray when this fragrance seems to suit a 0.5 ounce perfume...
The much touted Bois des Iles was too woody on me, plus
verging on masculine that others have mentioned. Just not pretty
and not much to recommend it on me. I do like #19, #5 in its
many forms, #22, #31, Coco Mlle edp, Cristalle edt, Allure body
cream, and a jot of Allure Sensuelle edp in the Chanel fragrance line.
I’m sampling Bois the Iles for the ?? (not the first) time today – and my first disappointment is still there. I was really looking forward to BtI because I love woods, but I have to confess that I’m maybe not a qualified critic as I don’t appreciate Perfume too much though I love good smells. Perfume is something else - the reviewer bellows description of it as abstract-floral maybe describes what I dislike – but after dry down I get the incense and normally I love incense, but the overall impression is too artificial for me. I think it shares this abstract / artificial quality with a lot Chanel’s perfumes - and in this they are true to Coco Chanel’s idea of using synthetic compounds instead of natural essences to create the scent of a woman. But it’s not my idea of perfume, and I don’t find this superior to the easily available Chanel’s in any way either, and I find no 19 much more appealing and interesting than this. But in general the Chanel’s are over rated IMO.
This review is for the vintage parfum. Bois des Iles is similar to No. 5 in its soft, abstract-floral quality and in the use of aldehydes, but the aldehydes are gentler here, which may make Bois des Iles easier to wear for those who find No. 5 too dated. No. 5 is one I wear a dab of, now and then, at home, because of its mid-20th century "boudoir" vibe. This, I would wear anywhere. The floral notes melt into the skin in that lovely way of perfumes with a lot of expensive naturals. Lots of creamy sandalwood plus that "gingerbread accord" (I smell mostly coriander but also ginger, nutmeg, almond) warm the floral notes enough for fall and winter wear. Wears well with almost anything, but I like it best with my softest, snuggliest sweaters.