I have recently received a decant of Feminité du Bois Extrait from my very generous friend Saif. This was extremely kind of him because this is not a perfume one comes across easily. I think Feminité du Bois is a timeless masterpiece so trying the Extrait version was an unexpected pleasure I could not pass. If the eau de parfum is a sweet, velvet coat woven in cedar saw dust, where does the extrait version lean? How deep does it get?
Well, not much. On the contrary. I was expecting more spice and darkness but Extrait opens much brighter. The plum note is amped up and maybe supplemented with a touch of honey up front. The EdP opening is full of spices and smelling the two side by side actually reveals a bit of aniseed in there. The Extrait continues more floral, violet mostly, and it will take some time for the spices to emerge. Even then, the dusty texture of the EdP is not there. Instead it is shiny and glossy. It is not that there are no spices in the mix. It is just that when I smell the EdP I can feel the powdery spices being sucked up my nose. In the Extrait I smell the oils extracted from the spices. The high pitched notes of cedar are masked under a more seamless balance of ingredients in the Extrait.
Looking back at the similarities and differences between Feminité du Bois and Dolce Vita, the Extrait seems strangely closer to the latter. One would probably have to admit that it feels, better blended, more seamless. But also more conventional. In the EdP version the concept of using a very masculine woody note -cedarwood- in a warm, feminine composition in order to showcase the femininity of wood, is a lot more obvious. The Extrait version cannot support my previous remark (and many other reviewers’) of different elements dancing and fighting in an ever changing combination of accords. In this version all elements are coexisting in peace. This is not bad of course. But Extrait has no cracks. And as Leonard Cohen has so beautifully captured, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”