Niche Fragrance Magazine

Chanel – Bois des iles: Sandalwood, glorious sandalwood

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I’ve been on two perfume binges these past few months. One being Chanel everything, and the other being typical designer-counter, run-of-he-mill offerings. Both, I’ve neglected for so many years and both I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring for these past months. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll focus on the glorious House of Chanel. Not that I don’t think there are any fellow lovers of Spicebomb Eau Fraiche out there reading, that would just be a Gold Fish next to the dolphin exhibit at Sea World, you didn’t come here for that.

After falling in love with Chanel Egoiste recently, I was told I must check out Bois des Illes. Why do I fall in these rabbit holes? BdI being equally as good and likable as Egoiste, maybe even a bit more eloquent in its approach. Egoiste and Bois des Illes bare some similarities; namely, sandalwood, but not enough similarities to assume that someone would like one after liking the other and vice versa.

The aldehydic opening leads me to believing this is Chanel through and through, and not only that, that it is vintage in a way that older ladies smelled in church throughout my youth. The first ten minutes are aldehydes with a lot of talc powder, the talc being propped up by the iris and floral aspects of ylang-ylang in full bloom.

The opening is not the most masculine aspect of Bois, safe for the pinch of sandalwood hiding beneath the florals and “vintage” feel. Not too long after, I would say 30 minutes to an hour, the aldehydes subside, the powdery-iris tones down into a more buttery-crème-orris root and the balsamic notes; tonka, amber, benzoin, resins are full fledge. They are soft, subtle like warm skin and a far cry from the opening moments. This is my second favorite stage of Bois des Illes, every gust of air or movement on my part wafts clouds of creamy, resins, constantly bringing to my attention – OMG, I smelled amazing.

The final stage, mind you, this is the “eau de toilette” I’m sniffing, which performs just as well as some Chanel parfums/extraits. I get sandalwood and more sandalwood in its best form. I’ve never witnessed sandalwood this natural, this creamy, this delectable. I dare someone to name a sandalwood fragrance made post-2000 that compares… (…I’m listening)

Oh, and the Egoiste comparison, I think the first hour of Bois des Illes is unfamiliar territory for most men. Beyond that, BdI is full of resins, amber, and enough woody notes to keep any fan of Egoiste happy.


Hi I am Narada! I discovered my love for all things fragrant after two years of living in France and running out of my sole bottle of cologne that I took with me, YSL L'Homme. Probably the greatest place on earth to run out of your signature scent. I tried to visit every perfumerie from Spain, all the way to Hungary. So, many of my reviews, stories and shorts may reference my travels. Enjoy!

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