Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

Tender, not Torrid: Boisé Torride (Guerlain)

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Two perfume-name adjectives that never say much to me are “tendre” and “torride.” Both apply better to romance novels than to luxury fragrances. Add to Boisé torride‘s iffy name the foreboding “harmonie guimauve” (marshmallow harmony), and I’m convinced I don’t even have to try this one.

Yet I did. I sampled 4 of the Elixirs at once; lived with them for an afternoon. As predicted, I was put off by Boisé torride‘s sticky sweet top note and immediately filed this Elixir under “Not For Me.”

As the day wore on, I fell in love with one of the four scents, but forgot which I had spritzed where. After many re-samplings and much denial, I realized that Boisé torride was my new surprise favorite. Its gorgeous “boisé” drydown stole my heart. There’s plenty of patchouli, some nice cedar, and, yes, a fruited (not fruity) floral sweetness that turns gentle and fresh. The perfume’s development on my skin was opposite to what I’d anticipated. Boisé torride started out sticky sweet, but settled into a gentle, fresh woodsy blend, sans guimauve.

The name poses a syntactical problem for translation into English (as does FM’s Noir épices), but has an edgy ring (syntax again) in French. No matter how you phrase it, though, there is nothing torrid about this blend. I would call it “Boisé tendre.”

I’m smitten.


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