I've been waiting a while, over a year in fact, to do this review as I wanted a new bottle of my favourite perfume in the world to photograph.
This is my signature scent.
Serge Lutens, Un bois vanille, is, to my mind, the ultimate in vanilla fragrances. It is no secret that I love my vanilla scents; that warm, comforting, sweet blanket of smell that envelops you and gives a big squeezy cuddle in its bounteous bosom, but if you are not careful a vanilla scent can suffocate you in a treacly mess of syrupy miasma and leave everybody in your wake wondering why they are suddenly craving a cupcake with extra icing.
The name translates as a vanilla wood so it is no surprise that there are also sandalwood notes adding depth and interest in the dry down as well as notes of coconut adding a smooth and creamy sweetness to the vanilla.
It's also not a very common perfume, I have yet to find someone who wears any of the Serge Lutens scents, all of which I find are typically grown up scents with none of the alcoholic vapours you find in cheaper versions, and they last. I wear Un bois vanille at least four times a week and one bottle will last me for 18 months. House of Fraser is the only mainstream department store commonly located on high streets I have found that carries it, although you can easily buy it on line. At £70 a bottle it is not the cheapest scent on the market but for me it is absolute value for money.
The packaging is clean and simple and very French chic. No gimmicks, no fancy stoppers, no strange twisted shapes that cut into your hand when you attempt to spray. Serge Lutens relies purely on the strength and complexity of his fragrances to do his selling, not clever marketing gimmicks and I think he has it spot on.
I also find that this scent is suitable for use all year long, except perhaps on those hottest of sticky summer days. I really want to explore more of the Serge Lutens range (I have my eye on Five o'clock au gingembre and I own a sample of L'Eau, a remarkable clean fragrance) but if doing so means straying from Un bois vanille, then I don't think I have the heart to make that sacrifice.