The consensus on this seems to be that the drydown is a letdown after the more distinctive opening; an opening that gets mixed reviews. The spices and vanilla with a touch of cedar say woody oriental while the orange says gourmand, with the net effect being something like a creamsicle melting in your spice cabinet. Really, it all smells delicious, but at the same time all that sweetness seems a bit too desperate to be liked.
The mint (or mint-like) note becomes more prominent as the orange and most of the spice recedes. The vanilla and some unassuming wood remains. It doesn't quite turn to toothpaste, but yeah, the drydown is a letdown. Not that I wanted more spicy creamsicle, but it was at least an idea, whereas this is barely an afterthought.
Ultimately, the drydown morphs back into woody oriental territory–sort of like a vanilla-flavored toothpick. Which is better than it sounds, but not enough better.
A good sweet orange note married to effervescent spices such as cinnamon, fennel and cardamom: the opening is refreshing and well rounded with a bit of heft. The decision to use cooler spices instead of "hot spices" such as cumin, coriander etc is a good one and created an uplifting opening instead of a Surge Lutens-like spice attack.
The trademark Duchaufour bitter/dark notes dont materialize - rather, the incense and myrrh notes are well blended with clove and cedar to introduce a woody heart composition which carries on the upolifting spicy aroma of the top notes. The basenotes are more demure by comparison - a vanilla/benzoin sweet woody drydown.
Overall: a versatile woody-oriental fragrance that may have more mass appeal than the typical Bertrand Duchaufour composition.
As far as I am concerned Baume du Doge is Bertrand Duchaufour's pratfall. A resinous-spicy perfume suffused with a way too sugary orange note, it is one of those perfumes that whichever way you sniff it is a muddle, refusing to reveal any detail, a scented foam for the nose. The prolific Duchaufour was likely working on it around the same time as his glorious Jubilation for Men (both were launched in the same year) and this seems to share the same idea a fruit-infused resins based creation but so dully that it seems almost like an abandoned study. Perhaps it's the dead hand of vanilla in the base which seems to flatten everything else. I was thankful for its demure sillage, otherwise I might have been compelled to wash it off, which would have done no end of damage to my rather puritan perfume ethic of suffering one's choices.
I agree with previous posters that the opening is stunning and the dry down less so, but for me it is definitely NOT disappointing. Despite this, I still believe overall that Baume du Doge is an very good fragrance. A little more projection and I would classify it as EXCECCENT.
Imagine the kind of dry, austere, smoky incense-and-cardamom accord that Bertrand Duchaufour presents in Dzongkha laid over a rich, bittersweet vanilla gourmand base, and you might come up with something like Baume du Doge. The juxtaposition of sweet and dry, stony and edible is novel to the point of shocking, though in an gratifying manner.
Within a few minutes of application, a minty/camphoraceous note wells up from the gourmand base, and somehow manages to stitch the two opposing olfactory blocks together. (Since there is nothing even remotely minty listed in Baume du Doge's pyramid, I attribute my impression to an odd synergy between the herbal fennel and the crisp quality of clove.) At this point in the development I'm reminded of Lorenzo Villoresi's Piper Nigrum, which also uses mint in a sweet oriental context, but Baume du Doge displays a smoother and more fully integrated structure. Where the opening of Piper Nigrum can come off as jangling or cacophonous, this new scent is suave and articulate. Baume du Doge also dries down crisp, woody, and slightly sweet, which is a far cry from Piper Nigrum's powdery vanillic-amber exit. It is tenacious, with moderate sillage and projection, and it strikes me as relatively gender neutral leaning perhaps slightly toward the masculine.
To the best of my knowledge, Baume du Doge is Duchaufour's first gourmand woody oriental since he did Méchant Loup for L'Artisan Perfumeur. I may be in a minority of one in finding Duchaufour's recent excursion into peppery aquatic florals in the guise of Magnolia Romana more interesting than Baume du Doge, but I can heartily recommend this new scent to anyone who enjoys a spicy oriental.