Well this doesn't do anything, now does it? Kind of is just... there. Kind of just sits there. And after a while of the same it fades. There's a market out there for linear fragrances (specially at this cost). To me it feels unfinished. Not even that really, feels more like an ingredient being sold as the whole thing. Neutral rating because it is competent - and there are worse things to smell of.
L'Occitane de Provence is not considered a heavyweight perfume house, probably because most of their perfumes are relatively simple one-note explorations of single ingredients, like lemon verbena–useful, but not complicated–sold in the context of products used mostly for home fragrance and skin care. Eau des Baux is different, a genuine classic that belongs in anyone's collection who enjoys resinous and spicy Oriental fragrances. L'Occitane's marketing materials say it is a tribute to a brotherhood of medieval knights that met in cypress groves, and describe it as a tribute to the scent of those trees. I don't think it smells much like cypress, but it has a pleasing, outdoorsy quality that smells like mastic gum, pine, eucalyptus, and myrrh, lit from within with a hot spicy amber glow.
It smells salubrious, nearly medicinal, with a similar aromatic punch to patchouli, without patchouli's swampy greenness, or its cultural hippie connotations. There is a natural-smelling woody accord that reminds me of being in a big redwood forest, complete with saline breezes, and sinus-clearing aromatics. It reminds me of bay rum, and the gingerbreadesque comfort of Chanel's Bois des Iles and Egoiste. It opens with a hint of something fresh, perhaps a bit of begamot, and then comes the incense sparkle of opoponax, and nose tingling baking spices, like nutmeg, allspice, and, perhaps, black pepper, with some heat from
a chile accord. It smells comforting and handsome, but without traditional masculine accords like clary sage that might suggest a more gendered identity than the fragrance actually has.
Molasses and maple sweetness join the spices, and then the initial resin burst fades, like almost an upside-down amber, as sprinkles of spice become more prominent. This is the perfume's middle gear, an inviting scent that comforts without some of the usual cosseting accompaniments of milky accords, or powder. Its sweetness takes on an almost chewy quality, recreating the presence of mellow tonka, and perhaps even some lulling benzoin, without a hint of cloying sugariness.
Tonka dominates the perfume's later stages, balanced by its continuing, throaty heat. It is a fine, uncluttered, base accord, and even heavy application doesn't bring out any questionable or unpleasant artificiality that might spoil the perfume's sense of being outside in clean air in an autumn forest. I think I smell a delicate, minimal bit of clove in the mix, but the spice mix is so well blended that nosing out individual spices is difficult.
It is an extraordinarily easy wear, the kind of dumb reach perfume that calls me when I want a scent that makes me feel serene and relaxed. I sometimes wear it in summer, as it is like amber with more space between the notes than other perfumes in its family can sometimes have, but casual evening wear is its natural habitat, and I often wear it to bed, when I want something outside of my usual bed-time floral musks. Tonight, as I wear it, it is helping to dispel a perfume-induced headache, and it has calming properties that remind me of fresh lavender, which makes me wonder if there is a touch of that herb in it.
L'Occitane used to do more of this kind of thing, and I miss the beautiful ambers it used to make. I am glad that Eau des Baux is still in production, easy to find, and extremely affordable, especially on the gray market. I notice it often appears in the collections of beginning perfume hobbyists, especially those looking for masculines that don't smell like petrol or leather. It is intelligently composed, very sophisticated for the price, and smells good on everyone of any gender.
It is classified as an Eau de Toilette, and thus not a performance beast, with gentle projection and sillage. I think its relatively high resin content causes it to wear close to the body, it is the kind of perfume that feels like it invites leaning in, rather than hearkening from a distance, and it lasts at least eight hours or more, depending on application–more for evening, especially if the wearer wants to wear it for events or dates, when it makes for good nuzzling, yet won't compete with food or wine at dinner. Something about it, reminds me of Shalimar, likely its opoponax, less Shalimar's floral and leather. It is a fragrance I feel confident recommending to anyone, unless they just don't like resin, or only feel comfortable in traditional feminine fruit and florals.
Eau des Baux is an old favorite of mine, a perfume so direct in its development and construction, that this review has practically written itself. Some reviewers might give it three stars, as it is not expensive or complex, but I prize wearability and versatility as highly as any other qualities, and its obvious quality and clever composition elevate it beyond the realms of the basic. Not many houses do this kind of thing so well at this price, and it earns a well deserved four-plus stars, with two enthusiastic thumbs up. At the risk of repetition, I feel compelled to restate that this is a classic, and it deserves the high marks, and cult status, it occupies among the folk here on Basenotes. Thumbs up.
Applied 4 sprays before leaving for work and at about 3-4 hours mark it has reduced to a meek skin scent, so I found EdB to be very weak. It is a nice scent, sort of sweet and spicy gourmand, herbal (incensed) and a bit therapeutic for the mood. The feel is gourmand fragranced Vicks inhaler in a delicious way. Does something to my nose. More of an autumn/winter scent because there is definitely warmth and coziness to this scent. Would not mind wearing it to work (because who would mind a little nap?) or at home or when in any kind of relaxing mood, but not for celebrations or social outing.
L'Occitane's Eau Des Baux opens with a bright blast of spices – pink pepper and cardamom – and an aromatic green note provided by the cypress. The bright and expressive opening soon gives way to a smoky vanilla accord. Here the non-specific incense and vanilla are very much tied together and produce a deep, rich, smoky vanilla accord that is well balanced by the green sharpness of the cypress which lingers throughout the progression of the composition. As it dries down the cypress gradually fades and the vanilla becomes more prominent, slowly softening to become a skin scent, as it diffuses into a warm glow. Overall, Eau de Baux is a compelling and well-priced oriental/amber fragrance that has a kind of understated elegance and simplicity about it. The combination of the cypress and dry' smoky vanilla making it somewhat distinct within its class.
It opens with a refreshing cracked blackpepper which is only prominent for minutes, and quickly becomes a soft incense reminiscent of CDG 2Man minus the smoke. As the pepper continues to fade a subtle spice, like nutmeg or cardamom develops, giving me the impression of smelling a jar of dry chai tea. It quickly then settles into a soft dry vanilla prominent skin scent with reasonable longevity.
I initially didn't connect this to Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille as I was moving through the different stages of the scent, but I can see how the incense / tea / vanilla combination in the mid to base would smell similar to the vanilla pipe tobacco in TV. However, on my skin it's a subtle skin scent without much sillage, as opposed to Tobacco Vanille which is a sillage monster.
I recommend this as comforting fragrance to wear at home or as a subtle daily fragrance which is interesting and enjoyable, but not attention-seeking. There's no sticky date pudding or golden syrup here, so it's perfect for the more mature wearer who wants to wear vanilla without the powder and sugar. I don't think it lives up to the hype, but it's still a thumbs up.
I have a very strong fragrance connection to Paris with two scents. The first, the candle that perfumes the Hotel Coste, isn't made as a fragrance. The second is Eau des Baux. I was on a business trip to Paris in December, and my colleague were walking back to our hotel on the Left Bank along Saint Germain. It was cold, the decorations for the holidays were beautiful, and shops were still open. We stopped into a pharmacy which had a small L'occitane display and I started sniffing. I got to Baux and it was love at first sniff. As everyone here says - the quality far outweighs the price for this. Warm, spicy and sweet, its one that I never tire of, and when I wear it, I can't stop sniffing myself! Great compliment getter too.