Reviews of French Lover / Bois d'Orage 
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle (2007)

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French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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Reviews of French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

There are 81 reviews of French Lover / Bois d'Orage by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle.


Very interesting ''old school'' perfume.

Frederic Malle asked JC Ellena for a stronger and more intense version of Angelique Sous La Pluie. JCE worked on the formula for several months and he almost finished it - however at the time he signed the contract to be the exclusive nose for Hermes. So he was not allowed to give his formula to Frederic or to work with Frederic anymore.
Malle called JCE and asked him if he could advise him on who could do the job instead of him and JCE recommended Malle's longtime family friend - Pierre Bourdon. Malle asked JCE to share the initial idea and concept of the formula with Bourdon so that he could complete it and put his “final touch”. And here we are... we've got the French Lover.
It's not a secret that French Lover was kind of a collaboration and that the inspiration was ASLP. The story is verified from a Frederic Malle book I bought in Paris.

If you are in the USA, you will find French Lover under the name "Bois D'Orage".

Another interesting fact is that this is the last perfume that Pierre Bourdon created.

French Lover might be one of the safest picks from the house.
Woody, slightly spicy, wet and cold smell of the forest after the rain - when the aromas start to evaporate from the soil. It is quite green and vegetal. It’s not a classic woody perfume you'd expect to smell when you see the notes.
Very natural scent of cedar wood.
Quality should not be mentioned when it comes to Frederic Malle. It's always top notch.

Projection and longevity are probably one of the weakest from the house.
It projects for an hour or two, very moderate...
Longevity is solid, definitely over 10-12h. But just slightly stronger than a skin scent.

But if you want your perfume to "dominate" from you - then you might need to skip this perfume.


An entirely pleasant surprise. For me, it's about the gossamer interplay between the vetiver, iris, and incense, but the patchouli manages to impart a delicately sweet vibrance without adding significant weight. I chanced this sample for the Friday Summer Solstice sync, and it couldn't have been more perfect. Bourdon at his best.


I love it... and then I can't smell it anymore. I was told a certain synthetic ingredient in it causes anosmia. Whether or not that's the case, after about 15 minutes I can't smell this on myself. A shame, because it's stunning.


Wow! If I were to commission my own scent it would end up very much like this (which I suppose is the whole point of the Malle Line). Classy but not too try-hard, fresh yet unique. Masculine and effortlessly stylish.

Opening with a bracing G&T accord. U get the Angelica and other green, clean botanicals such as juniper. This is a very fresh, green, leafy G&T. The green feel becomes gradually more damp and very slightly dirtied (musk) and darker (woods, Vetiver) - like foraging in a lush green woodland, precipitation in the air. It's not so much the woodland floor but more the leafy layers around eye level. It's quite herbal and borders on medicinal, almost bringing to mind notes of lovage, dill and the piquant pimento. Some ultra-Clean incense adds to the development.

If you want to 'picture' the smell look up images of Angelica because this smells exactly what that looks like!

This really shines in all seasons. When worn in Spring it feels made for Spring: ditto Summer, Autumn etc. There is some family resemblance to Coolwater, GIT and Malle's GPM - this one almost has a minty freshness without the overdose of mint found in GPM. Surely one of Bourdon's very best.

90/100 (and no I didn't deduct marks for the silly name - there's nothing particularly French here. If it must be placed geographically how about Nordic Lover).


The opening is a nice, natural woody floral with plenty of cedar and earthy vetiver. The earthy vetiver is the star of the opening, smelling like damp, freshly shoveled dirt. The woodiness is there too so the idea of planting trees or working around a tree root in the ground while digging is what comes to mind.

The dry down is very refined and pleasing, casting off a musky, dry woody scent. There's a sweet and fruity ambroxan that reveals itself at the end of the scent.

Good longevity and solid projection.


He may look like a Belgian accountant but Pierre Bourdon is a perfume genius. With French Lover he's done something that few have tried and fewer have achieved, the Minimalist Perfume. A pale blend of galbanum and assonant naturals : incense, juniper and the natural exaltolide found in Angelica root. They create an indistinct foggy thing which seems to be all surface and no depth. Like a Mark Rothko canvas, there's no image to pick out here but plenty to feed the unconscious.

French Lover doesn't pronounce - like many perfumes do, it suggests. It hints - at things you think you know; the humid sous-bois of the forest floor, decaying leaves, green and sappy stems peeled of their bark...
Or, if you are more inclined to culture than the natural world there is the Homme Chic : silver grey suit, cardamom coffee, potted plants and pale decor. Both are possible; both have their adherents. By giving the same work two different names in different parts of the world Frederic Malle doesn't rule out either interpretation; it is he who names the juice, not the perfumer; ambiguity is all.


The scent works because Pierre Bourdon appears to have grasped a Zen kind of minimalism, which doesn't lie in a pale featureless thing with no movement, or soul.
Maybe he's got one of those Japanese teapots - with purely functional shape but subtle blends of colouration. At their highest, Zen ceramics show us that form and content are not separate qualities - and, as Susan Sontag has argued - it's more a case of Yang form and Yin content melding together in permissive alliance.

Likewise, in French Lover / Stormwood, the very formlessness of the structure focusses the attention on the subtleties of natural content. The effect is, of course, entirely dependent on Frederic Malle furnishing top quality materials. Without them the work would be little more than the pencil-shaving things that often pass for minimalism.

Although it is not weak or wan (in fact the juice is very strong) French Lover isn't inclined to shout. It does not, like many perfumes, clamour for attention. Instead it murmurs, enigmatically, making you lean in to hear what it's saying. It's a brillant conceit which turns current perfume wisdom on it's head.
But of course, French Lover is not perfect, and like a Zen teapot there will always be a flaw; and thus, in ithis way, it's almost a perfect masterpiece.


Opens green, bitter and spicy followed by a clear cedar note. The best way to describe it is that is smells of freshly cut woods in a forest on a rainy day. Earthy and moist at first progresses to dry woods with spicy undertones. A nice rooty vetiver envelops the woody heart and transparent clouds of incense straightens the earthy character. Very nice balance of notes and composition, great manly scent.


A crisp white oxford shirt in a greenhouse that has opened its windows.

French Lover blends lighter notes of brisk, aromatic woods and peppery angelica with the heft of grassy, smoky vetiver and a slug of vegetal, earthy galbanum. It manages to simultaneously convey both clean, confident contours with plenty of breathing room and a dark, rich, if not murky foundation.

Decent longevity, excellent for humid days. The fragrance reads as masculine but I like to pair it with minimalist and monochromatic looks. Would be great with pressed slacks and black patent leather stilettos.


Top marks for being realistic!!

I mean this smells like you just juiced a green leaf and stalk and then rubbed it all over your body. Not my cup of tea but if you are that way inclined then could be ideal.


Best perfume ever created. Period. For Me. Unfortunately there was a slight reformulation since the Lauder takeover and it has changed. I'd say it's about 85%-90% the same so it's not a bad reform, but still, the original is a complete masterpiece. Pierre Bourdon will forever hold a place in my heart for creating this.


Most people seem to be agreed that French Lover is a misleading epiphet for this creation, and the alternative name of Bois d'Orage or Stormwood suits it much better.

It's a nice angelica roots note. If you don't know what angelica roots oil smells like, you do now. There is a rank "methylated spirits" aspect, which may be what Katie Puckrik was referring to when she described her association to her father in his dirty overalls. Luca Turin describes a similar impression. Whether the perfume actually contains pyridine seems unlikely, but it certainly smells like it does.

All the same, Bois d'Orage - I can't think of it as French Lover - is a great fragrance, dry, daring, and different. It has more character than its close cousin, Angeliques sous la Pluie, and I like that one well enough, but Bourdon's creation just caps it. There is a peppery aspect too, very similar to that found in the fragrance Laurel from Comme des Garcons.

The drydown is a woody-amber odour characteristic of materials (timberol, karanal, amber xtreme etc) which are as powerful as they are ubiquitous. This warm and pungent smell with its slightly sweaty aspect may underlie Bourdon's comment that he was aiming for a fragrance which acts as a skin enhancer, amplifying the natural odour of manliness.

Here, at last, may be our French Lover. The dosage is restrained, which is fortunate since these materials are very tenacious and in regular use will accumulate on clothing.



How curious. I liked the opening few minutes, all wet leaves and such, and thought I might have found something with galbanum that I enjoyed. But then I went to smell my arm again and lo it had transformed into...the smell of dried fish scales, perhaps a few weeks old. Not strong, but not going away any time soon. Unsure where that's coming from--something ammoniac I guess (where's Luca Turin when you need him?). As a result this is not for me.


I really enjoyed the initial 45 minutes of this - invigorating and interesting - on occasion have made me smile a bit. After that it becomes a very serious and depressing scent, the metallic, the dirty-sweaty and the low-pitched woody/spicy smells dominate. I get an image of a man having chopped wood and dug dirt for hours, standing half-naked exhausted in the dark summer forest.

I have a similar problem with Hermann by etat libre d'orange, another scent that starts off good but goes more and more metallic, unpleasant and bland. FL is not as bad - it keeps some small degree of interest in me. I'm mostly offended by how bored I get by both of these scents.

Lasts a very long time on me, just like the above mentioned ELDO fragrance.


The opening is quite original in its combination of angelica and vetiver, resulting in an aroma of wet leaves in a forest; the woodsy contribution by the cedar wood becomes increasingly more substantial further into the drydown. The vetiver's earthy touch adds another facet to this olfactory nature sketch.

Galbanum and patchouli arise in the later stages, and together with a gentle incense note in the background that dominate the base. The incense is mild, and only towards the end expresses a touch of a balsamic undertone, very discreetly only.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

And autumnal daytime scent that is well-executed, displaying good structure and creative touches. 3.25/5.


In the late 00's, every niche line had to have one of those iso e super/pepper/vetiver/incense perfumes. Bois d'Orage is Frederick Malle's.

What separates it from the pack is a really complex mix of animalic notes. There's cumin and sweaty-old-man leather and a big blast of cat poop currant, all of which combines with the smoky pepper and piney cedar to smell like some sort of incredibly dirty, sweaty, poopy forest. It's weirdly resplendent in its celebration of woodland rot, which makes it interesting, but not exactly easy sniffing.

All told, Bois d'Orage is one of those perfumes that I appreciate but don't really like, so I'm just going to vote neutral and leave it at that.


This is a great peppery and green vetiver-based fragrance. I like FL more than FM Vetiver Extraordinaire which is too over the top intense green for my tastes (and others in my family). It's also less green (and opulent and rich) than say, Amouage's Opus VII. From initial to dry down, nothing overpowers. The pepper nicely balances the galbanum and the FM green vetiver notes. It's not too fresh, not too spicy, not too woody, not too green. As another reviewer stated, it's inoffensive. I think this perfectly summarizes French Lover for me. While it's not challenging or daring, it has solid longevity and projection. This could be an all season fragrance, though perhaps not in the hottest days of summer.


It's hard to imagine a composition as simple as this isn't sold under a simple and bland name of 'eau de cedre' or 'the cedars of lebanon'. But I guess marketing is a factor here. And Malle somehow has to keep things cheesy (well, at least for the European market).

This is a scent that brings to mind tropical jungles, sawdust and pencil shavings (as was my first impression of this scent). Masculine it is, but by no means impossible for a female to pull off.

I would call this a fairly linear scent: French Lover doesn't ooze much else other than a distinct cedar/vetiver note that is bold - yet not overpowering - and relatively long lasting (though by no means ground-breaking). I do detect some very light musks and patchouli perhaps, but the overall lingering note is a cedar/vetiver mix.

The quality isn't bad and the scent can be worn casually as well as formally. I would say it's a good scent to layer (due to its simplicity) with something sweeter or floral even. I would try it with Paestum Rose.

I find the whole scent extremely dry: don't expect any sweetness here. It's not far off Diptyque's Tam Dao (parfum version), less the sandalwood and any coconut milkyness.

In that sense, if you like that sort of thing, it's a thumbs up. Otherwise this may not cater to all. Definitely a love/hate type of scent.


Frederic Malle French lover is an interesting fresh and woodsy fragrance that while it has some familiar fresh elements, it has also his own unique character that makes it kind of different. personally I wouldn't call this a vetiver based fragrance. vetiver has his own role in this fragrance just as other main players. nothing more.

This fragrance starts off with a fresh and zesty lemony blast along with a green and herbal kind of scent and small amount of sweetness in the background.
The opening remind me of two other fragrances. first that juicy lemon blast remind me of that sweet and sour lemoncello note in "Byredo Oud Immortel" but here it's fresher, less sweet and a little more sour.
Second fragrance that comes in my mind is because of green angelica note that reminds me of "Amouage Opus VII". no no! don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that these two smell the same. not at all. but "Amouage Opus VII" also has a huge blast of angelica note specially at the start that they both are similar only from this point of view. I can say that "Amouage Opus VII" is dark and mysterious side of angelica note while "French Lover" is exactly at the opposite and bright side.
Anyway, this angelica note definitely has a unique smell into it. it's green, a little powdery and a little floral. finally there is a faint sweet smell in the background that stays there almost through the whole performance.

Now in the mid that angelica note settles down and I can smell a mellow spicy aura that gives the fragrance a little warmth. I know that they mentioned spicy notes in general but what I'm getting here is pure nutmeg with it's bitter, spicy, kind of woody and warm aura. I love nutmeg and I usually add a pinch of it in many of my foods and I'm sure what I'm smelling here is nutmeg. this nutmeg note as I said before adds a soft bitter and spicy aura to the scent but it lasts for about 5 minutes or so and then gets kicked out by cedar wood and vetiver. when these two notes joining in, scent starts to change into a dry, woody, peppery, soft smoky and soft earthy aura with faint green and powdery feeling from angelica and very mellow sweet juicy lemon in the background. it's a woody and spicy scent but it's also fresh and inoffensive!

In the base those woody, earthy and spicy notes get weaker quite a bit and again that juicy lemony scent comes back but now it's mostly tart and very watery.
Projection is good and above average and longevity is a good 8 hours on the skin. nice scent.


At long last, a perfume with sharp and edgy herbal quality without added sugar. How rare a beast that is becoming these days, where the obligatory touch of sweetness is added to almost everything to cater to what is perceived as mainstream taste. Message to the brands: Perfume isn't medicine (even though it can be deeply therapeutic) and doesn't really need that spoonful of sugar to go down.
For me French Lover is an accomplished poisonous green woody. The angelica note makes me sit up and give praise, intensely herbal, peppery, and bracing, like plant sap that could burn skin on contact, and pairing it with the bitter green of galbanum is inspired. The backing is muted – a touch of something musty coupled with clean woods. The whole thing is lifted effortlessly with unobtrusive musks, giving it a light and nimble aura. A perfume of classical proportions with no joins showing.
Goes a bit barbershop in the end, but I forgive it.


I love this one. It strongly reminds me of Acqua di Gio Essenza, which I also like.


French Lover is an interesting composition. It is a damp, green, woody fragrance with a rugged, earthy vetiver note as the key central piece. I do not get much of incense. Rather I mostly sniff wet woods. I also find something in the beginning that smells vaguely of oranges. It is almost as if I'm sitting in a deep forest after a shower and peeling unripe oranges. The fragrance clears up a bit as it transitions into the base: the damp feeling subsides as a musky note develops.

While it is certainly interesting, I cannot call it engaging. Some might not find it very wearable. Average projection and longevity on my skin.


Well this scent combines ingredients that would actually make their co-existense seem like "the clash of the titans". Incense, pepper, galbanum, vetiver all in one borderline green composition that resembles the odour of green grass and dirt while you have placed your nose a few inches from the ground. The incense is present throughout and there is also a muskiness and smoky "cigarness" to it. A personal favorite form the Malle line composed by the great Pierre Bourdon.


I agree with Way Off Scenter... Lets face it the guy can write. Funny that my initial impression was that of a more mature and refined Yatagan. So much so that I wore Yatagan on one wrist and Bois d'orage on the other today. I was glad to see that someone else detected this similarity. They are both unapolagetically manly with the Bois d'Orage less in your face about it. The drydown on both are for my liking awesome with an edge of danger for lack of a better word.


The only word to describe this scent is NUMINOUS.

On a woman with a heart that is both wild and peaceful, deep currents, light and dark, shaman making things grow, the woods after a storm--this is perfection.

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