A coconut-infused, caramel vanilla with a salty-waxy undertone providing some contrast (the waxiness also imbues it with a "scented candle" aura).
This serves as a higher-end variation on a Bath & Body Works-esque "cake frosting" style of fragrance with a good dash of niche-y "weirdness" thanks to an animalic, acrid undercurrent that emerges primarily in the opening and then afterwards only upon close inspection.
More of a curiosity than a revelation, but also a good example of a perfumer smuggling some decidedly off-kilter elements into a fragrance that might otherwise feel very mass-market.
A very gourmand opening. I love a good vanilla fragrance and this one, hits the mark... A waxy feel emerges. A dark, woody sweetness underneath. There is an almost animalic, barnyard thing, way in the background. Pretty much everything melds together, with an occasional note popping up on its own for notice. Smooth. An almost boozy-like liqueur at times. Tonka bean doesn't overpower and the licorice note is divine. The coconut is an added touch. Well done!... Sweet, woody goodness goes on and on.
Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille offers something special as far as a vanilla fragrance. Surely it's sweet, but it's a sweet, woody mix with nuances that keep it from being over-the-top. Vanilla, benzoin, beeswax, and the mix of sandalwood and guaiac wood create an easy-to-love, albeit all too familiar, vanillic/resinous/woody blend, but this blend is modified by the quirk of almond, tonka, and licorice, giving it some bite, some slight bitterness, and keeping it from being altogether too sweet for the enjoyment of many.
Rather, what results is a nuanced, interesting take on vanilla, well-performing and also modestly-enough priced (at $52 for a standard 50ml bottle size on FragranceNet). It's an easy win and a slight deviation from most sweeter vanilla offerings that lean boozy, cake-like, or extract-like.
As the name says, it opens with spicy wood and softens with a beautiful creamy and very sweet vanilla. Caramel, coconut, something powdery... I like it a lot, although it sometimes makes me think of a cheap caramel Demeter scent like Cotton Candy or Sugar Cookie.