Un Bois Vanille 
Serge Lutens (2003)

Average Rating:  57 User Reviews

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Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

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About Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

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Serge Lutens
Fragrance House
Serge Lutens
Creative Director

Un Bois Vanille is a women's perfume launched in 2003 by Serge Lutens

Fragrance notes.

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Reviews of Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

There are 57 reviews of Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens.


I was very close to dismissing this fragrance, but I took another deep breath and took in some of the nuances of the vanilla. I find it difficult to describe this scent, but I think it's the coconut that is giving the vanilla note some dimension or extra characteristics. The beeswax isn't that prominent, but it must be blended in really well with the vanilla. Usually, I'm not a fan of almond, but I can't really pick it out in this scent. It's the perfect amount of sweet. It just feels very well-balanced. This isn't groundbreaking, but it's worth testing.


Very sweet opening with just the right amount of powder to make it elegant but not dusty. Big blast of coconut and caramel, mellowing soon after under the soft embrace of beeswax and tonka. This continues for a few minutes, then a blanket of slightly sharp licorice drapes itself above all, accompanied by an almost astringent smell that passes into some sandal wood goodness. Very occassionally I get a whiff of some almond but it’s very stand-back behind the coconut on me.

Of course, there is also vanilla, the scent is not misnomed. It also happens to be my most favourite vanilla of all yet. It blends and weaves all of the other notes together masterfully. It’s an almost cool vanilla (cool as a contrast to what I’d usually describe is the well-known warm, creamy gourmand vanilla). I think it’s the woody subtones that make it appear so. It smells very natural and starts out like airy clouds floating around in the opening but with the drydown, it truly settles, becomes more earthy and woody, like a stable foundation for it all. Absolutely gorgoeus, must have a bottle of that!


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.

8 out of 10

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