The fifth edition of our column: “He says, she says”! He: Jakub and She: Aleksandra of Persefume — two people, two genders, two opinions, both valuable, both sincere. Sometimes similar, sometimes contrasting — we test without checking each other’s impressions. Choose what fits you better. Write your own part in comments.

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This time we are focusing on Franck Boclet – the brand which we both tested first during Esxence 2014 in Milano and which has grown a lot since that time. At the beginning, there was only the quartet of Patchouli, Oud, Leather and Incense (2013), later on Ambre, Chypre, Heliotrope and Tobacco were introduced (2014), while in 2015 Absinthe, Cedre, Fir Balsam, Tonka and Vanille have been added (with press preview at TFWA 2014 in Cannes). From four to thirteen fragrances in two years, that is quite a progress!

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Franck Boclet is Parisian designer, creator of bold, extremely detailed fashion combining classic forms with punk rock chic. Mr Boclet worked previously for such houses as Kenzo, Courreges, Ungaro, or Smalto and finally opened his own label in 2013. Fragrances were created to accompany his signature style – first quartet was marketed for men, although these and all the future releases are totally unisex.

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All fragrances are named by one main ingredient which actually does not have to play that key role in the composition. They were created with perfumer Mélanie Leroux (Premiere Note, Mona di Orio Myrrh Casati) and are available in two different concentrations: standard Eau de Parfum (14%) in massive 100ml bottle covered in delicate organza and collectible coffet of Extrait de Parfum 24% presented in wooden box as giant 250ml bottle and travel spray.

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We have been testing all 13 scents as Eau de Parfum, so voila, let’s start:

Patchouli
Notes: patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, ambergris, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla, white musk.

He — definitely patchouli, first seconds suggest its damp, dark facets, but after few moments the scent is getting much brighter and warmer thanks to vanilla, sandalwood, amber. Delicate hint of smoke gives bit mysterious aura. Creamy, comfortable, unfortunately not that long lasting.

She — I feel a good harvest of leaves. I’ve smelt plenty of patchouli oils from different sources and this one here is of a very good quality: earthy and cocoa enough, with a menthol fraction reasonably cut down (it can really break down patchouli). Of course there is nothing innovative here — all the line is a bit conservative — but longevity is ok and there is a certain beauty in this composition. I like this one.

Oud
Notes: ginger, cumin, carnation, oud), cedar, patchouli.

He — Agarwood is treated here mainly as the addition to woody-gingery base. Very warm and tame composition, indeed with detectable oud and patchouli, but mainly in the latter phase of the fragrance development. Comforting, quite sweet and far from the typical Arabian offerings — it is oud a la Francais, safe to wear whole day long including office time.

She — I do realize oud is a multifaceted note, but what we have here is plainly a pine and an incense made of it. I must admit it is really exceptionally well done — saturated, lively, sublime and easy remembered. It is also very long lasting and efficient: one drop stays all day on skin. I rarely encounter such an alive wood in perfumes — this one is magnificent. Do not believe the notes, believe what your nose tells you: it is not oud, it is a balsam pine! A big YES.

Leather
Notes: saffron, cumin, lemon, rose, jasminne, leather, amber.

He — It is indeed leathery — the main note is powerful and dominant (yet not too dirty/ animalic), accompanied by amber and cumin. I do not really detect rose, jasmine and saffron declared in the formula. Quite linear and very unisex scent, the must-sniff for lovers of comforting leather and suede notes.

She — Soft skin, infused with a scent of flowers, very much suede-like. It stays close to the skin, and the base smells like good, chocolate confection with velvety filling. Yummy.

Incense
Notes: cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, pink pepper, benzoin, guaiac wood, sandalwood, ebony.

He — I am huge fan of cardamom and for me this is the main player in Boclet’s Incense. It reminds me of cardamom seeds which I am often adding to my coffee or oriental dishes. As the bonus, freshly grounded pepper is truly detectable, zingy feel! In fact, Incense is lacking of… incense, except of ebony/smoky aura. Its beginning is wonderfully aromatic and lively, but the end feels bit disappointing. If only the first magical accords could stay for longer! Well, in this case I still turn to my Clive Christian X For Men for cardamom galore. Or perhaps Extrait would change my mind? Let’s see.

She — I get the feeling it is much less incense than Oud — but he main theme here is oliban with its citrus melody, bright and dispersed first, concentrated and crouching later. There are more resins in the base: benzoe, tolu, also the black pepper appears after a few hours, which creates an interesting dimension. To sum up: it is a well done incense, belonging to no culture and no religion, light and not lit yet.

Amber
Notes: bay leaf, oregano, ylang-ylang, jasmine, patchouli, resin, vanilla, amber.

He — When I smelled it for the very test time during Esxence 2014, Amber reminded me a lot of iconic Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, but after several tests I proved myself wrong. It is much more delicate, subtle, less herbal and apothecary and even slightly gourmand. It rather goes into the Armani Prive Ambre Soie’s direction, despite herbs on the ingredients list. Beautifully crafted, comforting and long-lasting.

She — check Chypre review below.

Chypre
Notes: bergamot, cardamomm orange blossom, rose, jasmine, tuberose, patchouli, amber, musk.

He — Chypre is modernised (no surprise) floral chypre genre, in similar vein as classic Agent Provocateur, or Eau de Soir, although it lacks some depth and density. Solid, versatile (though more on feminine side), wearable, but not too spectacular.

She — During last year’s Esxence I had to choose between two large samples — I was to take either Chypre or Ambre with me. I chose Ambre, a very lutensian in style and a splendid perfume after all — but sometimes I was regretting I did not take Chypre. And I remember why. It is the world of light and spring, being both classic and futuristic. There are lots of orange flowers there, a lily-of-the-valley-ish jasmine which, lying on a solid base, radiates with restrained beauty.

Heliotrope
Notes: peach, cloves, thyme, rose, orange blossom, heliotrope, tonka bean, patchouli

He — compliment getter, this time the sweetness is served in much more interesting, even refreshing way. Classy, tested in the heat when it worked just perfect.

She — the scent of pre-surgery narcosis, sleepy and minacious. The bitter and somewhat acetate note of cherry pits dominates. As with all Boclets, also here nothing is ever overdosed in no dimension — Heliotrope visits dryer and more violet realms of flowers relatively fast, and brightens. Heliotropes are usually sweet, and no surprise here — this one also is.

Tobacco
Notes: ginger, tobacco, plum, cloves, tonka bean, cedar, vetiver, benzoin, vanilla.

He — oh, but this one is masterpiece! Offspring of Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, but with cherry note. Elegant, decadent, sensual, so dandy. I love it already as EdP, but Extrait must be divine! Must try.

She — it is rather sweet kind, staying close to tonka bean and coumarine, very hay-like. Coumarine is a dangerous molecule, it can cover and cloy you with a thick net of aroma, but here, in Tobacco, it is translucent. There is a wonderful note of cherry tobacco emerging quite quickly — a cloud of bliss I sometimes sniff around people smoking pipe. There is a citrus light and space in it, a beautiful thing.

Tonka
Notes: lemon, fig leaf, ginger, almond, white peach, cedar, tonka bean, sandalwood, peru balsam.

He — no, I do not like this one – quite sweet (although not that gourmand), too sickly and boring. Not my type, despite my usual love for this note.

She — some hay, a pinch of cocoa and something citrus on the top of it. There is a white grain of almond lurking from beneath. Considering all ‘tonkas’ I know this composition is very juicy, almost sharp, and it does not melt and smear like many tonkas do.

Absinthe
Notes: green mandarin, wormwood, lavender, heliotrope, wormwood, rhubarb, vetiver, leather, amber, woody accords.

He — green, delicate, well blended, but that is not iconic example of absinthe note. I would rather use By Kilian’s A Taste of Heaven and oh, it reminds me how I miss Gobin Daude Biche dans l’Absinthe, old times of first niche experiences!

She — of course it is herbaceous and bitter, it cannot be different. Surprisingly though it is also slightly soapy and hempen. I thought Boclet — elegant and a bit stiff as it is — will not be able to infuse the spirit of Green Fairy into the juice, but I have to agree they managed to do it, replacing ETOH with THC. It rocks nicely.

Cedre
Notes: black pepper, coconut, Atlas cedar, Virginian cedar, cypriol oil, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, woody notes, leather white musk.

He — not dry as your usual cedarwood, again sweet, apparently inspired by formula of Tonka. I am not convinced.

She — it smells like freshly cut drawer made of nuts — sweet and innocent like an infant. The moisture of the first notes is really delightful, but it fades quickly, and the dryness that appear afterwards is painfully contrasting. The majority of cedars I know remind me of pencil shavings, that is absent here. Instead, the wood is somewhat cyanide here, ferrous and poisonous. This cedar grows dangerously close to some yew trees.

Vanille
Notes: lime, grapefruit, cardamom., ginger, caramel, flowers, vanilla absolute, cedar, musk

He — This time I was not impressed. It is too diluted and watered-down vanilla with hint of caramel. Addition of citrusy notes makes it good summer choice, although I would like it much stronger, quite forgettable.

She — very appetising, with lots of ethyl maltol — so it reminds me of candyfloss — but wears beautifully and is not dull thanks to a big amount of lemon. It is a little bit like an easy lemon cake — you can wear it joyfully, for hours, zero problems.

Fir balsam
Notes: artemisia, red berries, cardamom, fir balsam, patchouli, May rose, benzoin, labdanum and vanilla.

He — Seriously good stuff! Sour blackcurrant note a la Vagabond Prince Enchanted Forest combined with fir balsam, spices, incense and lot of wood. Mysterious, nostalgic, very well composed. I am in!

She — sweet and balsamic at the beginning, slowly reveals its more smoky side, with a bitterish understatement. There is a space-time in wood where it secretes dry, living sap, and this is the place Boclet successfully touches. Yes.

Jakub’s summary:
Franck Boclet‘s creations are perfect example of niche fragrances which can appeal also to more mainstream sector due to its versatile and wearable character. They are perfectly crafted, like Boclet’s suits and tend to explore well known themes, often with similar ingredients, but blended in different proportions. I wish I could test Extraits as some EdPs are for me are not that long tlasting. Solid work, with few masterpieces (namely Tobacco, Amber, Incense and Fir Balsam) and few misses as well. It was pleasure to test it and hopefully brand’s presence will be expanded, it is definitely worth it!
Pictures and descriptions: brands’ press materials and visuals. Samples received from Franck Boclet Team at Esxence 2014 and 2015 editions, thank you!

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Franck Boclet EdPs are priced for 125 Euro (100ml) while Extrait de Parfum 250ml costs 380 Euro. Available from official E-shop and authorized retailers e.g Aus Liebe zum Duft, or L’Etoile Russia.

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Jakub (left) and Aleksandra (right)—photo edit by Jakub Grabarczyk Photo+Retouch
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