Friday, 7 January 2011

Miller Harris - Terre de Bois

Miller Harris Terre de Bois is a fragrance that frankly has baffled me for quite a long time now. I can't quite pinpoint the reason. I sort of like it, yet there is something about it that I find faintly disturbing. Not that it is in-your-face, or animalic. Rather, it has to my nose a weirdly unique smell that I haven't smelled anywhere else.

Miller Harris describe Terre de Bois as a woody fragrance, with notes of vetiver, patchouli and verbena. Other notes I've gleaned elsewhere include galbanum, juniper, clary sage, indian spices and ambergris. I've also seen a note called Persian fennel resin, which is listed on the carded sample I have. 

Terre de Bois opens with a very herbal and tangy citrus blast. This phase lasts quite a long time, with a very lemony feel, that I think must come from the verbena. In fact, this verbena note lasts right through to the base, if I'm not mistaken, augmented by vetiver. Initially this is a very intense fragrance, smelling very green, almost weedy even, with a hefty dose of galbanum.  At this stage Terre de Bois reminds me of spring, even though it isn't a particularly light fragrance at all. I think it's all the herbs, lemon and galbanum, which do lend a bracing feel to the composition. As the fragrance progresses, I do detect a faint anise note, which perhaps is preempted by the fact that I know there is a resin of Persian fennel in here! Later on the vetiver starts to emerge, but this is not to my nose a vetiver-focused perfume. It gets quite masked by all the other green notes. I don't personally find a lot of patchouli in here either, although I'm sure it is the note that lends a more earthy, woody feel in the dry down. The name Terre de Bois is quite apt, because this is quite an earthy, woody fragrance, although probably not woody in the way one might expect. It smells less of actual woods than of being in a wooded, leafy area, to me anyway.

So why do I find Terre de Bois faintly disturbing? I wish I knew, because as I said, I can't pinpoint why. It just does, and thus I am fairly neutral about this perfume. Thinking about it, Terre de Bois in a strange way smells like something and yet nothing I've smelled before, which rankles somewhat. I've read some reviews which describe Terre de Bois as fading quite rapidly after the top notes, but on my skin it is robust and quite distinctive, with a definite sillage. If you haven't tried it, I would certainly say give it a go anyway. it certainly isn't a poor perfume.


  1. Michael, Persian Fennel resin is probably galbanum. I agree Terre de Bois is odd, not sure whether I would ever wear it. But never say never.

    Love your musings by the way,

  2. I found on a book where I can't see the title, an old book this in Spanish that I am trying here to translate:

    the fennel glue - resin comes from Foeniculum vulgare - Gaert.

    It appears as tears in warm areas, like in Andalusia. It also appears as warty greenish masses on the surface. the color is grey yellow, inside lighter and resinous, fragile, with the weak scent like fennel, the taste is bitter and it melts between the teeth.

  3. JadeGreenImage and Vintage Lady, thanks for the comments and insight. I hadn't thought much about this Persian Fennel resin but I shall do a bit of investigating myself and try find out more! I grow fennel in my own garden and must admit that I've never seen it ooze sap or emit any sort of resin, but then again, it is normal garden fennel, so perhaps this only happens in Persia!



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