Bois du Portugal (Creed)

Portugal must have some smelly woods. The Portuguese theme is a hit with Creed, Pinaud, and Geo. F. Trumper. Kinda makes me want to visit the country, just to take a stroll through its woods and do a sniff comparison to something on my wrist. See if the real thing lives up to the hype. I'm thinking their woods will smell like mine here in Connecticut - bitter, dry, and earthy, with hints of green. Although if Creed's interpretation of Portuguese woods is anything to go by, New England may in fact smell more interesting altogether.

For some reason, Bois du Portugal is popular with wetshavers. The guys over on Badger and Blade have nothing but high praise for it, with many considering it their favorite Creed. I'm not as enthusiastic about it. It strikes me as odd that Creed's two most popular masculine scents are Green Irish Tweed and Bois du Portugal, with one a modern fresh fougère, and the other an old-world gentleman's club scent. GIT often lands the eminently-incorrect harangue of being a "boring and over-priced aquatic," while BdP is lauded for being the "epitome of masculinity." Neither classification is anywhere near correct in my view; GIT smells much closer to being the "epitome of masculinity," and BdP is just an over-priced and unbalanced clone of Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur - an ambery oriental with a prominent lavender note.

My understanding is that BdP's lavender is its bread and butter. Without it, the scent wouldn't be so beloved by wetshavers. That weirdly aloof aromatic accord permeates the top of the scent, making the first five minutes smell like cheap aftershave. For a Creed note, it's awfully mediocre. The lavender in Pour un Homme de Caron is miles better, and even Cool Water's minty lavender has more life in it. I'm not sure if linalool or some bland variety of Dimethylheptan is the culprit, but BdP's lavender isn't lucidly herbal, or buoyantly aromatic. It simply smells hollow and cold, not dissimilar to the vague wafts of purple in Azzaro's misguided Chrome, or the cologney linalool in Agua Lavanda Puig.

As the fragrance develops, the lavender grows more intense, not less. This proves it's merely a synthetic, but fortunately it's nicely welded to a crisp arrangement of tobacco and cedar. The woody aromatics elevate things from a base level of male medicine cabinet to the loftier realm of department store oriental. Before long, an amplified version of Creed's standard sandalwood accord rises through the composition, with hints of sweetness via the signature ambergris base. Still, the lavender persists, continuing to shout past the staid woods. The longer it sits on skin, the louder and less realistic it becomes. Eventually it's the only bittering agent to an otherwise-creamy amber drydown.

Bois du Portugal smells masculine, yes, and the composition is very mature, very grounded and reassuring. But it fails to deliver an emotional impact. I envision Wall Street executives striding to waiting limos with cell phones plastered to their skulls whenever I smell it. Its sturdiness is a refuge from flightier fare, but in the end I'm sitting with a guy whose only conversational subjects are highlights of the opening and closing bell. To my wetshaving brotherhood: gentlemen, if by "the epitome of masculinity" you mean what I think you mean, and are referring to guys like Winston Churchill and Henry Kissinger, then no, that's not heightened masculinity, it's stodginess. The epitome of masculinity is Lee Marvin, not the prime minister. If you prefer Type A personalities who wear Bois du Portugal, just know that always having cashola won't make up for never having sex.