Is the perfume going to mimic the smell of bamboo? (I’m not sure I even know what that smells like.) Is it going to be a fantasy interpretation of bamboo, the way a fougère doesn’t really smell like fern but is rather a fantasy accord? Is Bambou celebrating Orientalism the way Patou celebrated colonialism with Colony?
Hmmm. I couldn’t find out much about Bambou, except for when it was introduced (1934), discontinued (1954), and reintroduced (1984). And that it’s by Weil, a company that created perfumes for furs (Zibeline) and the wonderful Secret of Venus and Antilope. Curious about this months ago, I searched it out and must have gotten the more modern version. I didn’t like it at all; it had a chemical smell with little character, and was definitely more of a fresh floral. I guess it was trying to smell clean and green, but it didn’t stand out in any way.
Notes: Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Carnation, Lily of the Valley, Cedar, Tonka, Musk, and Sandal (The vintage perfume sample and notes breakdown from The Perfumed Court.)
Does Bambou evoke bamboo? Not really, but it is lovely. A woody oriental perfume with a beautiful lavender opening and rich, balsamic (ambery-soft and powdery) dry down with lush sandalwood, cedar, tonka and musk, Bambou is akin to Tabu and Youth Dew, without much sweetness. Perhaps it’s due to the age, but Bambou feels like it’s almost all base notes, with an almost cocoa-coffee facet that adds a wonderful earthiness to the smooth sandalwood and balsamic softness.
This is heady stuff. Just make sure you get the old juice. (I'm not sure what the old bottle looks like, it just shouldn't look like the one to your right.)