Boy Smells is packed with unexpected twists and turns. It’s impossible to predict what fragrance, collection, or component it’ll serve up next, but you can be sure it’ll be exquisite. Boy Smells released what could be my favourite perfume of the year near the end of 2021, which was a big year for fragrance and, well, everything else.
Following the launch of their five scents last spring and the release of Marble Fruit this summer, Hinoki Fantôme is Boy Smells’ sixth excellent fragrance. I adore the brand and its perfumes, but Hinoki Fantôme is something else entirely.
I was fortunate enough to get a little vial of the smell in early October, and keeping this a secret is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I wanted everyone to get it as soon as possible. The fragrance is an important part of my life as a fashion writer, and I’m fortunate to be able to sample a wide range of smells. I’ll often find something I like; seldom will I find anything I truly adore, and most of the time, it’ll be variations of something I’ve already tried. But this? This is rather unique.
Despite being heavily demanded by Boy Smells fans, co-founder Matthew Herman stated that the firm did not want to just manufacture wearing replicas of its best-selling candles. Hinoki Fantôme does, however, share a name with one of the Boy Smells’ finest candles. However, it is more of an interpretation of the aroma than a precise replication for the body and, my goodness, is there something else.
Hinoki is a kind of Japanese wood that is highly esteemed and revered. It has a woody, balsamic scent with natural spice and citrus notes. It has often been used to construct sacred structures such as temples and shrines, and because it does not decay like other woods over time, it is generally associated with immortality.
Black pepper, olibanum (frankincense oil), tobacco leaves, and orris begin Hinoki Fantôme (a plant with an earthy, woody smell.) Cyprus, hinoki, fir balsam, and patchouli make up the middle, while oakmoss, smoked leather, cypriol (a woody shrub,) and cistus make up the base (a flower with a sweet, musky aroma.)
The overall aroma is woody scent and earthy, yet there’s more to it. It’s deep and dark in the way that many woody fragrances are, but it’s also light and sweet, which pushes it in the opposite direction.
Do you know how Santal 33 smells woody and musky on most individuals, yet on most people, there’s a trace of sweetness that emerges with time? This impact is amplified by Hinoki Fantôme. It’s not too sweet, but all of the sweet elements combine to create a dewy, melony sweetness that floats over your skin. The fragrance’s physical body is woodiness, but the sweetness is the aura that surrounds it, which is the soul. Light and dark, weighty and lightless, it’s both aspects of the yin yang at the same time. It’s incongruent and complementing, and it’s fantastic.
Hinoki Fantôme is the seventh album by Boy Smells, which is suitable. The number seven is both auspicious and ominous. In a tarot deck, the number seven is frequently connected with The Chariot, which represents control, determination, strength, knowledge, and reflection. Hinoki oil is commonly used in meditation to help you centre yourself, relax, and be more observant of your surroundings. This scent encapsulates everything.
When I say Hinoki Fantôme is the only scent I’ve been thinking about since I first smelled it a few months ago, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been wearing it and smelling my wrists nonstop, and I’m still smelling it as I type this.
I appreciate that I am fortunate to be able to detect practically any fragrance I choose, and even if a perfume isn’t for me, I can tell when it is. Hinoki Fantôme is something altogether different. It’s ethereal, mysterious, and wonderful in its darkness. It was without a doubt my favourite scent of 2021, and it’s already a strong candidate for my best of 2022 list and we’re only getting started.
This is an airy, heightened HINOKI FANTME candle. Warming and holy Japanese hinoki woods are combined with earthy spice in this resinous blend. Grounding tobacco leaves, oakmoss, and smoked leather notes are all enveloped in amber light. This scent is complex, yet perfectly balanced, thanks to the additions of creamed orris and patchouli smoke. With the exquisite Fragrance version of everyone’s favourite perfume, you can take the peaceful warmth of Hinoki’s wood-smoked harmony with you wherever you go.