Once upon a time, creative heads got together and made a pact. Produce a complex, rich fragrance experience, take chances, and have it be inspired by the legendary queen of a British Celtic Iceni tribe who has become a symbol of strength, resolve, fierce independence.
Oh, wait, before we go any further, I’m not talking about Boadicea the Victorious.
This is actually from the fashion house, BOUDICCA, and their decision to collaborate with Geza Schoen (you might know of him, he does this thing called Escentric) in 2008. What resulted was a colorful campaign with a wonderful gimmick and a kick in the pants to other designer fragrance houses out there that rewards are still there to be mined if you just let the creativity flow.
The original Wode bottles (the scent was re-released in 2014) were actual aerosolized spray bottles that essentially looked like you’d just taken a can of neon blue spray paint to your skin and clothing. Or, you know, woad (traditional Briton/Celtic war paint material). The fun gimmick would see the color disappear, much akin the to well-known disappearing ink practical joke, only this would leave a delightful olfactory experience behind.
Before we delve too much further, you know I like to break down the notes of fragrances I review, so let’s go ahead and do that here because there’s a LOT of them.
Top: Water notes, angelica, coriander, juniper, black and pink pepper, clary sage, bergamot
Heart: Jasmine, rose, tuberose, saffron, cumin
Base: Opium, sandalwood, cedar, styrax, leather, tonka bean, castoreum, oakmoss, amber, musk, white tobacco, guaiac wood
Now wasn’t that a mouthful. So what of the fragrance itself?
As I mentioned above, Wode is a wonderfully complex, earthy, aromatic, the wood spirits decided to come out of the forests and cuff you over the head, green scent. And it’s not afraid to be a little dirty. Well, a lot dirty depending on where and when you’re wearing it.
This dazzling scent is extremely generous with the aromatic notes, though I found juniper to be the star opener for me. That said, the sage, pepper, bergamot, and coriander are all boxing right below the juniper to give that extra punch and sizzle leaving you with a developing effect of green plants unfolding in the morning dawn.
Once you arrive at the heart notes, that opium is going assert itself, combining with that castoreum note to bring out an element of skanky, borderline sweaty, damp earth… the sort that crumbles through your fingers and will see your hands sink down into it to the wrist. Yes, you have the sandalwood and tonka bean to add just a hint of sweetness, but it’s more of an afterthought in Wode. That final drydown is going to be more of a spiced leather with lingering woody greens.
A fun spin on the standard fougere style scent, Wode has surprisingly great longevity (8 hours for me) with a sharp projection cloud that could turn heads and a wonderfully herby sillage trail.
But Kori! Where’s the price! You always have a catch with the pricing!
Boudicca Wode isn’t exactly cheap by any means, but it is far closer to the realm of affordable for a fragrance of this caliber than one would expect. You can get a 50 mL bottle of this for anywhere between $127 to $135 on the cheaper side. Luckyscent offers if for $135, though it’s currently out of stock, as is their sample offering. Obviously, you should try and sample this before committing, but as far as my opinion goes, it’s on the “need to get” list.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.