Gaiac by Jean-Claude Astier for M. Micallef 2005


Post by Maya


Hello APJ,
Recently my daughter ordered 6 perfume samples and gave them to me. She said, “These are all different from what you usually like, but they all have at least one note I know you love.” I was skeptical, but they were all nice. One really stood out,

Gaiac by M. Micallef 2005

Gaiac M. Micallef FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot
Heart: Cloves, jasmine
Base: Guaiac wood, vetiver, amber, vanilla

I should note that my love-note in Gaiac is jasmine and it’s all but invisible to me as is the vetiver in it.

I had no idea what gaiac is, but soon discovered that it is a tree, native to the tropical and subtropical Americas. It is a wood so resinous that doesn’t float. It sinks in water. Spanish Conquistadors burned it as incense, something they must have learned from the indigenous peoples, some of whom considered the tree sacred.

Gaiac M. Micallef Bulnesia sarmientoi WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

This is a lovely, low silage scent, that whispers it’s presence, but every word is audible and clear. M. Micallef lists it as masculine. I disagree. I think it is as much a feminine scent as a masculine one. When I dabbed it on, it was unexpectedly sharp, though not unpleasantly so. The sharpness faded quickly and I got sweet vanilla, spicy clove, and what had to be gaiac wood. I cannot describe the scent of gaiac wood. It’s unique and a bit exotic. The balance of the sweetness, the spice, and the wood is wonderful. The clove lessens after a few hours but the vanilla and gaiac wood stay as equal partners until the end, which is about 6-8 hours on me, except on humid days, when it fades after about 4 hours. Gaiac by M. Micallef is linear, which is fine. It doesn’t need complexity. It’s an evening around a campfire, burning gaiac wood, watching the flames dance, everyone feeling relaxed and stress free, laughing. And maybe, just maybe, some sensual feelings could awaken!

Gaiac M. Micallef Bulnesia sarmientoi WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Further reading: The Scented Hound and I Smell Therefore I Am
Parfum1 and LuckyScent have $90/30ml and $185/100ml
Surrender To Chance starts at $5/ml

Gaiac wood seems to be an underused note in perfume which is a shame. I will be looking for it in more scents. What about you? Have you tried Gaiac by M. Micallef or other fragrances containing gaiac wood?


35 comments on “Gaiac by Jean-Claude Astier for M. Micallef 2005

  1. laniersmith says:

    Gaiac wood is not in many scents I have or tested so it is a mystery to me….one that must be investigated. Maya I so enjoyed your review.

    • Maya says:

      laniersmith, thank you! It’s always fun to discover something new AND nice. I plan on ordering some gaiac essence oil to get a real feel for it.

  2. Welcome Maya,
    Great review. I hope you have a long and happy stay within the APJ family.
    Portia xx

    • Maya says:

      Thank you Portia. I think it would be impossible NOT to be happy within the APJ family. Everyone is so enthusiastic and full of joy!

  3. KCV says:

    Nice job Maya!

    Welcome to the family!

    Kymme x

  4. Madeleine says:

    Welcome Maya!

    Thanks for the lovely review….I must admit I haven’t tried.many gaiac frags, but this sounds good.


  5. Azar says:

    Hi Maya,
    What a lovely review. I haven’t tried this scent but do know there is supposed to be guaiac wood in several Bvlgari that I’ve tried as well as Amouage Jubilation Man. The listed notes and your beautiful description are certainly enticing!

  6. Maya says:

    Hi Azar, Thanks for mentioning Bvlgari and Amouage. I like both houses and will definitely check them out further!

  7. cookie queen says:

    Maya! Good morning from my cookie lab. Welcome. What an awesome daughter you have! Look forward to reading more!!
    CQ xxxxx

    • Maya says:

      Oooooh cookie lab. Sounds delicious! Eh, I don’t know about my daughter. 😉 I tell her she’s a brat and she looks me square in the eye and says, “I take after you.” So I guess we do get along.

  8. poodle says:

    I’ve never tried this but your review is lovely and makes me want to.

  9. Katrina says:

    Welcome Maya. I love woody scents and would love to try this. Great review!

  10. Great review Maya and thanks of the link love. What I found with Gaiac is that dabbed on works perfectly. When sprayed on it can be a bit overwhelming and a little goes a long way. But it is a beautiful and underappreciated fragrance.

    • Maya says:

      Glad to know about dabbing vs spraying. On my own, I probably would never have tried Gaiac and it would have been my loss!

  11. Julie F says:

    Wonderful review. You might want to take a sniff of Winter Woods and also Fireside Intense by Sonoma Scent Studios. I believe they both have Guaiacwood in them.

    • Maya says:

      I’m amazed that both Winter Woods and Fireside Intense list guaiacwood first in notes. Would love to sniff. I have 2 samples from Sonoma Scent Studios – Rose Musc and Nostalgie. As you can tell, FLORALS and I got them before I’d heard of gaiac.

  12. Connie says:

    I haven’t tried it, but you’re making me lemm. 🙂

  13. janice112 says:

    This is one of my favorites. I don’t get any jasmine from it either, though. Great review!

  14. Musette says:


    Welcome! Great review! Guaiac wood shows up in a lot of scents (a buncho Le Labo) and is melded seamlessly with other creamy woods in my favorite Lutens, Miel de Bois. Jub25 Man has already been mentioned here – it’s a great scent, with that little woody note running underneath all the flowers.

    Look forward to reading more of your reviews! xoxooA

    • Maya says:

      Hi Musette, I knew of Le Labo Gaiac 10. Thank for the mention of the others!

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Musette, I have never, never encountered another Miel de Bois lover! I have no idea why I adore it because I usually dislike sweet scents and dislike honey notes a great deal, but when I have a quiet evening at home I like to dab a little of this one. Probably the 3-4 ml that I have will last me a lifetime, and I don’t wear this one in public for fear of innocent strangers getting caught in the line of fire. So tell me, why do we like it? I just can’t figure it out.

  15. Dionne says:

    Welcome to APJ, Maya. You’ve got me intrigued, as I’ve never really paid attention to gaiac/guaiac before, and now I’m wondering why. Woody notes do very well on my skin, and after checking out the guaiac list at Fragrantica, I realized I’ve sampled perfumes with this note in it and really liked them. (Also, how cool that your daughter ordered samples for you!)

  16. FeralJasmine says:

    Thanks Maya, enjoyed your review. Isn’t APJ a wonderful neighborhood to hang out in?
    I have very little familiarity with Guaiac, and since I love woody notes, I need to investigate.

  17. Tara says:

    I have the Micallef Gaiac, as well as Le Labo Gaiac and Jubilation XXV and SSS Winter Woods – big gaiac fan here. Love the incensy smell of it!

  18. Maya says:

    Wow Tara. I guess you do like it! I’m glad you mentioned incense, because I get none in M. Micallef Gaiac, but did read about gaiac being incensy. That’s why I want to get some gaiac oil, to see what it’s like all by itself.

  19. LaurenW says:

    I love Gaiac – it’s really nice and I don’t think it’s a masculine at all. It lasts forever on my skin, too, which is a plus.

    • Maya says:

      Hey LaurenW, It’s nice when a fragrance you love really lasts! Even though it lasts well on me too, I was thinking of putting it on the bottom of jeans a letting it waft up at me. That’s worked well for me with some fragrances.

  20. Penny Cascio says:

    I have never heard of Gaiac before either, but after your gorgeous description, I will certainly be on the lookout! Thank you Maya.

    • Maya says:

      My pleasure Penny Cascio. You never know where you can find something that resonates with you, but looking – sniffing – is a great part of the fun!

  21. dgambas says:

    Hello, Maya! Welcome!
    Love your review. Gaiac seems very tempting.
    Some of my favorite perfumes include guaiac( Musc Ravageur, Jubilation XXV and Rive Gauche Intense) but I would like to try Gaiac to feel the wood as main note. I sniffed aforementioned Winter Woods, I liked it.

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