Dean and Dan’s first fragrance, He Wood, reflects their love of their native Canada and draws inspiration from the country’s gorgeous nature, making wood the focal point. I love the bottle, which I find elegant in its unique simplicity and intriguing with its eye-catching asymmetry (the stopper is placed off-center). The square glass container is completely framed by Canadian Red Alder wood, which makes it wonderfully tactile as well as renders every bottle unique due to differences in grain and hue. Now, on to the juice itself: The top, middle and base notes are conceptualized as air, water and wood accords respectively, and each is meant to represent different characteristics. The Air accord is purity and sensuality, the Water accord is freshness and fluid energy, while the Wood accord is seen as pivot, the fragrance’s true personality. Reading this might lead you to think that He Wood goes through very distinct phases, with each of the accords unfolding almost independently over time. This however is not true. The woody base notes, namely light, sweet vetiver and smoky, distinctive cedar run through the composition from start to finish, like the skeleton around which the rest of the fragrance is fleshed out. Around these woody notes we find the presence of velvety, smooth sweetness in the opening. The official notes list Silver Fir, Vegetal Amber and Musk, but I struggle to pick out any of them individually. What I get the beautiful, aforementioned gentle sweetness, a light musky presence like a naked body under an overcast sky ready to pour down. The ambery note is intensified for just a brief moment in time, giving us a taste of resin before subsiding in the moisture that quickly makes its arrival. The watery notes found at the heart of He Wood are subtle and careful. There is enough freshness there to appease the average male shopper, but not quite enough of it to make the more discerning niche-lover turn up his or her nose, so to speak. Most interesting is the way the light watery accord blends so perfectly with the intense powdery scent of violets, effectively translating the relationship between water and air that always seems to be playing around the core of wood. Bizarrely, the smoky, dense character of cedar is silenced in the drydown in favor of an ever-intensifying steely cold vetiver note that smells and feels metallic. This is a very evocative perfume, which is extremely successful in its attempt to match the scent with the ad copy. The wearer will have no trouble ‘seeing’ the images painted by the perfumer, and even finding themselves starring in the fantasy of the Canadian woodland, as lone figures unafraid of the dark and pregnant with rain clouds overhead. The whipping of the hard rain on naked skin, the rich smell of the woods, all have a macho appeal - however the genius of He Wood is that this is always set against the sensitivity of musky sweetness and the clean, feminine comfort of powdery violet.