Once in a great while I’ll put a fragrance on for the first time, and “Bam!” I just know it’s a winner. Then I’ll sit down to review it and find myself at a loss to convey its qualities. Balmain de Balmain is one of those instances. I’ll tell you that it’s marvelous, and I’ll attempt to describe its evolution as I wear it, but I won’t do it any justice.
Balmain de Balmain’s effervescent top notes have all the kick of champagne corks popping. Crystal clear bergamot, bittersweet herbaceous notes, hints of leather, and smoky spices combine in an accord that’s at once rich and stimulating, complex and immediately legible. It’s simply one of the most gratifying opening gambits I’ve smelled. Ever. And it makes me smile every time.
The bergamot inevitably recedes with time, and its place in the composition is taken by floral notes, most noticeably a clear, green jasmine. The spices persist, while a brisk, yet earthy green chypre accord assembles itself in the foundation. As the floral notes and spices fade away, the moss and woods of the chypre core stand exposed in all of their gaunt beauty.
Balmain de Balmain’s structure and progression go beyond classical; as the scent unwraps itself, each layer comes as a delightful surprise, yet each appears in hindsight to be utterly inevitable. Balmain de Balmain transcends gender: it is as completely unsex a fragrance as anything I’ve smelled. As if that were not enough, it’s also dirt cheap and readily available.
Sometimes miracles do happen. I urge you to experience this one!
A chypre as it should be
Well, the opening notes remind me of a floral Tiffany for men, while the mid and base notes diverge into manly skinkiness. It was a blind buy: a big surprise indeed, I never would have thought this could be that way. A woman wearing this? I cannot imagine for the sake of me blind-dating a woman wearing BdB. I would think she would be chewing me up in no time. Ladies, do your newly met boys a favor, don't ever wear this in a first date.
Pros: Whatever good you find in chypres in its not so fem version
Cons: If skanky puts you off, avoit it as the plague"
This is definitely a man's chypre. It's my type of chypre and I'm a woman, almost sixty. Yegads! That's spooky. And it is spooky to find this Jean Shrimpton of a perfume on my wrist. (She was famous for lauching the mini skirt, being photographed by David Bailey and being the face of Chanel No 19)
Why are too many perfumes unbearably sweet these days? Distressing.
This is a fougere in the first instance. I had some Morny Fougere scented shower gel and BdeB was perfect to use after my shower in combo.
This is superior to Molinard de Molinard in MHO and like MdeM, is availabel as a mini tester online. I would recommend a test run on this fragrance. Very little patchouli. Do try it with a Little Black Dress or a Little Black Negligee, or jeans and a tee (lashings of mascara and smoky eyes for the girls) Yeah, it is a walk down memory lane but the hedgerows are thick with blossom, moist with rain, and the soft mossy woods are near. Wallking with Pierre, very nice.
30th April, 2013 (last edited: 05th May, 2013)
This seems to be an homage to Germaine Cellier, she of Jolie Madame, Miss Balmain, and Vent Vert, as well as the Piguet icons Fracas and Bandit. To my nose it covers much of the same ground as does Miss Balmain, though not so smoky, a bit more conventional. I love Miss Balmain, and this would be too much of an overlap. Still, if you are a Cellier fan, you can't go wrong with this.
I always had a soft spot in my heart for Balmain ever since I first smelled the original L’Eau de Monsieur Balmain, and, let me tell you, back in the day, it was absolutely gorgeous. That lemon and verbena fragrance with wild grass and herbs on a real sandalwood base diffused with power-musk was…FWOOSH! Marvelous. Balmain’s retro fragrances are the shiznitz. Jolie Madame is such fun. It once elicited a full-faced blush from the husband of a friend of mine when I unthinkingly thrust my wrist under his nose—yeah, right in front of her. (I felt so embarrassed for him. My bad.)
Balmain de Balmain is hearkens back to the day when a woman and her perfume weren’t afraid of saying, “I’m wearing perfume.” It is a woody, rose-jasmine Chypre on a honeyed amber base that never becomes too sweet. It reminds me a little bit of Estee Lauder Knowing. A friend remarked that Balmain de Balmain smelled like “suburban, bridge-playing ladies,” which captures the ambience nicely. Then again, she’s not a fan of Knowing like I am. The Balmain is more polite than that former, muscular, truncheon-wielding scent of the 80s. It can be applied in more copious quantities than Knowing—a little spritz of which grows in loudness like an approaching train, emanating clouds of sweet powder eight hours later. Balmain de Balmain avoids the obnoxious powder, but then, it lacks the deep plum and patchouli notes of Knowing, opting for a retro, aldehydic opening with green notes and then passing through it’s well-balanced florals to a dry oakmoss on warm amber. It announces itself as a perfume in the classic, French style. I doubt that it does well on today’s market, even though Knowing sells for Estee Lauder, but, hey, some of us like to smell like perfume, not fresh flowers.