Lovely, sweet rose and civet scent with a superbly done sandal and vanilla finish featuring just a hint of leather. I find it very simple but endlessly enjoyable.
I love this perfume, although it may be a little sweetly floral for an older woman.
It's 1978 in Battersea Park, London. The Stranglers have just finished playing "Nice 'n' Sleazy". This is how the stage smells like...
Bal à Versailles is a marvelous, iconic and perhaps a little underrated chypre rich in civet and grace, a dirty Kouros wrapped into the warm skin of a lady scented with Shalimar – or, except for the leather, the naughty Habanita ready for her début in the high society. Benzoin, vanilla, oak moss, civet, flowers, fruity notes, leather, iris, a slight aldehydic accord, musk... what completely amazes me is that Bal à Versailles is surely skanky and carnally dirty, but there is also this irresistible sense of utter, golden, velvety refinement and elegance, in a really radiant, powdery way, like if you can almost feel the silky scented powder on the dresses of the ladies dancing. Perhaps it is just about that: the smell of dancers in a Belle Epoque ambiance, with all their scents, but also their passions and dirty secrets. As minutes pass - as the ball goes on, one might say... - Bal à Versailles gets increasingly darker and dirtier, with the civet note emerging in its sweaty, irresistibly "urinous" personality, always perfectly blending and hiding in a white fog of talcum and warm floral gracefulness. Great persistence, great scent, great everything.
On me this is a rather heavy oriental, dark and serious. Not exactly unpleasant, but not outstanding in any way.
Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli
Middle notes: Rose de Mai, Muguet, Lilac, Orris, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang
Base notes: Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Benzoin, Melilot (Clover), Tolu Balsam
Barbara Herman finds it has a powdery sweetness, reminiscent of beeswax. This effect does not occur to my nose on my skin.
It's not at all bad, it's just not that outstanding.