Thank you so much for your review, Way Off Scenter. Having never smelled this scent before, I was sure my miniature bottle had turned when I first opened it. It smelled like the whiskey sour my older sister threw up in the back of our family's station wagon Christmas 1972. :-/ (Clearly this olfactory trauma has stayed with me.) I braved putting a little on, and was pleasantly surprised within 5 minutes. Still wondering if the juice was bad or not, I was considering returning it until I read your review, which saved the day. (e.g.: "Yikes! This stuff is extreme! It practically jumps out of the bottle with harsh greens, aldehydes, and something that smells an awful lot like warm vinegar, delivering a roundhouse kick to the sinuses.") Now I realize this is just the way BPH first opens. But once it sits on your skin a few minutes and calms the hell down, it really is pretty delicious.
A great fragrance in which the waxy type of widespread animalic-resinous soapiness (finally delicate, slightly powdery and refined) is in my opinion just a preordained quality (initially faint due the dominant aromatic elements), neither a symbol of olfactory mess nor a collapse of real complexity and articulation (on this point I respectfully disagree with my friend Colin Maillard, one of the absolute top reviewers here on Basenotes). Balenciaga Pour Homme is a complex woody/spicy oriental (highly floral and faintly leathery) which possesses (in the first stage) the fresh aromatic Fougere/Powerhouse quality and at once also a warmer powdery woody oriental chypre temperament. Yes, a kaleidoscopic fragrance finally really subtle. It starts by soon floral-aromatic (fresh lavender, coriander are laundry, cool and aromatic) and hesperidic with an unmistakable aldehydic-incensey-waxy spicy (cinnamon) undertone (or better, background) and a following earthy-powdery accord of iris/patchouli/balsams/soapy amber/wax/honey. Excellent phase, really freshly soapy, finally chypre in vibe, earthy and floral (in particular lily, rose and iris perform their valzer). A notable fruity cinnamon seems connected with incense, powdery iris, chypre powder and smooth ambery soap in order to provide a spicy-fruity smooth main texture. I detect the leather which is anyway not crucial or heady but just a smooth undertone. Yes there is an aromatic opening and a spicy/earthy undertone but the aroma is finally smoother and does not possesses the classic powerhouse strenght (like for instance in Trussardi Uomo or Drakkar Noir). In the final stage powdery woods are more notable and somewhat talky. The aroma owns (despite its brighteness) the internship in the clan of the hystorical finally soapy powderhouses like V&A Pour Homme, Antaeus or Salvador Dali Pour Homme (Yes Capucci is an even more appropriate reference on the side of Nino Cerruti) despite BPH smells milder, less aromatic/laundry and finally more spicy oriental (floral and sweet- and vaguely sweaty-greasy). A great fragrance, really sophisticated, classy and sexy. Better in the colder weathers.
Balenciaga pour Homme is like those movie stars which end their life wasted in misery, that make you think "what a lost chance". The opening is fantastic, a unique and avantgarde cornucopia of patchouli, tobacco, incense, herbal notes, soapy flowers (a realistic, dry soap, like Marseille' soap), dense resinous-caramel notes, rose, carnation, something boozy and animalic on the base (like civet or styrax), then vanilla. Really complex, dusty and masculine but also much sweet and plushy, even fresh in its peculiar way, a colourful breeze perfectly mixed with the base darkness of earthy-animalic notes. The incense note is woody and dusty (on the cedar side), beautifully enriched by spicy-resinous notes. In short a really peculiar, modern, vibrant opening, miles away from most of the clichés of masculine scents back then – less austere and dark than Italian fougères, more playful and warm than the classic Frenchies, a unique take on men's scent. But... "not everything turns out as it should". After a short span of time (within the first hour) it already starts "collapsing" here and there, it gets confused, becoming a messy soapy-spicy-resinous concoction, cloying and sweetish, with metallic and camphor nuances. It's like if all "good" notes were instantly replaced by their evil alter egos – or like if you accomplished a great painting and you pour alcohol on it by accident, and all colours melt and vanish away. A shame that makes this a discontinued scent we won't really miss.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Yikes! This stuff is extreme! It practically jumps out of the bottle with harsh greens, aldehydes, and something that smells an awful lot like warm vinegar, delivering a roundhouse kick to the sinuses. All of this settles down within moments to reveal a fascinating, nutty accord of artemisia, anise, vetiver, and leather. Balenciaga pour Homme immediately aligns itself with scents like Antaeus, Van Cleef and Arpels, R. de Capucci, and even Yatagan. Only tough boys need apply.
Balenciaga continues to pump out anise, aromatics, and leather for quite some time, though the projection and sillage seem to diminish rather quickly. This is not all bad, since it makes Balenciaga a bit more wearable. The principal accord also sweetens quite a bit as it develops, as amber and an elusive floral note join the blend. As time goes on a very suave sandalwood emerges and melds into the blend, softening the overall effect without elbowing out the still vibrant anise.
Like Scooptn I read Jack Hunter's review and was intrigued. First blast to me reminded me of the smell of Noxzema ointment. It then bursts into a kaleidoscope of scents and flavours much like the pyramid above. I have yet to identify the caramel. I agree with Hunter, it is a brilliant blend. I love it!! My girl hates it! I wear it when alone for my own pleasure.
31st March, 2014 (last edited: 02nd April, 2014)