Balman de Balmain opens "familiarly" with an almost intoxicating (herbal-aromatic, synthetically amberish, slightly plastic, spicy-resinous, bitter-sweet, vaguely salty and kind of spicy-humid) blast conjuring me "invigorating openings" a la Lancetti IL, Cassini for Men by Oleg Cassini, Ca' Luna by Acqua di Biella and on a certain extent recalling scents a la Gaultier Le Male Beau, Kiton Black (less spicy-resinous), Trussardi Inside For Men and Paco Rabanne One Million. Under this dusty-wet (synthetically benzoinich-resinous) stardust I get a basic angular, subtle and classic accord of citrus, grapefruit, green notes, bergamot and woods (mostly cedarwood) a la Roma Uomo by Laura Biagiotti/Kiton Black (both surely close in part to Balmain Balman in aroma in spite of their less resinous consistency). There is a sort of "mastic tree/leather-like" herbal-plastic-peppery aura all around which makes me to think in particular at scents a la Acqua di Biella Ca' Luna with its combination of fresh-spicy herbal notes, mastic tree/galbanum, pepper, sharp floral notes (geranium in here?), pencil shavings woods and musky-rubbery leather (overall surrounded by a minimal touch of intoxicating-rubbery balsams a la One Million plus kind of marine saltiness and soft gummy leather). Frankly I find Balman kind of generic and decidedly synthetic despite I can deny these type of warmly plastic modern juices turn out appealing to vulgar standardized crowd. I can't deny to catch on my skin a partially stimulating "synthetically visceral" amberish sensuality which knows to be warm, pungent and vaguely sultry. Balman is a typical clubbing modern scent, anyway versatile and easy to wear. Along dry down, as soon as spiciness and herbal-benzoinic dust are faded away, I get a chemical "Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet-like" sort of aura around the wearer (slightly "silicone veined", namely kind of metallic-plastic and artificially leatherish). This is the part I almost dislike while I find the "Lancetti IL-type" of opening far more interesting and multi-veined. Anyway not my cup of tea despite I can't write about a total failure. Pass by.
Despite the bottle reminding me of that scene from “A shot in the dark” where Clouseau clumsily attempts to put a billiard stick back on the rack (“whoever invented that rack should have his head examined!” – if the bottle doesn’t seem that ugly to you, try to hold the 100 ml and spray), the juice inside it is fairly nice. I barely heard about this fragrance until I blind bought it today, and I found very little information about it as it seems nearly none cared for it. I wonder why, because it’s a really decent scent – or, say, nothing worse that many other more famous scents. Antoine Maisondieu composed it and you can definitely recognize his “hand” and his “signature” notes: Balman is in fact a mellow, crisp, kind of balmy and totally contemporary scent mostly featuring a really pleasant balsamic-sandalwood accord (“eucalyptus” they say, to me it seems plain generic mint) with violet, lavender, tonka, something smoky and slightly similar to leather which may however be just a darker wood note. The drydown features a prominent accord of tonka and sandalwood with a powdery and still breezy-balsamic feel, so be prepared for a smooth, light, sweet sillage around you. Surprisingly long lasting albeit really close to skin. Something halfway Paul Smith London and Jil Sander Man, with a sprinkle of Gucci Rush Men’s drydown (just a sprinkle, sadly). Maisondieu’s skills are really good for me when it comes to create subtle, refined and soft yet sharp scents, and Balman makes no exception. Surely quite a bit “generic” and pedantically complying with most of early 2000s masculine perfumery clichés, but the quality is nice and it makes Balman sit way above other similar, similarly-priced but way cheaper (quality-wise) fragrances. I mean, it’s Balmain after all – a certain level of decency still remains. It won’t give you goose bumps, but for the price (some 40 eur/100 ml) it is a respectable, versatile, pleasant, anywhere-safe unpretentious good deal for me.
13th May, 2015 (last edited: 14th May, 2015)
I'm surprised there are not more reviews of this one. Fans of sweet and modern stuff should be all over this. It has some parallels with body kouros and le male, but has a character of its own. It's not too complex a character, but nevertheless. It also happens to be a sweetened fragrance that is appropriate for a warm climate. The citrus and camphor provides balance, and choice of cardamom as a spice cools it even further. A sherbet-like vibe overall.
I actually enjoyed it for a while, despite being very cautious with vanilla especially when coupled with tonka. You could do much worse, lover of sweet aura with a limited wallet. I approve.
The name “Balman” was a mistake, this scent is too unisex to have a gender attached to its identity.
Balman opens with clear cameos of eucalyptus, tangerine, lavender, and licorice, all fresh and uplifting. The heart, the real show here, is a perfect Mirabelle plum, barely sweetened with tonka and vanilla and spiced with cardamom. The bottom is lightly weighted with wood, moss, and musk. Stepping out into the heat of a summer night, I can see this becoming a heady fragrant bloom. Yeah...... .....that sounds good!
10th February, 2011 (last edited: 18th May, 2011)
Sweet, dark, and masculine: another under appreciated fragrance from Balmain.
To my nose, there are different kinds of sweetness: ranging from sugar syrup at one end of the scale to earthy fruit sweetness at the other end. Things that are sugar syrup sweet are nothing but sweet: the sweetness is narrow, intense, and all pervading. Things at the earthy fruit sweet end of the scale combine sweetness with other notes: other notes are made sweet rather than sweetness being the predominant note.
BalMan is an earthy fruit sweet fragrance. The plum note has a tangy citrus top (from the cardamom), a spicy middle, and an earthy stone fruit base (from the oak moss). The plum note seems odd to start with, because it is not simple or narrow, but becomes more rewarding over time.
The liquorice and tonka bean in BalMan add depth without adding sweetness, lending the fragrance a spicy feel something like Boucheron’s Jaipur pour Homme EdT.
When the oak moss arrives BalMan becomes deeper and darker. The stone from the plum and the oak moss give the base extra masculine gravity, which contrasts interestingly with the fruity top notes. There might be sandalwood (or something like it) in here, somewhere, but it is kept in a supporting role between the tonka bean, plum stone, and oak moss.
Sillage and longevity are very good, as with all of Balmain’s fragrances.
To my nose, BalMan neither smells cheap or synthetic. It is a highly integrated fragrance, in which the notes very much become as one. The notes are not handled in the way that one might expect, and, consequently, BalMan needs to be approached with patience and an open mind in order to be fully appreciated.