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.
A sandalwood based fougere with a rounded tonka bean and musk base. Top is very crisp and clear and slightly cooling and has a floral heart with spicy cardamon. Not bad overall but very cheap/synthetic ingredients seems to have been used to produce this. Other scents from Pierre Balmain seem much richer.
I've changed my mind slightly on this one. I still don't think the ingredients are the highest quality but I think when I wrote my first review I was suffering from some sort of sensitivity problem. When I tried it again today, it impressed me as a light version of Michael for Men by Kors. Over time, it becomes more and more like the typical, recent, men's designer fragrance with a woody tonka base. There's still a hint of tobacco and something like dried fruit, but it's quite light. I find it a bit too generic, and I've got other like this in 100 ml bottle size, so it's not something I'd consider, but I can understand why some would like it. I'd rather just "go all the way" with Michael for Men, though.
My old March, 2009 review: As rodent said "there are many more notes fighting for attention." This is a highly unbalanced fragrance that is also very "perfumey." If you want something similar to this, but less abrasive and more "masculine," I suggest Jacomo Silver/for Men. BalMan is good if you want to really stand out in a crowd (not necessarily in a good way), make people ill, or be known as "the cologne guy." It is quite powerful, though I don't consider that a positive characteristic with this one. There's really nothing good I can say about it, in terms of what I look for in a fragrance.
08th March, 2009 (last edited: 16th May, 2011)