Perfume Directory

NoŽl au Balcon (2007)
by Etat Libre d'Orange


NoŽl au Balcon information

Year of Launch2007
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 55 votes)

People and companies

HouseEtat Libre d'Orange
PerfumerAntoine Maisondieu

About NoŽl au Balcon

NoŽl au Balcon is a shared / unisex perfume by Etat Libre d'Orange. The scent was launched in 2007 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu

NoŽl au Balcon fragrance notes

Reviews of NoŽl au Balcon

Based on the company's ad copy, I was expecting a sexed up Ambre Narguile or Nuit de Noel. What I get instead reminds me way more of Angel than of any kind of Femme-inized gourmand. Not a bad thing necessarily, but still a pretty far cry from the hyperbolic promises of underpantied naughtiness. I do appreciate the initial blast of cinnamon, but it fights with the orange note in a way that doesn't read as mulled spiced wine so much as mall store candle. I don't know, maybe that's the point? The line seems to have a terrific amount of fun playing with perfume conventions, and the few ELdOs I have smelled are all at least well made. But as a lover of big bad skanky orientals, I read this as rather thin.
25th November, 2016
Oh wow Ė this is just gorgeous! Juicy, fresh citrus drizzled with honey, gentle wafts of vanilla and musk, with cinnamon and patchouli peeping out from time to time. This is definitely a scent Iíd describe as sparkling Ė fresh, feminine, sweet but not too sweet. And, wonder of wonders, my husband liked it! Iíve been asking him to have a sniff all of the scents Iíve been sampling, and initially he wasnít impressed, but about an hour later he walked past me, then came back and started sniffing and said I smelt lovely. I kept on getting beautiful wafts of it through the day. Sillage is good, as is longevity Ė I could still smell it, although much softer, eight hours later. Definitely FBW, and definitely on my wish-list!
07th August, 2016
Clean green-floral opening, sharp and metallic, already fairly dull from the very beginning, with also ginger, a sweetish base of vanillin, something resinous, slight delicate plummy notes with a sort of honey aftertaste. A smell which manages to be complex but boring, confused but uninspired, not even that pleasant to be honest, basically between resinous and soapy, with a silky metallic feel juxtaposed to a shampoo creaminess. Another Etat Libre d'Orange I am sadly unable to get Ė for me most of their scents are like looking at someone yelling and doing random stuff behind a window (you kind of see them, but don't hear them, so the whole thing does not make sense).

09th July, 2014
The wonderful jtd's review is spot on (as usual for each little piece of art he donates to us on Basenotes) and a reference point dissection about the ELDO's apparent contraddiction in terms between an insolent and revolutionary approach to the olfactory "new" universe (following the "perfume's death" motto "Le Parfum est mort. Vive le parfum") and a more veritable secret classic accost which characterizes substantially the brand fragrances deep traditional substance. The latter is probably far more insolent in its outwardness than in the sunstantial inward nature which appoints, as well as epitomized by Je Suis Une Homme (but basically in part also by highly controversial fragrances as Secretions Magnifiques), a just partially disguised tribute to an historical classic olfactory french tradition. Noel au Balcon is en exquisite spicy/fruity (and in my opinion yet slightly floral) indolic oriental with a classic chypre musky nature, a representative honey/apricot plain lacteous chord and in substance with a soon hyper realistic spicy orange balmy approach. A secret touch of tuberose, or may be mimosa in the recipe? Many notorious concoctions jump gradually on mind with their tiny dose of olfactory flashback. L'Occitane en Provence Neroli for instance with its honeyed/vanillic orangy spiciness, Elie Saab Le Parfum (honey/vanilla, orange blossoms, musk) tickles my nose but in a less properly honeyed and more rosey way (partially i detect the Lancome Poeme's honeyed orange/mimosa touch too and hints of the Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau de Parfum's muskiness) while the notable apricot conjures me childish diaphanous memories about my mum's vintage Tresor. Another key word is Kisses in the Moonlight by La Parfumerie de Jamal i've tested in Doha (which shares with NAB a bunch of notes as honey/vanilla, orange, apricot and musk and is similar though more floral in vibe). After a couple of hours the apricot recedes and a wonderful elegant patchouli emerges at distance in order to elegantly support honey (mimosa, hyacinth?) and vanilla in a royal sense of general languidness. In conclusion i find Noel Au Balcon so sublime and subtle to be able to evoke joyful spring sunny days of my youth in south of Italy. The heavy charge of balsams does not turn the aroma out as a gourmand one for sure as the honey/amber/vanilla dosage is almost refrained and anyway magistrally performed to prevent it. The ELDO's maÓtre parfumeur knows well when to say stop. A straightforward thumbs up by me.
29th December, 2013 (last edited: 25th September, 2015)
Noel au Balcon by Etat Libre d`Orange basically shoves a bunch of honey and orange blossom up your nose and then jack hammers until your brain hurts. I like it. There is a little spice along with some animalic naughtiness, and I would put NaB in the same category as Narciso Rodriguez for Her; itís very sweet and suggestive. Perhaps ďskank for beginnersĒ is another appropriate category.


Edit: I just read a review that pointed out NaB smells like a scented candle; unfortunately, I agree with this assessment and now the pleasant aroma has transitioned from fine fragrance to holiday fart camouflage.

24th December, 2013
est-ce que le parfum est mort?

Etat Libre díOrange are known stylistically for their cheeky tone and snarky perfumes. As a brand, they poke a stick at contemporary notions of bland luxury. Branding tailors images to implant in the public mind and then builds a series of associations. But branding also takes into account the self-reference of the branded. We perfume consumers should be watchful and consider how a brand presents and refers to itself. ELDOís motto, "Le parfum est mort. Vive le Parfum!" (Perfume is dead. Long live perfume!) tells you to expect irreverence and insouciance. ELDOís topics, or so they tell us, are prostitution, intimate bodily fluids, Sex Pistols, carrion, cross-dressing, yadda, yadda... Depending on your perspective, you might find the brand anarchic or dilettante. My approach in considering their perfume is simply to disregard everything but the perfume and myself.

So in honor of Etat Libreís revolutionary tone, I present my own motto for perfume criticism: "Fuck the PR. Smell the perfume!"

I should admit up front that I'm a great fan of many of ELDOís perfumes, and think the house has a much better than average success for their perfumes. The most successful of their perfumes succeed for the fact that they are beautiful examples of classical genres of perfume. Jasmin et Cigarettes is a gorgeous, husky-voiced woody floral. Rien, a perfectly balanced stark leather. Vraie Blonde, a concise, inventive take on the floral oriental. Fat Electrician and Nombril Immense are clean and beautifully edited takes on the contemporary vetiver and patchouli. Afternoon of a Faun is one of the best nouvelles chypres.

ELDO posit themselves as very current, very contemporary, apart from the mainstream, and on promotional level they are. But their dirty little secret is that they are more traditional than they appear. I think they are neither misguided nor cynical. I simply find that their public representation underestimates the degree to which they are a part of an artistic tradition. ELDO remind me of the 1960s Catholic Ďfolk mass.í Post Vatican II, there was all sorts of fiddling with the window displays in the Catholic Church. This is the sort of redirection that ELDO do: change the set dressing a bit, leave the dogma in place.

Noel au Balcon is a wonderful example. It's sold as a cheeky near-gourmand perfume. It's presented as a considered offering to a thoughtless genre. Perhaps this angle might work on a perfume wearer who is young and ahistorical enough to see the contemporary gourmand genre as classical. I'm old enough to see Noel au Balcon for what it is: a traditional spicy oriental perfume in the grand manner. Resinous and rich, it's filled with vanilla, amber, benzoin, spices. Read any description of Tabu, Emeraude or Shalimar written before the era of the contemporary gourmand and what youíll find could be a description of Noel au Balcon. The term oriental itself, when applied to perfume, is a throwback. Itís a vestige of the colonial exoticism of Western European of the early 20th century. 100 years ago Ďgourmandí could just as easily have been the name for these perfumes. Instead, the marketing of the day keyed into the paternalist style of the racism of the era (Quel Exotique!) and promoted orientalism in perfumery.

So, if youíre an upstart line, and donít want to be identified as making Shalimar for youngsters, what do you do? Itís telling that ELDO avoid the obvious choice in the first place: making an identifiably "modern" perfume. Image-manipulation is shown to be as important them them as it is to any mainstream perfumer. Making a wonderful, but quite conventional, in fact old-fashioned perfume, but selling it as Ďthe new thingĎ rather than making a Ďcontempo-gourmandí in the first place exposes the real strategy and reveals the old boys at Etat Libre to be closet conservatives. They would rather change the marketing than change the perfume. Iíll repeat, because this is the critical point in seeing through ELDOís smoke. Itís more important to make a beautiful perfume, following generations of trial to perfect the genre, than it is to make something new. Even within ELDOís own line Noel seems staid. Compared to Like This, a more up-to-date gourmand that erases the line between sweet and savory in perfume, Noel might as well be a 40-year-old bottle of taboo.

Of course, ELDO would want to hide all this from you! It defeats the entire premise of, "le parfum est mort." The key is then, how do you sell it? ELDOís approach here is hardly new either: Titties. A clever turn of phrase (a full balcony in French refers to a hefty bosom) and surprisingly unclever image (just titties) are the red herring that keeps you from comparing Noel to Shalimar and helps you to swallow the fairy tale, to drink the kool-aid.

If you believe ELDOís mission statement and anarchic posturing, then they have inadvertently done what Maison Francis Kurkdjian contrive to do, which is to create a traditional French perfume house from the ground up. I happen to think that ELDO, for all their niche-y posing, are simply an excellent perfume house.

I'm not saying screw the brand. I'm saying screw the branding. Ignore ELDOís marketing, but smell their perfume. Itís wonderful.


24th September, 2013

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