It is simply dry, mossy grass. Nothing to get excited about.
Cool, austere, dank yet dry, powdery-dusty, vegetal, foggy, and maybe slightly smoky (but not warm); a greenness steeped in an old stone and dirt-floor cellar. I don't know gentian, but what I perceive here is a big dose of iris, mostly root. In this respect, my mind connected it to Eau d'Italie's wonderful Bois d'Ombrie. In the latter, the rhizomatic note is enhanced by other facets; here it far more front-and-center, sweetened only the tiniest bit by musk and something that strikes me as grapefruit pith. I don't really get incense from this at all, unless it is the faint, slight smokiness, which I would be equally attempted to attribute back to iris. Ultimately, this strikes me as gothic and aloof--for Heathcliff out on the moor. Some have called it depressing; I find it transporting. In all, a very cool and unconventional scent, appropriately presented in a sleek and minimal dark grey bottle. I don't know its concentration, but with 3-5 sprays, this out-performs some fragrances purporting to be EDT/EDP.
What I know about the gentian flower is that William Cullen Bryant wrote a poem about it… I don’t know what a gentian smells like. From testing this fragrance, I’m still not sure what the gentian smells like unless it smells like a combination of iris and dandelion. The floral / green note I get smells very much like the bitter smell from many a wild plant. The pyramid lists incense, but I do not smell any, just a more-or-less linear bitter green smell.
Eau de Gentiane Blanche is calming, natural, and minimalist, but I’m not sure it’s for me, at least when I think of Sisley’s Eau de Campagne, which is a much lusher version of a multiple-green concept… or more especially CdG’s Calamus, which is more minimal and delicate than Campagne, but Calamus centers itself around a natural rustic milky-green accord rather than a bitter accord.
I respect and enjoy Gentiane Blanche even though I’m not into minimalism. If I didn’t own Eau de Campagne and Calamus, I would pursue purchasing this – it’s an interesting and quality fragrance, and what it does, it does very well.
Weird and wonderful smell.
It reminds me of the gentian root my dad used to collect to put in his home-made herbal drink, green, herbal, bitter but very refreshing.
It just sends me on an alpine meadow digging for roots in my imagination.
I really would like to buy one bottle of it but it is a bit expensive for my taste. Longevity is a bit short.
I see it a bit as a unisex fragrance, perhaps good for a person with slightly "gothic" tastes, it is special.
Something old, something new
Almost brutally dry and austere, yet remarkably fulfilling and a real pleasure to wear. Without a trace of sweetness or any hesperidic/fruity notes, Eau de Gentiane Blanche blends the dry bitterness of gentiana (an alpine flower used mostly for flavoring traditional liquors) with a dose of powdery iris and a fair bit of musk that comes through as the scent develops, very successfully achieving an overall effect of noble tranquility, clarity, and depth.
With its olfactory lightness, transparency, and precision, Gentiane Blanche carries all the hallmarks of Jean-Claude Ellena's distinctive style of perfumery. Added to that, it represents one of the most important attempts in recent years to creatively rethink the eau de cologne genre on its own terms, creating a whole new approach to freshness (here as something earthy-green, dry, and bitter), while staying true to the core requirements of the old genre: few and high-quality ingredients, basic freshness, limited longevity, and a seemingly very simple composition.
Gentiane Blanche is essentially a modern minimalist response to a grand tradition and a classic form. And it works! I find it supremely calm, confident, and classy.