Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Bal a Versailles

Total Reviews: 107

L'Eau d'Issey Or Absolu /Gold Absolute by Issey Miyake

I swayed over repurchasing the original and in the end took the way less travelled and bought the Absolue version.
It's very like Champs Elysees, lo and behold, the same perfumer. There was a beautiful rose in the original L'Eau D'Issey that was plundered by IRFA or cost cutting, not sure which. It isn't in the Absolue at all. Really, this is the ozonic floral of the original with an overlay of Champs Elysees. It's just blatantly obvious and an example of greedy commercialism over perfumery. Down, thumbs down
17th September, 2016

M Génération by Mauboussin

My husband has repeat purchased this golden gun of a fragrance. The top notes and pepper remind me very much of the original Tabac from my Dad's days. It's so affordable and likeable. Can't go wrong with this one.
14th September, 2016

L'Ambre des Merveilles by Hermès

I replaced my Claire des Merveilles with this one. Silly me, this has a masculine feel to it and my husband commandeered it when I offered it to him. I think the original and Eau Claire suit me better. Many will be howling at the moon as I say this, what a fool, they cry.
30th August, 2016
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Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

Vol de Nuit is an anachronism, albeit a beautiful one. All the critique is somewhat true. Yes, there is a mousse de saxe to it, similar to Caron's Nuit de Noel; less flattering is the likeness to Avon's Timeless, and sitting in the middle of the road is a certain likeness to MPG's Or des Indes in EDP form. Is it like Mitsy or L'Heure Bleu. Is it like Comme des Garcon 2 for women? A bit inky?
I'm not sure and this is where Luca Turin's comments are so relevant. Is it, indeed, a bit shapeless...Voldemort rather than Vol de Nuit?

Do you wear it well? A little old fashioned but that's all right. Rod Stewart's song jollies the old girl along.
Kate Winslet wears VdN, stray thought and not to suggest she's old fashioned, but I bet she wears it well...and her husband's name is Ned Rock n'Roll, so it fits the theme.

It's a shapeshifter, opening with the familiarity of a childhood friend, gentle enough to wear at all times of the day, but a little bit like Muzak in the lift, a background presence, a watcher on the wall of your dreams.

"The wild grass will whisper,
Lights of passing cars
Will streak across your dreams
And fumble at the stars;
Life will tap the window
Only too soon again,
Life will have her answer –
Do not ask her when."
Louis McNeice

21st July, 2016

Mauboussin Rose Pour Elle by Mauboussin

Very little to redeem it. My bottle purchased from Strawberrynet had a faulty sprayer and the fragrance was awful. I like the original Mauboussin very much and the recent 'Promise Me' is quite nice, but this one, a flanker of Pour Elle, just doesn't work.
20th July, 2016

Samsara by Guerlain

Heresy, I know, but the current offering is very, very nice. I think I prefer it. My last bottle of Samsara was purchased about twenty years ago and when I finished it I said I wouldn't buy another (too much Sandalwood, too cloying)
Now there's a re-think, Samsara goes on the wish list.
At a time when my beloved Chanels are attenuated and largely ornamental the House of Guerlain is looking good.
18th July, 2016

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

I forget how many zillion perfume releases there are in this decade, they seem inconsequential to someone of my age. Growing up we had benevolent dictators in our egalitarian society, they decided just how many perfumes, lipsticks and fine fabrics came into the country. It was all to do with having 'overseas funds' and our trading relationship was with Britain, good old blighty, the place where nearly all our Grandparents lived. There was a large degree of socialist sameness and women wore Tweed, Chanel No 5, and Y.
The only Guerlain I knew was Shalimar but back then I had no idea that Guerlain was a tapestry of living history; I knew who Yves St Laurent was and I think I've had a bottle of Y kicking around in some form since the late sixties. It smells familiar to me, I almost expect to see the smoke swirling around in a cinema. Is that what Cinema was supposed to represent? Scenting my person with Y makes me want to lay a length of fabric out, pin the pattern on the cross, (remembering to match any pattern) french the seams, iron it up, put it together, sew a waistband on the skirt, put the zip in, hem and go out to a dance. Like YSL, those days are gone. Makes you think though, about politics and tariffs and free trade...and perfume
17th July, 2016

Sables by Annick Goutal

I bought it for my husband having never sniffed it on the basis of it being the fragrance that Annick Goutal created for her husband. Grand Amour is the other side of the coin, her response to the bouquets of flowers that said husband bought for her each week of their married life. Back to Sables; I was intrigued by Victoria Frolova's love of AG masculines and indeed I have worn the unisex Eau du Sud, Nuit Etoilee and Myrrhe Ardente for years. Sables has no doubt been reformulated and I don't know if it was more pungent back in the day, have to assume so, as there are many references to it's strength and longevity, but the dry down of Sables is really very femme and I have stolen Sables back to my side of the dresser. As far as I know Annick Goutal is still operated by Camille Goutal with Isobel Doyen as perfumer, under the ownership of Amore Pacific. Annick's story is bittersweet, rather like Sables itself, a heart wrenching tale for any perfumista and of course I fell under its spell. Join me.
09th July, 2016

Insolence Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I layer Insolence EDP (1 spray in cleavage) with Apres L'Ondee EDT. It's my peculiar little fantasy, that this is the closest I will ever get to Apres L'Ondee in extrait, which is a nonsense given that berries abound in Insolence, but it's that strange hawthorn note that I detect in both that my mindset proclaims to be worthy of Apres L'Ondee. Romantic fiddlesticks.

It's usually enough to wear it for a day as I would for the other purple bomb, Cuir Amethyste. Insolence is the only rebuff to the miasma that is Alien. I wear Insolence, purple and proud, with insolence in my soul. Someone send a bottle to Jeff Goldblum, quick.
07th July, 2016

Love, Chloé by Chloé

I bought a 30 ml bottle of Eau Intense to begin with and reviewed that, so I got to wondering if the lighter original might be easier in warmer weather, so I bought that one also. My addiction to perfume and cosmetics are represented in Love Chloe and the rice just floats my boat. I guess it represents that rice powder fragrance of a compact. The heliotrope is lovely, easier to wear than L"Heure Bleu, cheaper than Misia, endures on my skin without turning into anything else and convinces me hour by hour that it is was created with love, hence the name. Let's spell it out, I don't think this now discontinued perfume was created for being in love or as a motif of brand love, but from love, a love of that lipstick, powder and perfume.
30th June, 2016

Ostara by Penhaligon's

Different. Unique. Kafkaesque and Bois de Jasmin have comprehensively reviewed Ostara with my experience being closer to Kafka's than Victoria's. She gave Ostara 5 stars; such bounty, from a fully trained perfumer and critic that it behoves us to examine Ostara as potentially great. I am bothered by the musk in the mid phase, as is Kafka, but overall it is a charming fragrance with a soaring opening. Imagine a perfect spring day, a fresh breeze on a hilltop, the grass a little too long and daffodils swinging their heads at the edges of a pond. You begin to run, kite in hand, and the heady scent of the grass mixes with the remaining headless narcissi stems. Up she goes and you stand to gain control, feeling the kite dip and surge higher. You smile broadly, compelled to by the sun on your face, eyes creased at the glare, and realise that you are giggling, no, gurgling, with pleasure.
23rd June, 2016

Hanae Mori No. 3 by Hanae Mori

I ordered this in error from an online discounter at a rock bottom price, thought I had ordered the original. I'm not much out of pocket, which is just as well, because I'm not overly enamoured of this. I thought it was a dead ringer for Truth Dare Naked and at a push is something like Madame Gres, a bitter version. That may be the way I will use it, as the Madame is somewhat too sweet but I really like her perfumed pony-ness when I am in the mood.
Hanae Mori 3 has a masculine vibe and is easily unisex, is bitter orange and sandalwood on a vanilla base. It was a limited edition anyway so that explains its appearance at a discounter.
09th June, 2016

In Love Again by Yves Saint Laurent

In Love Again, this one the La Collection version. I bought it to layer with Kelly Caleche. They play nicely together being variations on a theme first explored with ILA, then petalled up for Rose Ikebana and then kid leathered up for Kelly Caleche. Jean Claude Elena has stated that his Hermes perfumes are for day use, in keeping with the staple wardrobes of the fashion house. Let's not forget those Hermes scarves either. You can femme up for evening but it is good to reach for a perfect day fragrance. Without resorting to Light Blah this reworking of YSL's "In Love Again" joins the fragrances that I will wear when playing with my grandchildren; that probably means skin to carpet and rusk smearings. Narciso Black, Pierre de Lune, Eau du Sud and In Love Again.
23rd April, 2016
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Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez

Review Narciso EDT, Black Bottle (not 'For Her')
This perfume based on Narciso White has Rose and Peony

It's the Goldilocks syndrome, it has to be 'just right' So, if we're preaching to the converted and you're familiar with 'For Her' Black or Pink, or 'In Colour' or 'Musc Intense' or Narciso 'White' then you are programmed to be quite receptive anyway.

Goldilocks went to the Bears house and tried their porridge, came back the next day and tried their armchairs and finally, third time lucky, (or not so)...... when the little bear's bed was 'just right' she fell asleep.

I'm asleep, and in my dreams I battle with NR, not with the perfumes, but the naming of them. As with Lolita Lempicka you can't just throw a name at your friends who might enquire after your perfume....ah yes, it's the pink bottle that has a black box, no, no, I've got it wrong, it's the black bottle that has a pink box, oh dear, it's the eau de parfum with the lovely sillage, but no, hang on, it's the EDT that wafts around??? Isn't that right? Confused? It's soap, but not as we know it and this perfume doffs the hat at Narciso White but is a different composition, not strength

Narciso 'Black' EDT benefits from a generous application, more sprays than you would normally use, but suitably nuked it will last many hours. Another reviewer (Christianne on Fragrantica) says she wants to hoard it and I have to confess I do too. It's gong to be at your perfume counter, easily sampled, so I won't go into the fragrance notes. Rose and Peony on a Musk base, a touch of gardenia. My husband loves these summertime musks when I wear them and sometimes in my perfume memory a candle strength of Houbigant White Musk flickers through them and makes me feel young again, now that's got to be worth the money.
18th February, 2016

Tocade by Rochas

It's Xmas eve here in the Southern Hemisphere and the fragrance that is Tocade is so appropriate, so festive. The Alpha Male wore LIDGE today and I couldn't help but notice that we complemented each other, the basenotes intertwined quite beautifully. If you like Un Matin d'Orage by Annick Goutal this is a superior perfume at a fraction of the cost. If you wear Mauboussin for Women, as I do, this makes a nice change. If you like sensual perfume and real Turkish delight (not mass produced rubbish) this is a winner. This is not an emotionally constipated perfume, but it isn't Madame Claude either. For the woman who knows how to be a lady in the living room and a courtesan in the bedroom. Who better to have devised it than Maurice Roucel?
24th December, 2015

Love, Chloé Eau Intense by Chloé

Updated review for the Uptown Girl. I've been wearing Nahema a lot lately, and this. Iris and Rose, Rose and Iris. Been buying Mysore Sandal Soap from the Indian Emporium too. Bought a back up bottle of Love Chloe today, not the Eau intense, but I have a back up of that so it's all good. Both discontinued, consider this a loss, but I'm philosophical.
Older review follows:
I purchased a 1oz bottle in high summer and found it rather too powerful. Six months later, in cold and rainy weather Love Chloe Intense is in its element (s) It's rich and aristocratic, a bit highbrow and it doesn't know how to have fun; Love Chloe Intense takes itself very seriously, it's uptight and thorough, …..Man, is she Intense. Definitely a hard working lawyer type with winning on her mind. It's a very very good perfume, nicely crafted, I think the materials are the upper end of the commercial scale. That's my opinion. Longevity and silage are moderate to generous. For lovers of Narciso for Her, Prada Infusion D'Iris Absolu, L'Heure Bleu and even Chanel No 5 EDP. I can't wear this perfume early in the day and I certainly wouldn't refresh it in a confined space or a dining area, but if I was in an art gallery, looking at jewellery, at a sophisticated wine bar or better yet, in a convertible, Love Chloe Intense would be part of my projecting persona. Uptown (uptight) Girl.
16th July, 2015 (last edited: 30th April, 2016)

Histoire d'Eau Amethyste by Mauboussin

Black grapes en masse at the fruiterers, black grapes with the bloom on them at a distance. Black grapes with the woody stem attached at the vineyard. It really is a transportation device to a vineyard.
Winery air, piquant creamy cheese, then some soft florals at the dry down. A lovely day time fragrance for those of us who look at raisins and wonder how much wine they could have produced.
So bite me!
10th June, 2015

L'Eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake

It's so long since I owned this I think it's time I revisited. Along with Tommy Girl these fragrances were simply the bees knees before we fell prey to Angel and her clones, but the compliments came fast and furious for L'eau D'Issey in its day. I'm sort of reminded of Apres La Mousson, melon cucumber ozonic notes, and for guys, the lovely Quasar (by Chris Sheldrake)
The beginning of the technological age arrived with L'eau D'Issey, Tommy Girl and Dune. What will we remember in another twenty five years?

12th May, 2015

Eau de Cartier Concentrée by Cartier

Christine Nagel has, in my opinion, tried to create an 'eau' that isn't mind numbingly same-as. I can mention eau de jade, eau France, rochas, du sud, savage, orlane, ad infinitum, that all claim to be the South of France in a bottle. What have we here? Yuzu, and youzz will love it when you get used to it. Something akin to the Jean Claude Ellena grapefruit opening but more masculine, a little metallic, (Coriander?) then there's a distinct lemon, or is it quince? Have you ever let a platter of quince fruit, the entire piece of fruit, not cut in any way, sit in a warm room. It's scent is quite divine. It is rivalled by the Bhudda's Hand Citrus, a real head turner. There are nuances of unusual fruit in Eau de Cartier concentree and they aren't girly, paleo princess ones. It achieved its objective, I think, to be truly unisex with a very pleasant dry down. My dog walking companion thinks its wonderful but I probably wouldn't wear it to a ladies lunch
19th April, 2015

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

Composed by Henri Sorsana and Annick Goutal this has the superb Iris treatment that I love in Nuit Etoilee (EDP only) Other reviewers find facets of other classic fragrances, Chanel No 19, Chamade, and No 88.... facets, perhaps of a brilliant exquisite diamond that is rose cut. It is the rose that blurs the comparisons between its arch rival, Chanel No 19 and neutralises the austere bitch persona that some find in 19. Because H Ex is aldehydic I am reminded of Y Yves St Laurent also and those who mourn the loss of Y might find solace in Heure Exquise. An oldie and a goodie! EDP all the way
16th April, 2015

Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin

Ms Rochambeau finds a hybrid of Mauboussin original and Cuir Amethyste. Perhaps that is what led to Histoire D'Eau Amethyste. It doesn't matter now as Topaze is discontinued and Cuir Amethyste has priced itself off the planet. ( I have two back up bottles of CA)
Histoire D'Eau Amethyste languishes at the discounters and Christine Nagel, who was Michel Almairac's protege (he of Cuir Amethyste) is now at Hermes. So Histoire is very much in play here, a story of water indeed. I love them all, except HDE Amethyste, which I don't know at all. It's all very Scicilian isn't it? Speak Softly love
07th April, 2015

Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal

For some reason I haven't posted a review on this absolute mainstay of my collection.
Short and sweet. Eau du Sud, to me, is very similar to Eau Savage, which I have always loved on my husband. Unlike me he doesn't keep an arsenal of fragrances and so I don't step on his toes and wear one of 'his' signatures. I can wear Eau du Sud instead.
Other reviewers note a similarity to Cristalle in Eau du Sud. Cristalle delivers a more 'juicy fruit' honeysuckle intensity but I do understand the reference. Eau du Sud carries its own representation of summer in a bottle, there's a light tennis cake and a long glass of iced Pimms nearby. Eight hours after application Eau du Sud releases an aroma of those Fishermen's Lozenges, smoky and camphoreous, as if it were its dying breath.
Always quirky. I like that.
05th April, 2015

Chamade by Guerlain

This was not a purchase of mine so take my review with a grain of salt. I tested it from the counter several times for the review. The bottle said 'parfum'
Current offering had no longevity on my skin, 90 minutes max. The guerlainade was apparent, but I couldn't even put it in the same class as Grand Amour or Cristalle where you get much more bang for the buck. Just disappointing in general. Mitsouko is where the quality is these days, the Thierry Wasser 2013 tweak making it the cat's pyjamas.
31st March, 2015

Mauboussin by Mauboussin

Glenn Miller might turn in his grave. The sound of swing became firmly established in 1939 as war engulfed the world. Mauboussin Jewellers of Place Vendome in Paris were celebrating their 100 year anniversary and it stayed within the family until 2002. Two years before the sale Christine Nagel had been commissioned to create a perfume worthy of the Mauboussin reputation, which now carried a 160 year tradition and was as recognisable in France as Tiffanys is in New York. (Shame that Tiffanys bought the French Crown Jewels)

Today Christine Nagel sits with Jean Claude Ellena in the Hermes Bleachers, where her Eau de Cartier is simpatico with the transparent Ellena style.. Is she proud of Mauboussin? In a published interview Ms Nagel said she would have given her life's work, her eye teeth, her soul to the devil (you see, I forget exactly) to have created Feminite du Bois.....perhaps Mauboussin may have been her sincerest form of flattery, given that she would never have imitated it too openly. Plum, woods, patchouli, amber, and rose are all to be found in this delectable darling which morphs beautifully into French élan from its caramel beginning. I love it. It's the full orchestra, everything but the kitchen sink, but dang, it works, just like Glenn Miller's big band. I want a boned corset with a big taffeta lined dance skirt. I want to be in the mood to wear Mauboussin. If you have perfume eating skin, if you don't mind getting a glow on, letting music fill the air, in the shank of the night, when the doin' is right this is for you and you can tell 'em I'll be there.
28th March, 2015

L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris

What’s got your face in a knot? Nothing, you say, but everything has lost its shine when your lover cuts you somehow. Rolling in the deep, the scent of his skin, the beat of patchouli, the astringent slap of oak moss, he should know, he should know.

When nothing is something you have L’Air de Rien, yeah, not pretty, what the fluck is pretty when you feel like this. You shout, the accusations are wrung out of you…what….an explanation. Oh, bruised lips, thighs, rumpled sheets, sleep. There’s amber, vanilla, rolling in the hay, sweet sweat and forgiveness in an oversized t shirt.
29th January, 2015

Brit Rhythm for Her by Burberry

I liken this to Love Chloe, a bit of No 19 Poudre influence there too. It's a contemporary Iris fragrance marketed to young women and it's really very nice. You can layer it up or down for sheerness. I didn't get much lavender.
31st December, 2014

Le Jasmin by Annick Goutal

I bought Le Jasmin and Grand Amour in small bottles recently. Trying Le Jasmin first I was underwhelmed, perhaps this Jasmin was not for me with its banana skin (intact) undercurrent and the gingerbeer on top. I left it until it began to fade and sprayed a couple of Grand Amour puffs on top. They combine beautifully; it's the way I'm using them, but for the purposes of this review I will try to convey my feelings about Le Jasmin solo. Feels natural, like scented tea; I feel calm wearing it. It suits me, I know, and yet I want…more. It really does fade too quickly, others have said it. It's a little tropical, but more like early morning sub tropical. It's been discontinued once and then revived, so perhaps it will be again. It's one of the prettiest skin scents you will find and when some benchmark jasmines are sick-making this is entirely suitable for an early morning bus ride. A jasmine for those who are very sensitive to fumes is not a bad thing. There, it's a homeopathic jasmine, a Rescue Remedy.
17th November, 2014

Nuit Etoilée by Annick Goutal

I associate the mint with penny royal, crushed underfoot on a walk, releasing its fragrance momentarily. I was unprepared for the creamy Jaffa likeness to Elixir des Merveilles, or following on by association to Terre D'Hermes (JCE describes Eau de Merveilles as the sister scent to TDH)

Now push those comments aside. The amber and Iris heart of Nuit Etoilee is what remains. If this is what camping under the stars is then I can only suggest that it's 'glamping' and the lackeys doing all the work don't smell at all like this! It's not overpowering even as an EDP. It lasts 4 hours with good sillage in the EDP but I want more of it, so I do keep it going all day. It's beautiful.....and different, and soft but refined. I don't find as much smoke in this as exists in Eau du Sud, which I am also fond of. A winner for sure.
24th October, 2014

Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermès

I come from a family of gardeners on my Mother's side, my Grandfather was a plantsman, a career gardener who learned his craft on a large estate in Ireland.
Garden smells are my stock in trade- Baptista, the beautiful Lippia, Geranium mac; these probably found their way to Jardin sur le toit and influenced the perfume quartet that is the Jardin series. I recently purchased Eau Narcisse Bleu but it does not stir me in the way that La Mousson and Le Toit do. I am a gardener, not a will-o'-the wisp; what I find irresistible, some actually think has a 'compost' smell. (Big grin) I was reminded yesterday that air temperature and humidity play an enormous part in how we perceive perfume; I found a perfume that had not won any significant brownie points to be a whole lot better in warmer weather. (It was Annick Goutal's Le Muguet) Last year the soft suede of Kelly Caleche in EDT was all I wanted in a Vegas heatwave, it was gorgeous. JSLT may be the best spring perfume in Vermont and the worst in Florida, stunning in Hobart and ratshit in Brisbane. Unlike Eau Narcisse this Hermes offers a busy palette, and perhaps was the forerunner to Jour d'Hermes, where Jean Claude Ellena gave us a veritable bouquet and said 'Choose your own Adventure'
21st October, 2014

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès

Ellena translates as ‘The Greek’ in English. Should Jean Claude aspire to being King of Hellena, by virtue of a Mediterranean ancestor, I would be a loyal subject.

Greek Mythology fascinated my Father, a man whose further education was shattered by WWII during the bombing of London. He became an armchair academic instead and we listened to radio stories before the advent of television, the childrens’ bathed bodies in pyjamas, sitting on the hard bare-boarded floor that was barely covered by an old hessian rug. We ate toast and tomato, or crumpets and jam for supper, as tales of Pegasus, Cyclops, and Narcissus, cadenced by melliflous British voices, shapeshifted in our imaginations.

Eau Narcisse Bleu,well, the clues are in the name.

Narcissus, a young man blessed with unsurpassable beauty spurned male and female alike. He and his Mother, Liriope, gave their names to naturalising bulbs of great charm, the trumpet flowers of daffodils and earlicheer and the Grape Hyacinth.

Using today’s parlance Narcissus was stalked by Echo, a single white female, who, under the spell of an angry Hera, could only repeat his uneasy call of ‘Who is There? She was therefore incapable of captivating Narcissus with scintillating conversation. She faded away, (anorexic probably) from unrequited love and only her echo remained in the glades of their sylvan abode.

Narcissus came upon a glistening pond where the water reflected not only the azure sky but the plumage of birds on the wing and overhanging trees. He stooped at the waters edge and saw his one true love, a creature so perfect he fell in love, truly, madly deeply, with himself. Unable to tear himself away Narcissus pined away until his soul left his body. The search party found only a nodding daffodil growing at the edge of the pool.

The perfume is a homage to Ovid's story in my opinion. The elements of sylvan glade, water, blue sky and the slight scent of Narcissus are present. Voila.

To wear it successfully you will need garments without any laundry detergent scent residue left in them and unperfumed soap and body lotion for your toilette. It is quite fleeting and is easily drowned out. Edmond Roudnitska, at his doorway in Grasse, shouted at a very young Jean Claude Ellena to 'go home and not come back' until his (trademark) white shirt carried no smell of soap. Roudnitska set Ellena the discipline of an unperfumed life; to this day Ellena eschews fragrance on his person.

Not being such a sensitive nose, I prefer my other JCE fragrances, Kelly Caleche, Apres La Mousson, Claire des Merveilles etc and my husband and son are devoted to Terre D'Hermes.
16th October, 2014