Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Bal a Versailles

Total Reviews: 118

Mon Guerlain by Guerlain

All work and no play? It makes Jack a dull boy. Give Thierry Wasser a holiday! Guerlain couldn't find the energy to make a new perfume. Do they need shots of B12 or something? I wanted Mon Guerlain to make pots of dosh to secure the future of Guerlain classics and it's insipid, not ghastly, just dull.
23rd April, 2017

Hiris by Hermès

As a small child our home was a poor one. My parents frequently fought about money, paying bills and the cost of shoes. I washed my hair with soap, bottled shampoo being a luxury. I love the smell of soap in the morning, which is where Hiris slots in. In my repressed, somewhat Victorian childhood it would have been lascivious for a woman to reek of perfume early in the day, but April Violets would have been okay, Hiris would have been okay too. The lovely honey drifts in later, still quite angelic and a little milk maid rosiness rounds it out. Sometimes I wonder if a little Hiris from the Hermes library made it into Apres La Mousson, they are both accused of being vegetal and I like both fragrances. Am I animal, vegetable or mineral? I guess I'm a vegetable, an Orris root I think.
18th April, 2017

Blanc de Courrèges by Courrèges

I was at the front door, I turned back to grab something and my own perfume wake caught me, with the warmth of my body still in it. I was quite impressed with this Houdini act. White patchouli, stripped of its moth repellent function, entwined with iris and something like Guerlain's Anis, but better, no leathery footballs here. There are two fragrances that ring bells with Blanc, one being Jesus Del Pozo's 'In Black' that is rich with cherry chocolate but carries some sort of DNA that I suspect originated with Christine Nagel, who authored it. Julie Masse, the creator of Blanc, worked alongside CN at Mane. The other, which does represents white to me is Habanita L'ESprit. We can have a little chuckle that I found Black to be Blanc, or vice versa.

I purchased Blanc because somebody else smelled wonderful in it, because it was completely affordable and I have been on an Iris kick. If you like the thought of a ramped up Apres L'Ondee or a less violet Insolence then this is for you.
18th April, 2017
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Shalimar Cologne by Guerlain

If I was Thierry Wasser and people kept banging on about Mathilde Laurent's Eau Legere, Jean Paul Guerlain's assault on it, unfortunate names that suggested a diet Shalimar and now a discontinued Eau de Shalimar I would also restore the fragrance. He has been the 'Great Improver' and those of us who have benefited from his tweaks of MItsouko bow to his artistry. There are great specifics there from Mr Bon Vivant's review; cool iris and thyme made me my knees tremble. And I am indeed kicking myself for missing Eau Legere because I came late to Guerlain; the Dowagers in my family wore Caron, Chanel and very 'Green' fragrances that were the rage. Having tried Cologne today I knew I was undone.
20th February, 2017

Elle L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka

Nothing new to add, as already covered this is a sunscreen perfume for the garden bars of Waikiki and Maui. Underneath, lurking beneath the sunscreen is a girly 'True Love' type scent but it's generic, so call it Charlie purse spray. It has its place in our perfumed world, why would you waste your luxury fume when sunscreen and beads of perspiration dilute and transform your fragrance; this is one that will blend in anyway as it's a bit of a mongrel in the nicest possible way. I've discovered that lavish use of the perfume obtains the best results. If you use lightly the white floral dominates but a heavy hand brings out the lime/coconut. I love the LL bottle and this is one that I will throw in with my batik/voluminous beachwear. Nice, for what it is, but not at full price, look for a bargain
07th February, 2017

L'Air de Nina Ricci by Nina Ricci

Something of a cross between Jeux de Peau (Serge Lutens) and Un Matin D'Orage, it's a white milky floral that is stronger than the name would suggest. I thought it would be connected to L Air du Temps, a perfume my Mother in Law wore from the time I met her, but I don't find any resemblance. Magnolia, for sure and I get the Jasmin Sambac. Yes, this could have been an Annick Goutal fragrance. It's another Southern Belle fragrance and I'm reminded of Steel Magnolias, an ensemble cast where each play their role. You will have to like the Southern Belle Champaca fragrances; I'm more of a Neroli girl.
03rd February, 2017

L'Eau Ambrée by Prada

I was given the body lotion first then I purchased a sample of the fragrance in order to wear them layered. I was quite taken by the body lotion and hoped to intensify the overall projection. The fragrance is hopeless with almost no longevity and I didn't buy a FB. I am using the body lotion layered with the Infusion d'Iris Absolue fragrance and it's a lovely combo, although I would have preferred to be a purist.
The fleeting nature of the perfume, lovely as it is, is not for my dry, pale Irish skin.
23rd January, 2017

Chance Eau Vive by Chanel

It's a melange of citrus at the beginning, those who enjoyed the limited edition of Prada's D'Oranger from the Infusion line will like this. Hanae Mori's No 3 is in the same category. I find the opening a bit screechy but the dry down is elegant enough, although it doesn't sing 'Chanel' to me and this marks it as the departure from Polge senior to his son as perfumer. It's tenacious, so full marks for longevity when I have been alerted by poor performance in other Chanels being attenuated, so that's a plus for many.
The master of the grapefruit opening is Jean Claude Elena, with all 'Eau' Citrus tending to lose their power within an hour, so it is interesting to see Olivier Polge create a perfume that still leaves the impression of a full citrus, even if it's not quite there at the dry down. I can't say I would buy it again, it gets on my nerves a bit in the same way that No 19 Poudre does. I suspect I will update this perfume review as my experience of this fragrance wears in. For now I strongly recommend 'try before you buy' as this perfume doesn't relate well to the perfume that is 'Chance'
P.S. It is better in summer weather and has grown on me a bit.
21st January, 2017

J'Adore by Christian Dior

This review is for J'Adore Touche, given to me as a 1 ml sample. It's a muskier version of Jardins de Bagatelle, tuberose rich and the rest all thrown in. Nothing new here but very nice.
29th November, 2016

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

The watermark of No 5 is evident through the fragrance but not compelling enough to purchase it. From an Elle magazine recommendation featuring prominent perfumers a suggestion was made to layer Chanel No 5 and Apres L'Ondee. I've been following that advice and enjoying the result. This new fragrance, to my mind, is not as good as Chance Eau Vive 2015 and I bought a duty free bottle of that, expecting to part with the dollars for L'Eau.
01st November, 2016

Madame Gres by Grès

I have a back up bottle of Cabaret and Lumiere Noire is in regular rotation on my dresser, it was time I ventured to connect with 'Madame Gres'
My pineapple references are 'Courtesan' (Worth) and Amor Amor (Cacharel) and Madame Gres is superior to both, for the pineapple is controlled by a clean magnolia and wasn't as sweet as I was led to believe. In my quest for great cheap and cheery perfumes Maurice Roucel's 'Tocade' is points leader but all of the perfumes mentioned here exhibit classy elements whilst being inexpensive.
The dry down is quite sudden and the perfume lacks duration but the base, slight as it is, is well behaved and doesn't leave a nasty musk. I like that in a perfume.
Madame Gres is probably best suited to women over twenty five but qualifies as a good day time perfume. Others have commented on a resemblance to Miss Dior, but if I had to compare it to that of a well known house I'd veer towards Chanel's 'Allure'.
04th October, 2016

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
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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

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

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