Revolution a Versailles is tricky. Bal a Versailles, the 1962 scent classic by Jean Desprez, is so overwhelmingly superb and layered that nothing can come close. The two share the same place name; that's largely it. There's no candlelit ballroom, no hall or mirrors alight with the perfumy candlewax aromas, not even the hint of sweat and hot bodies that so memorably prevents BaV from sliding into the bathetic.
Nor is there a guillotine.
No, at first it is difficult to comprehend that they both sprang from the same creative heart and mind. But then it opens up. For me - my body chemistry does strange things with some scents, destroying them almost immediately - this is a medium-lasting creation. And what it evokes - to me - is a visit to the slightly neglected chapelle du Couvent de la Reine at the Lycee Hoche, at the other end of the court of honour at Versailles.
There's the tiniest bit of dustiness. Yes, there are flowers - a bouquet that has just reached its peak, at a side altar. Again, the sort of atmosphere that causes one to bate one's breath in anticipation of some great unknown, a sense of dusty air and stoniness from the old floors that have been steadily trod upon for two hundred and ten years.
And then, floating over the flowers, the stones, the wax candles, unlit in their stands, a hefty dose of incense.
Nothing about Revolution; nothing about any dance, formal or otherwise. Nothing about sophisticated floral arrangements, but a hint that someone still cares, the flowers and the implements of faith still wait for someone.
I am not certain this was what Desprez intended - but that is what his fragrance elicits from me.
(c)2015 Daisy Morant
19th August, 2014 (last edited: 13th January, 2015)
I remember trying Revolution a Versailles for the first time, and being so disappointed; I have always loved Bal a Versailles, and had been expecting Revolution to be equally elegant, distinguished and unique. Unfortunately I found it to be a very familiar and nondescript white floral, with just a touch of adehyde, along the lines of Gianfranco Ferre or the original version of Nina. Not in any way unplesant, but nothing special, in complete contrast to Bal a Versailles. I tried Revolution several times over the next few years to see if I'd missed something the first time, but never found anything more.
I'm not giving Revolution a thumbs down because I did not dislike it; I would describe it as a pleasant but non descript. I can't see lovers of Bal a Versailles falling for Revolution.
I actually have a question when was Sheherzade,Bal a Versailles and Revolution a Versailles discontuned? There is a store in Canada which carries Bal a Versailles and Revolution a Versailles, but i do not know if these are reformulated versions.
Can anyone help?