Bright, zesty, realistic lemons transition into a smooth and sturdy sandalwood base. Monsieur Balmain's sophisticated simplicity is a classy, comfortable, and easy wear. An absolute must try if you're looking for a fragrance that is centered around lemon. Projection is moderate, which seems appropriately calibrated for this scent. At a price of around $40 for 100 mls, this is a great value. Thumbs up. *Note: This review is based on the frosted, cylindrical bottle pictured above.
Monsieur Balmain starts off with one of the most beautiful lemon top notes I have smelled. Crisp, green jasmine and dry aromatics soon follow in what promises to be a rich variation on the classic eau de Cologne formula. During its second hour of wear Monsieur Balmain flirts dangerously with Lemon Pledge, but then a marvelous, buttery sandalwood note comes into focus and provides a luxurious cushion to support the citrus accord. The smooth sandalwood persists as the core of the drydown, whose four to six hour duration is quite generous for a citrus based fragrance.
Monsieur Balmain is notable for being sophisticated without a trace of the stuffiness that characterizes some other traditionally structured citrus scents. (Yes, Blenheim Bouquet, I’m talking about you.) I’d place it right alongside the Acqua di Parma Colonia variations, Guerlain’s Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat, Bahiana, and Cristalle as one of the most gratifying citrus scents I’ve encountered. Monsieur Balmain is a polished, versatile, and vastly underappreciated fragrance for men. And besides the name, I can’t see why the ladies wouldn’t wear it, too!
19th June, 2014 (last edited: 20th June, 2014)
The opening blast is a most wonderful lemon that one can fathom - bright, light and sunny - like the flâcon it is sold in. Later some bergamot and mint continue the refreshing summer theme. After the first hour or so ginger, nutmeg and rosemary are added, and in the base a touch of sandalwood mixes with a very light moss-and-white-musk note. I like it how the unusually late addition of neroli in the base add and extra injection of freshness towards the end. This is the remarkable feature of this scent: the top notes bear all the hallmarks of a splendid but traditionally very short-lived cologne, yet this is a full fledged EdT with interesting developments throughout various phases. Initially with decent silage and projection, this is a rare summer lemon fragrance with a comparatively excellent longevity of five hours. Very well blended, and although the vintage version overall sports a higher quality of ingredients, this is one of the few cases where the reformulation is still excellent and not far behind. One of my all-time favourite go-to scents for hot days.
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The Lemon Complex: Not So Simple
This was a blind buy, and, as we know, blind buys can be disasters, sometimes expensive ones. This buy, however, lived up to the hype. But I would disagree with facile characterizations of this fragrance a lemon bomb. There is lemon, to be sure, and lots of it, but lemon here is about theme and variation -- the lemon is a constant that interacts differently with the various notes in the dry-down. This is perfume-as-process. The lemon and the pepper, which is very strong, and the sandalwood are not in lockstep. Rather, there is a tension among them that renders these ingredients somewhat unsettled. But this is not discord, it is communication. There is a linearity to this unsettledness, but it is not clumsy or awkward. It is highly choreographed, and is, therefore, quite confident and poised, despite its deceptive simplicity. It's rougher around edges than Dior's ultra-sophisticated original Eau Sauvage, and bone-dry compared the luxuriant, lemony sweetness of Chanel's original Pour Monsieur. I think it would layer well with a range of other scents, including Atelier Cologne's Orange Sanguine, a some of the vetivers. The pepper note would work well with Ellena's Bigarade. It's elemental enough to invite wide experimentation. The dry-down is very close to Oscar for Men, but the pepper isn't quite as overwhelming as it is in the Oscar. Curious to see if the new bottle (à la Carbone) will contain a reformulation.
Pros: Elemental, classic.
Cons: Could have dialed back on the pepper.
A refreshing blast of lemon citrus on top with woods and vetiver in the base. It's a refreshing simple Summer fragrance for that zesty pick me up to start the day.
Top: mint, bergamot, lemon, bitter orange
Mid: rosemary, ginger, pepper, caraway, rose, nutmeg, thyme, moss, sandalwood
Base: musk, amber, clary sage, vetiver, sandalwood
This is a lovely lemon scent -- very natural. Good hints of herbs, mint and moss. It is a refreshing spritz, and a worthy alternative to Eau D'Orange Verte. Nice mossy dry-down with herbs and vetiver.
This is an amazingly zesty fizzing verbena bomb!
If you like your citrus sharp and tart, this is for you. I found it had fairly good longevity for a citrus scent, at such an inexpensive price, you can afford to reapply every couple of hours anyway.
Tiny let-down...the packaging is fairly cheap looking, especially compared to the vintage. No biggie!
* Idiotically I missed the massive ginger note in this. It wasn't until I was grating some that my brain switched on and I thought "Monsieur Balmain!" The ginger in this is as big as the verbena. Wonderful!
29th October, 2012 (last edited: 03rd November, 2012)
A really playful and clever exercise on the lemon theme. I say clever because the real 'lime-yellow-green' impression of the scent is actually built up by other carefully placed notes. Yes, there is the initial bright citrusy blast but it quickly makes its way to a woody-ambery composition without actually losing its initial face. Amazing! The 'greener' side of the fragrance is then taken by vetiver and some herbal notes which then lead you in the woody realm with amber and creamy sandalwood enough just to keep the 'juicy' impression of a 'freshly squeezed' something.
All in all, this is a perfect illusion: it keeps the 'lemony' feeling going to a point where no real citrus notes would be able to , and it does it by emphasizing the corresponding facets of a variety of notes, in a series of smooth transitions. Like in a relay race! So, mind you Monsieur Balmain has nothing to do with the Italian cologne style. It's summery in a way, yes but it has depths. It's bright but it has this old school complexity in the mix. Shines even more in colder weather. Nothing like it!
In many ways, Monsieur Balmain may be the answer to your quest for a great lemon scent that's affordable, pleasant and long lasting. I get a little bit of Pledge for the first couple of minutes, but it settles down nicely into a smooth, creamy and classy fragrance that can stick around for most of the day. It's sillage won't clear a room, but it radiates outward in assertive force field close to the skin, so only the people in your orbit will get a whiff. This is a great antidote to an oppressively hot day, but frankly, it's got enough body to be a great pick-me-up on a cold winter day too.
Searching for the perfect lemon fragrance can be can an exhausting and elusive proposition. Lemon scents are often ephemeral for reasons I'll leave to chemists to explain. And then, of course, each fragrance has its own take on the genre, and you can wind up with a lemon that smells medicinal (I'm looking at you, Art of Shaving), too much like rotting vegetation (yes, Eau de Sauvage - that you would be you), and so forth. Acqua di Parma has a stable of lemon scents -- Colonia, Assoluta or Intensa -- that are quite good, but are really pricey or fleeting. (Personally, I think Assoluta is the best of the bunch). Chanel Allure Edition Blanche Pour Homme is ok too, but the lemon gives way quickly to cedarwood. But for value, it's hard to beat Monsieur Balmain as a pure lemon fragrance.
Monsieur Balmain opens with a sharp blast of semi-sour lemon that is quite like the real juice. The fragrance soon combines the lemon with a sandalwood undertone that grows as the lemon slightly recedes over time. Very modest hints of amber and bergamot are the only other detectable notes of recognition to my nose. Projection is minimal and longevity is above average.
Monsieur Balmain is a very simplistic scent to my nose, at least. While the official list of notes is quite long, it really is all about a natural lemon on a semi-synthetic smelling sandalwood base; nothing more, nothing less. I have heard the scent described by some as "Lemon Pledge," and I confess I too have that same association too. I very much think of a fine lemon wood furniture polish when I smell this one. Lemon Pledge association and formula simplicity aside, the recent formulation of Monsieur Balmain does smell good, and is a superb value at its current street price of around $30 for a 100 ml bottle. I give Monsieur Balmain a "good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rating.
15th August, 2012 (last edited: 16th August, 2012)
Opens up with fresh lemons. Quickly becomes a candy like lemon. I smell some geranium and mint somewhere in here. A soft woods base ties it together nicely. The dry down is very reminiscent of Green Water, as is the entire fragrance really. The difference.. One is lemon, one is mint. Green Water also has better longevity, as I only get about 6 hours out of MB. Projection is about average. My biggest problem is the sprayer, it is horrible! Maybe I just got a dud..
Lovely, sunny-day lemon. Smells natural (contrary to Clinique Happy), but not like a household product (such as Eau de Hadrien) and it lasts amazingly well (as opposed to Guerlain's Eau Impériale). All this may frequently be had at a bargain price, which makes M. Balamin a default recommendation for summer-time or whenever you need a good mood-enhancer. Personally I've always thought of the drydown as rather demure - it doesn't much get in the way, but manages to carry the lemon along a good while.
I wore this to sleep last night. Lots of lemon, but I found a sweetness on dry down that I didn't care for. That did pass and what I was left with was a soft pleasant fragrance that was easy to wear and not overpowering.
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at first I felt it as a very dry fragance, but as time went by the citrus aroma came alive and made me love it. good fixer, I could say, a mature mans fragance.
18th July, 2011 (last edited: 29th March, 2013)
Issey Miyake's girly, sour lemon is trash compared to this!
I want to thank the basenoters who recommended this; I would have never known about it. It's like squeezing a lemon on your neck! Too bad the juicy lemon morphs into a dark woody scent in an hour. I would have preferred juicy lemon throughout. The sandalwood that cloaks 80% of the initial lemon is also responsible for making this a V E R Y masculine fragrance - so to some extent it's appreciated.
I wanted to wear this year-round, but the lemon hides too much in the cold. If I exhale on the spot where I sprayed, I can still smell the fresh lemon from hours ago, so I'm going to mostly wear this in the heat. Most of my fragrances are dark and sensual; this is the most playful one I own.
Monsieur Balmain is a refreshing take on the citrus genre very much in the mold of Acqua di Parma's Colonia; the lemon invigoratingly fresh and au naturale. Unlike many other citrus opening acts, however, the lemon accord maintains its cheerful presence well into the heart notes giving the smooth sandalwood an interesting edge. Excellent, bottle-worthy juice!
07th September, 2009 (last edited: 10th September, 2009)
Take one fresh lemon and slice into -- place your nose inside. Monsieur Balmain replicates this smell exactly and that in perfumery terms is not an easy task. It is pretty linear though, so you must like the opening. Longevity is an issue, but a liberal spraying works for me all day and to hold this note for even 3-4 hours requires some skill. Nice to turn to occasionally for spring cleaning the senses.
If you are looking for a lemon fragrance with decent longevity then Monsieur Balmain should be on your list to try. This starts of with a blast of refreshing, albeit slightly synthetic smelling, lemon mixed with a faint herbaceousness (basil?) adding a nice green element to the mix. After about 10 mins, oakmoss becomes apparent adding a much needed dimension to the fragrance, making it a fuller, more complete scent. From this point in its development it is pretty linear, with a touch of clean musk coming through in the very final stages of it's life on skin.
On my skin I get about 4-5 hours and it has decent projection and a moderate sillage. Monsieur Balmain is a refeshing and somewhat classsy fragrance for the summer months that smells very good and is available at an excellent price point.
Dirty Lemon is what I'd call Monsieur Balmain, and I mean it in a good way. Lemon scents, though they smell nice, always run the risk of being either boring or too fleeting, or both. MB is neither. Balmain added just enough fixatives (wood oils and I think musks) to make the lemon scent last for hours, which is very unusual and pleasantly surprising. The lemon hits you like a hammer at first, but then mellows out after an hour and blends beautifully with the sandalwood underlying it. The sandalwood and I think musk give this fragrance depth, as well as a certain "dirty" feel to it, kind of like the way the civet and musk give Kouros a subtly raunchy feel. It actually gives MB a somewhat erotic feel to it, which is very unusual for any citrus scent. Whatever you call it, I think it's excellent.
I love this fragrance! From its' lemon drop opening to its' lemony musk drydown I think it is wonderful. Lasts well on my skin and smells wonderful on clothes worn over it. Terrific!
Lemon, vetiver, and gauzy sandlewood. That about sums up MB. Although this is supposedly a reformulation, it still smells very retro to me -- the citrus burst is classic citrus from the 60s / 70s, i.e. in-your-face lemon rather than muted, blended bergamot (think YSL pour homme). Additionally, the vetiver heart gives this a grassy, woody, somewhat musty drydown that makes it flirt dangerously with "old man smell". If my brain cells and olfactory memory aren't failing me, I'm willing to bet MB was the inspiration behind the smell of Air France fresheners twenty years ago!
I find MB very natural-smelling and consequently very enjoyable, but it's definitely an acquired taste due to its simple structure and unabashedly retro bent (absolutely no fruity, gourmand-y, oriental, synthetic, or overly woody notes). And it doesn't last. So I tend to use this more as a post-shower summer "tonique" and when I just want to smell fresh in a natural way for a short period of time. Romantic this ain't. But if you're the type of guy who can still watch an old Hitchcock film without pining for fast-paced plots or special effects, there's a good chance you'll find something to like in MB since it's the perfume analog. Sometimes, the simple stuff's the best. A big thumbs up!
Good lord. Huuuuuuge lemon. Not a lemon like Boucheron pour Homme, but really strong lemon with other citrus. There is no pine notes in this at all so there's no way this smells like Pine-Sol like other lemon scents tend to do. Linear, it's all lemon and it's a very fresh lemon.
Sir, have been smoking while taking a bath in your beloved concentrated lemon juice again?, chirped my very able but sometimes annoying valet.
"Very funny, Holmes. Though I cannot and will not deny my eccentricities, I have opted to wear the inestimable citrus elixir from the House of Balmain this day."
Simply put, for its price, Monsieur Balmain is a stunning scent! It opens with the most concentrated burst of bitter citrus you're likely to ever experience. On my skin, after an hour, the citrus recedes and an ash-like note appears; very dry and dirty, like an ashtray. However, after one more hour the citrus note returns to the fore, where it stays for hours fairly close to the skin. There is just enough dirtyness in Monsieur Balmain to make it appropriate for cooler weather, something that cannot be said about many citrus scents. I like this better than Blenheim Bouquet, imho its closest competitor. IMHO, there is too much piney character in BB.
I very much like this scent. I just tried it from someone elses bottle and plan to buy it when scentiments has it back in stock. The opening is very nice and is tart, but sweetens a bit over about 20-30 minutes. It also is very unobtrusive after the first 30 minutes.
lots of fresh lemon and pine needles at the end. Lasts all day. (I know this sounds like a toilet cleaner but trust me.)
Lemons, yellow lemons, green lemons, limes and just a hint of bergamot and white musks. A very lineal, almost too simple scent, that lasts a great deal on the skin, in fact, I think it’s one of the longest-lasting lemon scents on the market. Very happy, kind of summery but unlike the rest of the “summer” frags this one stays. It never lacks light, activity, high energy, it’s a very tonic scent. It helps when feeling tired. I agree that it lacks a certain classiness, and it might be a bit boring too, even predictable, but I just like it a lot. For a classier take on lemons –and a long lasting frag too- try Boucheron pour Homme Edt or Edp. I really like this Mr.Balmain scent.
Very interesting fragrance, wonderful for summer. Reminiscent of the original YSL homme, but triple the lemon note. As it dries, the initial burst of lemon fades somewhat to become more spicy.
Monsieur Balmain presents a vibrant citrus / minty opening—very lemony, even a bit lemony Pledge, but not so much to be off-putting: The day is saved by the mint, which keeps the opening a bit green and safe from excessively “plastic” citrus. This refreshing citrus / mint lasts incredibly well, helped by the lemon grass of the middle, I believe. The middle notes remain citrus with a wider herbal accord than the top accords had. There are also some traces of florals—particularly orris— showing up rather reservedly. The base loses the energy, IMO, although it retains a citrus bent to it. The sage and musk and amber warm the fragrance, but in warming it, some of the character is lost. Monsieur Balmain is a very nicely put together fragrance that shines in the citrus department, has a substance and tangibility to it. I enjoy it very much on those occasions when I feel I want to make a definite citrus statement, and my more discreet citruses (usually preferred) just strike me as a little bland.
10th January, 2006 (last edited: 17th February, 2014)
There is lemon in many fragrances. This is lemon plain and yet lasts longer than most. That is why I love it!