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.