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  1. #1

    Default Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Who knows this fragrance, and in what formulation? There are so many formulations and reformulations around. I have only tried the parfum (I have no idea what vintage it was, but it was divine), and the eau de cologne that came in a bottle like this...



    ^^^That was a very aldehydic, orange blossomy, and civetty and somewhat incensy "eau". Blended in the USA.

    I remember my mother wearing the parfum when I was very young. It came in the round bottle with the colorful painting label. I suppose it must have been this one...



    I remember NOT liking it on her. I didn't understand why she would wear that. Years later, when I tried the parfum myself, I understood.

    Anyone have any experience or memories of Bal? What formulation do you like? I know our Le Mouchoir de Monsieur wears BaV. Anyone else here on BN?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    This is going to be an interesting one. Can't wait to read responses......
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Me too! I hope we get some.


    ...............crickets............


    Well, things usually take time to warm up on FFB. A watched pot never boils...so see you later.
    Last edited by lilybelle; 3rd November 2012 at 04:39 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Hi lilybelle!

    The only thing I can add to this is memories...

    Back in the early '70's my dear Dad gave me a bottle of Bal Versaille for Christmas. (similar to your second photo) At the time I had the influence of the hippie culture of Dupont Circle in D.C as my main influence & preferred to douse myself with the likes of Jovan musk oil. I just didn't "get it", so the bottle went back into the box & was placed in the back reaches of my closet shelf.

    Flash forward to 1980-something. Here I am several years & a couple of moves later, when I happened to overhear an office conversation. A male co-worker was having a conversation with a friend & made the comment that "Nothing smells better on a woman than Bal Versaille...". A light bulb went off! I think I've got that....somewhere! So the first thing I did when I got home that evening was to scour my boxes of stored items until it was found. Hallelujah!!!!!

    I will never forget opening that box. I was so afraid that the scent would be something I hated, or even worse, that it was ruined from years of storage. My fears were quickly dispelled with that first fragrant sniff. WOW! That was all I could say...repeatedly. I had found my new secret weapon! From that point on, it was reserved for only the greatest of adventures (or misadventures ), as I milked that bottle to the very last drop.

    Sadly, I've been disheartened by any subsequent attempts to replace my little jewel. The scent is now a mere shadow of it's former self. Perhaps a vintage search needs to follow. I could use a secret weapon or two these days!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Genie Jeanie, I love that story! Did the co-worker ever smell your sillage? It's funny how we both had to grow older to appreciate it.

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    Dependent knit at nite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    I came late to the Versailles Bal. I think the first time I sniffed it was the EDT and I was in my late 30"s. I only had a few Carons back then and I was amazed to find such a heady complex old school scent at ....Marshalls.
    Sync'in and Think'in in 2015!
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    There were a couple of threads in the past about it. I don't have a huge experience with BaV, but for what I've smelled and read, the edc, which is only vintage, is usually superior to the edt. The edc is darker, drier and more animalic. Relative to the parfum, it is less floral, and less intense, of course. For the edt, I own the current (ie US) inexpensive formulation: the top is nice warm ambery animalic, but then it turns immediately into powder on my skin, with the animalic aspect only coming out with extreme heat (like at the gym). Not good even for the cheap price it sells for. The edc can still be found relatively cheaply on ebay, so I'd go for that.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Lilybelle I have the edt which is in the same round bottle with the lyre-shaped cap as the parfum. I bought it about seven or eight years ago (at Burlington Coat Factory, of all places!) I love the soft orange blossom, gentle spice, and nag champa incense. And the wallop of skank.
    "I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    No, LB! Don't do it!!! This is a conversation better had in private. The market is already too dynamic! This is just going to bring the tourists in droves, and they'll hate it anyway!

    Aah, what the hell.

    The vintage parfum, in the matte yellow box (not the reflective gold one) is the version of the p that I have. It's only wearable under certain conditions, but it is absolutely unique. Ultra dense, intensely animalic with a gorgeous urine note in a lovely haze of crotch funk. The florals are huge and symphonic - a rich, velvety mass that it's impossible to pick notes out of, because they're all in there, in their natural cacophonous complexity.

    Beautiful, nasty, enormous - this is the smell of an incontinent goddess's taint when she's in full lubricious heat. Use with caution.
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    The smell of an incontinent goddess's taint when she's in full lubricious heat. Use with caution.
    What a fab turn of phrase, ruben.
    Sync'in and Think'in in 2015!
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by lilybelle View Post
    Genie Jeanie, I love that story! Did the co-worker ever smell your sillage? It's funny how we both had to grow older to appreciate it.
    I hope that particular man never noticed, lilybelle. He was a notorious "sillage sniffer" & I preferred to keep him out of my wake!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    Ultra dense, intensely animalic with a gorgeous urine note in a lovely haze of crotch funk. The florals are huge and symphonic - a rich, velvety mass that it's impossible to pick notes out of, because they're all in there, in their natural cacophonous complexity.

    Beautiful, nasty, enormous - this is the smell of an incontinent goddess's taint when she's in full lubricious heat. Use with caution.
    Oh no! Is that why I got so much attention when I wore this?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    here is one of the things that I hope to figure out on this thread. Certain readers know that no single vintage of BaV is foreign to me. I can dissect each one and point out the difference. The one thing I will say straight away is this: Don't ever buy BaV if it is in a Gold Metallic Box with medallion on. This is the cheap Genisis International of Florida version. It is so horrific that it almost must be put in a biohazard waste bin: Not only does it reek, but it is impossible to get off. It won't wash off, alcohol off, or come off. If you get this on your skin, you will smell it a week later. Quite seriously, it smells like wet dog in heat. It's disgusting. On the other hand, BaV as interpreted by Jean Desprez and made in France is one of the most legendary and beautifully constructed perfumes in the world. Under it's original ownership, it underwent two reformulations: The first, because it was determined to be poisonous, the second because of jasmine supplies from the near east that dried up and were no longer available. In my opinion, it is the first issue, the poisonous one, that is the only one I wear, and I BATHE in it. One of the intricacies of BaV is that each concentration is a different scent. They are designed to be layered and worn according to circumstance. Here is my very scientific review from Frag for those who haven't seen it:

    Attempting to decipher "Bal a Versailles" today presents the same level of complexity inherent in a discussion concerning the ramifications of Biblical translations and all of the different implications and consequences these have had over the last centuries. To begin, nobody knows what fresh BAV would have smelled like were it made, unstoppered and used in the early sixties, at the time of its advent. It is true that, following the classic standards of Haute Parfumerie, the original three concentrations that were initially made exhibited a trio of scents, each one different, and designed to sublimate the other two; thus, Jean Desprez himself would have instructed the wearer to splash on the Eau de Cologne with abandon, all over the body, perhaps even using it as an hair tonic. After a time, the Parfum de Toilette would be applied more sparingly, but liberally, on exposed parts of the body: The shoulders, neck, calves and decolletage. Finally, the Parfum, clearly conceived to be dabbed very sparingly on specific pulse points. Considering the nature of the composition, these would have been the temples, the base of the neck, the crux of the arm, or "saignee" as the French would call it, the wrists, the backs of the knees, and the ankles. It is my own judgement that BAV is one of the rare scents that truly does benefit from an application by hand, and not by atomizer: To atomize the parfum, for example, automatically distorts it. Remember: At the time of its launch, not one of these concentrations was offered in a vaporizer. The EDC could be then poured on, or applied with a sea sponge, as was often done with this type of "Eau," (The first issue of this was called merely "Eau Bal a Versailles.") The Parfum de Toilette, in its lyre shaped flacon, could be "dabbed," eventually decanted into an atomizer and sprayed, but was most likely intended to be applied by stopper or fingertip. The original packaging of this concentration was clearly marked with the words: "A Fragrance to Compliment Bal a Versailles Parfum." Finally, the Parfum itself, was very obviously one intended to be slapped on by fingertip with force, to awaken the veins, and to push the molecules of it into the skin. As is rarely, if ever seen today, each one of these scents is vastly different. The EDC is a light, rosey musk and incense affair, surely the most wearbale by today's standards, the PDT is a rich, heady symphony of smoke and resin, this one clearly the most "dated" of the three, heavy with the "Old Lady" connotations with which all of our modern noses are equipped, and finally, the Majestic Parfum, which is a symbiosis of so many elements that it defies any specific analysis in very much the same way many of the Classic Caron scents do. At the time of its advent, Bal a Versailles was the first commercial perfume of the Twentieth Century to out price "Joy," which previously truly had been "the Costliest Perfume in the World."
    The vintage juices available to us today have all taken on a very noticeaebly deeper, darker texture than was originally intended. There is no discussing this, as no perfume, of any concentration, will not loose a bit of its flight beginning in the fifth year of its age, and progressing onward, to grow ever more bleak. There was a moment in time when the House of Jean Desprez, still in the hands of its founders, did itself re-formulate this composition, as it was discovered sometime around the mid to late Seventies that certain ingredients it contained were indeed toxic to the human body in the concentrations originally presented. This re-formulation was once again re-enacted in the mid Eighties, Jean Desprez still purely a French perfumer, for other reasons, these having to do with the increasing costs and outright disappearance of some of its second version components. This leaves us with seven French versions of this famed scent, all of which were of top quality, with no expense spared to maintain the integrity of the original vision of Jean Desprez himself, who was a very talented, if slightly eccentric perfumer, born into a famed Grassois family, the Millots. It is said that Jean Desprez's first composition made commercially available was F. Millot's "Crepe de Chine." The singular qualities of Bal a Versailles translate a desire to compose a kind of "Perfume to end all Perfumes." Monsieur Desprez's other fragrant orchestrations, "Jadanel," "Etourdissant," "Votre Main," "Escaramouche," all resemble one another in that they are truly epic in proportion. Even Monsieur Desprez's "Sport Fragrance," the shared and puzzlingly named "40 Love," (When pronounced in French sounds deceivingly like "Quarante Neuf," (49) or, alternately, "Quarante l'oeuf" (40 Egg) is an exotic and slightly intoxicating take on "Fresh." The very name "Jean Desprez" itself was a "nom de plume," adopted from the famous French legend of a valiant soldier of France who met a particularly gruesome end, courageously Martyred to the Glory, and Omnipotence of France. We can assume that when the rights to the House of Jean Desprez were sold to an American company in 2002, one "Genesis International," based in Florida, the entirely re-constructed scent that was re-launched shortly there after was based on the written formulations which were included in the sale, and preserved samples of all of the original juices, all of which, regardless of how well they had been preserved, would have darkened and lost a bit of their rosy flight as described above. This explains the dark, musky and resinous character that emerges immediately upon application and never fades when analyzing this American "re-do," which most certainly is a more potent, daring, and "dirty" fragrance than Monsieur Desprez ever intended, yet retains a good amount of the endless depth that was the hallmark of this legendary fragrance. Very recently, Genesis International has unloaded "Jean Desprez" onto yet another American firm, this time based in the hills South of Los Angeles in California, which company now owns all of the rights to the name, the scent, the trademark packaging, and proudly calls itself "Jean Desprez Paris." There is presently yet another perfume that has been created by this firm baring the name "Bal a Versailles" yet to be made available commercially, that can be purchased online directly from this firm, which apparently is still in "Alpha Testing Mode," offering generous discounts, free samples, and $90.00 30ml bottles of perfume to those willing to test it out and return the favour by commenting publicly on it in forums such as Basenotes and Fragrantica. (This firm may be contacted through its Basenotes user name, "Jean Desprez Paris.") The saga, then, continues. One thing, and one thing only, is certain when it comes to "Bal a Versailles," a detail which must be computed and not taken lightly when reading all of the reviews and opinions expressed by bloggers and fragrance commentators: There is, nor has there ever been, just one "Bal a Versailles." In the very year of its creation, there were three. Add to that eight more which emerged under the auspices of the original house, which ultimately added an "Eau de Toilette" concentration to the mix, then the further two made available by Genesis International, Parfum and Eau de Toilette. This makes for thirteen different fragrances, all of which harken the spirit of the original, though none, including the remnants of the original itself, all now between 52 and 40 years old, translate the true identity of this scent, which by any judgement had to have been a masterwork to have produced a legend that has remained intact and lasted all of these years and through all of these incarnations. The original slogan for "Bal a Versailles" at the time of its launch ran thus: "Pour un certain genre de femme." (For a certain kind of woman) Today, we can only wonder specifically what "genre" of woman Jean Desprez himself had in mind. The only summation we can make at this point in time is that she was, and is, not just any woman, for in all of its facets, "Bal a versailles" was never once "Classic," nor did it pretend to be. To this day it exudes the aura of very fierce independence, and a veritable slap in the face to the very notions of Perfumery, clearly conceived to entrance those who find a kind of perverted pleasure in the stinging titillations of pain, which, by nature, are very close to those of pleasure.


    I can write more--as the above does not begin to tell the whole story. What I am most interested in reading are other's viewpoints. Here are some ways to distinguish the various vintages:

    Parfum: bottle design was originally different than the one we all know. There are hardly any left of the original bottle: It was a kind of urn. The one we know today is maintained and has been exploited by Genesis--which produced an hideous version of it with a plastic stopper. This bottle always had a ground glass stopper. If you have a bottle, and the stopper part that inserts into the neck is plastic, it is Genesis: So it, in essence, is *not* BaV. Genesis maintained the "smelling salts" screw cap version identical to the later versions of the original, the earlier versions had a bulls eye shape on the back. If the box is WRAPPED, it is pre-1980. If the box is sunflower yellow, it is post 1980, and is thus the *second* french reform. This reform became very soapy and smells of nag champa incense.

    Eau BaV: (White box) these are the OLDEST of the BaV "Eaux."

    Eau de Cologne BaV (white box) these are the original and the first reform.

    Huile de Bain: This was only made up to 1975. It resembles the mysterious "Parfum de Jour" which was yet another BaV incarnation which must have been terrifically expensive, and produced for only a short while. I have ONE 30ml bottle of it: the box it comes in alone is worth a fortune--the bottle is exquisite. It is BaV, minus the musk, so it smells very clean.

    Parfum de Toilette: this was always presented in a lyre-shaped bottle with marble stopper. It was *not* carried over to the second French reform, and *not* carried over to Genesis.

    Eau de Toilette: If this is in a sunflower yellow box, it is the second french reform, and is very soapy and nag-champa-esque. If it is in a gold box, it is the revolting american version to be avoided at all costs.

    I can elaborate more--but this is it in a nutshell: Those attempting to review BaV should be aware of precisely what vintage they have: The differences are so vast that it is almost as if they are different fragrances entirely.
    Last edited by le mouchoir de monsieur; 3rd November 2012 at 10:11 PM.
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by knit at nite View Post
    What a fab turn of phrase, ruben.
    Thank you, Knit! As you know, I studied dirty perfume talking with the master of the art.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    and who might that be, Rube?

    What I want to know is this: Ladies and gents, hold on to your wigs and hats: Here is my daily BaV diet. Keep in mind I *only* touch the first, poisonous version. Like my cigarettes, I prefer the lethal additives intact.

    BaV EdC: I spray my whole body with this, head to foot. It's too dense to splash on, so I decant my square bottles into sterile glass atomizers.
    BaV PdT: I spray about six pumps of this. Neck, chest, behind my head, wrists. Also, I decant this.
    BaV P: I spray ONE spray of this into my beard, and one on each wrist.

    Mid-day touch up: I typically touch up around 4pm. I either use the bath oil in my beard and mustache, or else I dab on the parfum--wrists and neck.

    I know this sounds OUTRAGEOUS. As it stands, I *simply* cannot get enough of it. I *ADORE* it. It has been complimented *only* by men, which is fascinating--and most specifically--French men. The closest I have come to compliments by women are: "You smell good," which I interpret to mean: "What the fuck do you have on?" Another female friend of mine refers to it as "That weird perfume." As I take particular delight in fumigating my environs, as I live in a city that stinks and where nobody wears perfume at all, I feel as though it is my responsability to carry the tricolor like Marianne in "Le Radeau de la Meduse." I *know* I smell arresting. However: I also *know* it smells divine. To most--it smells "weird." If I want to get laid, one spritz of Etat Libre d'Orange "Rien" performs that miracle *EVERY TIME." (never one exception) As this is not a recurrent desire, I have one bottle of this and feel that it may last the rest of my life. On the other hand, I have a ROOM full of BaV, in all concentrations. I *only* wear this from September to March. From mid March to September 15th, I wear vintage Jicky or Mouchoir de Monsieur. The thing about me is this: I *will not* wear a perfume unless it smells like genitals. For me, there is no other way. Civet takes a MASTER perfumer to handle. It is only in Jicky, MdM, and BaV (also: vintage Joy, of course!) that I have ever witnessed a detectable civet note be alluring, and not repulsive. I've simply no interest in smelling fresh. It's just not me.

    The question I have for all of you is this: Am I out of line to the point that I might consider some form of rehab? (In spring & summer I sponge-soak in Jicky EdT, then bump it with Jicky Pdt, then bump that with Jicky p: One liter of Jicky p = about 1/8 ounce of BaV p as far as longevity and quantity of use. To get *anything* out of Jicky, one must marinate in it. BaV--different story. Difference: True perfume (BaV) vs. Junk (Current Jicky any thing)
    Last edited by le mouchoir de monsieur; 4th November 2012 at 12:10 AM.
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    You know it's you - why do you even ask?

    Credit where credit is due - the current Jicky EdP is damn good. I bought a 500ml bee of it on my last trip to Paris (and then chewed my nails nervously the entire flight hoping that I packed it securely enough to survive handling by the gorillas that they have throwing the bags around in the bowels of the airports). Aphrodite prefers it to the PdT. I went to a lot of trouble to find some of the vintage juice and I love it, but it's a bit too tiger ass prominent for her nose. I need to acclimate her to it by layering with the modern.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Civet smelled delectable in Joy parfum back in the day, too.

    Allf of that information is extremely helpful and informative, MdM. I doubt anybody on BN would think you require an intervention. We are enablers here.

    Knit and Tdem, do your bottles smell of Nag Champa?

    I'm trying to acquire some original edc. I have a feeling that is the version for me.

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    Rube, you are funny!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Hmmmm. Speaking of Dirty and Enabling, I was just entirely engrossed in those Tori Amos videos on Vive Les Ringardes!......After all of these years......they still work! Indeed: A *very* detectable civet note in Joy: But this is Joy we're putting onto the platform here--the only perfume to ever be awarded a "Perfume of the Century" title formally--also, one created by Henri Almeras. If a master perfumer ever there was, it was him. I'm afraid to break hearts here, yet I assert: The Guerlain Brothers were chemists. Jean Desprez was in reality Francois Millot II. We cannot put these people on the same platform, regardless of what opinions have to do in the discussion. Each occupies their own, special platform when we discuss these original creations, in their original forms: As it happens, Joy does not age well, any Guerlain vintage costs a fortune, so what we have left in the realm of Masterpieces of French Perfumery is Bal a Versailles. Any dyed in the wool French nose will agree to this: In many respects, I wear it because of this. As collectors, it works in our favour that so few can actually put up with the ferociousness of it, and that ascertaining the appropriate vintage and concentration is so very intricate. If any of you have read my novella review of BaV here on BN, I confess: This is based on a true story. How else might one become so inexplicably entranced by a perfume than being raped by it?
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    That's still my favorite review on BN. I love it!

    And, no - you are not out of line. Even with that much EdC and PdT on BaV never seems toxically dense. It feels too natural to get to that point. Putting the parfum in your beard is a great idea! Suggests that that beard has been places ...
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Oh, and it has!!!!!! ))))))))

    (sorry, people: Can not resist that one.)

    Thank you, Rube. Very glad to know you enjoyed it. Real time: 1984. Real Place: Paris Opera. Real Confession: Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Rue Daru. Identity or name of wearer: Never surmised. How I knew it was BaV: My Aunt made a signature of it.
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Ahh, that's a shame. She is the one that got away! In another universe perhaps she is the mother of a few little Monsieurs? Then again she sounds like the type that routinely leaves spent bodies in her wake.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    I was just writing a private message to you on Fragrantica when I found this thread which answered some of my (many) questions!

    I first tried BaV a couple of years ago. Got a sample of EdT - probably the Genesis version (though I can't remember) which left a very warm vanilla/powder scent that I liked. When that was done, I ordered another sample which was sharp and metallic and gave me a headache. So, I forgot about it.

    A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly wanted that warm BaV smell again. (Probably because my life sucks at the moment and I just wanted something to make me feel better.) But, remembering the horrible one, I started researching to find out why I had such different experiences. And I found your posts which were both informative and descriptive - thanks!

    I'm not at all knowledgeable about perfume. Wore Obsession when it first came out exclusively for several years (I guess I like that civet/vanilla/amber thing going on). Then had a brief Dolce Y Gabbana phase (the original - 1992) and that's pretty much it. (Sorry, boring, I know.) I probably thought I needed a "signature scent" from reading Colette when I was in my late teens. :-) I went back to Obsession after the D&G phase but it wasn't the same and I didn't like it anymore.

    After the perfume phase, I wore a lot of good-quality essential oils, but I haven't done that in a number of years either. So, with that little bit of history, hopefully you will forgive my ignorant questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by le mouchoir de monsieur View Post
    Under it's original ownership, it underwent two reformulations: The first, because it was determined to be poisonous, the second because of jasmine supplies from the near east that dried up and were no longer available. In my opinion, it is the first issue, the poisonous one, that is the only one I wear, and I BATHE in it. One of the intricacies of BaV is that each concentration is a different scent. They are designed to be layered and worn according to circumstance.
    This was my first question: what is poisonous in that first formulation? Once you mentioned it, I had to know!

    There is, nor has there ever been, just one "Bal a Versailles." In the very year of its creation, there were three. Add to that eight more which emerged under the auspices of the original house, which ultimately added an "Eau de Toilette" concentration to the mix, then the further two made available by Genesis International, Parfum and Eau de Toilette. This makes for thirteen different fragrances, all of which harken the spirit of the original
    So, let me see if I have this right:
    3 original: Eau BaV, PdT, and Parfum
    70s reformulation: EdC, PdT, Parfum, and EdT
    80s reformulation: same above four
    First US reformulation (FL-based Genesis International): Parfum and EdT
    Did I understand that correctly?

    The reason I ask this is because I am attempting to figure out what to buy now and want to get as close to the original fragrance as I can, in its three manifestations.

    Regarding that, I have seen the original Eau BaV in the white box that you mentioned. I wondered if that would still be good, but from what I read in your post, I can assume it is. (?) And then the EdC in the white box is the 70s reformulation? Or still the original? Also, when I have looked at those, I have noticed they have a number on the side of the box. The Eau BaV that I've seen is No. 349. The EdCs seem to be Nos. 450 or 451. Are those numbers batch numbers? Do they let you know when they were produced? What about the blue boxes of EdC? Are those the second reformulation?

    Parfum: bottle design was originally different than the one we all know. There are hardly any left of the original bottle: It was a kind of urn. The one we know today is maintained and has been exploited by Genesis--which produced an hideous version of it with a plastic stopper. This bottle always had a ground glass stopper. If you have a bottle, and the stopper part that inserts into the neck is plastic, it is Genesis: So it, in essence, is *not* BaV. Genesis maintained the "smelling salts" screw cap version identical to the later versions of the original, the earlier versions had a bulls eye shape on the back. If the box is WRAPPED, it is pre-1980. If the box is sunflower yellow, it is post 1980, and is thus the *second* french reform. This reform became very soapy and smells of nag champa incense.
    OK, here goes a couple of ignorant questions:
    When you say that the earlier Parfum versions have a bulls eye shape on the back, do you mean that is the original formulation? Or was that only the urn shaped bottle? And what does it mean when you say the box is "wrapped?" Was the urn the original and is the glass stopper version the first reformulation?

    Huile de Bain: This was only made up to 1975. It resembles the mysterious "Parfum de Jour" which was yet another BaV incarnation which must have been terrifically expensive, and produced for only a short while. I have ONE 30ml bottle of it: the box it comes in alone is worth a fortune--the bottle is exquisite. It is BaV, minus the musk, so it smells very clean.
    Thanks for that explanation! I saw the parfum de jour on ebay and wondered what it was.

    Parfum de Toilette: this was always presented in a lyre-shaped bottle with marble stopper. It was *not* carried over to the second French reform, and *not* carried over to Genesis.
    How do you tell the original formulation from the first reformulation in the PdT?

    Eau de Toilette: If this is in a sunflower yellow box, it is the second french reform, and is very soapy and nag-champa-esque. If it is in a gold box, it is the revolting american version to be avoided at all costs.
    OK, I am having trouble knowing what is sunflower yellow as opposed to gold as opposed to a light cream shade of yellow that I've also seen on ebay. Any pics or links for those so I can see the difference? For instance, which color/formulation is this parfum: http://www.ebay.com/itm/160892854887...4.m1423.l2649? From your comments, I would guess the second French reformulation? And that is the one that smells soapy? And, if that is the case and this parfum is $350, then what price could be expected for the original or first reformulation? (I almost hate to ask that question!)

    OK, I think that covers all my questions ..... for now. I hope you take pity on me and help me learn more about this fragrance! Thanks again for your marvelous posts!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    That perfume bottle is the second version. So, in essence, it somewhat is "the old formulation" as the e-bay listing suggests. I *would not* pay that price for that bottle. It's all very intricate. I suspect I've just developed an eye for these things. The numbers on the sides of the boxes are SIZE numbers. That is the old way perfumers defined their sizes: No351, etc. A bit like a "sku" today. When I say the box is WRAPPED I mean it is wrapped up in matte paper, like a gift, and there is a yellow silk twist cord around. I bought that "Parfum de Jour" that you saw on e-bay and I am so enamored with it that I am gnashing my teeth to think that a mere 30ml must now last until eternity: I thought I had/knew all things Jean Desprez. That, I had never seen, nor did I know the existence of it. The plot here is thick. In essence, Jean Desprez had an interesting concept: He offered many fragrances, except they were all called "Bal a Versailles," a method illustrated by one of my Aunts who had four sons and called each one Robert. (This Aunt wore Joy, not BaV.) Another VERY annoying detail about the Lyre shaped parfum de toilette flacons to be had on e-bay: Many are dummies! (I have discovered this the hard way) (a "dummy" is a display bottle filled with coloured water.) I would say: Go for one of the white boxed EdC's and see if you like it: Then graduate. The ones that are called merely "Eau" I have smelled and find them to be identical to the ones that are called EdC. As for the poison: Who knows? There are 450+ essences in the BaV formula. Considering these essences, that implies that there are perhaps 600 to 1000 ingredients in each juice: When juggling such quantities, there's bound to be something poisonous in there. Whatever it was--it *permitted* the result to be divine beyond belief. I *truly* prefer the older version: It just has that *something* that's a bit like petrol that the others lack: Personally, I am unconcerned about how poisonous my perfume is: Actually, I'm rather pleased to know that it's poisonous. My advice: Start with the white boxed EdC and see.

    - - - Updated - - -

    here's a 100% safe bet if you want the parfum:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SEALED-BAL-A-VERSAILLES-by-JEAN-DESPREZ-Flacon-Sac-in-Box-15-ml-0-5-Oz-FRANCE-/290788641857?pt=fragrance&hash=item43b45a8c41
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

  23. #23

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by le mouchoir de monsieur View Post
    That perfume bottle is the second version. So, in essence, it somewhat is "the old formulation" as the e-bay listing suggests. I *would not* pay that price for that bottle.
    Thanks!
    The numbers on the sides of the boxes are SIZE numbers. That is the old way perfumers defined their sizes: No351, etc. A bit like a "sku" today.
    Ah. Makes sense!
    When I say the box is WRAPPED I mean it is wrapped up in matte paper, like a gift, and there is a yellow silk twist cord around.
    OK. Got it. I hadn't seen any like that on ebay. Is the link below an example of "wrapped?"
    I bought that "Parfum de Jour" that you saw on e-bay and I am so enamored with it that I am gnashing my teeth to think that a mere 30ml must now last until eternity: I thought I had/knew all things Jean Desprez. That, I had never seen, nor did I know the existence of it.
    I thought I saw two! But maybe it was just that one. I searched the net to see what that "de Jour" meant but couldn't find it.
    The plot here is thick. In essence, Jean Desprez had an interesting concept: He offered many fragrances, except they were all called "Bal a Versailles," a method illustrated by one of my Aunts who had four sons and called each one Robert. (This Aunt wore Joy, not BaV.)
    LOL Your family sounds very interesting! Good example though. I'm starting to understand the concept of BaV.
    Another VERY annoying detail about the Lyre shaped parfum de toilette flacons to be had on e-bay: Many are dummies! (I have discovered this the hard way) (a "dummy" is a display bottle filled with coloured water.)
    Oh great! lol I just bought one. Well, if it is a dummy, hopefully there is recourse! Now you have filled me with anxiety. ;-)
    I would say: Go for one of the white boxed EdC's and see if you like it: Then graduate.
    I did that too. Am waiting for its arrival. I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it.
    The ones that are called merely "Eau" I have smelled and find them to be identical to the ones that are called EdC.
    OK! Good to know! There are two on ebay right now and I was considering them because I thought they'd be different from the EdC.
    As for the poison: Who knows? There are 450+ essences in the BaV formula. Considering these essences, that implies that there are perhaps 600 to 1000 ingredients in each juice: When juggling such quantities, there's bound to be something poisonous in there. Whatever it was--it *permitted* the result to be divine beyond belief. I *truly* prefer the older version: It just has that *something* that's a bit like petrol that the others lack: Personally, I am unconcerned about how poisonous my perfume is: Actually, I'm rather pleased to know that it's poisonous.
    :-) OK, how about this: how did anyone find out there was a poisonous ingredient? lol Inquiring minds and all that ....
    My advice: Start with the white boxed EdC and see.
    I can be obsessive, so probably I've gone too far with wanting one of each. But ... worst case scenario .... I can always sell them if I hate them right? I don't think I'm going to hate them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    here's a 100% safe bet if you want the parfum:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SEALED-BAL-A...item43b45a8c41
    Thanks! I saw that but didn't know what it meant ("flacon sac in box") and hadn't seen one boxed like that so didn't know what to think. I appreciate the advice!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    I have only tried the modern parfum and EDT, and I like both.
    "No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
    Currently wearing: Rose Ambre by Fragonard

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    MdM

    Thanks for the great explanation, extremely informative! Oh, what a marvel it must be to smell you thus anointed!

    From your explanation I gather I have one genesis edc (written on the box), one uncertain edc spray, an older edc (but unboxed, so it's probably lost some), and a gift packet (edc plus parfum mini plus body spray) that's in a yellow colored box and appears as made in france, without any genesis reference, so it's possibly late pre-genesis. Plus the inferior current edt mentioned in a previous post.

    Love civets in old perfumes ... Joy is a favorite too. What's your take on My sin? An eau de lanvin I have smells suitably civety.

    cacio

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by lilybelle View Post
    Knit and Tdem, do your bottles smell of Nag Champa?
    Yes Lilybelle, mine does. Very much so.
    "I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain

  27. #27

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    I was bidding on an edc last night, but I lost!!! I was so upset! I was bidding from my kindlefire and I couldn't register a bid as quickly as the other person. I lost by $3 -on an 8 oz bottle of edc. If that was anyone here, please don't tell me, lol!! I really hate these feeding frenzy bidding wars in which you only have seconds. Too stressful for me. So...maybe I will win some another time. Maybe not. It is good to know, at any rate, that there is still good old fashioned dirty smelling perfume out there.

  28. #28

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    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    BaV is very frequent on ebay, and the prices are very reasonable. So you'll get a chance soon. Bidding frenzies are bad ideas, one ends up paying more than one would otherwise.

    cacio

  29. #29

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    You're right, Cacio. Thanks!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Bal Versailles...anyone?

    It wasn't me, Ma Tante! I'm afraid starting this thread hasn't helped anyone interested in vintage BaV. I'm protected--as I've said: I have liters and liters and liters of every strength in the right vintages. I've *always* loved BaV: I started collecting it before i ever considered wearing it. I began to wear it back when I was trying to use it as a base to recreate Mouchoir de Monsieur parfum--of which I had at one point 60ml--and still have perhaps 15ml trapped in a ground glass stoppered bottle I can not get opened, no matter what--& I have tried *EVERYTHING.* you can't really use any BaV concentration as a blending base as it merely eats anything you put in it--including the best perfumer's grade essential oils--I *wasted* so many of mine in this experiment--documented in two of my threads--"the marriage of MdM" and "Jicky and MdM, Immersed" (or something) it was funny that Thierry Wasser HIMSELF commented on these threads publicly in an interview. I felt *very important.* That latest and final French BaV: Bright yellow box w/medallion on --is surreptiously mixed with the Genisis re-form: Some of these bright yellow boxes are actually Genisis--and say "Made in the USA w/oils imported from France" on them --yet they still aren't this abomination that is contained in the gold box version. Some people might like the Gold Boxed Version: It just *stinks* in my point of view--WAY too much synthetic civet in it--again: I feel this is what has tainted the reputation of BaV and explains the many reviews which suggest it's revolting. (revolting would be the word i would use for the gold-boxed version--gross is another word that comes to mind. If any readers TRULY want to smell like dirty underwear--and cat literbox--and--I don't know what--than that gold box is for you. No other perfume that I know of goes quite this far in that realm--and hasn't even the complexity of, say, SL "Muscs Kublai Kahn," --which has a lot of cumin in it-- so it smells like crotch AND armpit--and both are HAIRY.) The final french incarnation of BaV might be summed up as "Nag Champa Soap." if you LOVE Nag Champa Soap, look no further. Me--I Love soap. Mine just has to be more funky and less incensey--a bit like Jicky, which does have a soapiness about it--and so does Mouchoir de Monsieur. LB: Why not just buy a sealed in box BaV white-box EdC on a "Buy it now"? (I saw two of these last night--around $35.00) --or let me SEND YOU SOME?????????
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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