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Ébène (1983)
by Pierre Balmain


Ébène information

Year of Launch1983
Average Rating
(based on 35 votes)

People and companies

HousePierre Balmain
PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanySelective Beauty
Parent Company at launchCobepa Group

About Ébène

Ébène is a masculine fragrance by Pierre Balmain. The scent was launched in 1983 and the bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand

Ébène fragrance notes

Reviews of Ébène

Ebony? Not really...
Ébène starts off as a strange, challenging version of the anisic fougère, played out in a minor key with the hybrid note of caraway taking the lead: part spearmint, part fruity-herbal-spicy.

This minty-but-not-minty note fits somewhere between the anisic and spearmint sides of the structure and forms a bridge between the two, but this doesn't bring Ébène anywhere close to the perfumistic centre. In fact it has the opposite effect, making it an outlier on the fougère spectrum.

The fact is that mint is usually approached with caution by perfumers, the associations with toothpaste are just too strong for many people. And caraway, mint's isomeric cousin, is also problematic. Think of minty rye bread and you will see what I mean. It gives the scent a strange rebarbative quality, uncomfortable, not quite right.

The caraway note is later engineered into its better role as part of the drydown, which tries to evoke the hardwood the scent is named after. But that only works if you keep your mind on the rosewoody side of carvi and try to ignore the roggenbrot...

So it was for-sure a bold move to use the (+)-carvone isomer in Ébène, and hats off to those who stuck their necks out in this way. But there is a reason why some things aren't done, namely - they don't work, and for me this is a noble failure. Interesting, but not something I would choose to wear. And wearing fine perfume is what it's all about, no?


Carded sample vial
26th March, 2020
Stardate 20170804:

A nice classic aromatic barbershop. From scent memory very similar to Aramis Tuscany but when I did side by side there were many differences.
Ebene is more rounded and better blended. It has mint (Green Water kind) and is more refined. Don't get me wrong, Tuscany is its closest relative but they are not twins - perhaps close cousins.
If you can get for cheap go for it, I would pass at current eBay prices.
04th August, 2017
A bottle of this would be nice. It smells leathery in the opening. As it develops, I agree it smells like Aramis Tuscany, perhaps with a lighter touch of geranium.

Giving this another wearing, it has turned dark on me. It started with a greenish note. Not something I love, but not a deal-breaker. This note then turned leathery. It's a challenging fragrance. I can understand people getting excited about it. It's not quite for me. It's too harsh overall, for me. That greenish note is just slightly cloying.
12th March, 2017 (last edited: 31st May, 2019)
You want Ebene back ? Try Tuscany ( Aramis ) very very close.......
15th August, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Creative, highly original and - unique: this is how I can describe the top notes, in which bergamot, spearmint and basil blend with a slightly fruity berry note, with artemisia providing added depth. In the drydown cinnamon moves into the fore adding a pleasant spiciness that is never dark or harsh, with hints of rose and geranium adding subtle floral impressions. In the last hours hints of a suede-like soft leather with smidgeons of soft amber and just a tiny whiff of a gentle moss round it off. Most interestingly, the top notes never lose their core rôle and remain present as the backbone of this delightful fragrance, like the theme of a musical variation in classical music, with the notes in the drydown and further development superimposed onto this constant ever-present central theme. It is extremely well blended of constituents of very fine quality, and projects very well with good silage. And longevity is supreme at eleven hours. One of Balmain's finest, a masterpiece. Its overall bright character makes it perfect for a sunny autumn day.
05th January, 2014
I have just purchased a bottle of Ebene for a chemist in Portugal , very hard to find indeed ! It was always my favourite scent and I used it everyday , sad to say this one will have to last! For me this is my holy Grail of scent, my olfactory discription of who I am or maybe who I'd like to think I am. Either way this fragrance is better than all the creeds put together and topped of with any serge lutens aaaaahhhh
27th October, 2010

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