Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Bal a Versailles

Total Reviews: 138

Bottega Veneta by Bottega Veneta

I bought a bottle of Daim Blonde (Sheldrake) and the comparisons dredged my memory banks, archived away, those of Cuir Amethyste and the reviews that it engendered. The two (CA and BV) sit together in Michel Almairac's spreadsheet no doubt. Here I am sitting with all three, my spreadsheet diminished, not bolstered, but years have gone by since I owned the releases of Opium, Cinnabar, Youth Dew, Poison etc, nobody would chide you for having those in your collection now. The prices have never dropped! Bottega Veneta is a tamed Cuir Amethyste, which was the alter ego of Xenia Onnatopp and with Jean Claude Ellena's Cuir d'Ange is the best mainstream example of its type. They're all simply wonderful, very collectable.
26th August, 2019 (last edited: 25th August, 2019)

Shalimar Souffle Intense by Guerlain

The modern Shalimar Flankers are very good. There are good ones, Parfum Initial and better ones, Shalimar Cologne 2015 and then there are best and that is Shalimar Souffle Intense. It's the way it wears, a straight arrow of Bhudda's Hand mixed with a fragrant yellow Quince and then the Guerlain vanilla, my favourites all rolled into one. I'm just mad about Souffle, call me Mellow Yellow.
04th June, 2019

Lolita Lempicka The Midnight Fragrance / L'Eau de Minuit by Lolita Lempicka

My mother is 92. She spied the bottle and like a magpie was drawn to it. I sprayed her with about four puffs. She loved it, as so unlike anything she had worn before in her life, it filled my little Renault as I drove her home. She was still sniffing her cuffs when I left. So cute.
28th November, 2018
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Shalimar Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Until today I have never owned Shalimar, the pillar perfume. I've tried it, hundreds of times, always the EDP and decided it wasn't for me. I own Parfum Initial, L'Eau, Eau de Shalimar, Batwing Shalimar Cologne and the 2015 version Cologne. My favourite is Cologne 2015 and I ordered what I thought might be a replacement bottle that was headed EDT/Cologne. Yes, I thought, that's it, Shalimar Cologne 2015 at EDT strength. It was the EDT that arrived. I had factored that in as an eventuality and I sprayed it on, layered with a bit of the Batwing bottle Eau de Cologne (made for the U.S. market in the U.S.A) and it's very nice, I will use it, but I love the Cologne 2015 as it is closest to Shalimar Eau Legere (DISC) Are we all sufficiently confused now? I haven't even mentioned the Madagascar or the Mexique. There is no escape from Shalimar.
28th November, 2018

Jicky Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Jicky, a perfume I haven't owned since the 90s, is a joke in EDT. This is a recent formulation and there's no lavender in it. What is there is a bit of hawthorn, similar to that in Apres l'Ondee and a simple lemon pledge.
"You'll love Jicky" I told my husband, he of the Rochas Man, and Caron Pour Homme. Well, my reputation has gone down in flames, with that of Guerlain. Poor show, old boy.
10th February, 2018

Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka

First comes Iso E Super, the pencil shavings with a hint of eucalyptus. Then I was reminded of Worth's Courtesan minus the pineapple, whatever it is it's something that I am a little anosmic to, and pepper. My review is therefore unreliable but I guess it's mean't to amplify skin scent, as in Molecule 1. Little flower particles appear after thirty minutes on skin.
I also wondered how literal the naming is, i.e. Is this to suggest that of a wildly manipulative pubescent girl, or just a play on the perfume label, which is, in turn, suggested by the Vladimir Nabokov book. This is getting a bit scholarly, so suffice to say it's probably the scent of the market place, rows of aubergine, carrots, peppers, zucchini with flower attached and a few lisianthus, immortelle baskets as you exit towards the hotel.
08th January, 2018

La Panthère Eau de Parfum Légère by Cartier

I like Rogalol's review, it is a sparkly floral. I would like to add that it has a similar musk to Annick Goutal's Musc Nomade, a nice high end treatment.
Lovers of NR's 'Narciso' should also find touches of gardenia in this engaging composition. It is a comprehensive fragrance, like the song goes: 'apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtledoves', and I am unwilling to pull it apart. Full marks to Mathilde Laurent for restraint on the curves; in a world of 'off the rack' Panthere Legere's label is "Haute Couture' EDIT: Feb 2018. For some reason this reminds me of the original Magie Noire...patchouli, I know, but something else. Best of its class.
08th November, 2017 (last edited: 09th February, 2018)

Eau d'Hadrien Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

We are moving into summer here in the Antipodes. I bought Eau du Sud long before sampling Hadrian and can't imagine why anyone could prefer Hadrian but it has its devotees. I think Eau Sauvage is on the Turin/Sanchez Top 100 list this week that is the honeypot thread so it's a good time to comment. Edmond Roudnitska composed Eau Savage for men but hoped it would appeal to women. It surely did, and Eau de Hadrian is one from that genre, except that it has nothing of the trill that announces the beautiful Herbes de Provence fragrances that we love.
( plus Basil, Verbena, Mint, Caraway, Thyme)
Hadrian seems more caraway to begin with followed by a hot lemon drink scent, a toddy, and the furniture polish of Neopol. I don't like Hadrian until it is no more than a skin scent and it is here I marvel at it, a field of wildflowers leaves its own particular zest. Eau Sauvage, Eau de Rochas, Eau du Sud, Cristalle and the like carry their appeal up front, while Hadrian exits with it. I can't mention caraway without thinking of Luca Turin and his vibrational theory, so I commend anyone to watch the BBC Perfume series that covers his early attempts at recognition.
31st October, 2017

Lumière Noire by Grès

I have ordered my third bottle. I have tried to devise different ways of saying this but here it is, unvarnished, in a nutshell; Lumiere Noire is a slightly louder and less hesperidic version of C. Mademoiselle. It also has more rose to make it sufficiently different whilst being in the same family.
It doesn't last hours on skin, but I don't mind reapplying as it can be purchased for a song. Zip Ah Dee Doo Dah.
10th October, 2017

Yvresse / Champagne by Yves Saint Laurent

Much admired by me when a friend wears the original Yvresse, not the La Collection, I can't bring myself to buy it. I won't, you know, the older I get, the less bombastic my fragrance loves are. Dear BAV was that femme fatale I fell in love with in the seventies and I don't wear it anymore. Sophia Grojsman, who authored Yvresse, made a very fine perfume, but the La Collection one is missing a link to the original, as I confirmed for myself today. It was unexpectedly at the YSL counter. I am lukewarm about Gabrielle, the new Chanel offering, but it's a fruity floral of today, so I'd put my money there.
22nd September, 2017

Prada La Femme by Prada

What's with the Shi effect in this? Ozonic tuberose? Not to my taste, I think it's a bit of a mish mash, a little bit Amarige, a little bit Cinema, and the Shi by Sung. It's not awful, the less Intense is, well, less intense.
22nd September, 2017

Gabrielle by Chanel

They mixed Eau Vive with No 5 L'Eau and called it Gabrielle. Finis.
12th September, 2017

La Petite Robe Noire Couture by Guerlain

It sits on a knife edge of fruity diabetic coma and something masculine, as if L'Homme is lurking underneath. I stood in a queue where the woman in front tapped the 1st woman in line and asked "What is your perfume, may I ask".... It was La Vie est Belle, not Couture, but they are examples of what may be appealing from a queue can be quite hard to wear hour after hour. This is a fragrance that definitely quarrels with anything else, your soap, your deodorant, your hand cream, hair product. Don't blend them as I did before I understood my crime. Don't mess with Couture, keep it understated, wait for the dry down, this girl went Haute Couture, and won't brook competition.
09th September, 2017
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Narciso Eau de Toilette by Narciso Rodriguez

Crazy for this blend of Narciso. For some reason I didn't buy the Cream Narciso EDP, something held me back. This EDT version has wonderful stickability on my skin, releasing little puffs of rosy goodness for many hours. It's in my top ten, on my dresser, now the 100 ml bottle after I went through the 30 and 50 ml bottles. I still have 50 ml bottles of 'For Her', 'Musc Intense' and 'In Colour' tucked away in the drawer, but it is this one that lit up some section of my brain.
19th August, 2017

No. 19 Poudré by Chanel

My problem is with the name. There isn't sufficient connection to No. 19 but Chanel must have decided that an austere bitch must have a softer side. In my horticulture training a group of us tackled a massive pile of Iris rhizomes, discarding the spent and trimming up the new offshoots for replanting. When Chris Sheldrake narrates the Iris Poudre you tube clip it's as if I'm there again; I can't deny the manual labour required to produce my favourite base, iris butter. I simply don't understand the austere, heartless bitch reputation of Chanel No 19, the embryo, in some influential minds, being Gabrielle herself. Instead, think Piaf and La Vie en Rose.

Actually I'm not objective enough to pull Iris Poudre to its marshmallow bits, so I just have to agree with the others, and put myself on a lover's cross, wear it most days, saving the original No.19 for higher heels and repartee with a male chauvinist.
16th July, 2017 (last edited: 30th August, 2017)

No. 19 by Chanel

I ordered a back up bottle today, the equivalent of building a bunker at the edge of the millennium, I fear world war and pestilence. I'm told there is a movie where Adolf HItler wakes up, bemused, and finds that the bullet that blitzed his brain simply sent him to sleep for 70 years.
He's back, and I imagine the fields of Iris pallida and Rose de Mai as scorched earth. Coco, no angel where the Nazi's were concerned, inspired the perfume that is No 19 and I adore it. As many others vocalise this is my one and only, if I wasn't totally unfaithful to any one perfume.

For a more detailed breakdown of what No 19 is driven by (no aldehydes, no labdanum, little oak moss) see Elena from Perfume Shrine's article. It's a perfume that is driven as much by what it doesn't contain as what it does contain, It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. It's beautiful, just beautiful, forever and a day, until the 12th of never.
07th July, 2017

Empreinte by Courrèges

The reformulated perfume is neither one thing or the other. The dustiness is similar to that of Calandre, but it isn't offset by the sharpness, so it falls flat. There is a sunflower/daisy/artemisia facet, but that is primitive, similar to what a perfume loving child would try to make by shaking up flowers in a jar (Guilty) I think there's a touch of Juicy Fruit ester in the reformulation that wasn't in the original. On the upside it isn't musky.
There's a 'Madam Secretary' episode where the youngest daughter dresses up in an Andre Courreges outfit. It looked very similar to Mary Quant, the gear and make-up that I loved in that era. I will leave Empreinte in the past with Zen, but Blanc from the same house is modern, unisex and durable.
20th June, 2017

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

My husband fits into the Basenotes mould, liking the top ten, and I say that with a note of apology as I fear being a little cliched, but we have both, over time, been captured by Guerlain. At one time I thought we would each find an obscure fragrance that would be our secrets. He came close with Azzaro Acteur, absolutely wonderful on him and complimented wherever he went but it was discontinued.

With Habit Rouge I bought the EDP for him some years ago assuming that the rounded out fragrance with Oud would be more to his taste, but I was wrong. He discovered the EDT at an airport counter and is converted. Habit Rouge has a little Nahema in it, is the male Shalimar and has the sparkle of Thierry Wasser's reinvented Mitsouko EDT. I find myself in Shalimar Cologne 2015 a good deal lately and we must make a Dynamic Duo in the Supermarket. Easily unisex.
10th May, 2017

Rose en Noir by Miller Harris

I had recently ordered a sample pack from Rosines de Paris so I feel that I was reasonably acquainted, trained to/with the rose concept when I ordered a Miller Harris trilogy that included Rose en Noir. Add these to a great many rose fragrances, all the tried and true, you know them. Summary:
I have to agree with Claire's review but this could have something to do with having an Irish Mother, pale skin and a travel tube of sunscreen in my purse at all times.
I bought the 14 ml Eau du Parfum set, a gorgeous trio that I can throw into my suitcase. Hopefully there will be holiday memories that I associate with Rose en Noir. My daughter loves Rossy de Palma aka Eau de Protection and when I struggle with rose as a perfume I tend to think of this one, even though I don't own it personally. I went through the gardening phase of David Austen and old fashioned roses, have grown a great many of them and there is nothing that compares to the rose dew of the real thing. You can't always get what you want.
28th April, 2017

Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

All work and no play? It makes Jack a dull boy. Give Thierry Wasser a holiday! Guerlain couldn't find the energy to make a new perfume. Do they need shots of B12 or something? I wanted Mon Guerlain to make pots of dosh to secure the future of Guerlain classics and it's insipid, not ghastly, just dull.
23rd April, 2017

Hiris by Hermès

As a small child our home was a poor one. My parents frequently fought about money, paying bills and the cost of shoes. I washed my hair with soap, bottled shampoo being a luxury. I love the smell of soap in the morning, which is where Hiris slots in. In my repressed, somewhat Victorian childhood it would have been lascivious for a woman to reek of perfume early in the day, but April Violets would have been okay, Hiris would have been okay too. The lovely honey drifts in later, still quite angelic and a little milk maid rosiness rounds it out. Sometimes I wonder if a little Hiris from the Hermes library made it into Apres La Mousson, they are both accused of being vegetal and I like both fragrances. Am I animal, vegetable or mineral? I guess I'm a vegetable, an Orris root I think.
18th April, 2017

Blanc de Courrèges by Courrèges

I was at the front door, I turned back to grab something and my own perfume wake caught me, with the warmth of my body still in it. I was quite impressed with this Houdini act. White patchouli, stripped of its moth repellent function, entwined with iris and something like Guerlain's Anis, but better, no leathery footballs here. There are two fragrances that ring bells with Blanc, one being Jesus Del Pozo's 'In Black' that is rich with cherry chocolate but carries some sort of DNA that I suspect originated with Christine Nagel, who authored it. Julie Masse, the creator of Blanc, worked alongside CN at Mane. The other, which does represents white to me is Habanita L'ESprit. We can have a little chuckle that I found Black to be Blanc, or vice versa.

I purchased Blanc because somebody else smelled wonderful in it, because it was completely affordable and I have been on an Iris kick. If you like the thought of a ramped up Apres L'Ondee or a less violet Insolence then this is for you.
18th April, 2017

Shalimar Cologne by Guerlain

If I was Thierry Wasser and people kept banging on about Mathilde Laurent's Eau Legere, Jean Paul Guerlain's assault on it, unfortunate names that suggested a diet Shalimar and now a discontinued Eau de Shalimar I would also restore the fragrance. He has been the 'Great Improver' and those of us who have benefited from his tweaks of MItsouko bow to his artistry. There are great specifics there from Mr Bon Vivant's review; cool iris and thyme made me my knees tremble. And I am indeed kicking myself for missing Eau Legere because I came late to Guerlain; the Dowagers in my family wore Caron, Chanel and very 'Green' fragrances that were the rage. Having tried Cologne today I knew I was undone.
20th February, 2017

Elle L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka

Nothing new to add, as already covered this is a sunscreen perfume for the garden bars of Waikiki and Maui. Underneath, lurking beneath the sunscreen is a girly 'True Love' type scent but it's generic, so call it Charlie purse spray. It has its place in our perfumed world, why would you waste your luxury fume when sunscreen and beads of perspiration dilute and transform your fragrance; this is one that will blend in anyway as it's a bit of a mongrel in the nicest possible way. I've discovered that lavish use of the perfume obtains the best results. If you use lightly the white floral dominates but a heavy hand brings out the lime/coconut. I love the LL bottle and this is one that I will throw in with my batik/voluminous beachwear. Nice, for what it is, but not at full price, look for a bargain
07th February, 2017

L'Air de Nina Ricci by Nina Ricci

Something of a cross between Jeux de Peau (Serge Lutens) and Un Matin D'Orage, it's a white milky floral that is stronger than the name would suggest. I thought it would be connected to L Air du Temps, a perfume my Mother in Law wore from the time I met her, but I don't find any resemblance. Magnolia, for sure and I get the Jasmin Sambac. Yes, this could have been an Annick Goutal fragrance. It's another Southern Belle fragrance and I'm reminded of Steel Magnolias, an ensemble cast where each play their role. You will have to like the Southern Belle Champaca fragrances; I'm more of a Neroli girl.
03rd February, 2017

L'Eau Ambrée by Prada

I was given the body lotion first then I purchased a sample of the fragrance in order to wear them layered. I was quite taken by the body lotion and hoped to intensify the overall projection. The fragrance is hopeless with almost no longevity and I didn't buy a FB. I am using the body lotion layered with the Infusion d'Iris Absolue fragrance and it's a lovely combo, although I would have preferred to be a purist.
The fleeting nature of the perfume, lovely as it is, is not for my dry, pale Irish skin.
23rd January, 2017

Chance Eau Vive by Chanel

It's a melange of citrus at the beginning, those who enjoyed the limited edition of Prada's D'Oranger from the Infusion line will like this. Hanae Mori's No 3 is in the same category. I find the opening a bit screechy but the dry down is elegant enough, although it doesn't sing 'Chanel' to me and this marks it as the departure from Polge senior to his son as perfumer. It's tenacious, so full marks for longevity when I have been alerted by poor performance in other Chanels being attenuated, so that's a plus for many.
The master of the grapefruit opening is Jean Claude Elena, with all 'Eau' Citrus tending to lose their power within an hour, so it is interesting to see Olivier Polge create a perfume that still leaves the impression of a full citrus, even if it's not quite there at the dry down. I can't say I would buy it again, it gets on my nerves a bit in the same way that No 19 Poudre does. I suspect I will update this perfume review as my experience of this fragrance wears in. For now I strongly recommend 'try before you buy' as this perfume doesn't relate well to the perfume that is 'Chance'
P.S. It is better in summer weather and has grown on me a bit.
21st January, 2017

J'Adore by Christian Dior

This review is for J'Adore Touche, given to me as a 1 ml sample. It's a muskier version of Jardins de Bagatelle, tuberose rich and the rest all thrown in. Nothing new here but very nice.
29th November, 2016

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

The watermark of No 5 is evident through the fragrance but not compelling enough to purchase it. From an Elle magazine recommendation featuring prominent perfumers a suggestion was made to layer Chanel No 5 and Apres L'Ondee. I've been following that advice and enjoying the result. This new fragrance, to my mind, is not as good as Chance Eau Vive 2015 and I bought a duty free bottle of that, expecting to part with the dollars for L'Eau.
01st November, 2016

Madame Grès by Grès

I have a back up bottle of Cabaret and Lumiere Noire is in regular rotation on my dresser, it was time I ventured to connect with 'Madame Gres'
My pineapple references are 'Courtesan' (Worth) and Amor Amor (Cacharel) and Madame Gres is superior to both, for the pineapple is controlled by a clean magnolia and wasn't as sweet as I was led to believe. In my quest for great cheap and cheery perfumes Maurice Roucel's 'Tocade' is points leader but all of the perfumes mentioned here exhibit classy elements whilst being inexpensive.
The dry down is quite sudden and the perfume lacks duration but the base, slight as it is, is well behaved and doesn't leave a nasty musk. I like that in a perfume.
Madame Gres is probably best suited to women over twenty five but qualifies as a good day time perfume. Others have commented on a resemblance to Miss Dior, but if I had to compare it to that of a well known house I'd veer towards Chanel's 'Allure'.
04th October, 2016