Thursday, October 29, 2009

SOTD: Balmain Ivoire

Today's sample is Balmain Ivoire, another green, this one a descendent of yesterday's Vent Vert.

It's not at all as I remember it from my last sampling - then, I thought of it as a shy, ladylike, powdery little fragrance, careful to avoid offense. Frankly, I thought it was boring. I was wrong.

It starts with a fair blast of aldehydes. This is normally one of my least favorite notes, but here they're coupled with a flat-out claws-extended green, and the trumpets seem appropriate.

That all settles within minutes, perhaps even seconds, and then I smell a soft, creamy soap and gentler green - the vetiver has receded and the other greens are using company manners. And I think that I'm getting just a hint of the sandalwood. I don't like soapy scents any more than I like aldehydes but, again, I like the soap here. No doubt the green helps, and perhaps the appropriateness of sandalwood with soap is contributing.

As time goes on, the soap fades away. The scent is dominated at this stage by sweeter florals, bitter moss, and now-creamy sandalwood, with the green notes waxing and waning. I'm getting none of the clove scent of carnation, but I think that without making itself recognizable, it's contributing the sparkle that I detect in the sweet-and-bitter mixture.

So Ivoire is quiet and civilized after the initial triumphant entrance, but it's not sweet, simple, or shy, and it's emphatically not boring. The soap, the green chorus, the sandalwood, and the moss all show their bitter side, only lightly sweetened by the florals, and that works very well. It's an old-fashioned fragrance, but not in the "old lady" sense. Instead, it gives me a glimpse into a time when perfume wasn't all about sweet florals, or even all about undilutedly pleasing scents.

Review Roundup: Fragrance Bouquet and Basenotes and 1000 Fragrances and Yesterday's Perfume and ScentLessSensibilities.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


  1. Thanks for the shout out! So let me get this straight — you are obsessed with fried chicken, decluttering AND perfume? Are we the same person?! Email me! (For some reason, I couldn't get to yours...)

    I am enjoying your blog!

    - Barbara

  2. Howdy! Welcome to ChickenFreakery!

    Well, that's just odd that you couldn't get my email address. I'll have to grab someone to test my profile. I'm both emailing and posting this, so that should provide the email address.

    You're into all three? That's very cool. :) And I'm very glad that you're enjoying the blog.