Tag Archives: Pierre Balmain

Balmain Ivoire de Balmain: Sweaty Betty Fills a Room

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Have you ever sat on a bus and wrinkled your nose , silently wishing people would wash more and change their clothes daily? Sadly, this was the image that Ivoire de Balmain put into my head.

I was introduced to this by my friend and perfume expert Lisa Wordbird. We were drinking tea and eating Battenberg at the time. She sprayed my arm with Ivoire de Balmain. “Yuk!” I exclaimed, “It smells like an old lady Walk of Shame”. “Really?” said Lisa, “My mother wears it to Church”. Many Battenberg crumbs landed far away from my plate, dear reader.

I hope you don’t recoil from the vivid imagery, but this smells like a hot gusset on a warm day. It’s how hot nylon smells without deodorant, or how sweaty thighs smell after a few  shower free days, drowned in talc to hide the smell. (I am guessing incidentally, my hygiene is of unimpeachable order).

It dries down into a sort of lemon talc, but the 32 notes listed on Fragrantica seemed almost completely absent, bar a few.  I will list the notes that I considered noticeable, since the ones that appeared absent  are too numerous to list here.

Present and correct in the opening notes: Asfoetida, Chamomile, Lemons and Aldehydes. Middle notes that I recognised were Lily of the Valley (although in talc form) and possibly Nutmeg. In the basenote I could smell Sandalwood and Lemon and talc.

Throughout every stage, there was kind of BO staleness. Hot hosiery, poor hygiene.  Not  good, and certainly not something I want to smell of. However, I am reviewing the Ivoire de Balmain with the white plastic lid, labelled “Edition Prestige”. Recently I tried Balmain Ivoire in John Lewis. The packaging and bottle were both different. When I tried it, the smell was different too. There was Imageno scent of sweaty body, it has been sanitised. I was left with a pretty Violet Green scent, admittedly, with less character than my gussety friend here.

I do apologise to any fans of original Ivoire de Balmain, but do please remember that this is only my personal response. Try the new one if my review has put you off the old one. Other Balmains are excellent and being phased out, so if you find one you like, buy it twice.

 

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Balmain Jolie Madame: A Scent for All Seasons

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Jolie Madame by Pierre Balmain was created in 1953 by Germaine Cellier and has an immediate old fashioned glamour. Cellier knew what she was doing. Her other fragrances, Bandit  and Fracas (both for Robert Piguet) are still standing today as revered classics. When you think how many fragrances have been and gone over the years, that’s a pretty big achievement.

The more I have delved into Aldehydes and Woody Chypres on my colourful perfume journey, the more I have appreciated them. Jolie Madame seems to be the very pinnacle of a perfect Woody Chypre, almost prickling and crackling with its rough and beautiful Oakmoss and Galbanum.

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I am a huge fan of both Green Notes and Hesperides, and yet I have been venturing a lot into Leather recently (but enough about my marriage *ahem*). To find a fragrance that encapsulates all my favourites in one scent has thrilled me. Firstly, Jolie Madame opens with Green Notes, including the stems and leaves. Petitgrain and Oakmoss, give it a woody, leafy opening. Then the Bergamot makes it presence felt, giving the woodiness some airy freshness at the same time, like a walk in a forest after a downpour. It smells like mossy, wet earth under damp bracken. There is a slight powderiness, in the form of chalk, or maybe it’s the Gardenia making me think of the colour white. This fades into a Green and Smoky Leather finish that lingers, delighting with whiffs of Violet and a whisper of White Musk throughout the day.

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It is perfectly put together and utterly delightful. It’s my one stop shop when I can’t choose between a Green Note scent, a Woody Chypre, a Hesperide or a Leather. Jolie Madame gives me everything I want..

It is the antithesis of modern High Street scents and its price tag is surprisingly reasonable. This may have to be one of my rare full bottles. . It has great lasting power- on me, this lasts around six or seven hours.  I can’t get my nose off my wrist. It’s outrageously good.

If I was forced to narrow my treasured perfume collection into only two bottles, it would be Vol de Nuit and Jolie Madame. That kind of covers all bases for me. A joy!

Yesterday I discovered Balmain. And it was a good, good day.

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