Balenciaga does romantic florals really, really well. They also do modern florals very well. When it comes to Balenciaga's feminine catalog, the scents strike me as so very floral. There are some floral varieties, of course. Cristobal strikes me as one that was marketed as a Oriental, but I'd have to say with wear the floral notes become quite prominent. Another gorgeous flacon, though. I'm getting off track - what I want to say is that Balenciaga does floral well, and B. is no exception. Available in several sizes ranging from a .33 fl oz roller ball for $25 USD to a 2.5 fl oz EDP for $145 USD, all but the roller come in the lovely frosted glass bottle, and arching cap.
The top notes of Lily of the Valley, Violet and Edamame are tricky. I don't smell the lily, but violet has a tendency to go powdery and make people think "old lady". This should be balanced out by the greenness of the edamame, but instead it just smells a bit unclean. The mid notes of Orris Root and Cedar make an uncomfortable pairing - one I love, one I hate. Unfortunately I can only smell my (undesired) Orris root here. On the drydown B. is redeemed with Ambrette Seed and Cashmeran Woods. In my opinion these are some of the fresher base notes one could choose, especially since Balenciaga wanted to create a "green woody fragrance...represent(ing) a woman unveiling her most essential self." They are successful, in that extent.
|Promo image from Sephora.com|
Balenciaga B. tries very hard to be something, and it almost makes it. Despite the tempering influence of the Cashmeran Woods and the Cedarwood heart, the overwhelming sensation is of a strange, green and powdery thing. If it were my scent, I would have removed the violet and Orris root (that don't play well with my body chemistry) and replaced them with a sparkling orange blossom at the top and heavy, clean rose hip to bolster the heart. In that way, the signature Balenciaga floral composition isn't lost, but the greenness on top is bolstered and the essential heart is anchored. Just a thought, anyways.
Rating - ♦♦♦: Although Balenciaga's B. is seemingly trying to reinvent the wheel, but the refusal to give up the violet that worked much better in Paris has put a wobble in. Some people like a wobbly wheel, though - tones the muscles. If that's you, buy it here.
I do love Paris and Florabotanica although the former goes SOOOO powdery on me. It's the cursed violet, I tell you - old ladies used violet water and they smell old, hence violet smells old. See how impenetrable my logic is? HA HA! Pleasant journeys~