Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum — A Trip To A Violet Hill
Oftentimes, a perfume bottle’s packages speaks to the fragrant elixir contained inside: from the whimsical, free-spirited, youthful daisy-adorned cap of Marc Jacobs’ Daisy fragrance to the mysterious, sexy, black lace-covered orb of Valentino’s Rock ‘N’ Rose Couture scent. When you first behold the Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum, you might be struck by the understated elegance of its blown glass bottle, which has an umbrella dome-like shape, with the silhouette widening as you move down from the bottle’s neck. Classic and sleek, the glass bottle juxtaposes soft and strong, rounded and angular — though it has an overall bell jar-esque form, it incorporates five faceted sections, like the vaults separating the segments inside a temple or gallery dome.The rounded ivory cap, meanwhile, recalls palatial marble floors. There’s an old world feel to the bottle which recalls such iconic French landmarks as the Paris Opera house, the St. Louis des Invalides church, and even the Pantheon in Paris.
Fittingly then, the Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum is sophisticated and old-fashioned without being dated. The top notes incorporate violet, a bloom that has a decidedly rich history in France — in fact, it’s believed to have been Napoleon’s favorite flower and has been used in both perfumery and the preparation of sweet confections (like bonbons, violet jam, and candied violets) for centuries. Peppery and mossy wood notes (like cedar and patchouli) then surface, adding a dose of sensuality to the scent. For me, it’s the pepper note that makes all the difference, giving the scent a nice kick and balancing the sweetness of the violet (the end effect is much more lush and green).
What’s fascinating to me about this fragrance is how familiar it smells. A deja-vu feeling sweeps over me every time I spray it on, and yet Balenciaga Paris doesn’t mimic any perfume in the market. This familiar sense, then, is the result of the associations I make when I smell the fragrance, the childhood memories it conjures up: the Para Mi Bebé Agua de Violetas scent my mother tenderly rubbed on my flesh when I was a toddler, the smell of the trees and the grass in my grandma’s yard after a heavy rainfall, the peppery scents wafting out of restaurants in Old San Juan…
Balenciaga Paris, then, is a delightfully classy fragrance — just don’t expect an edgy or envelope-pushing scent. This is an old-fashioned perfume to bring out the belle dame in you.
Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum, $95 for 1.7 oz., and $130 for 2.7 oz. Available at BergdorfGoodman.com