Balenciaga Paris, a floral chypre, is the first Balenciaga perfume launched under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquiere (whose style and design I personally admire), it was created by perfumer Olivier Polge in 2010. Notes include bergamot, spices, pepper, violet, carnation, oakmoss, cedar, vetiver, patchouli and labdanum.
It smells like a soft, slightly powdery violet over musky woods (or woody musks ;)). In its ancestry there is undoubtedly Aprés L’Ondée.
Balenciaga Paris is relatively linear, no great developmental surprises, I do not like the late drydown so much, though, it gets a bit too soapy-musky then.
Balenciaga has a surprising presence when I wear it, which I love, without leaving too much of a trail. It is nice and round and thoroughly dependable in its conservative elegance and loveliness.
It is understated but not invisible, elegant but not boring, conservative but not old-fashioned. Designer fragrance but no fruitchouli.
It smells very different from what we expect a designer fragrance to smell like, from the experience of the last years, that is a refreshing change.
It reminds me of Prada Infusion d’Iris or L’Eau Ambrée, not in smell but in style. All three are discrete and elegant with a presence that belies their gossamer lightness.
In smell I am reminded of the already mentioned Aprés L’Ondée as well as Malle’s Dans tes Bras. It is a cleaned up, prim and proper version of the latter.
For some reason (it is probably the cleanliness of the scent, which I mean in feel, not that it smells like laundry detergent!) I imagine those violets to be white not purple, almost translucent and somehow crystallized, like under a thin layer of ice.
Also, I like the bottle quite a bit.