Thursday, February 21, 2008

Almost a Miss ~Miss Balmain by Balmain: fragrance review

"Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
'Cause I saw the end before we'd begun,
Yes, I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won.
So I took what's mine by eternal right.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed. I know you well, I know your smell".

~James Blunt, Goodbye my lover

A name that combines two contrasting elements : the girly (Miss) and the chic (the Balmain house, the one who dressed Katherine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and Brigitte Bardot, no less): Miss Balmain.
This fragrance by Harry Cutler is "girly" however only in the sense that it has an eternal playfulness in its intentions , not in its smell. Unless one is magically transported back in the 60's ~since this was created in 1967: the Summer of Love, the summer of anything is possible. And oh, didn't you love your defunct innocence!

However, chic and simultaneously quirky it definitely remains. A young gal with a mischievous animalisric wink, ready to drop her knickers at the sound of a good riff and roll on the fluffy carpet laughing the big O.
An "It" girl is donning her new nappa leather jacket of tabac-coloured smooth material (the castoreum ,leather and patchouli note) alongside her light=coloured mini skirt and kitten-heeled slingbacks with bright daisies on them (the fresh and prim coriander paired with aldehydes and citrus). She fumbles with her long, loose scarf at the neck, it bothers her, so off it goes soon leaving her young sternum bare (the smooth florals of gardenia and jonquil).

What remains is a younger interpretation of both Cabochard and Miss Dior ~at least the vintage compositions.
Miss Balmain is less strident in the opening to me, less potent in the drydown than either, but not less valued nonetheless. The shock is a mirage revealed in a tear: the girl is not promiscuous and comes from good stock.

Would it be something of a signature scent? Not for me, it wouldn't. Too difficult to pull off in hot weather or casual surroundings alongside girls with pierced navels wearing hoodies, despite its playful character. And for those occassions when one wants to stand apart and confirm one's aloofness and defiance one might as well go after the artilery of uber-feminine Cabochard or prickly Bandit. But for light amunition that is really more vulnerable than what one might think, I'd love to designate it to Penny Lane. Which is so very 1967...

(uploaded by nemivicious)

Pic of Lou Doillon courtesy of Hollywood celebrity pics


  1. How well put...

    It could never be a signature for me, either.
    I admit, I wear it for my own pleasure, rather than anyone else's-
    I have yet to find any colleagues who would tolerate it, which tells you a bit about the tastes of the general public.
    [It's fairly in-your-face, i confess!]

    What a pleasure your post is.

  2. This one does absolutely nothing on me, pure bracken with the notes being very undecernable on me. I can appreciate Jolie Madame, but this scent gets the award for just sitting on my skin and not developing (which rarely happens, even Bandit develops to a degree).

  3. Oh, I love Miss B very much--she's a great friend. My husband doesn't like her, but that's his problem ;-)

    I think of Miss Balmain and Jolie Madame as the same personality in different stages of life. Miss B is twenty-something, Jolie Madame is forty-something.

    I wouldn't have thought of it, but your comparison to Miss Dior and Cabochard is right on target, especially Miss Dior.

    PS. Thanks for the "Almost Famous" clip. I loved that movie.

  4. Dear I,

    glad it provided enjoyment to your day :-)
    I think many of those older fragrances have such an alien vibe to today's tastes that sometimes I am afraid we must project quite the weird ambience around us sometimes! LOL

  5. Dear J,

    if you have Jolie Madame to fall back upon, you should have no worries, really.
    Besides there are so many that one is spoiled for choice.

  6. Poor, poor hub, M! (LOL)
    Seriously, your point is having me agreeing: they share a comparable structure, but one is much more mature than the other.
    Glad you found the correlation to Cabo and Miss Dior interesting (I love it myself when I read someone's opinion and they get me to view something under a completely different light).

    PS. I love, love, LOVE that movie! ~which is ALSO a quote ;-)
    And isn't Crudup beautiful?

  7. This is one I couldn't wear and I swapped. It just never softened on me, and I like Cabochard so much better.

  8. Anonymous09:58

    Oh my god... a drama for me. I tried to love her... the concept is so... me! But i just cannot pull her off!
    Miss Dior does so much better!
    Kind of a sad story, this one, for me...

    Would love to smell it on one of you, ladies, who can b(w)ear it...

  9. Anonymous17:08

    Helg, thanks so much for reviewing all these old beauties.

  10. Anonymous15:22

    I thought this was old-fashioned!
    The video is good.


  11. Karin,

    thanks for your comment.
    I prefer Cabochard too :-)

  12. Lillie,

    I was hoping that this one would suit you a lot: the concept is indeed very "you" (with a rock ref too!)
    But Miss Dior is supremely elegant, so I guess you're happy

  13. Lavinia,

    you're very welcome. It's been a pleasure and am planning on continuing ;-)

  14. Aline,

    thanks for your comment.

    You mean the fragrance is old-fashioned or the commentary? I am guessing the former, huh?
    Hmmm, in a way, yes. It's not exactly what a young woman today would pick. But it was marketed as a young frag back then (which is interesting in its own right)


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine