Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Balenciaga L'Essence: new fragrance preview

The new Balenciaga fragrance is a continuation of their last year's best-selling entr, a flanker that is in fact a continuation rather than a new fragrance merely taking over the design and name of a successful launch: Remarkably close to the original with a more metallic freshness, the new perfume named Balenciaga L`Essence will appear on the market in September 2011. The new fragrance belongs to the floral green genre, as did the original, but is supposed to be a more direct, potent fragrance in Eau de Parfum concentration, turning the original bottle design transparent to cement the notion of "purity", of "essence" ~a fact that personally reminds me of the comparable approach by Narciso Rodriguez and his own Essence and Essence Eau de Musc. L'Essence by Balenciaga is again fronted by muse Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Neiman Marcus already has testers for sampling, though, so getting a preliminary test is within reach: According to that, Balenciaga L'Essence is remarkably close to the original Balenciaga Paris fragrance, focusing as it does on the fresh, abstract green of violet leaf (different than just violets which are usually sweeter and powdery) and cool woods with a nutty note, a unisex idea, almost androgynous. The drydown in a mostly linear fragrance is warm with skin notes. “Green fragrances are traditionally male, like eau de cologne. However the key to Balenciaga Paris is violet leaves. I wanted to draw on these almost conflicting inspirations, for women”. L’Essence is green because it is honest and vibrant, like the rustle of crumpled leaves. But L’Essence is green as if it were trying to hide the secret of its nocturnal herb scent…
L’Esssence is impulsive. L’Essence is unambiguous. On the skin, L’Essence is as pure as the searing honesty of short-lived flowers. Violet leaves are like a blast of woodland and their youthful energy stimulates the skin. Violet leaves are unfailingly honest and offer up their exquisite coarseness. Vetiver also takes the upper hand, wild, unruly and incisive… L’Essence engages and dazzles with its modulations. And the secret of the forest asserts itself… L’Essence, is also reminiscent of the mossy scent given off by forests at certain times of day, which emphasises the accent of conifers. It is like the fragrance of leather, but it expresses the intrinsic nobility of the organic world. L’Essence has a keen, intense scent. L’Essence yields and offers resistance. L’Essence, is also about living…"

Balenciaga Designer Nicolas Ghesquière and Charlotte Gainsbourg present the making of the campaign for Balenciaga L'Essence in the video.


  1. I liked the original after a while. At first it seemed almost too sheer, but it grew on me. For me it was all about the cuddly musks, like a grey cashmere sweater or fluffy kittens.

  2. Anonymous01:59

    Oh, dear. I finally tried Balanciaga Paris, and cadged a sample to ponder. Now I learn there will be a stronger, more metallic flanker? Now I will have to try that iteration before making a decision. The great thing is, a new perfume to try. Hopefully it will not amp up the aquatic notes that give me pause in the original. Thanks for the post. Be well. --HemlockSillage

  3. K,

    the original isn't wildly ground-breaking, but it's solidly built and quite pleasant for a mainstream release. It sort of grows on you, doesn't it. Musks are ubiquitous nowadays (were they ever absent, I wonder?) Love your image!

  4. Hemlock,

    thanks for your kind words and so to you as well.
    I think before committing it might be best to compare the two: they're very close, but sometimes minute nuances make for the make it or break it deal. Good luck, hope you find a winner!!

  5. I have tried both and I am thinking that I like the l'essence a little better. It seems to last longer. I wore the sample the other day and got a few compliments.

  6. Anonymous11:48

    Thanks for the review. I wasnt sure whether to buy the original or l'essence. L'essence is a little stronger than the original and perhaps more suitable for the evening rather than day time. Regardless, they are both nice and at a bargain price at the moment with the gift sets on sale.

  7. Leigh,

    the same happened to me too. I got complimented on L'Essence. I think it's perfect for everyday, subtle but there.

  8. Anon,

    you're most welcome and thanks for commenting.
    It's all a matter of personal preference, I believe both would be great any time of the day; they're subtle but there and people notice them subliminally, it seems. Hope you grab one or the other and enjoy!

    Thanks for visiting.

  9. I can't find your post on Cialenga, maybe it was someone else. Can't believe I found my earring on line at this link

  10. Nadine,

    aaaah, they're quite flamboyant, bottle-shaped and dangling chain and all. Cute! Thanks!

    Balenciaga Cialenga review is linked here. When the finite number of posts is finished on the Home page, there is a link right below the end of the post saying "Older Posts". If you click it it takes you back in reverse chronological order. You can also use the Individualised Google Search function for Perfume Shrine on the right hand column.

    Doesn't matter you commented here and not there, no worries. :-)

  11. I tried both of them on this evening. They have gotten bad reviews for being common, run-of-the-mill, lacking skank. And then I remember how come I abandoned the perfume blogs after 8 years. I'm not looking for a fragrance that will knock your Spanx off. I want to wear a fragrance that's close and subtle and interesting, from first spritz to dry down. And I like both of these for exactly that. For me, it is a compliment, not a slap, to use those milder words.

  12. QC,

    they received bad reviews, huh? Odd. They're pretty well made, both of them, and in fact I had pegged them as "best office scent" for 2011. There's nothing wrong with subtle and interesting! If only more scents were like that :-)
    I think the "knock your Spanx off" is bloggers' seal of approval for knowing your "thing", as in "you have to like sh!t in order to be accepted in the community". Bollocks, I say. ;-) :-P Like what you want and never give a fig on what others say.


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