When Pierre Balmain during an interview gave this definition of fashion, he was already a legendary fashion designer famous for dressing the crowned heads of half world and Hollywood stars wrapping their curves with the classic coquettish elegance of his Jolie Madame. But if Balmain's fashion is conservative, its olfactory trail is decidedly cheeky if not revolutionary and marks the postwar years with the bold style of Germaine Cellier. So in 1964, while publishing his memories My years and seasons, Balmain wanted to launch his first masculine fragrance, Monsieur Balmain which is one of the last masterpieces the imperious Germaine left us.
|La Vucciria - R. Guttuso (1974)|
This parisian Monsieur all about verbena and lemongrass loves to spend his vacations in South Italy and rest in the shade of his panama while drinking seltzer and having some typical lemon flavoured almond pastries. The vivacious opening of Monsieur Balmain returns to the ranks of the classic masculine cologne in the Monsieur de Givenchy (Francis Fabron) style with whispers of lavender, verbena and sage here veiled by a floral dew contrasting with the subtle opaque chypre base.
|Pierre Balmain by R. Lancaster (1965)|
The fragrance was discontinued in the '80s and later reintroduced in 1990 with a new packaging and a reorchestrated formula by Calice Becker. The new formulation is colder, more metallic and peppery but not necessarily disastrous, just flatter even if lasting longer. In the recent years they changed again the packaging to allign it to the square cut bottle of Carbone.
Here's the pyramid for the original formulation
Top notes: bergamot, lemon, lavender, basil
Middle notes: jasmin, lemongrass, ginger, carnation, cyclamen
Base notes: oakmoss, cedarwood, musk, leather, patchouli