Review: Balmain Eau D’Ivoire, Ivoire and Ambre Gris fragrances

So we all know someone who wears DKNY Be Delicious, but what about Balmain? Coco bloody Chanel is not the only be all and end all of French fashion and fragrance houses, just so you know.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand (and many aren’t as its pretty exclusive in South Africa), Balmain is an ultra-luxurious French fashion house of which royalty and iconic movie stars like Ava Gardener and Brigitte Bardot were fans. It started creating and selling fragrances back in the 40s and are credited with creating the first green-floral scent, Vent Vert.

Pierre Balmain, the fashion house's father, doing his thing.
Pierre Balmain, the fashion house’s father, doing his thing.

But ja, let’s flash forward to today and talk about three of Balmain’s more modern scents now available exclusively to Stuttafords; Eau d’Ivoire, Ivoire and Ambre Gris.

Of the three fragrances, I most like Eau d’Ivoire eau de toilette (R495 for 30ml).

Balmain Eau d'Ivoire
Balmain Eau d’Ivoire eau de toilette

A fresh, fruity floral, its notes include bergamot, red berries and white florals on a bed of patchouli and light musk. When I sniff it I think of words like ‘pretty’, ‘young’, ‘playful’, ‘soft’ and ‘classy’. It’s the kind of thing I could see a young Park Avenue princess spritzing on after tennis to go have a Mimosa-fuelled lunch with her girlfriends.

To compare it to something else, it reminds me a lot of Clarins’ now discontinued Par Amour Tujours and Dior Addict Eau Fraiche.

As for Balmain Ivoire eau de parfum (R525 for 30ml), this scent’s supposed to be the more intense version of Eau d’Ivoire but to me, the two scents are completely different as are the notes.

Balmain Ivoire eau de parfum
Balmain Ivoire eau de parfum

An elegant, soft scent, Ivoire’s an ever so slightly soapy/powdery ‘white’-smelling floral. But don’t let the fact that I’ve said ‘powder’ put you off. There’s no old granny here to speak of, but it is definitely a scent for a woman as opposed to a girl.

To me, it’s a clean, very comforting scent and something about it immediately makes me think of Bvlgari pour Femme.

Last, but not least, let’s take a look at Balmain Ambre Gris eau de parfum (R595 for 40ml), shall we?

Balmain Ambre Gris eau de parfum
Balmain Ambre Gris eau de parfum

First up, I love the gold capped, luxuriously heavy bottle. It’s exactly the kind of thing I want sitting on the dresser in my future swan-bedecked lakeside mansion huis one day. The scent, however, in my mind, is for a woman even older than the Ivoire target market so it might be a while before I can pull it off.

A classic oriental, Ambre Gris features warm, smoky, spicy notes like amber, benzoin, myrrh, musk, cinnamon, pink pepper, tuberose and wood. Despite all the spice, you definitely won’t smell like you’ve been sitting in a curry house – promise. It’s actually a very subtle, delicate scent that’s ever so slightly on the unisex side. Again, it’s got the comfort factor in that it reminds me of a hug from an elegant, older aunt who oozes sophistication. In fact, if I had to pick a scent for Meryl Streep’s character in the Devil Wear’s Prada, it would probably be Ambre Gris.

Anyway, next time you’re in Stuttafords, mosey on over to the Balmain fragrance shelf, have a sniff and let me know what you think.

Love, love

Leigh

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