Monsieur Balmain

The original version of 1964:

An opening of bright, clear and crisp lemon with bergamot and jasmin - absolutely gorgeous! In the drydown ginger, carnation and cyclamen make is a bit more substantial a scent. Later a beautiful cedarwood takes cente stage, developing a delicious pencil shave character. Towards the latter stages, lemon and lemongrass let the freshness of the citrus re-emerge delightfully. God silage and projection and very good longevity: six hours. One of the best lemon fragrances. 4.5/5


The new version of 1990:

The opening blast is a most wonderful lemon that one can fathom - bright, light and sunny - like the flâcon it is sold in. Later some bergamot and mint continue the refreshing summer theme. After the first hour or so ginger, nutmeg and rosemary are added, and in the base a touch of sandalwood mixes with a very light moss-and-white-musk note. I like it how the unusually late addition of neroli in the base add and extra injection of freshness towards the end. This is the remarkable feature of this scent: the top notes bear all the hallmarks of a splendid but traditionally very short-lived cologne, yet this is a full-fledged Eau de Toilette with interesting developments throughout various phases. Initially with decent silage and projection, this is a rare summer lemon fragrance with a comparatively excellent longevity of five hours. Very well blended, and although the vintage version overall sports a higher quality of ingredients, this is one of the few cases where the reformulation is still excellent and not far behind. One of my all-time favourite go-to scents for hot days.  4/5