Post by Portia
Last year Bal A Versailles was discontinued. It was quite a shock because I thought it was one of those fabulous fragrances that would go on forever. Sadly no. So obviously I went crazy buying new and old and now have quite a hoard. PHEW!
Bal A Versailles by Jean Desprez 1962
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rosemary, orange blossom, mandarin orange, cassia, jasmine, rose, neroli, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, lemon
Heart: Sandalwood, patchouli, lilac, orris root, vetiver, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, leather
Base: Tolu balsam, amber, musk, benzoin, civet, vanilla, cedar, resins
Why did I feel the need to grab loads? Is Bal A Versailles an incredible fragrance, even still after multiple reformulations, IFRA challenges and a clearly dwindling need to stay incredible?
Well, I didn’t merely buy up new, I also scanned the eBay pages and peoples documents. It became a little bit of an obsession.
So I have told of my using Mum’s miniature Bal A Versailles parfum on the Barbies as a kid. The smell seems to have been with me on and off throughout my life. Comfortable and warm, its richness and plush glamour offset by the very mundane daily sniffings of it through the years. I have hazy recollections of smelling it on my Mum while we’d be sharing the couch and watching TV companionably after dinner or the golf/tennis on a weekend (me bored to death but happy to be hanging with my Mum) when I would make us sandwiches and either milkshakes or coffee depending on season.
Then later in life to rediscover its beauty in a 4ml vintage parfum. Moving forward to recently when my mate Scott arrives some days lierally bathed in the radiance of Bal A Versailles and then we do office work and go to the various errands that need doing with me awash in his massive sillage.
How does Bal A Versailles smell? Big, fun, over the top. It’s a grand high kitchen sink fragrance that is to scent what Phil Spectre’s Wall Of Sound was to music. Think Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High or The Ronettes’ Be My Baby. A cacophony of fruit and flowers underpinned by resins, woods and animalics. Nothing smells quite like it but I sometimes get Tabu, Aromatics Elixir and Dia mixed up with it when I smell them on other people. Nope, they’re not the same but they all have a similar sillage in dry down.
Is it a Must Try vintage? Probably not. Am I sad to see it discontinued? Yes, there was a place for Bal A Versailles but clearly it wasn’t selling enough to continue.
What vintage do you hoard? Do you have a bal A Versailles story?