Underrated Designer Scents: Balenciaga Florabotanica review

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     One of things I find saddest in life is that we will never know how we will be regarded after our passing. We can’t tell who will come to say their final goodbyes, what they will be thinking and saying about us, or how we are going to be remembered in the years to come. It is even worse for the things we created during our lifetime, because all too often a piece of art becomes famous long after the artist’s death. If Dutch painter Van Gogh would have known how famous “The Starry Night” and “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” would become in the 21st century, perhaps he would have kept his ears!

     Cristobal Balenciaga Eizaguirre was a Spanish fashion designer born in 1895, who later moved his operations to Paris under the name Balenciaga. Trained as a tailor since childhood, he was known for being able to create a garment himself from start to finish (a rare skill at the time). He was instrumental to the popularization of the tunic dress, the chemise dress, and empire waistline on dresses and coats. Known for his impeccable creations, Christian Dior reportedly referred to him as “the master of us all” (he also allegedly stole his designs, but that’s another topic). He retired in 1968, closed the house, and passed in 1972 at the age of 77. He left a legacy of perfection and controversy, involving everyone from the esteemed French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers to the French fashion press and the Kennedy family. However, all the fame he had amounted during his life was only a fraction of what the Balenciaga name would become in the future, and I’m sure if he saw what his house looked like today he would be proud.

     In 1986 the rights to the Balenciaga name were bought and the fashion line reintroduced. With fresh designers at its helm it gained popularity, even designing the official French team’s uniforms for the Summer Olympics of 1992 in Barcelona. Somewhere around this time they also began pumping out official fragrances, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today I’ve got for you a review of their 2012 perfume for ladies, Florabotanica.

Balenciaga Florabotanica

© Gil Segev 2016

     I received this bottle for review consideration from FragranceNet.com, which carries Balenciaga’s elders like Cristobal from 1998 as well as little baby Rosabotanica from 2013. The pictured bottle retails for $125, but on FragranceNet.com you’ll find the same authentic product for just $55.99*. As always, Nosegasm.com thanks FragranceNet.com for their continued support! Make sure to check them out using the banner links in this post (affiliate links, much appreciated!).

     Florabotanica was created by IFF perfumers Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault, licensed by Coty. It arrived at market to mixed criticism due to the advertising campaign featuring American “Twilight” actress Kristen Stewart and younger intended audience. It captured my attention with its brilliant flacon, a massive piece of glass art that I have half a mind to place smack dab in the middle of a modern gallery and see what would happen. The red and purple facets of the plain rectangular bottle display incoming light in the most interesting way, and the long black and white column in the core is both architecturally appealing and functional, hiding the atomizer. I simply cannot help but draw a distinct visual connection to Christian Dior’s L’Homme Intense, which was marketed by none other than Stewart’s love interest in the popular film franchise Robert Pattison.

     The listed notes for Florabotanica are:

Top: Mint.

Heart: Cannabis, carnation, rose.

Base: Amber, vetiver.

     Before you click away in outrage, I have to tell you that the cannabis note is virtually undetectable, and the perfume bears zero resemblance to the skunk-like funk that you often smell on recreational smokers. If that’s what you’re after, I recommend Demeter Fragrance Library’s Cannabis Flower for a much more authentic experience. In the opening Florabotanica is really all about a very clean sheer rose, but it’s not soapy because the mint gives it some nice freshness. It has a little bit of warmth from the amber and a bit of fruitiness, resulting in a very somber floral that kind of pulls in all directions. It’s hard to pinpoint, but if you like soft rose scents I have a feeling you’ll enjoy Florabotanica. Just saying the name is fun.

     The criticism I mentioned stemmed from not the perfume, which is as I described very pretty, but the lack of originality that was expected from the perfumers. For reference, Herault is responsible for the challenging Les Exceptions collection from Theirry Mugler, and Polge is known for runaway hits like Flowerbomb and Jimmy Choo. I suppose critics were expecting them to make something equally unique and special, and I admit that although nice Florabotanica is neither. Does that mean it doesn’t deserve the same love as the others? Not at all. It’s a great option for the younger crowd who are interested in this old house, and for the price I don’t think you can go wrong for yourself or a gift. There’s something to be said about its addictivniss, and I think you’ll find it too when you smell it. Let me know what you think of Florabotanica in the comments!

Image courtesy of FragranceNet.com


*Prices true at time of writing.


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