Tag Archives: Bal d’Afrique

The Scent of Music: Winter Wonderland

It’s that time of year when we all want to write about our Christmas scents. A big thank you to Undina and Natalie for bringing us all together for another fragrant blogging event.

Today we are pairing Christmas music and perfumes and I just have to say it’s the best idea as I love Christmas music and well, you all know I love perfume.

My choice of music was Dean Martin‘s Winter Wonderland – the idea of winter wonderland paired with his voice makes for a perfect song to indulge in during this time (at least for me it does).

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,Winter_WonderlandWe’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland. ..

…Later on, we’ll conspire,

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid,

The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland. …

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.”


I skipped parts of the song and just focused on those I will feature in perfumes. That said, I’m still looking for a perfume embodiment of snow I have in my mind.

Each time I consider a winter wonderland, I think of white woods and walking through them in the snow. I guess all the skiing did its thing. 😉

So, my perfect perfumes embodying the smell of a walk in the winter woods would be Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles, making you feel you’re still close to the cabin and its fire while also smelling the pines around you, and Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio which is such an incredible depiction in perfume of exactly what the name says.

Then there are perfumes that might not smell like snow exactly, but they smell white and cold and sparkly, and come very close.

I find it funny that I would list Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique among them but I do. It smells white to me and light and when I smell it, I feel the same as I would when I breathe in the snowy air.

Then there is Le Labo’s Gaiac 10 , with its incense and cedar and it makes me think white and clean, and therefore snowy. It’s strange that when a perfume has an incense note that smells white, I am fine with it (otherwise it’s a no-no for me on incense).

My third choice for the tranquility of the white world (winterland) is Montale’s  White Oud. It’s as serene and peaceful as a white, snowy landscape where you are alone to find peace.

And as we go back to warm ourselves by the fire, I always go back to Piment et Chocolat, a perfume to warm you up that you wouldn’t mind drinking by the fire either, and Festive, the one you might want to wear if you need warming up of another kind by the Christmas tree. 😉

Please visit my fellow participating bloggers for their choices on what songs smell Christmas-y to them:

I’ll leave you now with Winter Wonderland. 🙂

And my favorite for this year and one of my all time favorite Christmas songs of all time:

Bal d’Afrique – it’s your turn

After wearing it for some time now (in really small and carefully applied quantities), I think it’s time to tell you what I think of it. The Bal’s turn has finally come.


Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, African marigold, Bucchu

Mid: Violet, Jasmin petals, Cyclamen

Base: Black Amber, Musk, Vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood

OK, the notes are here but I don’t know where to start. First, I want to warn you to try it sparsely for the first time because this is one serious sillage monster. The other day I put 2 small sprays on and put another sample on my wrist but that was no use, I couldn’t smell what was on my wrist. I think this is the most heavy sillage perfume I own. I’m not much into sillage usually but I can live with this one.

I have quite a lot of notes on it, but the thing is, it still sort of escapes words. It has many faces, and I think I will keep discovering them.

Yesterday for example, the opening reminded me of cotton candy, in a good way.

Anyway, it starts so strong I have problems distinguishing what I smell (ok, I have problems until the end but I’ll get there). 🙂

It starts citrusy fresh but not in any cologne manner, I think the flowers subdue that citrusness and it’s just this strong, slightly sharp, floraly-sweet, happy and spring-like scent. And this is not even close to describing how it smells.

By now I’m used to that sharpness , it used to scare me because I associate that with musks that get stuck in my nose and won’t go away, but it never happens here. I do believe it is the musk-neroli combo that gives it this sharpishness but it’s really well done.

As it progresses, I keep getting upset because it smells complete, I cannot make a not stand out. I realized that there was a juicyness hidden inside it and kept looking at notes trying to find a fruit. This is where google comes in handy – bucchu is some kind of a plant that smells of blackcurrants. Yes! Something finally appeared out of this ball.

It really is a strange concoction, it’s fresh but not airy or light, it is sweet but not girly, it is serious but it is flirty as well.

In the end, I smell the amber and musk but cannot access cedar. I know other people smell it but I just can’t. I think it cannot get through the amber and musk on me.

Pic and notes by: http://www.byredo.com/

New purchase and some detective work

I really, really should learn from experience. Especially when it’s mine. 🙂

All I wanted to do was doi a quick visit to Viktor Koncept store, try Bal d’Afrique and Amaranthine and leave because I was in a hurry to the next appointment I had. Of course, what happened is that I was more than 20 minutes late and with a new perfume purchase I never planned on doing. I blame it on SAs there. They were really helpful and we were discussing different houses they have and what should I try for my ski trip (he, he, I’m mobilising people right and left to help me choose) and at that time, while smelling some very interesting things on strips (like Tilleul, Eau de Gantier, etc.) I realized my right wrist smelled great and mistakenly thought it was Bal d’Afrique which was on my left wrist. Or, I thought right but everything got messed up in my head because I was in a hurry. So, I decided to take Bal d’Afrique home with me because even though the name doesn’t suggest it, it feels right for skiing. 🙂 Unbelievable. I’ll let you know when I come back if I was right.

Notes: lemon, neroli, African marigold, cyclamen, vetiver, jasmine, violet, bucchu, cedar, black amber? and musk.

At this moment, I cannot give you a coherent opinion on what this is because mostly what I’m thinking is what it’s not. 🙂 It reminds me of many different perfumes but it’s not them. Even though I’m not madly in love with it, I am completely fascinated. It feels like it could hypnotise my nose and not let it go.

On the other hand, I could fall in love with Amaranthine if I give it some time. At the moment we are eyeing each other and flirting, considering what might happen in the future. Are we going to go for the real thing or just flirt a bit?

Notes: green tea, white freesia, banana tree leaf, coriander, cardamom, rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, condensed milk and tonka bean.

I won’t even try to decipher the notes I smell. Do you see how many are there?! At first, I didn’t think there was going to be anything happening between us. It started like a bitterish green floral (I attribute the bitter part to tea and coriander) and then the bitter edge dissipated and what I was left with was a green floral going for vanilla. I kept thinking why so much vanilla and where is it coming from – making its way through the green floralcy. I guess the condensed milk and tonka bean are helping there.

So, I came home and went in search of notes and found at NST that it was “reminiscent of the scent of the inside of a woman’s thigh” – once I read that and the notes, I could totally see it, the muskiness and dissipating bitterness giving one an idea like that. This is not something to turn you away from this, just try and see if you get it as well. 🙂

Now on to the part where my bad streak of things not happening as they should continues.

We were talking about Viktor Koncept getting some new perfume brands for their store, here you can see what they have so far, and me being in a hurry, I paid, and since I was in a hurry and the bag they packaged for me wasn’t close, I asked if I could get the bag and wave good-bye, and they gave it to me. Unfortunately for me, there were no samples in it which I realized once I got home. And I’m not blaming the SAs, they always put interesting samples when I’m there, but I asked for my bag right after the discussion and I don’t think they even realized there were no samples in it. 😦 I’m so sad I’m not going to try anything new, but hey, these things shouldn’t be done in a hurry.

And, here is where some detective work comes into play. 😉 They plan on adding some new brands to their store but those that are not yet present here. That means brands that aren’t at the Institut Parfumeur Flores either which narrows the field. My first hope was that someone was finally going to have the whole SL line. Which of course, I don’t know beacuse Viktor is keeping it a secret.

The others that might come as per my detective work (and they are going to Paris to talk to them): Boadicea, Caron, Divine, Ego Facto, Fifi Chachnil, Fragonard, Frederic Malle (oh, yes please!), Le Labo, Montale, Nez a Nez, Reminiscence…

I didn’t put here houses that are present here but have exclusive lines (Chanel, Guerlain, Van Cleef and Arpels, etc.). I mean I hope they arrive but sincerely doubt it.

There are also some lines that are not from Paris but which I would LOVE to see here. Tom Ford if anyone who can make a difference is reading. 🙂

Huh, that was a lot to go through.

Big thanks to the NST team which helps with pretty much any investigative work relating perfume (I used their list of houses and notes).

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