I’ve never been a person that likes “Christmas” scents. I find them nauseating and honestly, I don’t have any positive associations with this time of year. I wanted to try Noel au Balcon for the nigella note. Nigella is a seed with a spicy, herbal “green” flavor that is used in Armenian string cheese. It’s one of my favorite spices. Because it has an “onion-y” quality*, this is why I suspect it isn’t used in perfumery. However, seeing it listed made me curious and I couldn’t resist buying a sample.
Noel au Balcon opens with the same honeyed, juicy citrus that is in Tilda Swinton Like This. It’s a bright dazzling honeyed orange blossom with winter citrus. It has that same grape jelly quality that I find in orange blossoms like Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger and Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs. This is a thick, syrupy-like orange blossom instead of an “eau de cologne” neroli. It keeps its honeyed white floral quality while drying down. It becomes more “jammy” with a sheer white musk that gives a “lift”. This is all mixed with the perfect amount of warm, dried spices. It dries down to a spicy incense amber that’s as cozy as being snuggled up in front a fireplace.
Being an Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance, there is a sexual overtone with the name and concept. It’s inspired by a French phase which has to do with feminine abundance – ample cleavage, a brickhouse…you know what I’m talking about. And it is an abundant fragrance. I’ve found it to be borderline “too much” in the warmer months yet perfect in the winter. It’s a Jayne Mansfield Christmas special and you know, I’m fine with that this time of year.
Notes listed include tangerine, vanilla, honey, orange blossom, apricot, red pepper, patchouli, musk, cistus, cinammon, nigella and amber. Launched 2007. PERFUMER – Antoine Maisondeau
Give Noel au Balcon a try if you like honeyed florals. Or perfumes like Etat Libre d’Orange Like This, Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs, Viktoria Minya Hedonist, Elie Saab EDP and/or Mugler Alien.
The 1.7 oz bottle retails for $85 on Amazon.
*Nigella is sometimes incorrectly called “black cumin” but it’s not necessarily cumin-y. I think people look this up and there is a misconception. It’s more like a dried oregono-onion. Think more bitter and herbal than savory-sweaty like cumin.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – A va-va-voom honeyed orange blossom with the perfect amount of spice. I really like this one. Why haven’t I tried more from this line???
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