Florabotanica, Balenciaga: Fragrance Review
When I think of ROSES as a flower I think of English country gardens and tightly buttoned Victorian things. Roses say romance like spaghetti says Italian. Everyone knows what they should smell like. They can be corny or classic depending on the styling.
As a wearable scent, my mind goes to two divergent places: a sun-drenched garden in bloom or noxious room spray that you could strip paint with. (Kids of the ’80’s remember the ominous bowl of rose scented potpourri your mom had in the bathroom? That was not a good thing.)
Many perfumes are dedicated to rose as a main note, and many more use it as a contributing note. (It’s featured subtly in one of my personal faves Coco Mademoiselle, and I would never think of it as “rosy”.)
I love the name and the packaging is absolutely gorgeous. The box covered with ornate botanical drawings of slightly sinister looking foliage that resemble Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly Trap) is eye-pleasing contrast to the modern striped bottle. It’s beautiful, trust.
But what does it smell like you ask? Balenciaga’s concept is:
“an experimental rose that has the power to endlessly charm • Two architectural notes: a fresh floral facet and a mysterious green facet • Imaginative name which evokes the 18th century botanical gardens in which the most exotic and rarest plant species were displayed.”
Conceptually, I’m all over this. I’m imagining rose but fresh because of this mysterious green element.
FLORABOTANICA is indeed very rosey, but the mysterious green element is a sort of sharpness. The notes are mint, carnation, hybrid rose, caladium leaves, amber and vetiver. My first thought is, “Wow! This reminds me almost exactly of Rose Ikebana by Hermès. Created by parfumer extraordinaire, Jean Claude Ellena, Rose Ikebana is rose and rhubarb and has a similar acidic quality.
I can smell the rose and vetiver and the mint in FLORABOTANICA, and I think it would be best categorized as a “fresh, green, floral”. While FLORABOTANICA is initially very green, the dry-down is soft and very rosy. Also, of note, this fragrance is built to last, at 6 hours after my initial spray it was still going strong.
Ladies, I’d recommend a single spritz. If you like rosey scents but want something young, this might be worth a sniff.