It’s strange. Despite the reams that pour out of me on perfume, there are certain scents that I find myself almost unable to write about for fear of not doing them justice. The scents I am talking about are so complex, so ingeniously put together that they rise above the usual analysis and enter into the realm of poetry; beyond the obvious striations of most perfumes and into something tender and eternal.



These perfume ‘reviews’, which I plan to tackle at some point, but will not  publish unless I feel they have captured, at least a little, of that scent’s essence, will include some of the genius perfumes by Guerlain; Chamade, Apres L’Ondée, and particularly Vol De Nuit; N° 19 by Chanel; some Carons, and, undoubtedly, Jean Desprez’s seminal Bal A Versailles, the richest, most decadent floral amber I have ever smelled and a perfume with one of the best final accords – powdered, voluptuous, living – of all time. I don’t wear the extrait much, but when I do, and only in winter, I plan it with meticulous, military precision; calculating in advance exactly how many hours I need to bring if off perfectly.



How long in the bath, then how long to let it sit on my skin before the glorious base begins to emerge…….. and I smell, basically, like the ancient God Bacchus.



Yes, Bal A Versailles is a belovedly notorious animalic in the perfume community, and with good reason. The floral unguents of the heart, fusing immutably with the vanillic resins and animals of the finale, are like nothing else, and the extrait, available quite easily if you look for it, is a cherished trophy of many a true perfume lover. There are very few perfumes, if any at all, that are more resplendent.






*   *    *









In 1989 I am not sure if the word ‘flanker’ even existed in perfume talk, but if it did, then Revolution A Versailles, a perfume I knew nothing about but spied at a Berlin antiques market by Schoenberg city hall, would surely have been one.  And a not very special one at that, I am afraid to say, though I do love the bottle and that red target design (sorry if this led you to believe you were about to discover a masterpiece..)



No, this revolution would not have been televised, though I have to say that I do quite like this perfume; one of those big boned, eighties-opulent affairs, taking some of the ambery base of the original Bal, and layering it with a sandalwoody, plummy, flagrant jasmine and thick rose heart à la Caron Femme, or Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie by Creed (but not quite as bosomy and ludicrous, but then what could be?), with perhaps some touches of Balenciaga’s more tender and touching amber-rose Prélude.




Revolution A Versailles, in truth,  is  a  touch vulgar, rather brash, even,  but something I would be definitely quite happy to smell on a woman at some high-swinging party; unpretentious, vivacious, full of life






Filed under 'Orientals', amber floral musks, Flowers


  1. brie

    I will be eagerly anticipating your reviews on no 19,Apres L’Ondee as well as the Caron whose name we will not mention…..

      • brie

        btw, when did I become “billy”???It is I who has been erroneously unsubscribed from your blog (and I believe others as well for my inbox has been quite empty lately …..which actually has been a bit of a relief…..I am on social media overload!)

      • bizarre!

        (and clearly, I was only referring to Mr Joel because of your last line)

      • brie

        OHHH! My brain is too fried these days to pick up on that stuff…sorry!

      • brie

        Oh and totally off topic…tell Nina that Bath and Body Works has a new fragrance collection with “nut” perfumes (I know she mentioned desiring those in the “about” section of your blog) and you are in for a treat as well…I stealthily decanted all of the LaVanilla series yesterday for you in the store…will just have to figure out which is which and label before sending out to you!

      • I love it. Thankyou. How the hell can you decant actually IN the store?!!!

      • brie

        I may appear innocent but I am devious….kept an eye out for the SAs floating around and waited until they left….but I must tell you that many customers were looking upon me as though I was a weirdo….you know me…I don’t give a ………xx

  2. Tora

    Good to know I am not the only one decanting in stores when SAs turn away…:)

  3. The revolution this scent speaks of was a flop. A truly uninspiring flanker. Now for a real treat, you need to smell Desprez Scheherazade…that is a masterpiece.

  4. It was released a in the early 80’s, I discovered it in the early 90’s. At the time I discovered this scent it was already hard to find, so I am not too sure it had been on the shelves as a main seller for awhile. I found it in a small apothecary/ perfume shop and it was a little shelf worn by then.
    The type of scent it is, even though a distant cousin to Coco, was already being supplanted by “big” scents around the time of its release.

  5. Lilybelle

    I’ve never smelled that one but I am a lifelong fan of Bal à Versailles in all four formulations, which I own and wear (edc, edt, edp, and extrait – each of which is quite different). I love the packaging of Revolution but I’d rather see that red dot as sealing wax than blood.

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