Edamame Note and Other Unintended Odors: Balenciaga – B. Balenciaga Skin Review

On picture: Balenciaga – B. Balenciaga Skin – Eau de Parfum – 75ml – circa 2015

The disproportionate increase in perfumes that are launched year after year, and its effect on the value of the products available, is a topic that has been widely discussed. The big designer houses release one fragrance after another, in what seems like an arms race to monopolize all the possible interests of consumers, often leaving creativity, originality, and sadly, quality aside.

How many musky florals, fresh and clean waters, or fruitchouli compotes do we need? How many versions of Bleu de Chanel or Aventus can a consumer purchase in less than a year? We can be thankful to niche perfumers for producing inspired, quality scents, but sometimes even some of their offerings feel reductive. Also, there is the issue of flankers. What is supposed to be a slightly different version of an original composition, emphasizing one aspect of it, or introducing an interesting twist, often ends up being one more unnecessary proposal floating in a sea of insipidity. What’s the point of doing such disposable things?

That is the case of B. Balenciaga Skin (it is pronounced bee dot Balenciaga skin –seriously?). The original B. Balenciaga was launched in 2014 under the creative directorship of Alexander Wang, a proficient designer whose work was sadly underappreciated for the sole reason of being constantly and unfairly compared to that of his predecessor. B. Balenciaga was the first fragrance he consulted for when he took the helm of the house. He is responsible for the idea of the edamame note included.

B. Balenciaga resulted in a green, woody scent with indistinct white flowers and the attention-grabbing addition of said edamame (steamed green soybeans) that materialized as a steamy, verdant umami touch. If you take Light Blue, remove the fruits, add a green salad, and throw in a hefty pinch of salt, you would get B. Balenciaga. The suggestion of an unconventional note or accord, whether it is based on a material of natural origin or is a whimsical fabrication instead, is reason enough to attract perfume enthusiasts, and that is the card they played.

Honestly, it was a perfectly competent, albeit somewhat redundant, green-woody-musky fragrance, sophisticated enough to wear till the last drop, but boring enough to forget about it, and to never buy a new bottle of it once the contents were gone. This brings me to the subject of this review: a fragrance that was conceived as a more delicate and feminine rendition of the original. The concept does sound a bit boring by itself, but the execution was much worse.

B. Balenciaga Skin starts with some sort of rectified bergamot extract, green tea, and a borderline-ozonic accord described as soybean (more verdant salt and less steam this time). The tart, salty opening slides into a floral heart that smells like peony-scented shampoo over a base of cedar, vetiver and ambrette seed. One of the listed notes is lily of the valley, and some aspects of it are indeed present, but it verges on amorphous at best. Where is the muguet they promised?. In contrast to the original, it is muted, less feminine, not too divergent but certainly less successful.

What throws me off is an unfortunate smell that appears during its evolution, among all the other limpid notes, which is a discomforting nuance of dried saliva. Hardly anyone would like to smell like a spittle-covered human, but as saliva on the skin, at least, it would have hinted at some kind of debauchery, but instead what you get is dried saliva on fabric. What a miserably dull experience that is, and I don’t even want to consider the technicalities that produced that desiccated slaver odor, but perhaps a misguided use of cashmeran, ambrette seed and other musks is to blame for it. I doubt it was intentional, but there it is, without any sexual overtone to save you from the snooze-fest.

I tend to look for something to appreciate in any perfume, so it is disappointing when I’m unable to discover at least an aspect to enjoy. Balenciaga is one of the greatest designer houses of all time and I have fondness for it. How could the same brand that gave us the impeccably tailored Le Dix, the gloriously cacophonous Rumba, and even the hi-tech, ghostly florals of Florabotanica and Rosabotanica, produce such an uninteresting, brash and disappointing thing as B. Balenciaga Skin? It serves as a good example of a badly executed flanker to an already unsolicited original composition, that should never have seen the light of day, and the abovementioned tinge of unintended dried body fluids was not enough to spark even the tiniest vestige of interest. That is a first for me.

Name: B. Balenciaga Skin
House: Balenciaga
Concentration: Eau de parfum
Nose: Domitille Michalon Bertier
Release Year: 2015
Category: Floral woody

Reviewed Batch: circa 2015
From personal collection.

2 thoughts on “Edamame Note and Other Unintended Odors: Balenciaga – B. Balenciaga Skin Review

  1. This must be really awful if you can’t find anything positive about it (I always try to do the same). It’s the first I’ve heard of it. Great insights. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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