Jean Desprez Revolution à Versailles

By March

You know what’s cool?  When you get an unexpected care package from a perfumista in a foreign country, full of great (and strange) chocolate thingies labeled in languages you don’t speak, including a box of what looks like chestnut dessert vermicelli.  I’d put up a photo of the contents but then the kids would want some, and I’m a heartless wench and I don’t feel like sharing (except for the better-than-Nutella spread, which I surrendered without revealing its source.)

Also included was a cute mini of fragrance I didn’t recognize from the bottle — Revolution à Versailles from Jean Desprez, the folks behind Bal à Versailles.  Some internet research on my part revealed … pretty much nothing, except a possible release date of 1989 and one random list of plausible notes: frangipani, jasmine, plum, rose and sandalwood.

If this scent is actually from the late 1980s, I’d believe it – it’s a heavy hitter even in what I think is an EDT concentration (the bottle’s almost impossible to read.)  It’s also slightly reminiscent of another poisonous plum of the era – Dior Poison, of course.

I probably scared 90% of you off right there, and I shouldn’t have – it’s much easier to wear.  I love me some Poison, but this doesn’t have the death-by-cherry-cough-syrup assertiveness of Poison.  After an initial burst of many-vague-florals sweetness, it settles into a beautiful, dark plum and sandalwood, and on my skin that’s pretty much the entire story.  It’s less dense than Poison, and less complex/woody than any of the possibly-corresponding scents in the SL Bois series.  It lasts and lasts on my skin without demanding too much attention or sucking up all the breathable air around me – although, granted, I’m dabbing it on from a mini.

The sweetness of a plum cordial cut by dry, slightly raspy sandalwood; what’s not to like?  During one of my test-drives a male acquaintance blurted out, “You smell really nice!” and then looked totally embarrassed.  He’s not the sort of guy who’d ordinarily comment on a fragrance.

Is Revolution à Versailles all that revolutionary?  Is it high concept, or genius?  Nope.  Instead, it’s the sort of thing that I’ve gained more appreciation for in my perfumista journey.  It’s old-school pretty without being retro-vintage.  It doesn’t work my last nerve on the wrong day, the way Bal or Mitsouko or Femme or another vintage favorite can (no oakmoss, no detectable musky skank.)  It’s easy to wear without being boring, and it’s perfect for this time of year.  I have no idea whether it was intended to be a ripoff of Poison or not, but it’s cozy and comforting in a way Poison can’t be, classy like a well-cut cashmere sweater, and just a little sexy.

My gift-mini doesn’t look old, and Revolution à Versailles is available all over the internets – a quick search revealing plenty of 1.7 oz. bottles for about $40.




  • nozknoz says:

    I actually have a big bottle of this that I bought on ebay at the height of my ebay craze, when I bought all sorts of things unsniffed. (How bad could it be, from the firm that makes Balzilla? I think I was also seized by the resemblance to the old Guerlain clock-shaped bottle.)

    I didn’t like it when I tried it, but I’ll revisit it and spray far more cautiously, given the poison comparison.

  • Gail S says:

    I’m sorry, my brain stopped at better-than-Nutella. Does not compute.

    Please do share the name if you muster up the courage to enter the teenager’s room.

    I’ll take your word for it on the Revolution a Versailles. Poison was my absolutely most despised fragrance for years and years. Don’t even want to be reminded of it!

  • Jennifer says:

    Okay -confession -I got about halfway through this review and my ears practically perked up like a cat that heard the cat treat bag(like a softer Poison?with Sandalwood?)in seconds I had a second window open on my laptop to(cue suspense/horror music ala Psycho)Ebay -where of course there was a bottle 1.7 oz only lightly used with no bidders yet and about to run out of time too.(I bid)I WON!!
    Now that the comments are up I’m posting about it.

    • March says:

      Hehe you sound like me! God, I hope you don’t hate it. If so you can swap it in SwapMania, right? 😡

      • Jennifer says:

        But I like Poison Espirit de Parfum (wore recently last week?)and I LOVE Sandalwood (Samsara in edt,edp +two flankers and backups for the flankers )Sensuous and flankers are on my list to FB buy .
        Don’t worry March .I have a collecton that IF I were to get a fridge for it all it would have to be a full size (or two).
        So far my HATED IT scents are AMOR,AMOR(dog flea shampoo+Cherry cough meds + Tobbacco)and D&G Light Blue (nasty hairspray/chemical warfare “cedar” with a shortlived apple topnote)and Burberry Weekend mens ( Cool water apple fougere top lovely! Then the porta-potty (used)dumps .)On others these (well the first two anyway) smell a lot better.

        • March says:

          Hey, I think you’ll like this one! I went and looked at your purchase (yes, I am weird like that.) Let me know how you like it. I think if you like Poison Esprit (and it turns out on your skin like it does on mine) you’ll like it. Give it five minutes to settle, it’s pretty floralated at the top.

          Light Blue, daughter has a bottle of. In theory it’s fine. But they put on too much.

          • Jennifer says:

            Yeah a co-worker wears Lt.Blue nicely /as in nice & fresh smelling
            IF you are standing right next to each other (cash register training).
            If someone can taste(not just smell) your fragrance from 30 feet away or more then someone’s over applied.(it happened 60ish customer came in and I could taste Lt.Blue from the cash wrap at the back of the store.30-60 feet away!)

  • DinaC says:

    Hey March! It’s so fun when you bring something obscure to our attention like this. I’ve never heard of it, but the sandalwood made my ears oerk up. If I ever run into some, I’ll be sure to give it a try.

    The chocolate gift pack sounds scrumptious. Not sharing is just a mother’s way of sparing her children a lifetime of chocolate addiction to a high-end, hard-to-get product they won’t be able to find or afford, right?!? ;-)

    • March says:

      Yeah, I’m just doing them a favor. Plus, it’s not like they don’t have 10 lbs of Halloween candy to work through.

      I just ate the head off the bear. It was scrumptious.

  • SilviaFunkly says:

    The 80s keep on giving… never come across this one, sounds interesting even for a non Poison fan.

    I throw another lesser known fragrance in the hat, Knize Ten Golden Edition, a flanker of the original that I dug out of my stash today. A plutonium bomb of leather goodness with some ashtray, flowers and fruit added for good measure.

    Do share the name of that choc spread. I didn’t earn my teenage nickname “La Nutella Famale” for nothing! :”>

    • SilviaFunkly says:

      La Nutella Fatale that was

    • March says:

      Knize Ten Golden I have never seen or heard of! I love your description. And I’ll try to find the bottle of choc spread, someone’s absconded with it, likely a teenager. It’s probably up there with a spoon in it, but going in their rooms… you can hear the horror music starting in the background. :-ss

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    Yep, you lost me at the big-80s-kinda-like-Poison, but I must know…was that spread Speculoos? Yum.

    Oddly enough, I do like Hypnotic Poison, and Pure Poison on the right day. In microdoses.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    You know, I have a mini of vintage Poison in the Esprit. I find it cozy and comforting. Really, it is vintage No. 5 that works my last nerve on the wrong day.

  • Louise says:

    You had me a plum and sandalwood…!

  • Ann says:

    Hi, sweetie! This sounds yum-o-licious. Will have to scare some up to try. I love it when you guys unearth something new (to Posse-ites, at least) for us to covet. Thanks!

    • March says:

      You like that Must II, right? You don’t fear the fruit. 😉

      • Musette says:

        Do I fear the fruit? I dunno….(frantically trying to think of ‘fruit’ other than lemon or orange)….well, I embrace a lot of lemons and oranges….:-?

        xo >-)

      • Ann says:

        Yep, that’s me, always embracing my (inner) fruit. I still do love me some of that Must II goodness (I see Musette cringing as we speak, but if she can tame Madame Fracas, then she shouldn’t be askeered of a classy little fruit like the Cartier). Really, it’s one of the best in that much-maligned genre …

  • Francesca says:

    hmmm, interesting. I didn’t know Desprez ever made anything besides Bal. Must say, though, that “Revolution à Versailles has rather unfortunate connotations.

    • March says:

      Well, yeah, but the name just made me laugh. I must be a terrible person. I had no idea they made another scent either.

      • Musette says:

        It is a funny name for such a house – let’s face it, nobody would confuse Desprez with PotL or some such…;)) If they (or any of the cutting-edge (haw!) houses did it, I would expect, at the very least, a black ribbon around the neck!

        I like perfumes like that – they’re pretty without yelling in your face all day.

        xo >-)