Only the Nose Knows For Sure

Why is it that the best laid plans always get shot to hell? I know; I’ve asked that question before.

I was looking for something easy to review for today, and my nose took me on quite an unexpected sniffing expedition. I started contemplating a barrage of samples I´ve accumulated lately, thinking I would get inspired by one of them, Lise Watier´s Folies Neiges in particular, since I somehow wound up with about a dozen samples of that scent. They´re those flat little soaked cotton pads, not vials, and I think a Shoppers Drug Mart SA might have gone a bit overboard stuffing them into my bag. She may not have intended to give me quite so many.  Folies Neiges is quite possibly the greenest of any green scent I´ve ever smelled. Miller et Bertaux Green used to be the greenest scent I´d ever smelled. Then came Issey Miyake´s a scent, which is green on steroids. Having now smelled Folies Neiges, what is greener than green on steroids? Nuclear green? How green was my valley? More like, how green can green possibly be?

So, I went to Shoppers Drug Mart this past Monday, since I was picking up dinner at my favourite falafel restaurant that just happens to be in the same shopping centre. I immediately spotted Beyonce Heat, and without even a shred of trepidation, I spritzed some on the back of my hand.  March was right; canned peaches and unwashed ladyparts. And patchouli.  What was I thinking? I had to do a vigorous scrubbing before attacking my falafel.

Yesterday, I went to Yorkdale. I always manage to find something at Yorkdale. My first stop was Bath and Body Works. After the Serge love fest two weeks ago, I figured I needed a little lowbrow sniffage to balance out the high-end niche bender I´ve been on for the last little while. I was looking for the new Orange Sapphire scent, which Robin had good things to say about on Now Smell This. I was also curious about Sweet Pea Forever, mostly because of the cute pink bottle with the abstract peace sign on it. Orange Sapphire wasn´t available yet, so I spritzed a bit of Sweet Pea Forever and proceeded to walk around. It was the usual syrupy fruit cocktail concoction that I´ve come to expect from B&BW, but that bottle is so darn cute. I´m a sucker for peace signs, but apparently not enough of a sucker to spend $30.

From there it was over to The Bay. I´d remembered that I smelled the latest Givenchy Ange au Demon flanker, Le Secret, a few weeks ago, and I went back to check it out again. I liked it – green tea, cranberry, citrus, a bit of jasmine. Perfect for the faux spring weather we´ve been having lately, which I´m quite confident is not going to hang around much longer. As I was doing the wrist-snort, I spotted Balenciaga Paris; and then the walls fell.

It isn´t very often that I get bowled over by a department store fragrance, but for all the “meh” I´ve smelled lately, Balenciaga Paris more than makes up for it. I fell in love with the bottle the first time I saw an image of it, but the scent description left me a little cold. I don´t normally go for anything chypre, modern or otherwise, but experience has taught me that these “modern” chypres that are out there now don´t bear any resemblance to anything chypre. So, I am usually willing to give them a sniff.

It turns out the bottle is beautiful in person, and the scent is quite wonderful. It is a lovely, understated interpretation of violet, combined with a bit of fizzy bergamot and spicy pepper, and just a hint of woods and labdanum. The other notes listed are oakmoss, cedar and patchouli, but as far as my nose is concerned, they´re non-existent. For me, this is Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory turned on its ear. The stunning combination of incense and violet is breathtaking in the cold weather, but stifling when it turns warmer. If you remove the heaviness of the incense from Silver Factory, I´m convinced what you would be left with is Balenciaga Paris. And that makes it perfect for now, and for when spring is really supposed to arrive. I really enjoy the fact that this is a violet-based scent that does not smell like laundry detergent. Violet is a tough one to get right, but Olivier Polge and Nicolas Ghesquià¨re hit the bulls eye with this one.

Sample Mania: If you´d like to sample the overwhelming greenage that is Lise Watier´s Folies Neiges, I´ll have Lily cat draw 6 names from the comments section to receive a foil-sealed sample. I´m warning you: you have to LOVE green scents to appreciate this one. Lily will be celebrating her 13th birthday on the 23rd, and would love nothing more than wishes for continued good health and happiness.

Disclosure: I was given a sample of Balenciaga Paris by Marcos at The Bay in Yorkdale. I also bought a 75 ml bottle that I swore to him I was going to “wear the crap out of.”  That is one fragrant promise I intend to keep.

  • Not long ago, I didn’t give whole lot thought to leaving comments on web log entries and have left opinions even less. Taking note of your insightful piece of writing, will probably motivate me to do so more often.

  • Laura M says:

    Am I too late? Just catching up on the blog reading!

    Happy birthday, Lily!

    I love green scents, so would love to try the Folies Neiges.


  • Isa says:

    I like the original Neiges, but I couldn’t imagine that the new flanker would be so green. I’ll have to try it, since I usually like green scents and I loved A Scent by Issey Miyake. However, Green, green, green and green was too much for me.

  • zeram1 says:

    Yes, Happy B-day as well. Gotta love the green! Please enter me in the drawing as well.

  • mjr17 says:

    hi lily cat, a very happy birthday to you!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday wishes to Lily! And best birthday wishes from my feline family: Mamacita, Frankie, Oona and Sylvie Chicken. Please enter me in the draw–I crave green scents. Speaking of which, the first shoots of catnip will be up soon…

  • mary says:

    Nava– your review has me daydreaming for the Balenciaga. Happy Birthday to Lily! My little girl will be turning 11 on the same day– we are going to have a little party with–perfume samples for the guests. Smart, tough, determined–that’s how my March 23 girl is turning out! Please put me in the drawing!

  • Kate says:

    Nava, please give early Happy Birthday wishes to Lily! She’s just getting her groove on, so says my two 12 year old tabbies.

  • dissed says:

    Happy birthday, Lily Cat, and may you Rock On forever.

  • minette says:

    many happy, healthy returns to lily from me, peter cat and georgie cat! and yes, if you learn any secrets to feline longevity, please pass them along. i would love to have these guys with me forever. i know in some ways i will, but you know what i mean.

    i love the new balenciaga, and can’t quite understand the mixed and bland reactions it’s been getting. it’s pretty perfect as far as i am concerned, but i’m not a huge fan of other, traditional violet-centric scents, so maybe that’s the key – i wasn’t expecting “violet.” whatev. like you, i, too, will be wearing the crap out of my bottle.

    beyonce’s heat isn’t anything as described here on my skin. it is a warm, candied jasmine scent on me, slightly reminiscent of S by Scherrer, which most people probably never even heard of. i actually wish heat were more hot on me, more ladyparts, please, but i like it a lot anyway. it’s very wearable, and more than a little femme.

    latifah’s queen, on the other hand, went from play-doh to burnt sugar with no stops in between on me. yick.

  • Flora says:

    Oh, please enter me for the Green thing – I want to see if it could possibly be as green as DSH Viridian, and my guess would be no becuase nothing ever is, but who knows? I adore green perfumes of all shades!

    Have not tried Heat yet, will wear full body armor if i do. Now I must go and see if my Saks has the Balenciaga! 😡

  • maidenbliss says:

    My Maine Coon, Sonny, is no longer with me, but I’m sure he’d meow a big Happy Day to Lily! I’m in for the draw. I’ve yet to find the perfect green, but if it had a teensy
    bit of hay….I think Balenciaga Paris is calling me. Wonderful description, Mava. I love being enabled even further.

  • ScentRed says:

    A few days ago while sprinting through The Bay I was handed a sprayed card of Folies Neige. I was pleasantly surprised by it and would love to try it on my skin.

    Dear, dear Lily – you don’t look a whisker over 6! Wishing you a very happy b-day!

  • Claudia says:

    No need for the green here, But I will say Happy Birthday to Lily from my Pickles, who will turn 22 soon.

    I am on the hunt for Balenciaga Paris now. Must try.

  • CynthiaW says:

    Ooh… I’d love to try the greenest green of them all. Now this review of Paris is really making me think that I’m going to have to make the trek down to the Galleria – I think that the new DK Iris is in as well, plus there were a few Goutals that I wanted to check out.

  • Tara C says:

    Lila and Zohar send their furry birthday greetings to Miss Lily. They are both 13 and say that is a great age to be!

    No need to enter me in the drawing as I can smell it in Montreal if the whim so strikes me. As for the Balenciaga, I am afraid to test it on my skin. When I whiffed the scent strip in Oprah Magazine it was like nuclear violets, knitting needles up the nose. I’m afraid it’s not for me. But the bottle is pretty!

    • Nava says:

      If Lily was a boy cat she’d be having her bar mitzvah!

      I think there must be some sort of ban on scent strips in magazines here in Ontario; I have not run across any in any magazine I’ve bought or swiped from a doctor’s office waiting room since I moved here. But, I can say that sometimes, the scent strip is not as accurate as what you get from a tester. Try it again in person if you get the opportunity.

  • Lee says:

    Happy birthday Lilypuss!@};-<:-p I've no need for green: after a day of seed sowing, potting up dahlia tubers, planting gladioli and crocosmia bulbs, dividing and planting out perennials, clearing out and cleaning out the greenhouse, cleaning and tidying the store (an outside room that is my junkyard but was the original 18th century kitchen - still has the features), and pricking out seedlings, I need a spring break!

    • Nava says:

      And I would need a warehouse size bottle of Tylenol Sinus to survive in your world, dear Lee. I can’t wait to see the pictures of this year’s garden. 😡

  • Daniele says:

    I’m intrigued! Nuclear green sounds very interesting, if perhaps a little hard to wear. 😉 I’d love to sniff it. Happy birthday Lily; may you always feel closer to 5 than 15.

  • mariekel says:

    Felicitiions, Lily, from Halsbury the perfume snufflin’ hound dog!

    I’d love to try the Folies Neige — great name for a green fragrance after this awful winter. Said winter is probably what has put me on a green perfume binge the last few weeks — Sous le Buis (wah!), Green, green, green, Sel de Vetiver, chypres of all varieties — so the timing on this ‘fume is quite apt!

  • dremybluz says:


  • Julie says:

    Green for spring sounds good – I’d love to be in the draw. Laughed at the description of Beyonce’s Heat – sounds as yucky as I imagined it!

  • Aparatchick says:

    I have plenty of greens, so no need to enter me in the draw, but Moose and Squirrel (who turn 13 in a few months) told me to be sure to wish Lily a happy birthday!

  • Lora says:

    Awww, happy early birthday Lily! Lots more to come!

    Would love to be entered in the drawing.

  • Tammy says:

    It’s like, how much more green could this be? And the answer is none. None more green.

    No need to enter me in the drawing, I shall just head out immediately and buy it unsniffed.

    And my very best birthday wishes for the lovely Lily.

  • T-Rex says:

    I love green! Please count me in.

  • Shelley says:

    Love green? I AM green. =:)

    Seriously, I’m all about the green scents. Smack you upside the head to breezy to lay me down in the cool, cool grass and all the variations in between and beyond. Okay, if there’s a hearty dose of aldehydes, it will require extra test drives. But I’ll probably find my way in.

    I would love to find out just what makes Folies Neiges “nuclear.” Honestly, M&B Green(x4) was nice, but not all that, as far as green goes. Maybe I need a good green smack. %%- %%- %%-

    Please hat me. And Happy Birthday, Lily.

  • Natalie says:

    Happy Birthday, Lily — from me and my soon-to-be 15-year-old puss! I’d love to be entered in the super-green sample drawing… Thank you!

  • B&BW’s body products generally fade, leaving a slick of cardboard musk behind. I’ll have to try layering it.

    Buster, Aretha, and Tunuki send Lilly a Happy Birthday pawprint.

    I’m now on the hunt from Balenciaga Paris. Sounds heavenly. I love green anytime. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • mals86 says:

    So glad you loved B Paris – I still haven’t smelled it, but I have my share of relaxed, comfortable floral scents.

    My dear Silvia, who’ll be 17 in June, wishes Lily a happy birthday. Please hat me, as I love the greenies and would be very interested to smell this one. Have been wearing a lot of greenies lately, as a matter of fact: Le Temps, Chamade, Silences, No. 19, Amoureuse, M&B Green…

    My B&BW has Orange Sapphire in; I just smelled it Wed. night. Not impressed – too much sugar on the citrus. I do like the body products at B&BW, as I can usually find something that will layer well with my, um, more upscale scents. I like Velvet Tuberose very much. Moonlight Path layers great with No. 5 and Mariella Burani; White Citrus is terrific with Ivoire (a friend layers it with EL Jasmine & White Moss); Butterfly Flower is lovely under Diorissimo and Kenzo Parfum d’Ete.

    • Nava says:

      I’m definitely more of a fan of the scented body products, but I do have to admit, B&BW’s scents are a bit more substantial than they used to be. But, that doesn’t mean they still don’t do a mean fruit cocktail!


  • k-scott says:

    Nice post Nava- you worked in a whole buncha ‘fumes! I too am in love with the Balenciaga bottle. I LIKE the juice… a lot, but don’t know if I *love* it yet. But that bottle is the most beautiful yet understated, elegant thing I’ve seen for awhile. So I really really want to get to where I love the juice so I can feel justified in buying that bottle! Mwah ha ha ha ha! Enjoy yours. 🙂

    Happy Birthday Lily! I like green scents so I’d love a sample. Please pick my name Lily!!!

    • Nava says:

      The female SAs at the Bay were wearing the most lovely Balenciaga silk scarves that were patterned after the cap of the bottle.

      This is one you have to take out for a spin. The drydown is worth the wait. It is wonderful.

  • rosarita says:

    My 11 yr old Maine Coon kitty would love to meet your Lily. 🙂 Long may she live! I love green and very much like the original Neiges; please enter me in the draw.

  • Ann N. says:

    Glad to see Balenciaga Paris getting some love — good for you! I’m not normally a violet fan, but this one is done so well that I can’t resist. Wishing Lily the cat an early happy birthday (and many more) and please enter me in the draw — I am ever so keen on green. Thanks and have a great weekend!

  • Nancy C. says:

    Happy Birthday, Lily!! Thirteen is such a huge birthday.

    I love greens. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Jillie says:

    Don’t enter me for the draw – I would love to get a sample, but I live in the UK, so don’t qualify. However, just wanted to wish Lily a very happy birthday!

  • Chris G says:

    Green suits me – please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

  • Alica says:

    I love greens more and more, getting older. Thanks for entering me in the drawing.

  • Francesca says:

    Happy Birthday to Lily!

    I’m glad to hear someone else sharing the love for Balenciaga Paris! It had gotten a somewhat “Eh” reaction here, I thought. Perfect for spring.

    • Nava says:

      That’s what I love about reviewing fragrances. One person’s Balenciaga is another person’s Angel. :d

      • karin says:

        Ha…funny! I was wearing Angel one a wrist the other day, then found Balenciaga Paris in a magazine scent strip and swiped it on my other wrist. Balenciaga was STRONG! Great spring scent. It was actually overwhelming the Angel, if you can believe that one.

  • K.R. says:

    If Vent Vert extrait and vintage Emeraude are bitter absinthe green, then I love all greens almost more than incense and benzoin (and I really love these) My cats Ling, Urchinn and Pahkali would like to wish Lily the best on her day. Pahkali, at 26, would love to play Maurice Chevalier to her Gigi and he would like to be entered in the drawing.

    • Nava says:

      26???? Oh my. Please do let me in on your secrets of kitty longevity and I will most definitely put in a good word for you with Lily. 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Oh, I am so envious of your bottle of Balenciaga Paris. I fell in love with this one too. It is so feminine yet wordly. I adore violets as well and this is a much better version than Insolence, which I also loved when it first came out but it proves to be too much mostly, when I wear it now. Please do where the crap out of it! LOL

  • (Ms.) Christian says:

    I’d love to have the lovely Lily draw my name. Nothing is nicer to my nose than something green.

  • violetnoir says:

    My dog, Lily, and I wish Lily a very happy and healthy 13th (a lucky number, indeed!) birthday! >:d< Enjoy your bottle of Balenciaga Paris! Hugs!

  • Musette says:

    Happy Birthday, Lily!!! Many many more in health and happiness!

    xo >-)

    pls enter me for the GREEN, baby! I’m the Queen of Mean Green.

    xo >-)