Byzance by Rochas 2020

Hey there Posse. One of my young adult fragrant loves was Byzance by Rochas 1987. My sister was given a bottle to wear to her Formal. That’s our version of a Prom but WAY less important as a right of passage. Both she and my Mum wore it for a a couple of years. It became the fragrance to wear to fancy things like restaurants and events. That smell is inextricably linked with dressing up and having fun in my psyche. When Rochas released a 2016 version in the umbrella bottle like their Madame Rochas was in for many years I didn’t know about it till it had been and gone. The run must have been so short because I never saw one in life or at the discounters.

This oh-so-beautiful Byzance bottle arrived in my discounter order along with Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu, Kenzo Jungle and Guerlain Ginger Piccante. I have been so excited to have $$$ to spend I went a little crazy!

Byzance by Rochas 2020

Byzance by Rochas 2020

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Pear, Neroli
Heart: Rose, Freesia, Heliotrope
Base: Vanilla absolute, Blond woods, Musk

OK, so the first thing you need to know is that the Byzance 2020 note list is a big fat lie. There might be some soft fruity wash up top but it’s not citrus and pear particularly. There is a powdery floral heart that could with a following wind and a LOT of imagination be heliotrope but NAAH. It may be a whisper of peony. If they’d said peony I would at least have given them props for capturing the fragility and tallish feeling of the flower.

What 2020 Byzance smells like is a nutty vanilla base accord. I haven’t worn them side by side but it instantly puts me in mind of Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis Caron. That same hazelnut vanilla base that storms out ofd the spritzer open and stays till the very deep dregs of dry down. I really like it but it’s definitely not what I was expecting. It also has ZERO reference to that spicy ylang amber bomb I remember (and still have a stash of) from 1987.

Byzance by Rochas 2020

How cool is the new advert? This modern Byzance is a scent that could be described as shimmering gold. It has much the same lustre. A lovely light & dark chiaroscuro. It is unisex but leaning traditional modern masculine. Though projection and longevity are moderate, sillage is excellent. You will leave a warm nutty vanilla scent trail.

Sound like a winner?
Portia xx

  • Daisy says:

    I never wore the OG Byzance for fear that it would end up wearing me, but since I do like smelling like pastry, the new formulation sounds like it would be up my alley. Thank you for another great review, Portia! And congrats on being able to have some $$$ to spend again!

    • Portia says:

      Hey Daisy,
      HA! Yes, I can definitely see that the original could be a bit overwhelming. It was a showstopper.
      I’d love to hear what you think when you get your sniff on the new one.
      HA! Spoke too soon on having cash. We are locked down again here in Sydney and no work for me at all. Fortunately Jin is still working.
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    Gosh, the ORIGINAL sounds fantastic! The new one, not so much, although I agree that I love the bottle and the advertisement.

  • carole says:

    A good friend wore this in university. She’s awesome, so this scent has great memories for me. The original was very-thick-like a good piece of raw silk. So many moving parts. I think when they make a new product like this is should have a different name-that way you can appreciate it properly. Instead of faulting it for being what it is not (the original).

    And I know that feeling, Portia-back to work, some $$$ to spend 🙂 I hope your work continues to be rewarding-are you caught up in the latest lockdown? I’ve had my second shot. It’s not a pain fun needle but you have to be prepared for some potential side effects. And since the side effects can be unpleasant-I cannot imagine what the actual virus is like.

    Cheers, Portia, and enjoy your new treats 🙂


    • Portia says:

      Heya Carole,
      Love the way you describe the original. Spot on.
      Yeah, using the old name for a new fragrance is dumb. Looking at you Opium, Joy, Dior pour homme.

      Sadly, yes, caught up in lockdown. No work for the foreseeable. thank everything that Ji is still working. I spent all my income on PERFUME!

      Enjoying the new stuff heaps.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    hmm… I dunno. I am beginning to appreciate vanilla in fragrance, though it’s still hit or miss..
    ‘Shimmering gold’ sounds like something I would wear, though.


  • Tara C says:

    I’ve had a love affair with Byzance since it was launched in 1987. Fortunately I have several vintage bottles to enjoy. Like you I never saw the 2016 relaunch so never got to sniff it. Probably won’t get to smell the 2020 version either, although it sounds pleasant. Hazelnut vanilla makes me think of Angel Muse, although I found that one quite fruity.

    • Portia says:

      Hiya TaraC,
      Nothing like Angel Muse, which I found strangely lactonic and slightly curdled. This is not nearly so out there.
      You moving this week?
      Portia xx

  • Gina T says:

    Different fragrance should have a different name. That is not Byzance! I remember when the ads came out in the magazines about it. I had to try it. I went to Chicago with my mom on a business trip for her work. While there, my goal was to go to Neiman Marcus and sniff it. I did. I didn’t buy it, but many years later I own the vintage and love it so much. I ration it.

    • Portia says:

      Hey GinaT,
      Yeah, it’s not Byzance that we remember. That’s true. I have a stash of the original too.
      Killer bottle and smells nice though.
      Portia xx

  • Cinnamon says:

    Have never tried this. Wore Femme for years though. Vanilla and hazelnut … sounds sort of mouth-watering. Made me think of endless comments on MakeUp Alley fragrance board years ago when someone asked what a man (your bog-standard average guy) liked in a fragrance. People tended, very tongue in cheek, to say bacon, baked goods heavy on vanilla, and/or beer. Always made me laugh.

    • Portia says:

      I’ve been telling almost every woman that asks why men find attractive in fragrance pretty much the same thing. Bacon, Burgers, Pastries and Beer.
      He He He. Maybe I got it from other perfumistas.
      Portia xx

      • Cinnamon says:

        Had a work colleague years ago who was a racist, sexist, homophobic asshat. he loved Hypnotic Poison on me and asked for the name for his then Russian girlfriend (who became his wife). Said it smelled ‘edible’.I heard after I’d been made redundant from that place that she divorced him pretty quickly. Always felt just desserts (so to speak).