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Saturday, July 16, 2011

What’s In A Name? Review: The Different Company Sublime Balkiss


Isn’t that name great?

I was always fascinated by the wonderful name of this perfume. Names are important, they give identity, but of course a pretty name, or a great one even, are not enough. With people and with perfume.

Balkiss was the name of the Queen of Sheba. I am not sure why this name was given to this particular perfume, I would imagine it would have been a better fit for a sumptuous oriental, or even a regal mega-floral, but not for this soft and unassuming “chypre”.

Created by Cèline Ellena, Sublime Balkiss includes notes of bergamot, cassis, blackberries, rose, lily of the valley, violet leaf, lilac, patchouli fraction, patchouli essence, heather.

Sublime Balkiss is a so-called modern chypre that has not much to do with the chypre category, maybe another name would be better here as well, since we are on the subject.

I already said that the name of this perfume always captured my imagination, but I seem to recall having tried it several times before it entered the review queue, but I had no recollection whatsoever what it smelled like. When I wore it in preparation for reviewing, I promptly forgot what it was, I put on, twice. It is safe to say that sadly, Sublime Balkiss is, unlike its grand name, not a very unique and memorable fragrance.

It is soft, shy, quiet and restrained. A berry opening sets the tone to muted purple and green. Patchouli (two kinds of the star of the modern chypre) anchors the scent. And that is about it. It is a fresh and green and violet-tinged berry patchouli. Sorry, that is the best I can do.

I have heard it compared to Thierry Mugler Angel, but to me that is like comparing an elephant to a mouse. Both happen to be grey animals, but that’s it with the similarities. But if you are looking for a grey animal that is lighter and smaller than Angel, Sublime Balkiss may be it.

Sublime Balkiss is mostly linear, it smells somehow familiar and it smells good. I am not saying this is a bad fragrance, just that it refuses to make a lasting impression on my mind. How about the lasting impression on my skin? Sublime Balkiss stays with me for about three to four hours, if I don’t forget about it before.

Somehow I believe, if this perfume didn’t have such an intriguing and imposing name, I wouldn’t feel quite so let down by its fragrant reality now.

Image source: thedifferentscent.de, wikipedia.com

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18 Comments:

Blogger deeHowe said...

Sounds... boring?? This house has yet to stir any desire in my wallet, and today is no exception!

But, thank you for the review :)

12:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Undina said...

When I tried it three-four months ago I remember liking it. Not enough to want to buy it but enough to keep my sample and test it again. One day. Maybe.

4:12 AM EDT  
Blogger tara said...

Thanks for this review, I always wondered about Sublime Balkiss. It is indeed a pretty and intriguing name. I got all excited when I read my trigger word "chypre" but this quickly subsided as I read on. Too bad.

5:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this one was pretty, but forgot it almost immediately. Like you, I expected something much more sumptuous and complicated, as befits the lady it's named after!
-Marla

7:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I often find myself perplexed by how certain perfumes got their names, because it seems there are so many cases where the perfume is so unlike the name as to be almost the exact opposite.

Sublime Balkiss does sound rather mousey! :)

10:05 AM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Boring is right for Sublime Balkiss. Although I like Osmanthus and Bois d'Iris from the line.

2:41 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Undina, it is highly likeable, only not very memorable. :)

2:42 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Tara,
too bad indeed. It neither lives up to its name nor its genre.

2:43 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Marla,
my thoughts exactly! :)

2:44 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Suz,
Somewhere the ideas of the creative director and those of the nose have gone off in different directions, maybe.
I would love to smell something more akin to that name. It would be a good one from the hands of Lutens/Sheldrake. :)

2:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Dixie said...

I have to disagree. I think this perfume is so wonderful! Maybe it's my chemistry. I love the cirus-patch mix.

4:18 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Dixie,
that's great! That is why I love perfume, so many different scents, there is something to love for all of us! :)

12:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana said...

I happen to love this one, but then I despise Angel, so there you go. It actually just jumped into my "to buy this quarter" que...

2:31 AM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Diana,
I take mostly issue with the name rather than with the perfume. I'm sure it is lovely on you. :)

9:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Vanessa said...

I was also underwhelmed by this one, though I am not drawn to scents with berries in them as a rule, niche of otherwise! A bowl of Special K is the place for berries, imho...

10:20 AM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Vanessa,
lol, berries in Special K are undoubtedly great, but there are a few berries in perfume I like. Mure et Musc for example.

12:34 PM EDT  
Blogger JoanElaine said...

Thank you for explaining the name. I love saying it, it just rolls of the tongue.
I'll say it, but I won't spray it ;)

2:06 PM EDT  
OpenID olfactoriastravels.com said...

Joan Elaine,
I love saying that name too, it is so beautiful! Hence the disappointment... :)

5:47 AM EDT  

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