Balenciaga L`Essence

Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. For some of you reading this, you’re probably asking yourself, where is the sun? Keep the faith, it’s coming.

With summer on the horizon, we can look forward to sticky days and stickier nights. During those times, having a fragrance cling to your skin is the last thing you want to even think about. It’s the reason we typically reach for lighter scents. But when perusing men’s fragrance offering this time of year, I’m usually bored. They either contain too much citrus or they’re too sporty or aquatic.  So what’s a guy to do? This guy ventured to the other side of the isle. Yup that’s right, I went looking in the women’s section and I discovered a gem.

To be fair, I want to give credit where it’s due. Victoria Frolova of Bois de Jasmin wrote an article titled Running with the Boys: Adventures at the Fragrance Counter where she poignantly asked the question “Feminine, masculine? Does it really matter when it comes to perfume?” This wasn’t a foreign concept to me as I’ve worn women’s fragrances on occasion. The ones I chose, Tom Ford’s Black Orchid and Banana Republic’s Rose Wood, to name a few, were far more interesting than what I found available for men at the time.

Most recently, another fragrance writer, Victoria Jent of Eaumg tweeted how great Balenciaga’s L’Essence is and that she thought it would be great for guys. Naturally that piqued my curiosity, which lead to my wandering to the other side.

When I read the scent’s notes, I thought to myself, this reads masculine – vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood and cedar. Where it gets interesting and worth your consideration is the use of violet and violet leaf. They soften the scent’s edge and are deceptive. The scent that emanates from the bottle will trick you as it reads feminine. Don’t judge this to soon. Let it sit and open up. On the skin it’s simply dandy. It starts off sprightly and the softness of the violet grabs you. Over time, it gets powdery and even reminds me of the scent of a fresh haircut when the barber dusts you off with a dab of Pinaud Clubman. It’s not as pointedly manish as Clubman, the dial is turned down to a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. L’Essence is soft but not in a dainty way. It lays close to the skin providing a reminder your freshness is being maintained.

I’m curious why Balenciaga chose to market L’Essence as a women’s scent. I think it’s unisex. Perhaps, from a financial perspective, there’s no reason to go that route? Whatever the reason, I must say, it’s a gem. If you like to keep it light and fresh during the hot and humid days of summer, L’Essence is an excellent choice.

For this review, I obtained a sample on my own.

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