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September 22, 2005

Fragrance review: Balenciaga Le Dix


The breeze entering the windows suddenly brings a scent of something bittersweet and sharp. A wave of melancholy overcomes me as I noticed the yellowing leaves and the chill that forebodes the change of seasons. I want to hold onto the time as it passes, and the best way to do so is to envelop oneself in a fragrance that speaks of another era.

Created in 1947 by Francis Fabron, the perfumer responsible for such fragrances as the original 1957 version of Givenchy L’Interdit, Monsieur de Givenchy, and Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps, Le Dix is akin to a beautiful vintage dress that has lost none of its splendour, despite the passage of time. In fact, time only adds to its beauty.

Delicately powdered violets shine through the glossy veil of bergamot and lemon, forming a leitmotif of the composition. Voluptuous heart blossoms into rose, iris and ylang ylang softened by the aldehydic mist that settles over the flowers after its initial burst in the top notes. Vanilla cuts through the aldehydic wrapping, merely smoothing the edges and adding an interesting facet to the classical structure of the composition.

Le Dix is often referred to as No. 5 with violets, however the ambered sandalwood element of the drydown reminds me of Bois des Iles. Stunning elegance of the composition is underscored by dark violets. At first, violets are sunlit and radiant, however as the fragrance develops, they turn dark and cold, with the musky ornamentation dampening their sweetness. The caramelized petals rest on a gilded sandalwood base that has just a touch of mossiness to create a character of a patina-covered jewel.

Notes include bergamot, lemon, ylang ylang, rose, lily of the valley, iris, civet, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, vetiver. Le Dix is available at various online stores, as the following search reveals.

Le Dix advertisement from collection/Balenciaga/



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