Very helpful Review
In Praise of Classics
I am torn with Ivoire (2012). On one hand I love it, on another I feel betrayed that it's not the complex genius that is the original Ivoire. I had to take a step back and try it twice prior to writing this review. I needed to see the new version through modern eyes and not with nostalgic eyes. I love the original Ivoire and it is truly a timeless classic, but there are the ingredients in it that either cannot be used in modern perfumery or that will soon have the death knell sounded on their use. Also, tastes have changed over the years and a lot of the old chypres have fallen out of favour, unfortunately, with the buying public. So I tried to forget it's namesake as I tried this new version.
This is, honestly, a gorgeous fragrance. Taken on it's own, without reference to the past, it is a masterpiece in my opinion. It bows in hommage to it's namesake and there is no mistaking it's heritage, but it is a very modern take on a exemplary chypre: smooth, soapy, woody. This makes me feel as if I have washed with expensive soap, the way I used to before shower gels took over the world. It's clean and comforting, very elegant and distinctive. Initially, it is quite green with the mandarin and violet leaf very evident. It is exactly like taking a violet leaf and crushing it in one's hand and smelling the almost cold, green woody aroma. After a while the scent warms and the rose and iris appear along with the undertone of cedar and vetiver. I cannot make out the patchouli in this perfume, nor the vanilla, but it is so well blended that it is difficult to make out any one note as a non-professional. However, this isn't a problem as the fragrance dances on the senses and makes one fall in love quite easily. Several hours later it is still very evident, but the cedar is the strongest note and it is at it's woodiest at this point.
In a far off land there is a temple dedicated to Ivoire de Balmain. The original perfume in a flacon of pure diamond sits atop a granite altar as a precious goddess to be worshipped. Prostrate at the base of this altar is a young, strong woman in linen and leather paying obeisance to the goddess who breathed life into her.