Saturday, March 21, 2009

Byzance (Rochas)

Byzance opens soapy, aldehydic and with a big perfumey blast that characterizes olfactory decade of the 80’s with an obvious wink towards the floral aldehydes of the 20’s. A big tuberose comes through right away with a heady bitter-sweetness and a touch of greens. Underlining base notes of musk and amber make themselves immediately apparent as well. And a spicy yet balsamic warmth of cardamom makes for a slightly exotic opening. It settles into a green yet sweet tuberose for quite some time. The dry down reveals more of the woods as well as vanilla, and sweet berry-like undertones which reminds me of the final dryout of Ivoire. And there is always a sense of sweetness about it – although not as overbearing as the first few moments.

Byzance interestingly has some characteristics of a chypre (perhaps the juxtaposition of potent florals with greens creates that illusion), but it is not. It is a flamboyant, outgoing floriental.

I am still trying ot figure out what is the connection to the name though. It does not smell particularly typical of the region or the religious connotations of the Eastern Church. The bottle design is the only point of reference I can see (the circle being reminiscent of that found inside the basilicas in Turkey) - see image below. It also reminds me of the bottle design of Soir de Paris.

Fresco, Kariye Camii, originally uploaded by Feuillu.

Byzance also happens to be the perfume that Fiona from Urban Rush was not able to find. It is, however, still on display at Shifeon in Vancouver (though I’m not sure they have any left in stock), so you can try it there. And it’s also still available on various online outlets. I am not sure if it is officially discontinued or just hard to find.

Although no one guessed the perfume correctly, I will be giving the Magnolia Petal bottle to Mark, who had the right brand (Rochas). Congratulations, Mark!

A more through search for the notes leads to the Perfume Addicts Database:

Top notes: Citrus, cardamon, spices, greens, mandarin, aldehydes, basil
Heart notes: Jasmine, tuberose, Turkish rose, lily of the valley, ylang-ylang
Base notes: Sandalwood, vanilla, musk, heliotrope, amber

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At March 21, 2009 10:32 PM, Blogger Flora said...

I don't think Byzance is really discontinued, at least I hope not! I can't really wear it myself but I love smelling it, and one of my sisters does wear it. It is huge, yes, but delicious and different. One of the very best of the big Eighties style perfumes, right up there with Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, IMHO.

At March 22, 2009 6:40 PM, Blogger ScentScelf said...

Congratulations, Mark!

I have a bottle of Byzance...purchased gently used...had had a lot of fun trying to figure out what in the world was going on there, but floriental is a good path. Of course, I'll be revisiting now... ;)


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