Balmain - Ebénè, Eau de Toilette, mini 5ml.
I've been curious about this fragrance for some time. Mainly because it's only one of two vintage masculines produced by Balmain, I have a bottle of the other - Monsieur Balmain and wanted to try this one. I have no interest in the modern ones. Trying to find a full size bottle of this has proved difficult and almost impossible at a reasonable price. This has truly become a unicorn. This miniature was very reasonable and no more price per ml than the full sized bottles go for — unusual for a mini.
I'm glad I've now tried it so I can put my curiosity about it to bed! Is the hype warranted? I'm not even sure it is hyped — it's too far under the radar to be hyped and I doubt many people outside of hardcore perfumistas will be aware of it let alone had the chance to sample it given its high price point and scarcity.
It is unquestionably a lovely fragrance, beautifully smooth and blended and very reminsicent of the 1980's. I would describe it as a 'mossy fougere', fougere in opening and mossy chypre in the lovely drydown. The fragrance I find this most closely resembles in the drydown which may come across as a little contentious is the vintage Lauder for Men. No surprise then that this was launched in 1983 and Lauder for Men in 1985. There are differences but for me the drydown is 90% Lauder for Men.
If this was readily available and reasonably priced I'd be chasing some but given its closeness (for me) to Lauder for Men which is far more accessible and reasonably priced, I'll stick with that.
I found it interesting that Ebénè was intended to be the masculine counterpart to Balmain's Ivoire with @Colbourne mentioning in his review that Ivoire '...reminded him somewhat of Lauder for Men...' so there's clearly a link there. I shall have to try some vintage Ivoire and see for myself.