Bigarade Concentrée is Jean-Claude Ellena's typical severe tribute to Eau d'Hermès. The Frédéric Malle blurb describes it as "embellished" by cardamom and other spices. However, the cardamom isn't a mere embellishment, but a virtual scene-stealer from the titular bigarade. The net result is not, as the blurb goes on, "purity, like a crisp white shirt…for those who believe that seduction is found in cleanliness and perfection…an ocean of sophisticated freshness." Rather, it's a white shirt ironed with citrus-scented starch, but unwashed. It's neatness, but not cleanliness; a dash of sophistication (perhaps), but not an ocean of freshness. To be fair, the blurb also promises mischief and sex appeal, which it delivers if the sweaty funk of the spice reads that way to you.
Once you know what you're in for, BC definitely has its appeal; how much depends on your proclivities. But I think Ellena has worked this theme to better effect—and for less money—elsewhere. While I do like it, my 10ml spray is ample supply when I already have big bottles of Cartier Déclaration and Terre d'Hermès.
The essence of a summer evening's dinner party. It is a straightforward, winning concept: just pure, zesty bitter orange on subtly herbal background. perfect in it's simplicity. Unisex in a masculine way but perfectly suitable for a woman with strong spirit. Fresh dark green, earthy, classic, chic, herbaceous, ,uplifting and invigorating.
The grass and cedar work together beautifully with the orange top notes and give it a depth that a lot of citrusy scents lacks. It has the real sharp zesty smack of bitter orange oil. I don't smell rose at all. A passionate love from the very first time i sniffed it. If you like classic green scents, this is a must for your collection. Another gorgeous Ellena perfume. Moderate sillage and good longevity.
Very similar to Cartier Declaration. The opening is Lemonheads candy sweet but quickly gives way to the peppery, body odor musk that some really like or dislike. I find it to be pretty linear during the first few hours but eventually, the muskiness fades. Overall, a mature, clean scent that feels best for daytime and professional settings.
Average projection for maybe 3-4 hours and then it hangs around much closer to skin for about 7-8 hours on my skin.
Opens as a very realistic orange smell, but there's something else there too. It goes for a similar vibe to the dirty orange of TDH but replaces the earthyness with some cut grass greenery. Funny that, since the perfumer behind this one did TDH as well. Seems he's put out a lot of citrus scents over the years.
The performance on this is lacking. Immediately after settling on the skin it becomes a skinscent, no big wafts of this are going to come up throughout the day. I cannot fathom spending hundreds on something with such subpar performance. If you like the opening of this, try TDH Parfum, you'll get a lot more mileage at half the price.
Bigarade Concentrée (2002) is so Jean-Claude Ellena that it honestly hurts. For those unaware, this is a perfumer pretty much obsessed with transparent citrus and floral notes, almost a lean and mean cyberpunk Edmond Roudnitska if you will, stripping that perfumer of his risque leanings to focus on purity. Never more clear was this than on Cartier Déclaration (1998), an ode to Roudnitska's Eau d'Hermès (1951), with Bigarade Concentrée being something of a continuation. Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle doesn't let their starring perfumers run entirely free however, so any significant changes in direction from Déclaration are likely at Malle's behest. The smell of Bigarade Concentrée seems to ditch most of the cumin, florals, and leather from Déclaration, excising the parts of that formula which were most comparable to the Roudnitska style to leave behind more of Ellena's personal vibe.
There is still plenty of bergamot and bitter orange up front, but the initial cumin blast is subdued, quickly shifting into dry rose much like the later Cartier Déclaration d'un Soir (2012) by Mathilde Laurent, which may have been likely inspired in part by this. The dry rose core seems to posses a minty ghost note which works with the spiced citrus top on a base of cedar, Iso E Super, coumarin, and Haitian vetiver, giving this a mown grass feel in the end. Despite the name, Bigarade Concentrée is not massively strong, and will fade in mere hours, much like many of the various eaux Jean-Claude worked on for Hermés. Wear time is maybe six hours max and sillage is booming for the first 30 minutes, then a whimper thereafter, which is also a hallmark of the most recent iterations of Ellena style. Keep this to casual summer use. I like what is presented, but the quality and performance does not leap out at me like many Creed and Xerjoff citrus florals in this price range.
I'm left wanting and questioning the price point, which is honestly something that seems to happen often when I test the Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle lines. Not to house-bash, but a great many of the creations coming from the brand seem to be mostly of the standard quality and performance that the designers who employ these same perfumers display, so I'm left scratching my head and ultimately conclude it's another silly Veblen goods pride of ownership head trip that sells this stuff. Although I'll admit Malle isn't without its spectacular marquee creations which tempt the coinpurse. You can certainly buy something under the Hermés label and get a similar experience, or even roll back to Cartier Déclaration if you don't mind the sweaty aspect, but otherwise Bigarade Concentrée is an expensive hat trick from Ellena that leaves me feeling indifferent. Try for yourself if you're unsure, as my opinion here goes counter to popular consensus. Solid neutral.