Vent Vert (new) 
Pierre Balmain (1990)

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Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain

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About Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain

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Pierre Balmain
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Vent Vert (new) is a women's perfume launched in 1990 by Pierre Balmain

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  3. Base Notes

Reviews of Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain

There are 33 reviews of Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain.


Vent Vert by Pierre Balmain (1990) is version two of the scent originally released in 1947, composed by Calice Becker instead of the original's Germaine Cellier. It had a relatively short lifespan as it was replaced in 1999 by the third version of the scent composed by Nathalie Feisthauer, which would be the last version thus made commercially available. Vent Vert in this second form was not very much liked when launched, as both staunch fans of the original refused it, and younger, trendier noses in the women's market just weren't looking for fragrances this stiffly green anymore, as they read "old lady" in the face of rising aquatics, fruity florals, and eventually gourmands into the 90's. A clear case of "not knowing how good something is until it's gone", Mark II of Vent Vert is now a collectable praised by retro-romantics just like the first version is, likely because it is slightly more-accessible (although still very expensive second-hand), and closer to the original than the more-radical departure that is Nathalie Feisthauer's take on the composition. The original Vent Vert, which I have also reviewed, was a downright revolutionary proclamation of realistic garden notes.

Vert Vert 1990 is no slouch either in this regard, as Becker clearly did her homework with what were probably surviving specimens at hand over at Balmain at the time, The opening and its sharp dry citruses, galbanum, neroli, and the noted asafoetida resin are here, smelling like fresh cut grass and stemmy flowers. Hyacinth seems a bit toned down here compared to the original, while the orris is also subdued (likely due to no real orris used, replaced by synthetics), and the white floral heart being more pronounced. I get more evident violet here, likely from violet ionones, and the muguet comes up stronger. The oakmoss accord is more direct too, since we're using something Becker built up from scratch just using her nose since the pre-made bases Cellier relied upon no longer existed by 1990. I get more vetiver and sage, although sandalwood is still here (this is 1990, before restrictions on export shut down Mysore usage in commercial perfumery), and overall the quality is still 100% here. The biggest changes really just come in the more-separated notes, and slight tweakings away from materials too scarce or expensive to use, or altogether unavailable, making up for their absence by re-mixing everything until the dry-down is approximately one for one.

Honestly, I don't know what everyone back in the 90's was on about with this being inferior, and anyone today dismissing this as a shadow of its former self compared to the 1947 version has either never actually smelled it, or is too high on their own hubris to stop and actually -smell- the roses, so to speak. Criticism I can understand is the somewhat lacking density here, as Becker has made everything feel lighter, sharper, more floral, lacking some of the depth and muskiness of the original Cellier composition, whilst also toning back the powdery elements to a degree. Some of this might just be unavoidable due to materials, and some of it might have been intentionally modernizing Vent Vert slightly for the 90's; but this is still objectively a good, well-made green floral chypre that stands tall with greats like Chanel No. 19 (1972). Of that accomplishment, Calice Becker can be proud; and because of her work here, she would eventually go on to become director of Givaudan Perfumery School. A real "next best thing" formula is this, compared to the big green machine that is the 1947 Vent Vert, although I'm not sure the same can be said of the 1999 replacement. Very well-done. Thumbs up


I have to hand it to Calice Becker: she was faced with the formidable task of reformulating what was at the time a certified classic, limited to the restrictions in perfumery as they were in 1991, and she had succeeded in preserving the spirit of the Cellier original. This is still Vent Vert, still has a fair share of bitter, stemmy yellow-green galbanum (even if it isn't quite as much as the original), and there's that trace of asafoetida (I only elsewhere have seen this note in the other Balmain classic, Ivoire, and Carven Ma Griffe). The asafoetida has that minute hint of sulphurous pungency that really brings green note alive. On a side note, onion essential oil in extreme dilution has been known to be used in traces to create a similar effect, however, asafoetida is considered easier to work with.

This chlorophyll pageant with all matters of herby, leafy, vegetal, is soon joined by, naturally green florals, like hyacinth and lily of the valley, but its most worth noting the presence of marigold. This flower is not for its fragrance but it doesn't necessary come to mind for most as one that we put in a vase and take in its aroma. The scent of the essential oil is reminiscent of ripe apples, green leaves, bitter herbs, almost acrid in nature. But a wafts of the flower bring a smile to my face, and as an accent, a modifier, as it were, only makes sense in exalting the ultra-verdancy of Vent Vert. I almost get the sensation of chicory in the heart as well, fresh, bitter and astringent.

I must reiterate, this 1991 version is by no means a slouch, as it continues its radiance through its dry down, seamlessly transitioning to shades of violet, vetiver, orris root, and a touch of styrax presumably to fix the galbanum resinoid deep into its base. Only as a skin scent do we eventually have its greenness recede into the woods, and a warm, winsome woods at that.

1991 Vent Vert is not "a shadow of its former self." The 1999 version, however, that's an entirely different story, which I cannot yet tell.


I was given a cute 4 ml mini of the new? EDT. This version has polka dots inside the box and a cap that looks like green flowers blowing in a breeze.

Unfortunately, it's not "my cup of tea". The deep green has been turned waaaay down in this particular formulation. I detect some freesia and synthetic hyacinths. Overall it smells kinda cheap, VERY powdery and not as green as I had hoped. I couldn't wait around to experience the basenotes, I had to scrub it off my wrist. This version of Vent Vert isn't offensive and I've certainly smelled worse fragrances. But I personally never want to smell like this, FAR too powdery for me.


Portrait of a young woman ( girl ) by Raphael


I never smelled this before so, I don't know how much it has changed. I have the bottle with the "golf ball" cap.

I enjoy this. I'm not a huge fan of greenish-florals, either. At first I get basil, lime, green notes, some fruit - all settling down together. Copious amounts of freesia kick in. A flower I am not always keen on. Here, it's friendly. Then notes of hyacinth and jasmine take over. Lily of the valley and rose then add to the bouquet. Finally, a gentle base of amber, oakmoss, musk, and sandalwood. Lively fragrance with some summery refreshment.


Referring to the current version with a lid like a tacky silver golf-ball, not the sublime original.

Vile and atrocious.

Have had more pleasant things squirted at me from dispensers in public toilets. Would rather stick needles in my eyes than wear this again.

Will use up mini of beautiful original and accept that it's dead.

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