08 April 2008
Balenciaga Le Dix, eau de toilette
Le Dix starts out very powdery and full of violets. I tend to reach for it in the spring because of its violets, but it could be worn any time of year. Those who don’t like powdery scents may not care much for Le Dix; there are moments when it’s just a huge (wonderful) powder bomb. Then again, it’s super classy, and the powder is more violet-toned than baby powder, so you might give it a shot.
Anyway, it’s a burst of powdery violets at first which slowly melts into smooth, creamy violets. A few hours later and for the remainder of the day, it smells wonderfully fresh and nice and very comforting, like a warm mom or favorite auntie. It’s all at once floral and indefinable. It smells very French, and very old-school. Le Dix is quite aldehydic, which contributes to its vintage qualities. Aldehydes are hard to define. They're synthetic molecules that not only enhance other scents in a perfume, but also carry their own powdery and sharp odor, which, unfortunately, gives perfume a perfume-y or “old lady smell.”
I wish there was another title than "old lady." Perhaps instead we could call a perfume a generational smell, and refer to it as something so unmistakably between the two World Wars. I think "oldy lady" perfume got its name because so many classic, older perfumes contain aldeydes (Chanel No. 5, launched in 1921, was the first perfume to use them) and that older women, then in their youth, discovered these scents when they first came into fashion and quickly made them their own. And they still love them. I do, too!
Aldehydic scents are quite civilized, I think. I’d much rather have that “old lady smell” than the generic, watery, ozonic fruity floral that my generation will surely be remembered by (ahem, Calvin Klein, I’m talking to you). I think, too, that perhaps older people lose their sense of smell and therefore really pile on the perfume. Again, though, loads of Chanel No. 5 vs. Eternity is fine by me.
Some great suggestions for other aldehydic fragrances can be found here, and an excellent review about Le Dix can be found here.
I read that Le Dix is named for Balenciaga’s address on 10, avenue George V, in Paris. *le sigh*
I bought my tiny little 10 mL bottle (the perfect size, in my opinion) for $11.99 at Imagination Perfumery. I think I must have bought the last bottle, but they do still have bigger sizes available for decent prices.