Balenciaga Rosabotanica fragrance review

I've been daylighting — moonlighting if your "day job" is from rush hour to after last call — with a florist, and it's given me a crazy appreciation for the scent of flowers. One in particular: hyacinth. It's the best scent I've ever smelled, totally intoxicating and dense and just PRETTY.

Finding a perfume that's a close approximation of that hyacinth high is my new life's purpose. While I'm not sure that the hyacinth note in Balenciaga Rosabotanica is just right (I haven't gotten my hands on the real floral recently enough to compare) I was drawn to the perfume's offbeat, unsentimental floral hit as a warm weather fragrance. I wanted a floral, but nothing too princessy or reminiscent of air freshener. And oh yeah, that bottle design, though! It looks perfect on my vanity.

Rosabotanica is described as featuring rose, fig leaf and petitgrain. I'd never heard of petitgrain. It also has citrusy and woodsy notes — I am a sucker for vetiver! — and pink pepper.

When you first spray it, it's very strong. The word that came to mind when I tried it in the store was "green." It's got a pleasantly sharp herbal scent, somewhat minty but not quite. I get zero rose in this. I don't mind because I have plenty of rose scents, but don't go into this buying the name as a legitimate description of what's in the bottle.

The green explosion settles down fast. The midpoint of the romp is the high point for me, when the scent isn't as sharp but still smells different, verdant and sexy, but a little more subdued.

But the problem with Rosabotanica is that it doesn't last. I'm spoiled by Shalimar, a sillage monster that even in the EDT form I prefer smells powerful hours after spritzing. Within an hour or two, Rosabotanica is so faded and clings so close to the skin that you have to bury your nose in your flesh to get a whiff of what little is left. I wouldn't describe the scent as soapy, but it's about as weak later in the day as the scent of soap would be after a shower. I have the 1 oz. version, but I almost wish I'd gotten the much cheaper rollerball, because this scent benefits from periodic reapplication. But the BOTTLE, though!

Overall, Balenciaga Rosabotanica is an interesting floral with a sophisticated yet earthy character. I don't think it's a scent that I'll repurchase, but despite its flaws, I've been wearing it every day since I bought it. If you're drawn to the name because you think it's a rose fragrance, skip this one and try Jo Malone Red Roses or Stella.

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