Balmain Extatic Gold Musk Eau de Toilette ≈ Fragrance Review & Musings
Extatic Gold Musk is the new flanker-with-a-theme of Extatic. It is an attempt to capture the palette of colors of seasonal Balmain fashion. According to perfumer Sonia Constant of Givaudan who composed it, it is a study on white and gold, the two colors which struck her on the fahion house's catwalks. Musk, a mythical ingredient of perfumery can be approached either with a casual spirit or - and this is less common - with an idea to make it smell several degrees removed from your trusty and no-pretence musk oil perfume oil, easily craddled in the palm of your hand...
The new eau de toilette smells of precious ethyl maltol, as if the gourmand-y ingredient had reached an apex of abstraction ca. 2016 becoming a vaporous suggestion of itself, rather than remaining your cough syrup of choice to soothe all your civilizational blues. While Angel by Thierry Mugler keeps a light hand in its administering of the sweet medication, its emulators sometimes - oftentimes - smell more straight to the point and obviously, toothachingly sweet. We are reminded with Extatic Gold Musk that this almost universal facet of our desires can smell, not of candy, but ethereal, expensive and fussy.
The main imprint of the scent on the olfactory map of launches is that it smells expensive, like a blend of expensive orchids, ethyl maltol and cosmetic powder; it perfumes the air like a vase filled with langorous, hight-stalked blooms that you dimly see - and smell more intensely in a half-lit space by a curtained window.
Extatic Gold Musk smells of the floriental personality of the original but has become more of a skin perfume, hence the « musk » appelation; the « Gold Musk » in it translates to the nose as moneyed musk disguised by flowers, aldehydes, and a drizzle of caramel. It is not a well-behaved or clean musk. Rather, it is a sophisticated musk, one which covers its trail and visible intentions. It smiles enigmatically at you and you are not even sure what this smile means - or even if there was a smile after all. Yet, the scent is inviting.
The impression of the perfume on skin is very warm and it is always mediated by flowers with a dash of fruits (lychee). It tends to evolve from bejeweled, sparkling powder of flowers and precious stones ground up fine to expensive floral cream (gardenia and tiaré). But mostly, it smells quite abstract, save for those hints of edibles, flowers, powder and vanishing cream.
I do not find however that despite the aim of the composition to evoke whiteness that it is that remarkable in that respect. In fact, you are more encouraged to think of a chiaro-oscuro effect thanks to the benzoin, amber and sandalwood.
As the fragrance further develops it becomes both creamier and sharper. It smells now of sweet and savory cream with a hint of ambergris. But really, it smells of class and privilege.
You may wonder if aldehydes smell like riches and power whenever they are inserted into a fragrance composition - or if it is the Chanel effect we are all registering unconsciously. What remains certain is that the perfumer worked on making Extatic Gold Musk smell like a well-heeled musk - and in perfumery the color of the heel of the well-to-do is not red, but leaves a sillage of nervy, mentholated-kool and transparent aldehydes.
Fragrance notes: aldehydes, bergamot, tiaré, gardenia, Akigalawood, Ambroxan, musk, sandalwood and benzoin.
You could also read Smell Expensive for Less