The Different Company Sublime Balkiss ~ perfume review

Sublime Balkiss perfume by The Different Company

Sublime Balkiss is the lastest from perfumer Celine Ellena at The Different Company. The modern (i.e., oakmoss-free, i.e., not chypre-ish) chypre fragrance was named for the Queen of Sheba, and features two kinds of patchouli: the traditional essence, and a "modified modern patchouli" which emphasizes the cocoa powder notes.

Sublime Balkiss opens on a veritable berry-fest: it's juicy and rich, like a dark berry liqueur with a touch of sparkle (the notes, in addition to the patchouli: bergamot, violet, blueberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, lily of the valley, rose, lilac). The base is dry, earthy-woody and smooth, with hints of spice but only very subtle cocoa, rather like Thierry Mugler Angel with the candy tamped down and all the rough edges polished off. You'll pick up some flowers here and there (I mostly noticed the rose), but to my mind, it's all about the berry and patchouli. And the patchouli, by the way, tilts considerably more towards the "modified modern" than the "traditional"; in other words, don't be surprised if it doesn't really smell all that much like "patchouli" to you.

Leather cases for The Different Company fragrancesThe Different Company is advertising Sublime Balkiss as a "surprising fragrance, with a familiar touch to it", and that's spot on; there's nothing terribly unusual about it except that it's so fantastically well-done. It's another descendent of Angel without being anything like a copy, and it could also be the more sophisticated, less commercial (and so of course, pricier) version of scents like Donna Karan's DKNY Delicious Night. Despite the fact that the very thought of berries + patchouli pretty much turns my stomach, I found it extraordinarily likable; if berries + patchouli sounds right up your alley, it's a must try. I'd wear it happily if a bottle dropped from the skies, and if one should drop from the skies wearing the spiffy but obviously useless leather case (see image at right, available in a range of colors from black to pink), all the better.

The Different Company Sublime Balkiss is available in 50 and 90 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for The Different Company under Perfume Houses. As of this writing, it has not yet launched in the US (and I heard it might not get here until 2009?) but it can be found now at First in Fragrance in Germany.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This sounds interesting, I'd like to try it to see how things develop.

    I'm gearing up for Fall/Winter and darker frags, perhaps this will fit the bill?

  2. Anonymous says:

    R, as I just said to you on the next article down, there is just too much stuff this fall. Maybe just as well if it doesn't get here until next year! And hugs to you :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    It isn't terribly heavy, but to my nose it'd be a bit much for summer, yes. It isn't a dark spice-fest though.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I already have this . I like it , VERY MUCH, yet its not LOVE. Its powdery on my skin, the cocoa is subtle and a slightly sweet floral ;. surprisingly l equally fruity AND lt floral and … not heavy at all. I would wear at any time of the year. But if Angel in concept is appealing , buit OVERWHELMING ( I can't abide it) I really recommnd this. Divine is very good, and something I would wear to the office !

    But I do well well with most fruity/woody scents as it is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin!

    I received a sample of Sublime Balkiss and the more I wear it the more it grows on me. With so many pricey launches yet to come, not sure this is FB worthy-even if it has grown on me. Thanks for the great review!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm…..I have been so curious about Sublime Balkiss and wondered why I couldn't find it at Luckyscent, Neiman's or anywhere that carries the TDC line. Now I know why, it's not here yet! Hrmpf ;-)
    I love patchouli but not so much berries but this still sounds very appealing to me. I'm one of the few who like Angel (or admits to liking it!) yet I never wear it anymore. A more sophisticated “descendent” of Angel sounds right up my alley. I think I am also routing for Celine – to make her Dad proud! Thanks for the review, Robin!

  7. Anonymous says:

    er, ahem, gulp. am i the only one taken aback by the name? my first thought was a nineties club band in boston called “ginger buttkiss.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    Agree, perfect for someone who likes the idea of Angel but finds it too much in practice.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, it's going to be an avalanche this fall, isn't it? Hide your wallet :-)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hrmpf at my NM, which doesn't have TDC *ever*!

    Anyway, don't know the official US launch date and can't even remember where I heard that it was 2009, so don't take my word for it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Say it in French, it will sound better :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Berries and Patchouli? Those sounds you here are my footsteps running out the door. She's done some nice work, but this one is just not for me. And if “Angel-like” becomes the new chypre, I'm moving to an island until it's over. But there are so many new fragrances, I'll be OK skipping a few.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is it a lot nicer than Delicious Nights, as I didn't care for that? Or anything like Bois de Paradis by Delrae? Actually, I am not sure I like that one either. In fact this may not be my thing at all! I may have issues with berries. : – )

  14. Anonymous says:

    Balkiss is another name for the Queen of Sheba…by legend . Ii know at least 2 women named Balkis , yes they are of African American or Ethiopian descent.

    She was quite a memorable Queen of Africa and a heroine to many!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Bois de Paradis is a masterpiece imho. THERE IS NO COMPARISION> truly evocative and complex ; this is just good. With Celine Ellena I stick to Sel a vetiver. I did not care much for her other three. BUT again good enough for a decant or sample.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Quinncreative, it isn't an Angel dupe at all, but these dark woods + clean patch scents are definitely “the new” thing this year. In about 1 more year, I'll be complaining about them as vociferously as I do about fruity florals now, but for the moment, I'm enjoying the change.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Vanessa, about a million times better than Delicious Nights to my nose. I'd wear this happily, nothing would make me wear Delicious Nights. Bois de Paradis I might wear if they ever did a light version, but as it is, I find it too overwhelming to even contemplate — I was never able to make myself give it a 3rd shot.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That is really helpful to know – Delicious Nights was the very first scent I tried at the onset of my perfume hobby back in January and I remember thinking: “This hasn't got off to a good start!”

    Bois de Paradis in a lght version would be just the ticket – I can see its qualities, but it is sticky and rich and a bit headache-inducing right off the bat. I am a big TDC fan, so will check this Balkiss one out. Right now I am swooning over Jasmin Noir, of which I have finally acquired a sample, and I have mentioned it over on the Samantha thread.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Delrae, in general, doesn't go for “light”. The only one I would spray on is Debut, the others I find I really need to decant and dab gently. I need to revisit Jasmin Noir, so far, I'd say that Celine Ellena's style doesn't suit me quite so well as Jean-Claude Ellena's. But what she does, she does well.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well, my only other experience of DelRae was Amoureuse – Farah will back me up here as she had my reject sample and had a similar run-in with it – I thought it was going to be “lush” in a good, perfumey way, like Iris Nobile or Joy without the civet! – but it something about that precise combo of spices and indolic flowers took my head off and made me feel very sick – and that was just from tentative dabbing. So it took a while before I dabbled in the line again. Or dabbed, even.

  21. Anonymous says:

    In many ways, I think Amoureuse is PdR's best scent, but yes, the strength doesn't serve it well. The perfect amount, as near as I can tell, is a drop OR LESS. I do so wish they'd do a diet version.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Same trouble with all “Different company”

    Very nice, well done and a catastrophic lasting power for quite all the brand (and at this price)

    Except for “Bergamote” (which strangely has a very good lasting power for an hesperid flagrance), I was never attracted to buy a bottle.

    It looks like more and more a “Play field” for Ellena daughter.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Very surprised — I only have trouble w/ staying power with a few of them, most do very well on my skin — and Celine's generally last longer than JCE's.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Funny, I will never be able to separate this in my mind from Parfum de Nicolai “Balkis.” I think I have a sample of that one and if I remember, it's sweet-raspberry-fruity as well, which makes it sound like there are similarities in addition to the names.

    The berries don't make this sound up my alley, but I've been intrigued and pleased by several Different Company scents.

  25. Anonymous says:

    They're pretty different: the PdN is also a sweet berry scent, but it's way more floral — this is darker, woodier, the flowers are accents, not the focus. The TDC also comes much closer to unisex — the PdN would be hard for most men to pull off.

  26. sharviss says:

    I bought a bottle of this for my Mom and ended up keeping it for myself – oops! I’m thinking that I shouldn’t buy perfume as gifts because clearly I cannot resist sampling them. Ah well, I’ll take my Mom to The Perfume Shoppe when she comes to visit and she can pick her own perfume.

    • Robin says:

      That’s very funny!! Wonder if she’ll pick the same one :-)

  27. sharviss says:

    Good question! Probably not though. It’s probably safest to let someone pick out their own perfume – at least that’s how I justified stealing my own mother’s gift!

    • Robin says:

      LOL…good thinking.

  28. alexandrakwan says:

    OMG~Today I’m really lucky! I got this with a 60% discount from the HK Lane Crawford!!!!! 50ml for only roughly USD48.7! Now a little bit regret that i didn’t purchase the 100ml bottle~ Unfortunately, the sales there told me that they have this big discount cuz they’re not stocking it anymore lol~

    The berries’ sweetness only lingers breifly in the top note, I smelled the bergamont, but just for a brief moment as well. The remainingly is mainly, rose weaving in and out through out the middle note till the dry down, I occasionally smelled the slightly bitter cocca, i think’s what make it special, a bit of bitterness to tame down the rose and patchouli~ it’s warm in the sense that it’s still wearable even during the summar~the smell is non-offensive, all-rounded and sensual! Can’t keep from smelling my wrist ;P, will give it another try after shower tonight!

    • Robin says:

      Excellent buy, congrats!

  29. Mhhh, may I say that SB is nice and really pretty done, but nothing I expected when reading about chypre?
    For my nose, it is a “in your face” fruity and it reminds me all too well of Jean-Claude Ellena’s In Love Again for YSL. It is a high-end, high-quality interpretation of it and I also would be very happy to receive it as a gift, but I thought of it as something much more special.
    Still it is the best in your face fruity that I smelled until now :-)

  30. Oh, I should have stayed quiet! Apart from the lasting quality of the scent which is fantastic, the scent stayed on my shirt and on my skin about 12 hours. After the fruity stuff is gone, it turns to a divine scent.
    Still I wonder if I should buy this or Eau Suave. The direction is similar, yet not at all.

  31. Sujaan says:

    Hi, late to the party here…I just tried this. At first sniff it smelled so beautiful but that very quickly left and then all I smelled was baby powder, which is my least favorite scent. It’s too bad, I thought it was going to be a nice every day sort of fragrance, but I just loathe the powder.

    • Robin says:

      That is strange — wonder if you are anosmic to something they used?

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