Parfums de Nicolai Balle de Match : Fragrance Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

If citrus is associated for you with sparkling and fleeting (or worse, insipid lemony concoctions), Balle de Match will definitely be a pleasant surprise. Created by Patricia de Nicolaï in 2002, it is a combination of bittersweet citrus underscored with incense. The initial sensation is akin to biting into a grapefruit, that explosion of bitterness and juicy sweetness. The notes reveal themselves in kaleidoscopic patterns, verdant lime peel one moment and juicy white grapefruit pulp next.

The development of the composition resembles the flow of molten glass more than it does the sparkle of icy shards. The clear citrus notes do not vanish but meld into the heart laced with warm pepper and dry balsamic juniper. The citrus leitmotif persists in the base notes where it is joined by an earthy note of vetiver. Incense adds a smoky resinous sweetness that enhances bitter citrus wonderfully and gives it an exotic flair. The resulting impression is more of crushed pine needles than of pure lime peel, which I found very appealing. Balle de Match with its interesting interplay of clarity and darkness demonstrates how multifaceted citrus can be.

Painting: Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau-View with Railroad and Castle. 1909. Oil on cardboard. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany. Abcgallery. The juxtaposition of light and dark in the composition of this work by one of my favourite artists seems to reflect visually the olfactory characteristics of Balle de Match as I experience them.

Update: Balle de Mat



  • parislondres: Kandinsky is one of my favourite artists too dear V!
    Balle de Match is an interesting fragrance. Well – sadly (as PdNs are relatively affordable perfumes in Paris) – almost none of PdNs make me swoon. Petit Ange is one I used to enjoy wearing in the past. However, a dear friend of mine wears Balle de Match and it smells wonderful on her.

    xoxo July 27, 2005 at 3:07am Reply

  • Robin: V, as you know I adore Balle de Match, and I am thrilled that we both posted on PdN today. It is a complete mystery to me why this line does not get more attention. I can only assume that it doesn’t sell well in the US, or it would be more widely available. July 27, 2005 at 9:12am Reply

  • Victoria: I have not tried Petit Ange, but Robin of NST reviewed it a while ago, and it made on my to-sample list. It sounds very nice! Thank you for inspiring me to try it again! xoxo

    R, I just noticed it! I am off to read the review, which I am sure will be great, as always. I love the line, and I wish it were more widely available (and at French prices, which are far more reasonable).
    xoxo July 27, 2005 at 9:22am Reply

  • julien: I adore almost all Nicolai feminine fragances but i must admit the masculine ones don’t appeal me except maybe NEW YORK.
    Well,i suggest you to smell the new one “eau exotique” made of mango and citrus fruits,with some musky jasmin in bakground,perfect for summer!:)
    And i have also a news to tell you!(how great i am!lol),the new nicolai for women is about to be a woody spicy leather…
    Very original,isn’t it?
    And i also have news about Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier and there new fragances,if you want to know,i am here…
    And of course,thanks again for Victoria,how i love to read your blog and posts…
    Kisses dear.
    Julien. July 27, 2005 at 6:17pm Reply

  • julien: So,the news about MPG are about a new feminine called “La Reine Margot”,a white floral fragance,with an oriental background and lots of citrus notes at top(i guess this is a scent that appeals you!).
    The new masculine one is about to be a “Gourmand” for men,amber,precious woods,very sensual and oriental.

    Of course,it is what i have learnt from now on,it may change… July 27, 2005 at 6:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for the news! Woody spicy leather… Now, that sounds very original. I am excited to see it being released already.

    And yes, please do tell about new MPG fragrances!

    Thank you for your kind words. It is always great to hear your thoughts!
    xoxo July 27, 2005 at 6:27pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, dear J! Sounds great. “La Reine Margot” sounds wonderful indeed. It is always good to hear these news. xoxo July 27, 2005 at 7:17pm Reply

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