Roses de Mai Marathon: Rosabotanica

Rosabotanica, launched by Balenciaga in 2013 after Florabotanica, is a little odd but quite appealing. It is odd, because despite its name, I find it less “rosy” than its predecessor. I remember having that impression when I first tried them both a few years ago. Rosabotanica opens with a prominent fig note which never really dissipates. Balenciaga’s copy described it as a “spicy rose”, but I would call it more of a “green figgy rose.”Maybe even a “rosy green fig.” I added “green” because this is not a syrupy fig, as some can be; it is a greener fig that includes its leaves. Some commenters have felt that Rosabotanica reminded them of Hermes’ Un Jardin En Mediterranee because of that, and I can see the resemblance.  Unfortunately, I have to use the past tense, because both Rosabotanica and Florabotanica have been discontinued, but they are widely available online for reasonable prices.

I’ve always liked the two fragrances’ bottles; I usually go for more traditional, classical fragrance bottles but these have always appealed to me:

Bottles of Balenciaga fragrances Florabotanica and Rosabotanica

Balenciaga Florabotanica and Rosabotanica;

I was tickled to see that Robin at Now Smell This felt the same attraction to the bottles, back in 2013 when Rosabotanica was launched and she reviewed it. I was interested to read that she experienced grapefruit and cardamom first, at the opening, and the fig note later, while I had the opposite experience: strong fig at the opening, and then hints of grapefruit and cardamom later, with the fig persisting throughout. I also agree with her that it is light, but I find that longevity is good on my skin, at least five hours which is pretty long for a light fragrance like this.

I get a glimmer of blue hyacinth right at the start, but not enough to warrant much of a mention, despite the original copy from the brand:

 It opens with crystal accents of blue hyacinth and milky green character of fig leaf, refreshed by petitgrain. Rose in this composition reveals its sparkling and herbal facets increased by bitter drops of grapefruit and spicy cardamom and pink pepper. The base is composed of white amber, cedar, vetiver, patchouli and clean woody notes.

I guess one could describe a “glimmer of blue hyacinth” as “crystal accents of blue hyacinth”, so maybe we’re not that far apart after all! I do smell the petitgrain as a supporting player behind the green fig leaf note. As Rosabotanica dries down, I sense a bit of grapefruit and cardamom, but the fig still dominates, to my nose (as illustrated by the figs on the bottles’ decor and boxes). As the base emerges, it is woody with more than a hint of vetiver, which I like. It is more grassy/woody than woody, which suits this fragrance.

The perfumer behind Rosabotanica (and Florabotanica) was Olivier Polge, working with Jean-Christophe Hersault. M. Polge, of course, is now the in-house perfumer for Chanel. In Rosabotanica, he seemed to take a playful approach to a fantasy garden, and I like it.

Have you tried either of these Balenciaga scents? Any of the house’s other scents? Or, what do you think of M. Polge’s work since joining Chanel? (I know, that’s probably an entire blog’s worth of opinion!).

9 thoughts on “Roses de Mai Marathon: Rosabotanica

  1. I’m sure I have tried both Flora- and Rosabotanica in the past. I used to get so many samples in Sephora orders and those were quite common offerings. I think I liked Flora- but not enough to buy. I may dig through my pile to see if Rosa- still exists to try again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also have reservations about deciding I love a discontinued scent. Some of my earliest bottles from years before I embraced my inner Perfumista were discontinued ones I found at places like Marshall’s. Shisheido Zen 2000, my long lost love! Better to fall in love with the attainable ones, lol!


  2. Ooh, I’ve always been curious about fig-rose or rose-fig compositions as those are 2 of my favorite notes but I haven’t smelled many with both. Rosabotanica sounds like something I’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

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