There was a time in the late 2000s when I was able to look beyond the perfumes and colognes you would typically find on the shelves at department stores and beauty shops located in the mall. Luxury and niche fragrances became more available in Dallas when Barney’s opened one of their largest stores here in 2006 (RIP). The store was two stories with beauty and fragrance occupying the front half of the first floor. It was the first place located in my peripheral that offered fragrance lines like Frederic Malle, Comme des Garçon, Le Labo, and Byredo. It was the latter that eventually drew me in the most. In 2009 alone they released both Baudelaire and Bal D’Afrique which became and remain to this day two of my all time favorites perfumes.
It was Bal D’Afrique of the two that won me over originally. Every time I catch its scent, it takes me back to the first day I wore it. I didn’t have many people in my life that cared much about fragrances but the few I did were all at work. It felt like driving up in a new car that morning, and for someone that didn’t grow up around much luxury, it felt special like you were in on a secret. The opening of citrus followed by a floral middle that all lands wonderfully on a woody vetiver finish that just felt plush.
The only downside to Bal D’Afrique, the perfume, is that it never really lasts long on my skin. As opposed to Baudelaire which seems to almost add an extra layer, Bal D’Afrique quietly disappears after a few hours. It lingers a bit on your clothes but not for much longer. It’s not the most enveloping scent either with a sillage that is subtle and can float away in open areas with little notice. It’s the reason I don’t buy it often, as I expect a little more value for that price point. However, it’s a fragrance that I still enjoy experiencing from time to time and that’s where the body lotion fits perfectly.
The lotion contains all the same notes, and subtleties, as the perfume but costs less and serves the more personal purpose of allowing me to enjoy the scent every now and then. The quality of the lotion itself isn’t going to keep your skin hydrated during the winter but it’s serviceable and a great summer or night time moisturizer. The way I use it most is just after an evening shower before we lie down to watch a movie. A time and setting when a light fragrance is far more desirable. In this application, Bal D’Afrique works fabulously. It also goes to show there may be other options available if you run into a similar problem with how a beloved fragrance works with your skin composition.