Artful, artisanal and supremely scented, Maison Balzac is a thing of profound beauty. The candle house and its original five scents – redolent of breaking baguettes, bush walks and bathing in the South of France – were suspended in wax and deftly told by Elise Pioch. For these now iconic scents, it seemed an organic path to be immortalised in porcelain (and art), with the debut of Maison Balzac’s latest offering, the Scented Water.
L’eau spiked with the fragrant trail of Le Bois, Le Rose and Le Soliel, the house’s three best-sellers, this is by no means just another fragrance. A revolutionary way to wear scent; it is an Eau de Toilette to perfume your skin, you space and your linen. A triple threat, in every sense. This philosophy of multi-purposing is one which underpins both the brand and its mastermind, Elise Pioch. From the fertile spoils of beauty’s finest minds, pragmatism is also highly important to Pioch. A bon vivant she may be, but she too favours a simple life; her feet planted firmly on the earth (often barefoot with daughter Loulou), she adheres to this humbling ethos with almost everything she does; le multi-purpose (does it sound chic now?).
A remarkably synergist product which riffs on the romance of a French childhood; now your sheets, your boudoir and your pulse points can revel in the splendour of their scent. And to mark their wondrous debut, each scent also received a jazzy facelift, a little artful Botox, if you will. Le Rose, Le Bois and Le Soleil underwent a little aesthetic rejuvenation, boasting all new packaging and enlisting the painterly assistance of some of Australia’s finest talents.
LE BOIS (‘The Woods’ in French) features a beautifully intimate detail of Sydney based artist, Leah Fraser’s painting, ‘He presses against the blue and bursts into form’, created in 2015. For Pioch, the work resonated deeply with her imagining of a walk through the woods; Frasers’ work illustrates the wafting perfumes of a crunchy walk in the forest; where cedar wood essence echoes with distant notes of leather and smoke.
The exuberant heart of Maison Balzac beats with LE SOIEL, now covered in spots (non-contagious, mais bien sûr). These are the spots one would get in their eyes after staring at the sun for too long, a witty nod at squinty summers and an equally chic one at that. A sunny scent full of optimism, it’s a joyful accord of zesty citrus, orange flowers and neroli. This time, you don’t have to squint, too hard.
After years of being pert and punchy, LA ROSE is now fresh-cheeked and tinged with joy, dressed in a powdery, baby doll pink. ‘The Rose’ becomes pink in its entirety, and is an homage to Jeanine Balzac, who used to wear Joy by Jean Patou, and who filled her home with roses and wild violets plucked from her garden. A scent and story to court romance, it is scent we pine for, and now so can your space.
In the rarefied air of perfumery, Pioch has managed to keep it earnest and genuine (and very well-priced at $69), and yet eternally beautiful and chic. It is her talent in balancing both the real and the romantic which cements Maison Balzac as the ultimate story-teller in the olfactive narrative.
Next, she’ll be walking on water – the scented kind, of course.