Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rochas Byzance (Vintage EDT)

I wear my vintage Byzance EDT by Rochas and it's 1987 all over again, in the best possible way. Big, bold ambery floriental perfumes wafting in the air combating each other in elevators all over the western world. The age of the supermodels, dramatic silhouettes, hair and makeup, everything bordering on tasteless but so much fun!

I don't really miss the 80s or my teenage years. Just the perfumes and perhaps more importantly, the attitude about perfume. People actually left the house wearing Giorgio, can you believe it? Byzance, the 1987 Rochas perfume is like me, a child of that era. It starts very floral. So much so that between the aldehydic opening (the Blond always asks "what vintage is this?" if he smells me when Byzance is freshly applied) and the almost soapy rose-muguet-carnation blend, I'm not always certain at first I've chosen the right scent-of-the-day. Soon enough, though, Byzance puts on its creamy oriental face, complete with smooth sandalwood and deep ambery overtones.

I wear heavy perfumes quite well and this is no exception. All that vanilla and musk in the dry-down take on an animalic sultry attitude. Byzance is rich, elaborate and unapologetic. I don't think it's too sweet or too anything, really. It may have large shoulder pads, but I find that the green notes of the opening and the balsamic spices and resins create a nice balance. This Rochas perfume is fit for an evening gown (or something black, silky and boudoirish). It looks at you through heavy lids and gives a knowing and sophisticated aura. I doubt many men would be brave enough to wear it, but I have a feeling those who dare might be surprised.

Notes: aldehydes, spices, carnation, green notes, mandarin orange, basil, cardamom, lemon, tuberose, orris root, jasmine, turkish rose, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley,anise, sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla, heliotrope, the kitchen sink and cedar.

Byzance by Rochas can be easily found online. Rumor has it, though, that newer juice smells a lot more soapy and less complex. I tend to believe that.

1989 Byzance ad featuring the stunning Tatjana Patitz from


  1. Wonderful review of a perfume that brings back many memories for me. Thank you for reminding me of an old favorite. Off to find this online...

  2. OMG, don't even know where to start. I was a child in the 80's and I've never smelled Byzance, yet back then I used to collect perfume ads from my Mom's beauty magazines (i still have them at home... I guess it was the first first I was going to grow up a beauty junkie) and the Byzance ad was one of my favorites. It just said so much, of beauty and opulence, even to a little girl. Reading your review, it seems that Byzance smelled just like the image of that woman clothed in gold should smell. I might try and go find it online :-)

  3. This has been 'my scent' for eras. I always go back to it. I was worried it was discontinued! I'm happy it's not, and that you reviewed this.

    Do you know about something similar? (I know, maybe it's impossible, but...)

    Thank you.

  4. Oh dear, it always makes me feel so old when something from the 1980's is classified as *vintage!* Yes, people actually went out of the house wearing Giorgio and went into the workplace! And when they left, it lingered for hours like an evil spirit! You couldn't even go into a nice department store without having to try to get past the women stationed at every entrance who tried to spray the evil juice on you. Giorgio had some mighty staying power!

  5. I have a mini of Byzance and like it very much. Like you, I seem to be able to carry the big 80s fragrances with no problem. Poison? Paris? Spellbound? What's the problem? I've never tried Giorgio, but maybe I should!

  6. Thanks, Anon. It shuld be fairly easy to find online, though I'm not sure about the formulation. Vintage and second-hand stores are also a good source.

  7. Patuxxa, I also loved the ads of the 80s. Your collection must be a real treasure.

  8. Renata, I don't know of anything similar, but look for big florientals from the 80s and very early 90s such as Tiffany, Panthere de Cartier and Jil Sander No. 4.

  9. Marsha, nowadays just about any perfume pre-IFRA (=2005) can be considered "vintage", so my 1970-born self no longer cares ;) .

  10. Patty, beware of Giorgio ;) . That's one I actually have serious issues wearing.


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