I have read the reviews and have to clarify a few things about this truly legendary perfume.
If it seems as though people are smelling three different scents - they are.
Bal a Versailles was formulated in the early Sixties, when the parfum came in a very fancy little package (I remember them well) wrapped in tissue in a yellow moire-printed box with a silk cord around it. There were eau de toilette bottles in rectangular shape and round ones with gold bullet tops. Eau de parfum came in a fantastic bottle shaped like a lyre, with a crystal ball top.
BaV was reformulated slightly due to health concerns(minimal changes to the scent) but still came in a yellow box (white and dark blue high-gloss card for edT and edP). The silk cord was gone. Another point worth mentioning is that the original formula bottle had a gold foil bullseye cutout on the front (counterintuitive - everyone thinks the Coupe des Sens reproduction is the front but it isn't) That also went in the first reformulation.
Jean Desprez had several French addresses, all in yellow, white and blue boxes. Included bath oils, body creams, extrait and so on, including sprays in white lace-printed cylinders.
In 1994, it was sold to Inter Parfums Paris which sold the licence in 1996, to Parlux Fragrances Inc. I am unsure about the reflection in packaging because I don't have the entire story yet. If there was a dilution in constituents it doesn't seem to have begun until it was sold to Genesis (a bad day) in 2002.
Genesis International marketing Corporation was a U.S. company based in Miami, Florida.
Until that point it had been possible to get the pure parfum in many sizes: 1/8th, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 and 4 ounces (yes, four ounces of perfume, to be used up before it lost its notes - BaV has never been for the faint at heart!) The bottles were lovingly housed in padded silk-brocade-covered "coffin" boxes in glossy card packaging. The ounce-and-up bottles - pay attention now - came in round bottles like the ones used for the larger eaux, but with a >>lyre-shaped crystal<< stopper.
I can't emphasize this enough: plastic lyre - very, very bad. Genesis changed the formula, the stopper, the volume (0.9 oz instead of 1.0) and the packaging, which became foil in a coppery colour. NON NON NON!! You can tell the impostor by the ill-proportioned and ill-fitting plastic geegaw sitting drunkely atop the bottle. It lost its heart and something in the base was not right, but most of all, it smelt like an odd BaV-through-the-washer-and-the-cat-box smell. To me, as to many, many others.
Now, the odd thing about body chemistry, as we all know, is that on a few people it simply won't smell bad, and for them that is good, but it is not BaV, merely an interpretation thereof.
BaV now is owned by SEI Corporation which has been in the process of relaunching BaV since 2009. SEI is an investment company, seemingly hoping to recreate the buzz and the interest. It has been taking reviews from various perfume sites; it's been running a contest, and it has been making great hay out of the fact that Michael Jackson and Queen Elizabeth wore this perfume - but as usual it begs the question - which iteration? and of course one can't know how their individual body chemistries reacted.
A hint or two: Yellow boxes, whether lemony or sunflowery. Crystal stoppers, not plastic. The lyre bottle was only ever used for the original and the first reiteration. The small ray-shaped mini is good.
And if you are very, very fortunate, you will come across Léon Leyritz's extravagant 1969"Janusette", a limited edition bottle in Sèvres porcelain adapted from one of Leyritz's sculptures, presented in a casket in Moroccan red leather. (c)2014 Daisy Morant