There is a Barry Manilow song that I love called ‘Why Don’t We Try A Slow Dance,’ and I think it is most romantic. I think of it as a moment when you have just met someone, ad you go to the dance floor and have danced a couple of fast songs. And after getting a slow song comes on and you look at each other and say, ‘you wanna try this one?’ It comes at a moment when a flirtation levels up to something a little more, and there’s that exhilarating possibility of…something. That song captures that moment, and when I saw that ‘Slow Dance’ was the title of the new Byredo scent, I wondered if the perfume will capture that as well.
Jerome Epinette is the nose for this perfume and the inspiration is from ‘a high school dance, a heady collision of innocence and experience, of knowing and not knowing.’ Well, I don’t know about that. The scent feels pretty mature to me, and is quite sophisticated smelling. The top notes are supposedly opoponax and cognac, hardly stuff at the school gym. I get some kind of berries that dominate (well, maybe that’s the punch at the gym) and some vanilla. But this doesn’t go gourmand – there’s geranium here, and some sweet violets. It’s all very transparent, too, but not fleeting. The one spritz I had on my arm lasted a very long time, and I found myself wanting to sniff it over and over. Yes, I kind of fell for this – it’s hefty enough for colder weather days, but feels gauzy and clear. I thought it kind of smelled a little incense-y or woodsy but not overly so. It smells very Byredo-ish, and fits perfectly with their aesthetic. And above all, it smells heavenly.
Summer’s almost here and if you are still feeling the May and June glooms, rest assured Byredo will speed things up a bit. Their new release ‘Sundazed’ is summer in a bottle.
It’s a nice lemon burst int he beginning with splashes of mandarin, so it’s a nice citrus blast. In it’s heart is a mixture of jasmine and neroli. Then a ‘cotton candy’ note comes in and wraps the whole perfume in a candied haze. I described it to someone as candied neroli.
Essentially, it’s a cologne. But to give it more heft, there’s that jasmine and neroli center, and that candied accord. Imagine Prada Candy but instead of caramel, you get a citrus floral. When I first tried this, I thought it was just another variation of a cologne. It makes sense that Byredo would be doing their own version of the immensely popular Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford. But when I wore it for a full day (I always suggest this when youa re trying a new scent) I liked it a lot more – the cotton candy accord here smells icy, akin to a frozen lemon popsicle. The floral heart gives it elegance, making this not your typical frothy teenaged perfume. Lord help me, I think I want this for the summer.
Seconds after spritzing Byredo’s ‘Eleventh Hour’ and I am already impressed – what is this note, I asked. It’s dark, and dank and peppery, and this morning it was nice and cold, and this just fits perfectly as I wake up and it is still kind of dark outside. Turns out the note is called Ban Timmur, and it is a Nepalese plant related to Szechuan pepper. It has a moody kind of spice, and I am addicted to it. And then some cloves come in, and in its heart a fig – the juicy kind, not the just-off-stem that is in Philosykos. But there’s also a creaminess to this, and I get some cashmere kinds of woods that feel like the scent is enveloping you and keeping you warm. I imagine in my mind a burnt orange hue, and this makes the perfume just perfect for the late fall.
Eleventh Hour is inspired by the end of the world. Well, if this is what the end smells like, then I gather it will not be as dreaded. I know that L’Artisan had a similarly themed one in 1999, but their interpretation was more altar-incense themed, asking you to pray. Byredo’s point of view at the end feels more settled-in. Byredo’s recent releases have been nice, but this one has excited me just a little more.
I am always a sucker for incense perfumes, but on warmer days wearing them can be tricky. Smoke added to heat isn’t really becoming. I love most of the Commes de Garcon incense collection – they can project light and perfect for summer days. Byredo’s Encens Chembur is another good light one – it is not as resinous as other incense perfumes, and has a lot of citrus in it that makes it light and breezy. This has a not of ‘temple incense,’ and that is exactly what it smells like – it’s a contemplative and melancholy scent – you feel like you want to meditate or do yoga while wearing this. (It is named after a temple in rural India ) There are lemon-y notes and bergamot which frames it with a light color. It’s very Byredo – it fits with the rest of their line, as it smells niche-y and expensive. It’s also subtle and stays close to the skin – you will feel sexy wearing this. This would be perfect on a nice beach-y California summer evening, and I want it.
When I first tried Byredo’s latest release, Velvet Haze, I fell in love with it. I knew that it was a 60s based patchouli scent, and I somehow internalized that, and from what I remembered, it gave a smooth classy patchouli vibe. I even mentally put it on my Christmas Wish List, and I even said well let me wait for Barney’s Christmas bag and I will buy it when that offer comes, which does around November.
But tonight, I spritzed the generous sample that I got after my nightly shower. I usually wear new perfume then, as it is when I have a clear palette, and I can look at perfume more objectively. Tonight I get that ‘coconut water’ note clearer, and I kind of like it – it’s summery, and just a little nutty. And I did notice the patchouli note coming in, and it is nice and smooth, and I thought to myself: why bother?
This time around, I wasn’t too impressed by Velvet Haze – it came across as a skin scent, kind of weak, and much too ‘nothing.’ It did not scream perfume to me, and I like to wear my perfume – I like to smell it when I move, I like a little bit of sillage to leave behind. I have read reviews that liken Velvet Haze to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, and I see the comparison, but Lovely performs better, and the trail that Lovely leaves is quite lovely. Velvet Haze just whimpers, till it fades to that generic musky blah of nothing.
Maybe I need to give myself a two-wearing rule when I sample new scents, as I think I would have been disappointed had I gotten it. And the good news I guess – this gets scratched from my Christmas list in favor of more of what I really want.
Addendum: Okay, so perhaps I was wrong about the drydown. i realize that it has a neon-like patchouli drydown and it is actually quite nice. Hmmm…
I was at a friend’s house over the weekend, and on his perfume dresser he had Byredo’s ‘La Tulipe,’ a Byredo release I don’t think I ever sniffed (it’s from 2010) so of course, I went ahead and wore it while I was staying with him. – I wonder, do people do that?? I do. I thought this scent was a tulip soliflore, but turns out it isn’t. Byredo describes it as a perfume that just invokes the idea of a tulip, and has notes of freesia, ‘tulip accord,’ and rhubarb. And mainly freesia – which I associate with a lot of Bath and Body Works scents. yes, ‘La Tulipe’ kind of smells like that, but it is also more mature, and naturally is made with better material. It’s over all effect is nice and fragrantly clean – which most of the time is not an adjective I associate with perfume I wear.
Honestly, I did not dislike this. It’s pleasant and probably a nice ‘office’ scent – non-threatening, and might even garner a compliment or two. I have seen this described as close to Fabreeze, but I honestly do not really know what Fabreeze smells like. Will I own it? Probably not, but on sumemr days when I visit my friend, I probably would put it on.
Another Summer day in the desert. I wanted to dress up a little bit today, just because. There’s this cute green polo I wanted to wear, and of course, I wanted a perfume to match it – I am weird liek that. So I wanted something green, maybe citrus, something with a little bit more heft to it than a cologne type. Then it hit me – Byredo’s Bal D’Afrique! That would be perfect to wear today.
Signed by Jerome Epinette, Bal D’Afrique is a tribute to the roaring 1920s in Paris. Imagien you are at a late night club and seeing Josephine Baker, performing with wild abandon, singing with an Aftican band behind her – congo drums and all that. That scene is the inspiration for this scent.
Oh-tay. What I get is a sparking citrus opening – the freshness of bergamot combined with a dense neroli. It gives a light impression, but it clings. Much has been said that there is a musky sweat note here, but not in that sense of that word. It’s a sweet musk that just makes it a little heavier. Then a bouquet of flowers enter (Marigolds, jasmine, Violets) and then there’s vetiver. The vetiver gives it a sparkle, a teinkle that makes you feel that the perfume you have on is a little bit more special. This is one of those perfumes that make me feel good instantly. It makes me feel what I have on is a little bit more dressed up than normal, and is absolutely the perfect match for the start of my day today. I remember the day I got this, at Aedes in 2009. I fell in love with it instantly and if I close my eyes right now, I could still go back to myself that day, what I was feeling, the possibilities of my old life. Perfume does that to me, and on days when I need a pick-me-up, is a needed dose of sanity.