Byredo Pulp

I decided today (Sunday) was close enough to December to haul my Christmas decorations out and get my holiday mojo working.  We went to church first for some prayers and a dose of Christmas carols, then ransacked the attic for the balance of the day, with Rudolph in the background and a break to bake sugar cookies.  If you are looking for a quiet, tasteful display of elegant ornamentation, conveying the true, simple spirit of the holiday, then by all means don’t come to my house.  (Don’t go to Patty’s house either — I wonder how her butt-shaking motorized Santa survived the winter snows?)  I’ve gotten the Cheese to come around on this, sort of.  His mother was the kind of woman who thought putting a single string of white lights on the tree was gilding the lily.  In my house growing up we decorated the tree until I couldn’t find another square inch of artificial branch to dangle a seahorse or a handmade cyclops Rudolph from.

Today, in addition to setting out my parents’ ratty and beloved 1950s cardboard village (remember those?) replete with trees and one-armed, scary-looking elf revelers, we have a huge wooden, German-made, candle-powered spinning Christmas pyramid that fascinates my kids as much as it did me at their age.  We arranged my mother’s mantel nativity scene to which my children have thoughtfully added nativity elephants, snowmen, Chinese figurines, lions, a llama, a dinosaur, a Lego pirate and Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion.

Tonight I snuck out to see a flamenco performance, which fed the only parts of my soul that hadn’t been fed by a day of shameless holiday revelry with my kids.  The result is a quickie perfume post.  Let’s tackle Byredo Pulp.

When I first smelled Pulp, I thought immediately of Roald Dahl’s wonderfully lurid children’s book James and the Giant Peach, and the scene where the peach breaks loose from the tree, hurtles downhill and smashes those hateful aunts Sponge and Spiker  — thereby introducing millions of young readers to the guilty pleasure of schadenfreude.   Pulp is something like that giant peach in terms of aim and effect.  It has no steering wheel, no breaks, no catalytic converter, no emissions control, no airbags.  Consider carefully whether you want to throw yourself in front of it.

Pulp’s notes are bergamot, fig, blackcurrant, apple, tiare, peach flower, cedar and praline, combined to make “a sweet, green fragrance.”  I know, I know, that sounds disgusting.  But on Louise and on me, it’s much more tart than it sounds — on Louise it’s almost pure grapefruit with some sap notes, and on me it’s more a tart berry – lingonberry jam, maybe, or homemade cranberry sauce with very little sugar.  If it were a taste, your mouth would pucker and your eyes would water.  It gets a little sweeter as it dries down, but not much, so don’t let the word “praline” frighten you.  The fig is very green, more leaves/bark than fruit.

Honestly?  I cannot imagine wearing this.  It’s huge — insane sillage and longevity, and no volume control whatsoever.   It’s the sort of fragrance that would have me chewing my own arm off after a few hours just to get away from it.  But I admit it smelled divine on Louise’s wimpy-fragrance-killing skin.  I can’t think of anything really like it; if you like big green galbanum-laced meanies (Louise also mentioned Miller et Bertaux’ Green Green Green and Green, although Pulp is much more aggressive) this might be your sort of thing.   It’s got that in-your-face attitude.

As far as I know, Byredo Pulp is available in the US only at Barney’s, for $190, and I think a bottle would last you forever.

image, Alexandria’s library: the extraordinary illustrations of the original volume of James and the Giant Peach, which I’ve enjoyed inflicting on my own children; German Christmas pyramid much like ours, christmas-treasures.com

55 Comments
Solander December 2, 2008

Seriously, you find this tart? Lingonberries?? I think it's something like a sweeter, heavier, louder, more obviously tropical kissing-cousin to the golden nectar of Bois de Paradis... Quite nice, but yes, a bit too much. It's a fruity fragrance I could actually wear, though, and that's saying quite a lot.

Joe December 2, 2008

I think I need to try this, because tangy, tart fruit sometimes sounds good for those days when I need an extra shot of PEP, and especially if there's rhubarb in the mix (loved CdG Rhubarb, even though that has a creamy vibe). Winter might be the perfect time for this scent, no? (And yes, I'm dealing with Southern California winter, but winter nonetheless.) I believe a small decant is going on the wishlist...

Tara December 2, 2008

I spritzed Pulp on myself at Barneys two weeks ago and it didn't kill me. It was very potent fig and something tangy (rhubarb? cranberry?), and it lasted ALL DAY. The SA actually told me he recommends people spray it on themselves and wear it for a day before buying, because it is so strong and persistent, not to mention weird. I will not be purchasing, but it was interesting. The only other one I tried was Chamfur, the incense one, but it was meh. Rather light and watery for an incense.

Robin December 2, 2008

HA -- but I'd go through a bottle in no time, in fact, I drained my big spray sample pretty quickly because it just made me smile! And the perfect antidote to gray winter weather. That said, I don't know that it's what I'd think to put on before leaving the house.

Teri December 1, 2008

I have yet to encounter Pulp, but since I tend to like big smelly attitude scents, it's surely worth a try. There is nothing remotely elegant or decor-driven about my Christmas decorations. Everything we display is homemade. I have decorations my mother and father made as children, I made as a child, my husband made as a child, and my son made as a child. Some were even inclusions from childhood friends. All of them are loved and carefully preserved. Our look may be chaotic and primitif, but we derive endless pleasure from retelling the stories that go with each of the decorations every year. In a way, it's an oral history of our family preserved through holiday decorations.

Patty December 1, 2008

Hey, Pulp is BIG, but I really like the darn thing. It doesn't last forever on me, i seem to eat it, but it does last a good amount of time, and I swear I got a lot more rhubarb than anything else. It was tangy and I just kept resniffing. I'm thinking... it may be a good combo. I need to drag my tree up this week. I'm not sure I'm anywhere near nodding distance of tasteful. I like my tree to be beautiful, and my outdoor decorations to be menaciningly tactless.

Disteza December 1, 2008

I guess I might qualify as one of those 'elegantly restrained' holiday decorators; I used to have quite the Christmas ornament habit. Nowadays I pick my colors or theme (last year's was crystal and silver, this year looks like red and burgundy), and do up the house accordingly. However, the crystal tree last year was dripping in real crystal, as was the gold tree 2 years ago, so the decorations at our house look very nice, but are less than kid/cat/dog friendly. I made my own tree skirt last year to keep with the theme, and trimmed it with chandelier drops, which ended up being not so fab an idea once they got walked on while gathering presents!

tmp00 December 1, 2008

How did I miss this one? I think I completely missed the whole line, and I was at Barneys paying my bill yesterday (I wish they'd have online payment; maybe it's to lure us into the stores?)

violetnoir December 1, 2008

March, I love Pulp! I bought a mini, unsniffed mind you, from sniffapalooza for $35 and have not regretted it. Hugs and love!

Elle December 1, 2008

Your Christmas decorations sound fantastic! :-) I think that if you're going to do Christmas, the only way to do it is full throttle - joyful exuberance and warmth seem to me what the season should ideally be about. Elegant restraint just doesn't work w/ my idea of the feeling of Christmas. And I can't tell you how much I love the idea of a Lego pirate and Kuan Yin being included in the nativity scene. :-) So far I've only dabbed on a tiny bit of Pulp. Don't think I can even imagine it being sprayed and also can't imagine ever needing to fork over $190 for a full bottle.

Gail S December 1, 2008

Haven't yet had the opportunity to try any of the Byredo's, but boy does your Christmas tree ever ring those bells :d We still celebrate it every year with my parents, who still have every ornament our family has accumulated since the year they married. Each of us kids on our own has attempted some sort of "theme" throughout the years, which has since been incorporated into the family tree. The result is a tree which is barely visible and we all love it insanely :x It's like a once-a-year time capsule.

GalileosDaughter December 1, 2008

Christmas decorations and Roald Dahl, now that is a perfect combination. I married a man with a less-is-more philosophy of Christmas decorations, but my kids have a more-is-more philosophy, so guess who wins? Hint: Tinsel EVERYWHERE. I gotta admit, it's not very tasteful but it is fun. Which kinda sounds like that Byredo to me. So happy that you spent the day having fun. It's good to feed one's soul like that, helps one to stay focused on what matters. Best wishes.

Shelley December 1, 2008

Hey, no better scent to review thematically than one which offers wretched excess, right? ;) I'll be happy to sniff Byredo Pulp on a more likely candidate (Musette, I'm looking at you!). Louise has me thinking, though..:-?...I've been interested in checking out MB Green, Green, et Green for quite a while now. Is it going to take me over? >-) Love the book illustration.

Melissa December 1, 2008

Still waiting for someone to come up with strings of little white Star of David lights that can adorn the entire house. So far, no luck. All I've found so far are huge multi-colored ones to stick in your window or gigantic tacky-looking menorahs, along the same lines. My mother was so envious of Christians that we celebrated Christmas as kids and it was hard to break the habit when I grew older. As for Pulp, one whiff and my eyes teared up. Interesting, thought-provoking, but a no-go for me. I would like to sniff it on Louise though. We do totally different things to fragrances and I like scary green fragrances on her, but not on me.

Louise December 1, 2008

No such thing as an over-decorated Christmas-time house in my book. Growing up as the only non-Christian family in the neighborhood has permanently marked me...the more tinsel and glitz, the better <:-p Ooh, can't wait to see your house! I had no expectations of Pulp, and found it not frightening at all. My "wimpy-fragrance-killing skin" seem to suck the scary bits outta it, and I really enjoyed the deep citrus vibe it had on me. I would certainly buy a decant...;)

carmencanada December 1, 2008

I found Pulp to be what you describe: a violent wallop that just keeps on coming. An olfactory punching machine, if you will... Not for me.

Catherine December 1, 2008

Well, dear March, in *our* house growing up, Thanksgiving evening was the night for pulling out all the ornaments and such. So, this year, I continued the tradition--although I think I have a total of five ornaments, all given by my ornament-obsessed mother. And the music is going strong (my fav from childhood? Alvin and the Chipmunks. That cd is the *best*, again a gift from Mom). Let the holidays roll. There's just something about lights on a tree that cannot fail but bring forth a smile.

Musette December 1, 2008

Oooh! I'm going to be at Barney's late next week, God willin' and the creek don't rise..... (we're in the midst of a mild blizzard so who knows...) this is now on my list to try, if only for the shock value! xoxoxo>-)