Byredo Bal d’Afrique

I had smelled Byredo Bal d’Afrique briefly in L.A. back in April or so, but too much sniffage didn’t allow me to get more than a “mmmm, nice” thought formed about it.  In London, I got a longer turn with it.  Notes of Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, African marigold, Bucchu, Violet, Jasmin petals, Cyclamen, Black Amber, MuskByredo Bal d'Afrique, Vetiver, and Moroccan cedarwood.

The open of Byredo Bal d’Afrique is bergamot, lemon and neroli is fairly briefly, just enough to perk you up and put you in a great mood, though it lingers as just a sparkly shadow through the drydown.  Marigolds and bucchu arrive to give a slightly bitter feel, slightly sensuous sweat smell.  A little like an “after-the-exertion” note.  You know, right?  The  florals sweeten it up, while the base notes lay in an earthy, sexy backdrop.  All together?  Sexy as hell and addictive as crack.

Byredo Gypsy Water has the same feel for me. Not the same notes, but that addictive, comforting  composition.  My dad always had a pillow on the couch, and he’d come in from the fields and lay down for a nap, and the little bit of sweat would just seep into the pillow.  When he wasn’t around, I would just bury my face in that pillow, and I felt like I was wrapped in a place where nothing could ever hurt me.  He had the sweetest sweat smell.   Byredo Bal d’Afrique and Byredo Gypsy Water are like that for me  – compulsive, addictive, sweet and bitter, earthy, sexy, and incredibly comforting.  It’s like burrowing my nose in my favorite sweater that I’ve worn for years.

It may be too early to call this, but I think Byredo has some staying power as a line and, along with Kilian, has been the best new line introduction of the last couple of years.  They’ve both done interesting things that are unconventional, while also making perfumes that are compulsively wearable.

Of course I’ll do a drawing for a couple of samples of this.  Liberty was super-nice when we were there and passed out 1 ounce bottles to all Sniffa attendees.

You can get a Byredo Bal d’Afrique sample at Surrender to Chance

  • Laura M says:

    OK, I must have missed this draw—was just searching for a Byredo review—but if not, please include me! I’d love to try this one!

  • lisa67 says:

    A kind UK swapper sent me a sample of Bal d’Afrique and several other Byredos when she split a bottle of Gypsy Water with me. I love them all, and Bal d’Afrique will definitely be my next Byredo purchase. I find this line to be a really exciting addition to the perfume world. The scents are delightful and unexpected, and they transform through the day on my skin. I haven’t been so excited about a newer perfume line since Parfumerie Generale came onto the fragrance scene. I can’t wait for Blanche to be released- it, too, sounds wonderful. I emailed back and forth with Franco at Luckyscent, and they are hoping to carry the Byredo line early next year, once Barneys’ exclusive U.S. distribution arrangement expires at the end of this year.

  • Byredo has recently agreed a deal to be the official supplier of hotel toiletries to the new Hotel Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. You can check out the hotel (opening 26th October 2009) at

  • CynthiaW says:

    I’d love to be in the draw – this sounds wonderful and brought back strong memories of loving to nap on my dad’s couch because it always smelled like him.

    I’m going to give Pulp another shot when it cools off a bit – I tried it on one of those days when the temp was over 100 degrees with 90% humidity and it wasn’t a good combo.

  • pyramus says:

    Well, this sounds nice! And I have yet to try a single Byredo scent, even though Pulp has been getting so much ink. So, name in hat, please.

  • aelily says:

    If I’m not too late, please throw me in the drawing!

  • Kim says:

    love how you describe the line. would love to be in the draw and will definitely explore this line.

  • zeram1 says:

    Can this line only be found in the UK? Please enter me in the drawing as well.

  • Mikael says:

    Haven’t yet tried any of the Byredos, would love to be in the drawing, thanks!

  • tammy says:

    No need to enter me inthe drawing, but what a sweet story about your dad!

  • Dawn Shelton says:

    Please enter me for the drawing! Thanks.

  • DREMYBLUZ says:

    please put me in the drawing

  • mariekel says:

    I would love to try this — so far my only Byredo experience has been Chembur. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Dleep says:

    What a great review! I have never tried any of the Byredo scents and would love to be entered in the drawing!!!

  • Claudia says:

    I’d love to try this, myself.

  • sharon says:

    Oh my! Please enter me in the drawing!!

  • dogloverinmn says:

    Love Gypsy Water and would love to be entered in the draw!

  • Lora says:

    Ooh, sounds amazing. Please enter me in the draw.

  • annie says:

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOO,would love to try these…please count me in!

  • Debby H says:

    Oh yes – plese include me in the drawing. I would love to try this. We had an orchard growing up, not a farm, but I remember those sun-filled, sweaty days in the trees – dirt under the feet, crushed leaves in hand, the sweet smell of fruit in the sun. I’ll have to try Pulp and Gypsy Water as well sometime. Thanks,

  • Nina Z. says:

    You inspired me to try Gypsy Water, which I loved. Then I sniffed Pulp, and loved that, too (though I need to try that on my skin). And I’m kinda picky. So I’m starting to think there is something really special about this line (and would love to be included in this draw).

  • smy says:

    This line really intriques me. Please enter me in the draw!

  • Fernando says:

    I love the comment about your father’s pillow. It left me wondering whether my children ever felt that way about me… and hoping.

    Please enter me in the draw. This sounds quite interesting.

    • Patty says:

      I don’t think he ever knew, but all of his kids have the same memory. He left a truck behind that still has his smell in it. It’s been passed around to four of us now, I think, kids and grandkids, and nobody can bear to get rid of it, it’s the last thing we have that even remotely smells like him.

  • mals86 says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the memory of your dad’s nap pillow. My husband does the same thing in the summer – in from the fields for lunch, then a little nap before going back to the tractor. The pillow smells just like him.

    No need to enter me in the draw… I’m still covered up with classics to test, and (blush) Bal d’Afrique doesn’t really sound like my thing, after I read Kevin’s review on NST.

    Off Topic Side Note: Testing Cuir de Russie today, and the first thing I noticed was Barnyard. (We have cows. Trust me, I know my barnyard odors.) It’s settling down now, 15 min. in, but I just wondered – anybody else get that out of CdR?

    • Patty says:

      I get cows out of CdR too. It’s that leather smell.

      • mals86 says:

        Thanks! So far, I’m not much of a leather fan, but then I may just be wimpy. I like the leather in the vintage No. 19, but that leather’s just a dainty handbag or little ballet flats, not a cowhide hanging on the door…

  • Connie says:

    I haven’t tried either of these lines so I would love to be included in the drawing. Thanks 🙂

  • LindaB says:

    Sounds very interesting! Please include me in the draw.

  • Musette says:

    I have walked by the Byredo line many times and even tried Pulp (no go – can’t even smell it, though that may have been a ‘too much sniffage’ issue). I remember looking at Bal d’Afrique but don’t remember sniffing it. Will be back in civilization in a few days so will test it then. No need for a draw entry, but thanks for the incredible generosity you always show, in sharing scents!


    • Patty says:

      I would have been surprised if Pulp worked for you, but do make sure to smelle Gypsy Water, Bal D’Afrique and Chembur. If any of them will work for you, my guess is it would be one of those three, but be patient with them, the crack qualities show up later. 🙂

  • TA says:

    I would love a sample, please enter me in the draw.

  • Mindy G. says:

    Both Byredos sound fascinating. Is the marigold quite sharp at first in the Bal d’Afrique?

    Would love to be in the draw. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Patty says:

      It’s not that sharp,and it’s weirded out with that sweaty note. That just makes it interesting to me, especially as it morphs in the drydown. Great lasting power, I’ve still got a little leftover this morning from yesterday.

  • Melissa says:

    I tried Pulp when it first came out and it wasn’t quite my type of scent. A re-sniff might prove that my tastes have changed. But the notes in Bal d’Afrique look exactly like my type of scent. No need to enter me in the draw though. I’ll borrow a spritz from a friend!

  • vicuna1 says:

    I dare anyone to read this review and not yearn to catch a whiff of such a man…er…such a scent. Sorry, got a little distracted there. Meanwhile, please enter me in the draw!

    • Patty says:

      I have yet to find a guy with that kind of sweet sweat smell yet, but I’m hopeful! Well, my sons have it. It runs in the family.

  • elve says:

    Enter me in the drawing, please 🙂

  • You know, I have smelled any fragrances by Byredo yet, but I’ve been reading their perfume reviews everywhere. And people keep recommending them to me (especially Byredo, which is supposed to be a fruity perfume extraordinaire). I would looove to try this. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      I do recommend the line. I’m not sure they’ve done much groundbreaking work, outside of Pulp and Gypsy Water, but I really, really do love this line for wearing a lot.

  • Ojeda says:

    I’m about to try Pulp and was wondering about Bal. Always loved the Josephine Baker connotation from what I’ve read. Please count me in!

  • Louise says:

    Hey Patty!

    My mini Bal from London has been getting a lot of play here in France, just as the weather warms up ; )No need for a sample here…

    I do love Pulp, in spite of the fear it seems to induce in others (“too strong-mais non!”). I think the line may have legs, as you suggest, and has a nice variety of styles 😉

  • Kathryn says:

    I wish this line was in wider distribution. Please enter me in the draw, too!

  • amosfamous says:

    Have been so curious about Byredo – thanks for the review! Mmmmm Neroli and sweaty goodness!

  • Mina J says:

    I’ve been dying to try this. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you!

  • Annelie says:

    You might think that since I am in Sweden I would easily get my hands on a Byredo sample in some other way, but honestly I haven´t yet.

    So please enter me in the draw, thank you.

  • Sara K says:

    I’d love a sample of this!

  • HollyGolightly says:

    I haven’t yet had the chance to try any of these, count me in. 🙂

  • Marsi says:

    That really sounds like The Yum. Please count me in on the draw.

  • Kathryn says:

    Your description of a sweet man smell brings so many happy memories. I would love to be entered in the draw.

  • sheo says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been really curious about Byredo, especially the two you mention and Rose Noir. Well, and I’ve heard so much about Pulp – anxious to try it too. Please count me in for the draw.

    • Patty says:

      I really do like Pulp. It starts out incredibly strong, but settles down on me. I like the whole line. Chembur is beautiful too. I haven’t spent much time with the rose and blanche, and I think there’s something else?